Category Archives: Aviation Safety / Air Crashes

Shocking video shows Greek AH-64D Apache helicopter crashing into the sea

Dramatic footage of an AH-64D Apache helicopter crashing into the sea.

On Sept. 20, at around 09.00AM LT a Greek Army Apache helicopter crashed into the Aegean

The AH-64D helicopter crashed for reasons unknown in the waters of the Strimonikos Gulf near Asprovalta, in northern Greece while taking part in SARISA 2016 exercise.

The footage below shows the helicopter crashing into the sea and capsizing. Fortunately, both crew members escaped safely.

The helicopter is believed to belong to either the 1st or 2nd Battalion of Attack Helicopters from Volos, central Greece.

This the third loss of D-model out of 12 initially procured by the Greek Army.

The incident reminds a famous U.S. Army AH-64 crash in Afghanistan or the Italian Army NH-90 helicopter that crashed into the Bracciano Lake, north of Rome, in June 2008. One of the pilots was killed, the other two crew members were rescued from the water after the helicopter almost disintegrated in the impact.

H/T @robotpig for sending the link to the video.

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U.S. Air Force TU-2S crashes in California. Two pilots aboard eject.

A two seater variant of the U-2 Dragon Lady from Beale Air Force Base has just crashed in Sutter County, California.

A TU-2S assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, from Beale AFB, crashed about 9.05 AM LT near West Butte and Pass roads.

The aircraft, a two seater variant of the famous U-2 Dragon Lady spyplane was involved in a training mission. According to witnesses, both pilots ejected from the aircraft: one died while the other was injured.

The U.S. Air Force is believed to operate just 5 TU-2S jets (including the one lost today).

The Dragon Lady is one of the most difficult plane to land requiring some special landing assistance by chase cars driven by experienced pilots who talk their colleagues aboard the U-2s during (take off or) landing: in fact, since the pilot’s view on a Dragon Lady is obstructed by the airframe, chase cars drivers provide additional information about distance to touchdown and altitude in order to make landings less risky.

The two-seat variant is particularly useful for training since the second cockpit is located well above the front one allowing an unobstructed forward view.

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Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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From the cockpit: Libyan Air Force MiG-23 performs ultra low level pass followed by aileron roll

Libyan MiG-23 Flogger performs yet another stunt. This time filmed from the cockpit.

Last year we posted some cool shots and a couple video of the two Libyan Air Force MiG-23MLs (6472 based at Benina and 6132 based at al-Watiya) perfoming fast, ultra low-level passes on an airbase in Libya and over a beach near Benghazi.

Both were lost at the beginning of 2016 (one crashed due to a failure, the other shot down).

The one below, reportedly filmed few days ago, is believed to show the only remaining Libyan National Army Air Force MiG-23ML, serial #26453, approaching Benina and performing a flyby over the runway, filmed from the camera attached to the pilot’s helmet.

As if the usual low pass was not enough, the Libyan pilot completes the stunt with a fast aileron roll

Anyway, MiG-23MLs and two MiG-23BNs equipped with IFR (In Flight Refueling) probes (one of those remains in service following the loss of the example #8995 on Jul. 6, 2016) have been used by the LNA AF against Benghazi Islamist militia groups’ bases.

Beware: even though the video claims the aircraft is a Mig-21, the one in the footage is clearly a Mig-23 Flogger (check the shadow of the aircraft on the runway as the aircraft rolls inverted).

H/T @RAeSTimR for the heads-up!

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Watch an F-16’s Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System save an unconscious pilot from certain death

The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) recognized the F-16’s dangerous attitude and automatically performed the recovery that saved the life of an unconscious student pilot.

Obtained by Aviation Week, the declassified footage below shows the importance of Ground Collision Avoidance Technology (GCAT).

It was filmed from the HUD (Head-Up Display) of a U.S. Air Force Arizona ANG F-16 whose student pilot was rendered unconscious by high-G BFM (Basic Fighter Maneuver) up to 8.4g during a training flight.

With the pilot suffering G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) the aircraft started an uncontrolled steep descent from 17,000 feet in full afterburner.

You can clearly hear the worried IP (Instructor Pilot) radio “Two, recover!”, three times as the aircraft, 55-degree nose down, thundered towards the ground at more than 600 knots.

When the aircraft seems to be destined to hit the ground, the Auto-GCAS detects the unusual attitude and executes a recovery maneuver at around 8,700 ft. and 650 kt, saving “Sully 2” from CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain).

We have analysed GCAT in depth with an article by USAF Flight Surgeon, Capt Rocky ‘Apollo’ Jedick, last year.

As explained in that story, two of the most common human factors conditions that lead to death or loss of aircraft in combat aviation are spatial disorientation and G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC).

Spatial Disorientation is the inability to determine one’s position, location, and motion relative to their environment. The Pilot-Activated Recovery System (PARS) will save pilots suffering from recognized Spatial-D as long as the pilot remains able to activate the technology. If a pilot is spatially disoriented but remains unable to initiate PARS, Auto-GCAS should theoretically still save him/her from CFIT.

Auto-GCAS provokes inputs to the flight controls automatically without pilot initiation. The technology relies on sophisticated computer software, terrain maps, GPS and predictive algorithms that will ‘take the jet’ from the pilot when CFIT is predicted to be imminent.

Although Ground Collision Avoidance Technology has proved to save several lives (this is the fourth confirmed “save” by the Auto-GCAS system since the system was introduced in 2014 according to AW’s Guy Norris) it has some significant software and hardware limitations.

For example, as we highlighted last year, the system is not able to make inputs on the throttle. If the power reduction is required for the optimal recovery GCAT systems (as Auto-GCAS and PARS) might be  unable to initiate recovery overriding the current throttle setting.

 

Watch an F-16 suffer a compressor stall during the display at AirPower 2016 airshow

During the display at the Zeltweg airshow in Austria, the Belgian Air Force F-16 suffered a compressor stall that caused a loud bang and an impressive backfire.

On Sept. 3, during its display at the AIRPOWER 2016 airshow in Zeltweg, the “Viper” of the Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Display Team suffered an apparent compressor stall that forced the pilot to perform a precautionary landing.

Take a look at the footage below. If you jump to 03:20 you will see the aircraft’s engine emanating flames (generating a loud bang you can’t hear) in what seems to be the typical behaviour of a compressor stall.

Compressor stalls (sometimes referred to as afterburner stalls in aircraft with reheat) are not too rare among military aircraft. They can be caused by several factors, including birdstrikes, FOD (Foreign Object Damage), ingestion of turbulent or hot airflow into the air intake etc.

A compressor stall is a local disruption of the airflow in the compressor whose severity may vary from a momentary power drop to a complete loss of compression.

A particular kind of compressor stall is the compression surge that occurs when the hot vapour generated by the aircraft carrier’s catapult is ingested by the aircraft air intake thus creating a breakdown in compression resulting in a the compressor’s inability to absorb the momentary disturbance and to continue pushing the air against the already-compressed air behind it. As a consequence, there’s a momentary reversal of air flow and a violent expulsion of previously compressed air out through the engine intake producing some loud bangs from the engine and “back fires”.

You can find several images of aircraft suffering compressor surges while taking off from airbases or being launched from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

As already explained on The Aviationist in the past, in most of the cases even after suffering a “surge” the compressor will usually recover to normal flow once the engine pressure ratio reduces to a level at which the compressor is capable of sustaining stable airflow.

Some engines have automatic recover functions even if pilots experiencing the surge can be compelled to act on the throttle or, in some cases, relight the engine.

Image Credit: Flight Video & Photo. H/T our friends at From The Skies for sending this over to us.