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  #1  
Old 08-21-2021, 02:28 PM
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poppadok poppadok is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: West Richland, WA
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Default RV-4 off field landing thoughts?

I’ve had my -4 for a year now and one thing that I think through pretty regularly are what I would do if I had to put down in a field, especially the plowed hayfields or cornfields like we have around here where I live. I’ve heard that RVs have a tendency to end up on their backs, so I was wondering if that’s true, and then for the -4 what are the prevailing thoughts on opening the canopy and hoping it rips away, or keeping it closed? Neither situation seems good if the planes on its back, but do we have a record of better results with one over the other?

I did try to do a search on the topic but didn’t find anything specific to our model, and I do carry a canopy breaker and some goggles for peace of mind!

Last edited by poppadok : 08-21-2021 at 02:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2021, 02:39 PM
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N184DA N184DA is offline
 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
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After 20+ years of flying my 4, that is the single bothersome issue I have always had with the design: Egress after a flip.
Especially when one considers that there will probably be some type of injury which will only complicate the process.
I always come back to: touch down as slow as possible, 3-point, tail-low and hope there are people around.
Not sure there is any good answer but I look forward to the conversation.
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2021, 03:28 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
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The synthesis of my reading on this important topic:

Many successful off field landings in RVs (that we find out about) seem to end with them on their back, no matter what model. When it flips over, having the canopy there to protect you and your passenger seems like a good idea. Without it, there will be little to keep the ground from encroaching into your headspace. The "roll bar" on the RV-4 will probably sink into the ground quickly if there is no canopy.

The unsuccessful off field landing are stall/spin accidents that end up with the RV "pancaking" down upright on their belly - these are usually fatal. Obviously you don't want to do this.

I know of one RV-8 that landed in a field and didn't flip, but his gear legs were sheared off during the landing. He rebuilt the aircraft.

It can be done but is not easy to get out after a flip. Be sure to have some tools to break the canopy, and hope that there is no fire.

If you can land in a cornfield, that usually has a good outcome, as long as you fly the aircraft and don't stall/spin. Think about how you will be found in very large cornfields, and perhaps plan where you put down accordingly. Finding a small aircraft in a 200 acre cornfield without a drone or some other way to get up high will take a lot of time.

If you can land on an empty road that will be great, but watch out for power and telephone wires that are often strung along the road. If the road is not empty, keep in mind that you are involving unwitting people into your emergency.
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  #4  
Old 08-21-2021, 04:03 PM
gasman gasman is offline
 
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This is one fear that will be greatly reduced with the RV 15.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2021, 08:00 PM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is online now
 
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My thoughts, too, with my RV-4. I have an escape tool attached to shoulder harness and halon fire extinguisher within easy reach. Make the best three point ever. My first choice is country roads out here in the stix. I am usually on guard on com 2 so I might be able to get off a quick Mayday.
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2021, 08:44 PM
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donaziza donaziza is offline
 
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Let me relate a story I read here on VAF years ago. An RV (i think it was a 6) had an engine failure somewhere up near Hyannis Port, Mass. Guy landed, flipped, but was ok, upside down. BUT, he had landed in some sort of marshy ground, and water started coming in. Poor guy drowned. The guy here on VAF writing that thread, talked about having one of those small battery operated hacksalls (or Hacksaws--not sure on the proper spelling) So I went to HD, and looked at them. Per Dougie, I'm not supposed to put brand names in here, but one with the name of a city, starting with M, and ending in kee, south of Oshkosh, is what I bought. At the store, they had a solid steel bar shaped like a ruler. Cut that in half twice in about 1 1/2 minutes, each. So hopfully, it will go thru the side of my 8 very quickly. So I've now got it velcroed to the wall about where my back seater's ankle would be. I can reach down with my left hand,(if I still have a left hand) and undo it, and hopefully cut my way out pretty quickly. These canopy breaker tools,--- would a guy have enough swing arc with his arm, inside a small RV 4 cockpit to break the canopy?? And oh yeah, I will sit in my cockpit with my eyes closed, and undo the velcro on my saw with one hand---just for practice.
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2021, 09:10 PM
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BlackhawkSP BlackhawkSP is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppadok View Post
Iíve had my -4 for a year now and one thing that I think through pretty regularly are what I would do if I had to put down in a field, especially the plowed hayfields or cornfields like we have around here where I live. Iíve heard that RVs have a tendency to end up on their backs, so I was wondering if thatís true, and then for the -4 what are the prevailing thoughts on opening the canopy and hoping it rips away, or keeping it closed? Neither situation seems good if the planes on its back, but do we have a record of better results with one over the other?

I did try to do a search on the topic but didnít find anything specific to our model, and I do carry a canopy breaker and some goggles for peace of mind!
I read an article years ago about the accident statistics on light planes doing off field landings. When pilots have an engine out, most times they look at soybean fields as shorter crops and pick them to land in. The trouble is, soy beans are a very viny crop that is low to the ground. This leads to the planes landing gear being arrested quite rapidly and almost always leads to the plane flipping over on to it's top.

However, when planes went down into standing corn, the stalks wrapping around the wing and all the other parts of the aircraft acted like the arresting net that aircraft carriers use to stop a crippled jet. The ears of corm might beat the **** out of the aircraft, but the arrest is rapid and the plane stays upright. Food for thought:-)........
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2021, 11:41 PM
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donaziza donaziza is offline
 
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OK, Great. Quick check, besides Iowa, where all does corn grow in this country?? From now on, I want to make sure I only fly over corn fields!!!
What's a corn field look like from 4500 Ft.??
Yeah, I know, this post is getting a little corny.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2021, 11:59 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donaziza View Post
... one of those small battery operated hacksalls (or Hacksaws--not sure on the proper spelling) ... is what I bought. At the store, they had a solid steel bar shaped like a ruler. Cut that in half twice in about 1 1/2 minutes, each. So hopfully, it will go thru the side of my 8 very quickly. ...
I'm considering one of these too, my only concern is sparks and fire if fuel is leaking. Wonderful topic for Sunday morning!
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2021, 07:06 AM
lr172 lr172 is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donaziza View Post
Let me relate a story I read here on VAF years ago. An RV (i think it was a 6) had an engine failure somewhere up near Hyannis Port, Mass. Guy landed, flipped, but was ok, upside down. BUT, he had landed in some sort of marshy ground, and water started coming in. Poor guy drowned. The guy here on VAF writing that thread, talked about having one of those small battery operated hacksalls (or Hacksaws--not sure on the proper spelling) So I went to HD, and looked at them. Per Dougie, I'm not supposed to put brand names in here, but one with the name of a city, starting with M, and ending in kee, south of Oshkosh, is what I bought. At the store, they had a solid steel bar shaped like a ruler. Cut that in half twice in about 1 1/2 minutes, each. So hopfully, it will go thru the side of my 8 very quickly. So I've now got it velcroed to the wall about where my back seater's ankle would be. I can reach down with my left hand,(if I still have a left hand) and undo it, and hopefully cut my way out pretty quickly. These canopy breaker tools,--- would a guy have enough swing arc with his arm, inside a small RV 4 cockpit to break the canopy?? And oh yeah, I will sit in my cockpit with my eyes closed, and undo the velcro on my saw with one hand---just for practice.
Glad to see people have found a use these tools for something other than stealing catlytic convertors.
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