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Anatomy of a Groundloop


Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2011
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I managed to ground run my S1 this afternoon for the first time since I gorundlooped it on 30th Jan this year.

It's done wonders for healing my (wounded) pride .... to the extent that I thought I'd share my experience with the other enthusiasts on here in the hope that it just may one day help you avoid a similar problem.

Here's a fairly detailled written description, then there's a link to a video of the event. I'd suggest that you read and then watch if you have the time.

Me. 59, 1900hrs T/T, 500+ hrs on Pitts of various models, (currently Intermediate level) aerobatic competitor for the last 10 years.
Aircraft. S1-S, Bungee gear, 180hp / Fixed, 50L fuel onboard. No known faults.
Airfield. 800m Tarmac runway, simple approaches, A/G radio only.
Weather. Can be seen in the video, Bright blue skies

- I'd launched intending to fly an intermediate free known practice 5m from base. This went well, I finished, did a few checks and made for home
- En Route I heard 3 freinds on the radio launching from another local grass strip
- Asked "where are you off to", Replied "coffee at the accident airfield (30m away). I asked if they minded if I came along ?. Formed up in Echlon with the lead aircraft
- I was carrying cameras, so spent the transit in close formation with the lead (Microlight) aircraft filming
- On arrival at destination I did not have the A/G radio frequency, Lead aircraft called in 1st making me No 2 in the circuit
- A/G gave runway and quoted wind as "Calm"
- Flew around the circuit totally locked onto No 1 (an 80mph Aircraft) trying not to close or loose sight
- Lead called final and landed ...... Takes a long time to vacate 800m on the ground, I remained focussed on ensuring he's cleared before I landed.
- Landed at correct speed onto mains, but developed a slight tailwheel bounce. I can usually handle this no problem so pressed on trying to dampen (badly) with elevator
- Aircraft settled onto 3 @ circa 30 mph, I mentally thought "home dry"
- Circa 25mph Aircraft veered left. Immediate full Right Rudder and Right brake .... but there was no stopping it
- Right wingtip touched, aircraft "hopped" on R/H main and wingtip, came to halt 90 degrees off heading
- The video aound goes quiet at this stage .... I'll leave you to guess why !.

OK - Here's the video. Damage shows at the end.

Analysis ..... Where did it all go wrong ?! (In my opinion of course)

- Primary cause A Quartering Tail wind of roughly 10mph in my 8 o clock
- "Holes in the cheese"
I'd not planned my trip - An airborne diversion.
I'd gotten distracted en route
I'd gotten distracted in the circuit
I'd believed the A/G operator
I'd not checked the windsock
The slightly bumpy initial rollout fully occupied me until the aircraft settled

It's all rather simple in retrospect, At the point that the aircraft settled onto "3" I was still unaware of what I was dealing with. The consequence is a $20k insurance claim and (to date) 9 weeks out of action. Trust me when I say that the wounded pride hurts a lot more !

I think I've made 1500+ landings in this S1, lots of them onto 400m muddy grass with poor approaches - I'd never missed. As the saying goes, I've now joined the "ones that have".

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