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Old 08-05-2006, 01:25 AM
seward747 seward747 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 136
Default Control Check

A big part of military and/or airline flying is always following the established procedure, ie. doing things the same way every time. After hundreds/thousands of hours, it all becomes second nature, but you still follow the checklist, every single time. Different aircraft will require different methods or techniques, eg. most GA aircraft will allow an external manipulation of the control surfaces while visually verifying correct movement of the stick, while as mentioned previously, larger aircraft with hydraulic powered control surfaces mandate the control check after startup, often with ground crew assistance, though many have a control surface position indicator on the panel. You've probably noticed most departing airliners extend take off flaps when just starting to taxi out of the pushback/engine start up position on the ramp, followed shortly thereafter by a full deflection control check - that doing things the same way every time thing. Flying off the boat in the Navy, we were taught to just prior to the cat shot off the pointy end (where an aborted take off is not an option) to, among other things, do a final "cockpit wipeout", stick moved to all 4 corners, checking for full and complete control movement. So you usually fly an aircraft where the controls "can't" be misrigged. Establish the habit pattern now, for the day that you fly something that can be.
I find it very interesting that the Spectrum accident was a test flight, as was the video most of you have seen (can't find the link at the moment) of the DeHaviland Caribou that way overrotated and did sort of a tight loop right into the ground. Story I'd heard was the control lock was still installed. Two accidents involving control surfaces with professional test pilots onboard. One wonders, does a preoccupation with the test card of the moment lead to a glossing over of the basics.

Doug Seward
Seattle area
-4, wings
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Old 08-05-2006, 01:57 AM
Rosie's Avatar
Rosie Rosie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: I live in on the Rosamond Skypark (CA) and am married to Victoria (Tuppergal).
Posts: 999

It happened on our F-117: "The first production aircraft, number 785, was delivered in the spring of 1982. It crashed and was destroyed on take-off on 20 April, badly injuring the pilot, Bob Riedenauer of Lockheed, who never flew again. The accident was traced to reversed wiring in the flight control system." Rosie
Paul A. "Rosie" Rosales
Rosamond Skypark (L00), CA
RV-6A, 4200+ hours since 7/4/2000
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Old 08-05-2006, 03:13 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,810
Default RV reversed trim....

Years ago, a twin (I think a Piper) bellied in shortly after takeoff. The trim motor had been replaced and the cables reconnected (backwards) and the mechanic put his young assistant in the cockpit and asked for "UP" trim. He observed the tab and was satisfied. As it turned out, the assistant had moved the trip wheel 'UP', which of course, in a Cessna anyway, is down trim. The tab had indeed moved 'down' which is 'up' trim but the unfortunate pilot kept adding more up trim as the control became heavier and heavier. The trim cables were reversed.

This can and has been done on the RVs with electric trim very careful,
Pierre Smith
RV-10, 510 TT
RV6A (Sojourner) 180 HP, Catto 3 Bl (502Hrs), gone...and already missed
Air Tractor AT 502B PT 6-15
Air Tractor 402 PT-6-20
EAA Flight Advisor/CFI/Tech Counselor
Louisville, Ga

It's never skill or craftsmanship that completes airplanes, it's the will to do so,
Patrick Kenny, EAA 275132

Dues gladly paid!
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:58 AM
otterhunter2 otterhunter2 is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 60

I remember the F-15 control reversal accident while at Ramstein AB. It can happen, even to the best, so be vigilant and always question the condition of your ship.

Very sad for all concerned.


""Board Partly Clears Airman in F-15 Crash

An Air Force review board has partly cleared the name of an F-15 mechanic who committed suicide in 1996 rather than face a court-martial for a fatal repair error.

Evidence showed that TSgt. XXXXXX did not perform the botched control rod maintenance at issue, although he did check the work and found nothing wrong.

In addition, several previous incidents in which other mechanics made the same mistakes should have alerted the Air Force to a potential problem, according to the board.

"We did not think XXXX was totally free of all responsibility," said Lee Baseman, chairman of the correction board. "But it was our view that he was unduly carrying the burden for a series of missteps that went back at least 10 years."

In May 1995, XXXX and TSgt. YYYYYY were carrying out maintenance on an F-15C based at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, when YYYYY accidentally crossed flight control rods while reinstalling them. XXXX did not catch the miscue, which made the airplane impossible to control in the air. It subsequently crashed, killing Maj. Donald G. Lowry Jr. (Great GUY!!)

Air Force authorities charged XXXX and YYYYY with dereliction of duty and negligent homicide. XXXXX shot himself in October 1996 during a break in court proceedings. Commanding officers then accepted YYYYY request for administrative separation, on grounds that the interests of the service would be best served by bringing the tragic case to a swift conclusion.

Similar crossed-rod cases occurred at least twice before the Spangdahlem crash, noted the review board-once in 1986 and again in 1991. But in both instances the problem was caught before takeoff.

In its conclusions, the board stated, "After the Black Hawk shootdown [in 1994], the demand for accountability for this accident may have been pursued with such zeal as to leave fairness and equity behind. The fatal crash was a tragedy waiting to happen, yet the decedent was singled out to pay for an accident that could have been prevented anywhere along the 'chain of events' had any of the numerous individuals involved made different decisions.

"Most disturbing was the way the Air Force leadership allowed this case to be handled. The Air Force's representatives resisted the inclusion of potentially exculpatory evidence from the review and report and managed to have a good deal of it excluded from consideration in the pending trial."

Following the death of Lowry, the Air Force took steps to prevent such a mix-up from happening again. The control rods are now color-coded to ensure proper installation, and the maintenance technical manual warns against the mistake. All flight control systems must now be checked any time the control rods undergo maintenance. " "

Ref: Journal of the Air Force Association, June 1998 Vol. 81, No.5, Peter Grier


Last edited by otterhunter2 : 08-05-2006 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:23 AM
Kevin Horton's Avatar
Kevin Horton Kevin Horton is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 2,352

The following doesn't apply to RVs, but could be applicable to some other aircraft types.

When you do your control check, make sure you check that both ailerons are moving in the correct direction - don't just check one of them and assume that the controls are working in the correct sense.

A coworker had the misfortune to be at the controls of a T-33 that had one aileron control hooked up the wrong way. If the stick was moved one way, both ailerons moved up. Move the stick the other way and both ailerons moved down. They managed to climb away to a safe altitude, but determined that they didn't have adequate control to do a landing in the wind conditions. They went to a clear area, and ejected from the aircraft. My coworker came out OK, but the back seater's ejection seat failed, and he was killed.
Kevin Horton
Moses Lake, WA, USA
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:10 AM
cobra cobra is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 274

FWIW, a local EAA chapter member (in Utah) who has some inside contact mentioned is that the Spectrum's aileron and flap controls were incorrectly reattached following an unrelated modification. Most of the reports out there are inaccurate.
Mike Parker
RV-9a under construction
w/Mazda rotary- Renesis
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