Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When Blades Creep

What happened to the Caravan pictured below?  Turbine Blade Creep - the movement of a turbine blade from its normal alignment, causing it to strike the casing.  Caused by stress from high temperatures and high centrifugal forces.

When Blades Creep!  It sounds like the title of some horror movie, doesn't it?  Well, if you don't know what it is... it just might become the title of your very own horrific day.  Read on and study more.

On June 1st, 2008 Grand Caravan N102VE operated by Skydive Greensburg in Indiana experienced a total loss of engine power.  On its second load of the day, it was climbing through 7,000 feet MSL with 14 skydivers on board when there was a CT (compressor  turbine) failure caused by blade creep.  The pilot reported hearing a loud explosion followed by a metal grinding noise coming from the engine.  The aircraft began to vibrate and then smoke filled the cabin when the pilot began emergency shutdown procedures.

He leveled off at 5,000 feet so that the skydivers could exit, which they all did.  He attempted a forced landing at the airport, however he was too high and fast (a common problem during such situations) and landed in an adjacent cornfield upside down, after the left wing and propeller struck the ground first.  Luckily the pilot and all skydivers survived.

The engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney Canada had issued Service Information Letters (SILs) recommending borescope inspections of the CT blades to look for blade creep and fatigue cracks.  However, the owner of this aircraft said that he was unaware of the SILs and did not perform the inspections.

We as pilots can all learn from this accident.  Do not ever assume that the owner of the airplane that you're flying is in compliance with all of the required Airworthiness Directives AND recommended Service Information Letters.  I know a lot of you had never even heard of a SIL.  Stay sharp.... fly safe!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shark spotted at Skydive the Beach!

Skydive the Beach in Wollongong Australia and their Caravan with the cool paint job takes skydivers to the highest altitudes in all of Australia.  In case you're wondering that's 15,000 feet high!  This company that started out with just two guys and a Cessna 206, now has 10 drop zones all over Australia with more openings planned! 

If you're ever out near their drop zones (especially if you've never gone skydiving) do yourself a favor and be sure to get in the airplane, enjoy the ride up and then.... SHUT UP AND JUMP!

Photo credit Phillip Higgins

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Caravan vandalized at Skydive Byron Bay Australia

I don't know about you, but this is the very first airplane that I have ever seen that has been vandalized with spray paint. This incident happened at Tyagarah airport in Byron Bay NSW Australia to a C208 Caravan operated by Skydive Byron Bay.  

Apparently some airport neighbors that don't like the supposed "noise" armed their 9 year old kid with some spray paint and a knife.  I say a knife because the fuel tanks were found to have been punctured as well.  I'm hoping that the local police find the kids and their parents that are responsible for this disgusting act and throw them straight in jail and order them to pay back what it cost to fix it.  Which will be well into the tens of thousands of dollars, which for an uneducated low life family could take a decade or more to pay back.  

I am also hoping that the Caravan owner has since installed cameras and a lot of lighting on and around the ramp and tie down area. Ideally the owner would like the airplane hangared, but that would be a much greater expense.