Naval Aviation Mishap caught on tape

Military aircraft accidents/mishaps.
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hawaiidispenser

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Unread post10 Dec 2004, 10:14

I came across the following video which shows an F-14 involved in a mishap at low altitude and near the speed of sound. Can anybody explain what is going on and what caused the mishap? Anybody heard of this incident?

Link (WARNING: There could be some visible XXX material at this site as well):

http://www.stilemedia.com/?v=peen3.wmv& ... 76f2ee06f1
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Unread post10 Dec 2004, 19:09

Is this the one where the F-14 disappears in a fireball after a high-speed flyby of a Navy ship? If so I read that they had a catastrophic engine failure and, remarkably, both crew punched out and survived.
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Unread post10 Dec 2004, 22:04

Yep...same video. If you don't believe in miracles, watch this. From near-supersonic to maybe 200 knots in less than a half second means decel rates had to be uber wicked. "Wait one while I put my eyeballs back in their orbits". The fact they got out at all is testament to the ejection seat troops. Right kmceject? :D

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Last edited by LinkF16SimDude on 13 Dec 2004, 01:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post10 Dec 2004, 22:50

LinkF-16SimDude, From that video you can not make a guess as to the deceleration that was experienced. It is not clear the speed the aircraft was doing at the time of the explosion, nor is it clear when exactly they ejected. Aircraft have to put out a LOT of thrust to go at those speeds, and wind resistance against a dirty bird like a Tomcat (compared with something more cleanly designed like the F/A-22) will cause a very rapid decelleration when the thrust gets rusty. If I remember what I read about this mishap long ago the reason for the engine failure was attributed to something involved in them throttling down after the pass. Once the engine(s) let go the aircraft would have immediately begun decelerating to some degree. The crew then had to identify the issues and make the determination to eject (the ejection decision- in this case should be pretty easy- rear view mirrors showing smoke and flame = EJECT NOW) This would take typically at least 0.4 seconds to make and act upon (grab handles and pull). Add another 0.4 seconds for canopy jettison and you are up to nearly 1 second so far.

The video is not clear as to when ejection occurred. I see the engine explosion and almost immediately a light colored object separating from the debris field, but I think that is a fragment of the aircraft or engine, and not the ejection. None of the flashes or separate blobs in the video is clearly identifiable as the ejection or parachutes.

Assuming they were straight and level at 600 KEAS (near supersonic) at initiation of ejection on GRU-7A ejection seats they would have been exposed to something like 6,000lbs of force on their frontal area (about 1500 PSF over 4-5sqft of frontal area.) While this is occurring the drogue chute would be deployed (about 0.75 seconds after seat movement and full open probably something like 1.25 seconds after seat motion.) The drogue opening shock is probably the greatest G load on the crew at this point, and is designed to have a peak of less than about -15Gx (eyeballs out.) Deceleration under drogue would continue with the seat swinging in positive pitch around the attach point for the drogue on the top of the main beam assembly behind the headrest. The deceleration would then be on a relatively stable decline from the peak forces which are now in the -Z direction for about another 1.0 second until the Time Release Mechanism/Unit (TRM/TRU) releases 2.25 seconds after seat movement. This would release the man from the seat mechanically and would release the drogue to allow it to withdraw the main recovery parachute via a lanyard as well. The G forces on the man would drop significantly as he/she would be in a horizontal 'free fall' for a fraction of a second as the main chute is withdrawn and lines stretched. Then the skirt would start to catch air and wham-bang there is the main opening shock. Tests have proved on these kinds of seats, with a typical pilot weight you would have an opening shock of less than 20Gz which is the prescribed limit for this form of G forces.

In other words, the crew will be smacked in the chest, arms, legs and face pretty hard, probably ripping the helmet and mask off. Loose web gear, and even some secure gear, would be ripped from him/her. They would experience some chest compression that might at worst crack a rib or so, have arms flail back behind the seat causing dislocations or broken bones from the wind blast, have bruised face and other portions of the anatomy from the wind blast, but the G forces should be easily within human tolerances. Head and neck injuries from the wind blast are also fairly possible.

All ejections are violent events (people often ask if I'd like to try one and I say NO!) but due to the designers, maintainers, life support personell, etc. they are usually quite survivable. The ACES II does not have leg restraint systems on most versions (this may change...) so there are more injuries possible. Even death is not totally improbable in a near supersonic ejection, but they are making it safer year by year. Often after I describe the kinds of injuries you might sustain during a near supersonic/supersonic ejection people say 'gee maybe I'd rather stick with the aircraft'. That isn't always a good idea. As anyone who has studied mishaps can tell you, a stable aircraft can become very unstable in a flash if there are serious enough problems. Look at how fast this Tomcat begins to tumble. In a tumbling aircraft or spacecraft (Columbia) the crew can quickly become unconcious due to either G forces, or impact from loose gear. Often crew report hitting their helmets on the canopies or the canopies of fatals show the impact mark. In most cases it is best to try to slow down a striken jet, but don't take chances with the stability.

Remember the scene in Top Gun with the flat spin? The crew were pinned forward in their seats by the G forces of the spin and they had a hard time reaching the handles. Imagine that much force, but switching directions unpredictably... They ejected by having Goose pull the face curtain and he got killed by impact with the canopy. Due to lanyard systems on the canopies that prevent the seats from firing until the canopy is clear that is unlikely in real life, but the scene does show some reality...

Kevin
The Ejection Site
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Unread post11 Dec 2004, 02:14

Good post, Kevin.
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TC

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Unread post11 Dec 2004, 02:46

If you're still unconvinced about miracles after seeing that footage :shock: read up on a man by the name of Jon Counsell. He was a 1LT at the time, and is now a Major. On his very first solo in the F-15, he G-LOCed and regained consiousness, only to his horror finding himself hurtling towards the Gulf of Mexico, going over Mach 1. He was able to get out of the jet, albeit heavily injured. Quick thinking, and his ACES II seat saved his life. He recovered and was able to continue flying Eagles.

Here's an old article from the Panama City, FL newspaper about Maj. Counsell (who was a Captain at the time of the article): http://www.newsherald.com/local/pl122197.htm

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Unread post11 Dec 2004, 02:53

TC, That is a good article. It mentions Brian Udell as the first USAF pilot to punch supersonic. His story is on my web site (click on www button below- select Aircrew Stories from the left frame...) In Udell's story from Airman Magazine you can see a photo of his ACES II that was recovered from the Atlantic off the Virginia coast. Note on it how his thigh snapped the aluminum firing handle that acts as a thigh guard to prevent the spreading of legs. The calfs bent the lower triangular wedges out too. All this and you are on the ACES II for only about 1.2 seconds in the airflow....

Kevin
The Ejection Site
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Unread post11 Dec 2004, 05:39

Thank you all for the info! I was a little shaken after watching the video, I guess because the manuever the F-14 was doing could be seen at many airshows and therefore I thought it would be safe (and that our aircraft are higher quality that those European jet crashes we seem to see ALL the time). I guess I feel a little better knowing some of the reason behind the crash, but I still want to know more.

Anybody know where the article is, or perhaps would know a few search terms I could use to Google it such as that name of the carrier involved or the pilots names or the year?

Also, does anyone know why throttling back would cause an "engine failure"? When I first watched the video, I assumed that the crash was due to the F-14 banking at TOO HIGH a speed (near supersonic) and it just fell apart.

One last thing: When you're traveling at Mach 1.5 and higher, are you pretty much just flying in a straight, level fight or can you be banking and turning and rolling and all that?

Thanks!
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Unread post11 Dec 2004, 06:13

Wow! Those were some bad, bad girls on that link up there! I never did get to see the Tomcat mishap, but I think I know what bored sorority chicks do now! However, I digress. Actually, throttle movements put more stress on the engines than anything else. We've had cases of various jet engines, most noteably the GE J79 (F-104 & F-4) and the Pratt & Whitney F100 (F-15 and 16) of being run for several hundred hours consecutively at full mil power without being shut down. When finally shut down, and inspected, these engines had less wear on them than an engine taken down from one of the jets for its regular periodic inspection. Think of it as driving your car. When you drive in stop and go traffic, you are putting more wear on your car, than if you had put your car on the interstate and drove for several hours non-stop.

As far as flying supersonic goes...When you're flying above Mach 1, you are usually flying straight and level, although the F-15, 16, and 22 have the ability to go supersonic in a climb or a dive. But little, if any lateral manuevering (read that, making turns) is done at Mach speed.

Also, another thing to think about is that it isn't necessarily what speed you make your turn at that stresses the airframe, as much as it is how many Gs you put on the aircraft. For example, if I were suicidal, I could take up a Cessna 172, and while flying along at say, 100 kts, I could put the plane into a turn that could rip the wings off. It's a very slow speed if you think about it, but a Cessna 172 cannot handle the stress of a 7+ G turn very well :wink: I hope this was helpful, but I don't know what unit that Tomcat came from. Thanks to all the stupid @$$ porn, I couldn't see it! :evil:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!
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Unread post13 Dec 2004, 00:41

:evil: Well.....so much for the hyperlink in post #3. Instead of takin' ya right to the clip it gets redirected to yet more naughty-ness. Tried a cut-n-paste of the link address into Win Media Player and the server's not responding.
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Unread post13 Dec 2004, 07:23

Damnit Elvis, i.e. Memphis Dude, press your page down key a lot... Or just send me a PM and I'll ship the video to you.
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