|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : tpa|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 300
|Controlling Facilities||tower : tpa|
|Operator||general aviation : corporate|
|Make Model Name||PA-34-200T Turbo Seneca II|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||climbout : takeoff|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : private
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 62|
flight time total : 2872
flight time type : 1069
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
I performed a normal preflight inspection and start-up, and taxied for takeoff from runway 36R. The aircraft accelerated normally, and rotated with slightly less back pressure than usual. As the aircraft accelerated through approximately 95 KTS, the elevator became very light, almost as though there was no feedback through the control cables. As the aircraft accelerated further, the control wheel began oscillating in and out, increasing in magnitude to 3-4 inches as the airspeed approached normal climb speed (115-120 KTS). The frequency of oscillation was about 1/2-3/4 of a second, and became quite energetic. At that point, the aircraft became uncontrollable in small pitch changes, but remained ctlable in large, general direction pitch changes. By then, the aircraft had climbed to approximately 300 ft AGL. I reduced power and leveled off. As the aircraft decelerated, the control wheel oscillations decreased in magnitude, but not in frequency. I called tpa tower and told the local controller we had a control surface problem, and were making a right turn to enter a right downwind and needed to land immediately. A few seconds later, I attempted to describe the nature of the problem to the local controller so it would be on tape in case the outcome of the adventure was less than successful. But, between trying to fly the airplane, plan the approach and reconfigure for landing, my explanation was less than test-pilot caliber. The local controller cleared us to land on any runway, and informed me he was rolling the equipment. I kept the approach low, slow and close in, and replied that we would (with any luck) land on runway 27. As the aircraft decelerated, the problem progressively went away, until a relatively normal landing was completed. I taxied directly to the maintenance hangar, as I expected to find something really major and expensive wrong with the airplane. As I shut down and climbed out of the airplane, one of the ground crew guys drove behind the airplane in a golf cart. He hollered out something to me about the elevators feeling a little heavy. I looked back at the tail and discovered the red courtesy carpet that they place onthe ramp near the aircraft door draped around the starboard side of the horizontal stabilator about 1 ft or so from the vertical stabilizer. The 'flying carpet' had made the entire, if abbreviated, flight draped over the tail. It was not laying aerodynamically flat around the stabilator, but about 1/3 of the carpet was bunched up in a major fold creating a large hump near the vertical stabilizer. After over 1000 hours together, this airplane and I know each other fairly well, but during the preflight control movement check, I noticed no difference in the feel or freedom of elevator movement. The local controller did a great job. He recognized the seriousness of the problem (probably by the pitch of my voice), took the initiative and made my life as easy as possible. He also rolled the equipment, which could have been most helpful had the flight terminated other than it did. By the way, the crash and rescue guys must sleep in their trucks with the engines running. The whole fiasco couldn't have lasted more than 2 mins, but they arrived at the runway about the same time I did. Great response time. In 25 yrs of flying and being around airplanes, I have never heard of this happening. Neither had anyone at the FBO. The odds of the propeller lifting the carpet off the ground and depositing it evenly over the tail, then the carpet remaining on the tail throughout the flight, landing and taxi in, are outrageous. If the carpet had fallen from the tail at any point before arriving at the maintenance hangar, we probably would never have figured out what caused the problem. As it turned out, there was no damage to the airplane at all, and I departed for ormond beach 20 mins later. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to review past unexplained accidents or incidences of loss of control or control oscillations immediately after takeoff to see if a courtesy carpet could have been involved. Perhaps it would also be worthwhile to suggest FBO's end the practice of providing a courtesy carpet for the departure of propeller driven airplanes. Once the pilot is in the airplane with the door shut, he has no way of knowing what happens to the carpet or where it goes. Most of the time, the thing just lays there on the ramp. However, I have seen them blow across ramps past other aircraft. The red carpet treatment is great upon arrival. It makes everyone feel important, and probably can do no harm. However, on departure, after the FBO has our money, there is little emotional or practical benefit to providing the carpet.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PLT OF SENECA II HAS LOSS OF ACFT CTL DUE TO OSCILLATION OF THE CTL WHEEL AFTER LIFTOFF. AFTER RETURNING TO LAND IT IS DISCOVERED THAT THE RED CARPET LAID OUT FOR DEPARTING ACFT HAD BEEN LIFTED AND LANDED ON THE TAIL SURFACES.
Narrative: I PERFORMED A NORMAL PREFLT INSPECTION AND START-UP, AND TAXIED FOR TKOF FROM RWY 36R. THE ACFT ACCELERATED NORMALLY, AND ROTATED WITH SLIGHTLY LESS BACK PRESSURE THAN USUAL. AS THE ACFT ACCELERATED THROUGH APPROX 95 KTS, THE ELEVATOR BECAME VERY LIGHT, ALMOST AS THOUGH THERE WAS NO FEEDBACK THROUGH THE CTL CABLES. AS THE ACFT ACCELERATED FURTHER, THE CTL WHEEL BEGAN OSCILLATING IN AND OUT, INCREASING IN MAGNITUDE TO 3-4 INCHES AS THE AIRSPD APCHED NORMAL CLB SPD (115-120 KTS). THE FREQUENCY OF OSCILLATION WAS ABOUT 1/2-3/4 OF A SECOND, AND BECAME QUITE ENERGETIC. AT THAT POINT, THE ACFT BECAME UNCTLABLE IN SMALL PITCH CHANGES, BUT REMAINED CTLABLE IN LARGE, GENERAL DIRECTION PITCH CHANGES. BY THEN, THE ACFT HAD CLBED TO APPROX 300 FT AGL. I REDUCED PWR AND LEVELED OFF. AS THE ACFT DECELERATED, THE CTL WHEEL OSCILLATIONS DECREASED IN MAGNITUDE, BUT NOT IN FREQUENCY. I CALLED TPA TWR AND TOLD THE LCL CTLR WE HAD A CTL SURFACE PROB, AND WERE MAKING A R TURN TO ENTER A R DOWNWIND AND NEEDED TO LAND IMMEDIATELY. A FEW SECONDS LATER, I ATTEMPTED TO DESCRIBE THE NATURE OF THE PROB TO THE LCL CTLR SO IT WOULD BE ON TAPE IN CASE THE OUTCOME OF THE ADVENTURE WAS LESS THAN SUCCESSFUL. BUT, BTWN TRYING TO FLY THE AIRPLANE, PLAN THE APCH AND RECONFIGURE FOR LNDG, MY EXPLANATION WAS LESS THAN TEST-PLT CALIBER. THE LCL CTLR CLRED US TO LAND ON ANY RWY, AND INFORMED ME HE WAS ROLLING THE EQUIP. I KEPT THE APCH LOW, SLOW AND CLOSE IN, AND REPLIED THAT WE WOULD (WITH ANY LUCK) LAND ON RWY 27. AS THE ACFT DECELERATED, THE PROB PROGRESSIVELY WENT AWAY, UNTIL A RELATIVELY NORMAL LNDG WAS COMPLETED. I TAXIED DIRECTLY TO THE MAINT HANGAR, AS I EXPECTED TO FIND SOMETHING REALLY MAJOR AND EXPENSIVE WRONG WITH THE AIRPLANE. AS I SHUT DOWN AND CLBED OUT OF THE AIRPLANE, ONE OF THE GND CREW GUYS DROVE BEHIND THE AIRPLANE IN A GOLF CART. HE HOLLERED OUT SOMETHING TO ME ABOUT THE ELEVATORS FEELING A LITTLE HVY. I LOOKED BACK AT THE TAIL AND DISCOVERED THE RED COURTESY CARPET THAT THEY PLACE ONTHE RAMP NEAR THE ACFT DOOR DRAPED AROUND THE STARBOARD SIDE OF THE HORIZ STABILATOR ABOUT 1 FT OR SO FROM THE VERT STABILIZER. THE 'FLYING CARPET' HAD MADE THE ENTIRE, IF ABBREVIATED, FLT DRAPED OVER THE TAIL. IT WAS NOT LAYING AERODYNAMICALLY FLAT AROUND THE STABILATOR, BUT ABOUT 1/3 OF THE CARPET WAS BUNCHED UP IN A MAJOR FOLD CREATING A LARGE HUMP NEAR THE VERT STABILIZER. AFTER OVER 1000 HRS TOGETHER, THIS AIRPLANE AND I KNOW EACH OTHER FAIRLY WELL, BUT DURING THE PREFLT CTL MOVEMENT CHK, I NOTICED NO DIFFERENCE IN THE FEEL OR FREEDOM OF ELEVATOR MOVEMENT. THE LCL CTLR DID A GREAT JOB. HE RECOGNIZED THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE PROB (PROBABLY BY THE PITCH OF MY VOICE), TOOK THE INITIATIVE AND MADE MY LIFE AS EASY AS POSSIBLE. HE ALSO ROLLED THE EQUIP, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN MOST HELPFUL HAD THE FLT TERMINATED OTHER THAN IT DID. BY THE WAY, THE CRASH AND RESCUE GUYS MUST SLEEP IN THEIR TRUCKS WITH THE ENGS RUNNING. THE WHOLE FIASCO COULDN'T HAVE LASTED MORE THAN 2 MINS, BUT THEY ARRIVED AT THE RWY ABOUT THE SAME TIME I DID. GREAT RESPONSE TIME. IN 25 YRS OF FLYING AND BEING AROUND AIRPLANES, I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS HAPPENING. NEITHER HAD ANYONE AT THE FBO. THE ODDS OF THE PROP LIFTING THE CARPET OFF THE GND AND DEPOSITING IT EVENLY OVER THE TAIL, THEN THE CARPET REMAINING ON THE TAIL THROUGHOUT THE FLT, LNDG AND TAXI IN, ARE OUTRAGEOUS. IF THE CARPET HAD FALLEN FROM THE TAIL AT ANY POINT BEFORE ARRIVING AT THE MAINT HANGAR, WE PROBABLY WOULD NEVER HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT CAUSED THE PROB. AS IT TURNED OUT, THERE WAS NO DAMAGE TO THE AIRPLANE AT ALL, AND I DEPARTED FOR ORMOND BEACH 20 MINS LATER. PERHAPS IT WOULD BE WORTHWHILE TO REVIEW PAST UNEXPLAINED ACCIDENTS OR INCIDENCES OF LOSS OF CTL OR CTL OSCILLATIONS IMMEDIATELY AFTER TKOF TO SEE IF A COURTESY CARPET COULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED. PERHAPS IT WOULD ALSO BE WORTHWHILE TO SUGGEST FBO'S END THE PRACTICE OF PROVIDING A COURTESY CARPET FOR THE DEP OF PROP DRIVEN AIRPLANES. ONCE THE PLT IS IN THE AIRPLANE WITH THE DOOR SHUT, HE HAS NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CARPET OR WHERE IT GOES. MOST OF THE TIME, THE THING JUST LAYS THERE ON THE RAMP. HOWEVER, I HAVE SEEN THEM BLOW ACROSS RAMPS PAST OTHER ACFT. THE RED CARPET TREATMENT IS GREAT UPON ARR. IT MAKES EVERYONE FEEL IMPORTANT, AND PROBABLY CAN DO NO HARM. HOWEVER, ON DEP, AFTER THE FBO HAS OUR MONEY, THERE IS LITTLE EMOTIONAL OR PRACTICAL BENEFIT TO PROVIDING THE CARPET.
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.