|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : sna|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 300|
agl bound upper : 300
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : ztl|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Skylark 175|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 50|
flight time total : 2700
flight time type : 700
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : regained aircraft control|
none taken : unable
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I was flying a modified C175, and towing a very heavy v- board, when circumstances forced me to drop the v-board and recover from a very badly stalled condition near the huntington beach pier. I had previously pulled this v- board with the same airplane for many hours without incident. Aug/xa/97 was no different from any of my previous flts, except that it was a much hotter day, causing a higher than normal oil temperature reading. As a result, I was flying at 300 ft (instead of the normal 500 ft), to take advantage of the cooler air down low, thereby keeping the oil temperature down. The v-board trails 400 ft behind the plane and drops further below the aircraft in a turn (the amount of drop depending on the steepness of the turn), and because I was flying lower than normal, I wanted to make sure that it was safe to turn without having the v-board go into the water. To determine if I could turn safely at 300 ft, I made 2 fairly steep left turns at that altitude, once up at malibu, turning from north to south, and once down at san clemente, turning from south to north. Neither resulted in the v-board coming close to the water, (and they were both well clear of people and the shoreline). So I concluded that it was safe to make shallower right turns which I couldn't see as well. After completing these tests I was headed nwbound along the shoreline, well offshore and clear of people and objects. About 1/2 mi further north, I made a shallow right turn to begin my sbound transition. When I began the turn, my altimeter showed that I was at 300 ft and therefore would have no problem with the v-board hitting the water, according to my earlier tests. The turn proceeded normally, and as I rolled out parallel to the beach sebound, the plane pitched up somewhat, which is normal, as it always does on rolling out of a turn, because on rollout the v-board is being rapidly pulled up to its normal trailing position slightly below the plane, so I simply pushed the nose down and expected a recovery. What happened next was very fast. First the nose pitched up a second time, this time quite violently, and the plane seemed to be pulled from the sky. I knew immediately that I had hooked something - - probably the water, and quickly released the v-board, while pushing the nose down. However, after releasing it, and even though I was continually pushing the nose down, the plane was still badly stalled and uncontrollable, and immediately after the release, it pitched over and turned toward the surf line on its own. When I regained control, after releasing the v-board, the nose of the plane was pointed down at the surf line at about a 60 degree angle and the plane was just regaining flying speed. However, at that low airspeed, the elevator control was not responding fast enough to pull the nose above the horizon before I hit something, so I added full power, which finally gave me the added air flow over the control surfaces enabling the nose to be pulled level before hitting, at which point I climbed to a safe altitude and turned back away from the beach. I did not have full control of the plane from the time of the second pitch-up and stall, until after I was already pointed nose down at the beach, and any attempt to turn away at the point, or until after the nose was level, would have been fatal. So after the stall, buzzing the beach was both unintentional, and unavoidable. While the cause of the v-board going into the water and causing the stall cannot be determined until we've had a chance to examine the remains that were pulled from the ocean, I think the strain of the rollout caused part of the harness to break and drop into the water, pulling the rest in after it and causing me to stall. However, from here on out we will only make left turns while pulling the v-board, so that we can observe what is happening during the turn.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: BANNER TOW PLT AT LOW ALT DUE TO HOT DAY HAS BANNER STRIKE THE WATER IN A TURN. THE BANNER IS RELEASED BUT ACFT IS UNCTLABLE AND STALLS. PLT REGAINS CTL HEADED TOWARD THE BEACH.
Narrative: I WAS FLYING A MODIFIED C175, AND TOWING A VERY HVY V- BOARD, WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES FORCED ME TO DROP THE V-BOARD AND RECOVER FROM A VERY BADLY STALLED CONDITION NEAR THE HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER. I HAD PREVIOUSLY PULLED THIS V- BOARD WITH THE SAME AIRPLANE FOR MANY HRS WITHOUT INCIDENT. AUG/XA/97 WAS NO DIFFERENT FROM ANY OF MY PREVIOUS FLTS, EXCEPT THAT IT WAS A MUCH HOTTER DAY, CAUSING A HIGHER THAN NORMAL OIL TEMP READING. AS A RESULT, I WAS FLYING AT 300 FT (INSTEAD OF THE NORMAL 500 FT), TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE COOLER AIR DOWN LOW, THEREBY KEEPING THE OIL TEMP DOWN. THE V-BOARD TRAILS 400 FT BEHIND THE PLANE AND DROPS FURTHER BELOW THE ACFT IN A TURN (THE AMOUNT OF DROP DEPENDING ON THE STEEPNESS OF THE TURN), AND BECAUSE I WAS FLYING LOWER THAN NORMAL, I WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS SAFE TO TURN WITHOUT HAVING THE V-BOARD GO INTO THE WATER. TO DETERMINE IF I COULD TURN SAFELY AT 300 FT, I MADE 2 FAIRLY STEEP L TURNS AT THAT ALT, ONCE UP AT MALIBU, TURNING FROM N TO S, AND ONCE DOWN AT SAN CLEMENTE, TURNING FROM S TO N. NEITHER RESULTED IN THE V-BOARD COMING CLOSE TO THE WATER, (AND THEY WERE BOTH WELL CLR OF PEOPLE AND THE SHORELINE). SO I CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS SAFE TO MAKE SHALLOWER R TURNS WHICH I COULDN'T SEE AS WELL. AFTER COMPLETING THESE TESTS I WAS HEADED NWBOUND ALONG THE SHORELINE, WELL OFFSHORE AND CLR OF PEOPLE AND OBJECTS. ABOUT 1/2 MI FURTHER N, I MADE A SHALLOW R TURN TO BEGIN MY SBOUND TRANSITION. WHEN I BEGAN THE TURN, MY ALTIMETER SHOWED THAT I WAS AT 300 FT AND THEREFORE WOULD HAVE NO PROB WITH THE V-BOARD HITTING THE WATER, ACCORDING TO MY EARLIER TESTS. THE TURN PROCEEDED NORMALLY, AND AS I ROLLED OUT PARALLEL TO THE BEACH SEBOUND, THE PLANE PITCHED UP SOMEWHAT, WHICH IS NORMAL, AS IT ALWAYS DOES ON ROLLING OUT OF A TURN, BECAUSE ON ROLLOUT THE V-BOARD IS BEING RAPIDLY PULLED UP TO ITS NORMAL TRAILING POS SLIGHTLY BELOW THE PLANE, SO I SIMPLY PUSHED THE NOSE DOWN AND EXPECTED A RECOVERY. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WAS VERY FAST. FIRST THE NOSE PITCHED UP A SECOND TIME, THIS TIME QUITE VIOLENTLY, AND THE PLANE SEEMED TO BE PULLED FROM THE SKY. I KNEW IMMEDIATELY THAT I HAD HOOKED SOMETHING - - PROBABLY THE WATER, AND QUICKLY RELEASED THE V-BOARD, WHILE PUSHING THE NOSE DOWN. HOWEVER, AFTER RELEASING IT, AND EVEN THOUGH I WAS CONTINUALLY PUSHING THE NOSE DOWN, THE PLANE WAS STILL BADLY STALLED AND UNCTLABLE, AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RELEASE, IT PITCHED OVER AND TURNED TOWARD THE SURF LINE ON ITS OWN. WHEN I REGAINED CTL, AFTER RELEASING THE V-BOARD, THE NOSE OF THE PLANE WAS POINTED DOWN AT THE SURF LINE AT ABOUT A 60 DEG ANGLE AND THE PLANE WAS JUST REGAINING FLYING SPD. HOWEVER, AT THAT LOW AIRSPD, THE ELEVATOR CTL WAS NOT RESPONDING FAST ENOUGH TO PULL THE NOSE ABOVE THE HORIZON BEFORE I HIT SOMETHING, SO I ADDED FULL PWR, WHICH FINALLY GAVE ME THE ADDED AIR FLOW OVER THE CTL SURFACES ENABLING THE NOSE TO BE PULLED LEVEL BEFORE HITTING, AT WHICH POINT I CLBED TO A SAFE ALT AND TURNED BACK AWAY FROM THE BEACH. I DID NOT HAVE FULL CTL OF THE PLANE FROM THE TIME OF THE SECOND PITCH-UP AND STALL, UNTIL AFTER I WAS ALREADY POINTED NOSE DOWN AT THE BEACH, AND ANY ATTEMPT TO TURN AWAY AT THE POINT, OR UNTIL AFTER THE NOSE WAS LEVEL, WOULD HAVE BEEN FATAL. SO AFTER THE STALL, BUZZING THE BEACH WAS BOTH UNINTENTIONAL, AND UNAVOIDABLE. WHILE THE CAUSE OF THE V-BOARD GOING INTO THE WATER AND CAUSING THE STALL CANNOT BE DETERMINED UNTIL WE'VE HAD A CHANCE TO EXAMINE THE REMAINS THAT WERE PULLED FROM THE OCEAN, I THINK THE STRAIN OF THE ROLLOUT CAUSED PART OF THE HARNESS TO BREAK AND DROP INTO THE WATER, PULLING THE REST IN AFTER IT AND CAUSING ME TO STALL. HOWEVER, FROM HERE ON OUT WE WILL ONLY MAKE L TURNS WHILE PULLING THE V-BOARD, SO THAT WE CAN OBSERVE WHAT IS HAPPENING DURING THE TURN.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.