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Spectacular rescue video of single engine airplane's pilot 250 miles east of Maui

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Spectacular rescue video of single engine airplane's pilot 250 miles east of Maui

Old 01-26-15, 01:53 PM
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Spectacular rescue video of single engine airplane's pilot 250 miles east of Maui

This video was shot from a Coast Guard helicopter of a Cirrus SR-22 single engine airplane with an airframe parachute ditching in the Pacific after running out of fuel. The pilot was ferrying the airplane on the first leg of his flight from California to Australia. It happened this morning, January 26, 2015.

Video: Cirrus SR22 Chute Deployment in Pacific
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Old 01-26-15, 03:17 PM
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Man, that thing sank fast.

Also... 14 hours from Tracy... yikes. The headwinds must have been worse than forecast or something, people don't normally do ferry flights willy-nilly.
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Old 01-26-15, 03:42 PM
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Typically, the planning for a long overwater ferry flight, especially in a single engine airplane, is exhaustive. They know the hourly fuel consumption at different altitudes, the cruise speed at different altitudes and power settings, and the forecast winds aloft at different altitudes. They load enough fuel for a worst case scenario plus a hefty reserve.

N7YT was a brand new airplane with the airworthiness certificate issued on 01/15/2015, a little over a week ago. I'm just guessing, but I think it's possible the engine had higher than the POH 'book' fuel consumption either because it wasn't properly adjusted or the pilot was running the mixture too rich. I'm sure there'll be an NTSB investigation. I wonder if they'll be able to recover the airplane.
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Old 01-26-15, 03:49 PM
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Wow. I heard this on the news last night and wondered what a plane like that was doing there. I guess it proves the airframe parachute concept, although it looks to me like the 'chute was dragging the plane after splashdown. If it could have been jettisoned immediately the plane might have floated longer.
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Old 01-26-15, 03:52 PM
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I was wondering if there was some floatation capability along with the chute...allowing the plane to be suspended below, awaiting recovery. Or is the chute strictly to help the pilot and passengers survive the landing and ditch?
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Old 01-26-15, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
I was wondering if there was some floatation capability along with the chute...allowing the plane to be suspended below, awaiting recovery. Or is the chute strictly to help the pilot and passengers survive the landing and ditch?
This.

The actual name of the parachute is "Ballistic Recovery System", or BRS. In an emergency like running out of fuel or having a mid-air collision, the pilot pulls a handle and an explosive charge deploys the parachute. The system has save a bunch of lives.
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Old 01-26-15, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
I was wondering if there was some floatation capability along with the chute...allowing the plane to be suspended below, awaiting recovery. Or is the chute strictly to help the pilot and passengers survive the landing and ditch?
Cirruses have the chutes mostly for cases of engine failure and/or spin recovery, I believe... mostly over land. The article with the video said there have been 51 parachute applications that have saved 104 lives.
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Old 01-26-15, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
Cirruses have the chutes mostly for cases of engine failure and/or spin recovery, I believe... mostly over land. The article with the video said there have been 51 parachute applications that have saved 104 lives.
You're in Chapel Hill?
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Old 01-26-15, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
Typically, the planning for a long overwater ferry flight, especially in a single engine airplane, is exhaustive. They know the hourly fuel consumption at different altitudes, the cruise speed at different altitudes and power settings, and the forecast winds aloft at different altitudes. They load enough fuel for a worst case scenario plus a hefty reserve.

N7YT was a brand new airplane with the airworthiness certificate issued on 01/15/2015, a little over a week ago. I'm just guessing, but I think it's possible the engine had higher than the POH 'book' fuel consumption either because it wasn't properly adjusted or the pilot was running the mixture too rich. I'm sure there'll be an NTSB investigation. I wonder if they'll be able to recover the airplane.
It's like the case of that ag airplane pilot who got lost somewhere in the southern hemisphere and got nav help from a Air New Zealand DC-10 that just happened to be within radio distance. Here it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_188_Pacific_rescue

In spite of all of the planning, stuff happens.
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Old 01-26-15, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
You're in Chapel Hill?
My house is a couple of miles off the Horace Williams Airport threshhold in Carrboro, technically. We moved from the Bay Area a couple of years ago.
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Old 01-26-15, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for the link about the Cessna Ag plane. I was thinking, "that story would make a great movie."
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Old 01-27-15, 10:03 AM
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For people there is training to release the chute after you hit the water to avoid being dragged. Looks like this would have been a good scenario for a similar ability on a small aircraft.
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Old 01-27-15, 12:20 PM
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From interviews with the pilot, it sounds like there might have been a problem transferring fuel from the ferry tank to the airplane's wing tanks. He says he had more than enough fuel to get to Maui, but wasn't able to get the fuel from the ferry tank to the engine. Maybe a stuck valve in the fuel line from the ferry tank?

The ferry tank was installed in Tracy, CA, shortly before his departure for Maui.
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Old 01-27-15, 12:56 PM
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wordbiker was the rescuer. guy doesn't watch football.
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Old 01-27-15, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
From interviews with the pilot, it sounds like there might have been a problem transferring fuel from the ferry tank to the airplane's wing tanks. He says he had more than enough fuel to get to Maui, but wasn't able to get the fuel from the ferry tank to the engine. Maybe a stuck valve in the fuel line from the ferry tank?

The ferry tank was installed in Tracy, CA, shortly before his departure for Maui.
I think I've heard about such problems with ferry tanks before. Having been on a GA aircraft that started having trouble I think the BRS is a great idea.
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Old 01-27-15, 03:04 PM
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Plus, it looks like he got picked up by a cruise ship... nice.
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Old 01-27-15, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
Plus, it looks like he got picked up by a cruise ship... nice.
Yeah! Did they pick up his liferaft? You'd think they'd want to in order to keep someone else looking for the person that was in it later.
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