I have some glad news and some sad news. I’ll start with the sad news first and tell you I reviewed the recent NTSB reports for Oct. and Nov. 2016 where we lost 2 friends and 2 aircraft in 2 separate accidents 10 days apart both in New Jersey. You can look up the full Preliminary reports on ntsb.gov. Click on Aviation Data Base, Monthly list and the months.
The accident on 11/10/2016 is puzzling to me. There are numerous pictures on the internet with one showing the engine torn completely from the firewall and laying 12 feet from the rest of the airframe. That’s a hell of an impact. We will probably never know why the throttle was at full power on startup and taxi. Prop all the way in yes, mixture all the way in yes, throttle all the way in NO! Perhaps some remedial training could have prevented this unfortunate accident.
The accident on 11/19/2016 sounds like a very benign flight home until you read the Meteorological information. Lowest Cloud Condition, Clear. Lowest Ceiling, None.
Wind 5 knots at 150 degrees. Visibility 3 miles in mist. Temperature/Dew Point spread 12 degrees C / 12 degrees C. You may call this mist on the Right Coast but on the Left Coast we call it FOG. The Tom River, NJ airport has an AWOS on 119.875 and a telephone number (732) 797-2542 to the AWOS. There are numerous other sources for weather information including DUATS or 1 800 WXBRIEF.or ForeFlight or the gamit of other online sources. It makes me wonder what went into the preflight planning.
The accident on 10/05/2016 in Palmer, AK was not fatal, expensive yes but not fatal. As most of you know in a previous issue we ran an old application for gear up insurance that Travers Insurance used to write for our Navions. But that is no longer available. When I worked for the railroad we could buy a similar insurance that we called “bonehead insurance”. It would kick in when we did something stupid and the company would “fire” us for maybe 7 days we could retain our pay if we had bonehead insurance.
The NTSB report on this accident has an interesting couple of paragraphs that maybe we should be paying more attention too. The paragraph reads:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safely Inspector assigned to the accident, by coincidence, was already at the accident airport for an unrelated vent. The inspector observed the landing gear retracted into the wheel wells and observed the landing gear handle in the up position. He further reported that the pilot was using a “noise canceling headset.” According to the inspector, the landing gear warning horn was not designed to sound through the headset/intercom system, but would be audible in the cockpit. He reported that during the airplane recovery process the landing gear handle was moved to the down position and the landing gear extended and locked normally.”
Back when the Navion was designed the gear warning horn was in the left gill behind the left exhaust stack and under the floorboard. In most of the Navions I have flown the gear horn has been moved to under the panel.
In the ANS we have some very knowledgeable people and I am wondering it there may be interest in coming up with perhaps a visual indication in conjunction with the gear horn that could be easily installed as a safety enhancing devise. Give this some thought and send me your suggestions to email@example.com.
I promised some glad news and that is we had the opportunity to secure a large collection of Navion parts and 2 aircraft from the estate of long-time ANS member Ken Forrester, Sr. Ken Jr. made us a very fair offer and we helped him settle his dad’s estate with a nice tax deduction. It was a win-win all the way around.
If my memory serves me correctly Ken Sr. was an original Navion Dealer in Teterboro, NJ in the late 1940s. We owe a big debt of gratitude to Rusty Herrington for securing the parts and he is in the process of inventorying everything as this goes to print. We also acquired 2 derelict aircraft that are being dismantled properly and moved. One is an A model that was flown into Teterboro in the 1970’s and is intact. The other is a B model that is mostly intact but missing the prop, gear reduction case and nose bowl. Both planes are still sitting on their gear. Another ANS member and good friend, Dean Ott, is handling the moving of the aircraft.
May you always have blue skies & tail winds,