Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Historic Replicas

They provide one way to keep the spirit of aviation’s history alive for future generations

The passenger reported that he had worked with several other people to build the Jenny, and that it had been flown approximately five times prior to the accident. The passenger said the entire airplane was new with the exception of some nuts and bolts, and the engine which had just been overhauled. He said the engine had been running fine and, in his opinion, the airplane was underpowered for recovery from a stall at low altitude.

Another person who helped build the airplane reported it took approximately 10 years to complete. The airplane wasn't equipped with radios. Both the front and rear seats had flight controls, but all instrumentation was in the rear. The airplane was equipped with new seat belts, but no shoulder harnesses were installed.

The airplane's Experimental Operating Limitations contained a provision stating, "No person may be carried in this aircraft during flight unless that person is essential to the purpose of the flight."

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the takeoff climb, resulting in an inadvertent stall at low altitude.

Wright Flyer
A Wright Flyer experimental amateur-built airplane crashed during a forced landing near Springfield, Ohio. The two commercial pilots were killed. The local VFR flight originated from the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport (SGH). The replica followed the original Wright design using modern materials.

According to the owner, the airplane was undergoing initial flight testing. Witnesses said the airplane's engine sounded like its rpm varied. The airplane was seen flying slowly and banking to the left and right. One witness reported that the airplane spiraled downward.

The replica had modern airfoils, conventional ailerons, steel tube structure, and modern aircraft fabric. It was powered by a four-cylinder, 205 hp Lycoming HIO-360-C1B engine. It had two chain-driven counter-rotating two-blade pusher propellers. The airplane had two seats and dual controls. The airplane had accumulated 58 total flight hours.

The airplane had flown a racetrack pattern at about 3,100 feet, about three to four miles from the airport. Then, a pilot radioed that they were inbound for a touch-and-go. A subsequent radio call was an alert that they were landing in a field.

A video from an onboard camera showed that the airplane yawed to the left, as if thrust from the left propeller had been lost. This led investigators to discover that the left propeller shaft had completely separated at its aft weld. A magnified edge view of the tube separation revealed that approximately 25 to 35% of the through thickness of the propeller shaft tube hadn't been welded to the propeller shaft end. Visible defects, such as pores and voids, were observed.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew's failure to maintain airplane control following a partial loss of engine thrust during cruise flight. Contributing to the accident was the failed weld as a result of incomplete welding on the left propeller shaft, which led to the partial loss of engine thrust.


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