Rob Holland emergency landing

Discussion in 'Aerobatics Talk' started by Dennis Flamini, Mar 30, 2018.

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  1. Mar 30, 2018 #1

    Dennis Flamini

    Dennis Flamini

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    Rob Holland Okay Following Engine Failure and Crash Landing

    March 28, 2018

    Aerobatic superstar Rob Holland is reportedly okay following a crash landing Sunday, March 25 following the conclusion of the NAS Kingsville Air Show. Rob posted this statement regarding the incident on his Facebook page:

    Moving Forward

    For all those who know or don’t know, I thought I would fill you in about the events of the past few days.

    First to get it out of the way, I’m 100% fine.

    That said, On March 25th I took off from NAS Kingsville, Texas at about 4:30pm for a cross-country flight to Shreveport, Louisiana. About 15 minutes into the flight, level at 11,500 ft., I had a catastrophic engine failure and lost all engine power. I will not speculate as to the cause of the failure and will let the FAA and NTSB finish their investigation.

    The Canopy was immediately covered with oil and I had zero forward visibility.

    I quickly determined that an off-field landing was not the best option given the terrain. Also, using the parachute was also not a good option due to very high wind speed at the surface. There was one “airport” within gliding distance and I immediately aimed for it. Thank you to MGL Avionics for such an awesome EFIS system, which helped tremendously for my situational awareness.

    There was a low scattered-to-broken cloud layer around the vicinity of my landing site which obstructed my view of the runway (I still could only see directly out of the side of the plane due to the oil on the canopy). I glided through an opening in the clouds using GPS as a reference for the location of the airport.

    It turns out what I thought was a private airstrip was actually an abandoned airport that was about 30 ft. wide and only 1,650 ft. long (interesting that it is still listed in the FAA Database as an airport). When I finally got low enough so that the clouds no longer obstructed my view of the runway, I was at 700 ft. and committed to making a downwind landing because of my position.

    I lined up on the runway as best I could, still having zero forward visibility. I touched down on the runway at about 90 kts. (normal speed for this plane), but with a 20+ knot tailwind bringing my forward speed to 110kts.

    What I couldn’t see due to the oil on my canopy was a large piece of someone’s roof on the runway that had blown there by Hurricane Harvey. After about 200 ft. of landing roll, the left main landing gear struck that piece of debris ripping the landing gear completely off the plane. The plane skidded on its belly down the runway, departing to the side of the runway, coming to rest about 30 ft. off the right side of the runway. The plane remained upright and straight the entire time.

    I assessed that I was physically ok, turned off the fuel, the mags, and all electrical power, and then departed the plane.

    I have to throw out another HUGE thank you to Hooker Harness and BoneHead Composites for an AMAZING SAFETY BELT SYSTEM and FANTASTIC HELMET, both of which undoubtedly prevented me from suffering any injuries, it was a pretty violent ride when the gear came off.

    Lastly I’d like to express my gratitude to MX Aircraft Company. The airframe did an amazing job of absorbing impact energy helping to protect me from injury. Unfortunately the damage to the airplane is too extensive to repair. I am already working with MX Aircraft and there will be a new plane in the future, updates and details will follow.

    The next week or so will be very busy for me moving forward with as little (hopefully none) disruption to my schedule as possible.

    There are too many people to name here but thank you to my family, friends, sponsors and supporters for all your help, well wishes, and thoughts.

    Blue Skies,

    Rob
     
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  2. Mar 30, 2018 #2

    Timbob

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    Be good to review the engine data to see what happened just before! I guess we'll know eventually....
    Happy for a well controlled re-entry and good fortune!
    Good on him!
     
  3. Mar 30, 2018 #3

    IanJ

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    That's a pretty good outcome, glad to hear a success story like that. Could have been better, but could have been much, much worse. The advantages of cruising with lots of altitude, and a good set of tools available.
     
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  4. Mar 30, 2018 #4

    garyg

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    That's one way to plug all your sponsors....but no mention of the engine or engine builder.

    Glad to hear he is ok!
     
  5. Mar 30, 2018 #5

    clay

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    Sounds Like Sky Dynamics

    "
    Sky Dynamics Corporation's beginnings go back to 1972. Founder Kevin Murray (BSME, A&P, IA), a recent Mechanical Engineering graduate of the University of Hartford, started building the bodies and chro-moly chassis for many of the country's NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing teams. This hands-on experience at the highest levels of racing, coupled with technical knowledge and a passion for flying, provided a valuable base for our evolution into aerospace manufacturing.

    Sky Dynamics manufacturing and design facility is located on Lakeview Aerodrome (VA68 - 3000' smooth grass) in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Virginia. And though we are most widely known for our aircraft exhaust and engine parts, we have considerable experience in aircraft assembly, testing, and development.

    Many of the world's best pilots and companies depend on our parts and services to maintain their competitive edge. Our love of aviation makes us truly committed to providing the best components and service to our customers.
    Since the majority of our work and product line is based on working with non-corrosive and high-temperature stainless alloys, we are ideally suited to supply services/products to the aerospace, medical and nuclear industries. If you have need for a weldment, fabrication, machining, bending or the like, feel free to call or e-mail specifications for a prompt quotation. Our comprehensive knowledge of manufacturing and metal products can be very beneficial to your company."
     
  6. Mar 30, 2018 #6

    garyg

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    I am sure it is a big name engine builder but you can see how he thanks all his other suppliers for making it back on the ground safely after a catastrophic failure but avoids the one that supplied the parts that got him in the predicament in the first place. For obvious reasons. It seems quite the thing to tell a harrowing recent experience but still manage to say thanks to your sponsors. Sort of like after a big crash in Nascar. Only I think this would be a lot scarier. I mean no disrespect for Mr Holland, I just find this aspect of the story sort of amusing. So I am reading the events as the unfold and then there is like this commercial break and then back to the events. I am sure it takes a lot of sponsors to keep these planes in the air and plane accidents don't always have a good ending where the pilot is virtually unscathed.
     
  7. Mar 30, 2018 #7

    PittsDriver68

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    I suspect that Rob just wanted to thank the first line folks he thinks kept him from injury. Since Rob is my neighbor, I know him well enough to believe that he did not leave out other folks out of concern for negative advertising.

    The other factor is that none of us, including Rob, know the cause of the engine failure yet. I can say that Rob's flying is really really hard on the equipment. Pumped up parallel valve 540's fail, often catastrophically. I have had multiple friends experience that. Rob has done pretty well with his engines, but this one "got" him. Without knowing what failed, pointing a finger at LyCon or Skydynamics or another vendor is very very premature. And you can figure out who the engine builder was, and who's parts are in it, by looking at a picture of his airplane for sponsor logos.

    When you live out on the edge, these things happen. Ask Tucker.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  8. Mar 30, 2018 #8

    cgzro

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    In many ways Rob and the othe acro folks push the boundaries and the engine builders learn along with them. No doubt the more normal engines are better as a reasult and we all end up benefitting.
     
  9. Mar 30, 2018 #9

    Dave Baxter

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    My engine guy is a most incredible person, and ran the engine overhaul shop at ECI here at Troutdale OR for many yrs before the moved it all to San Antonio TX and is now a DER told me once, that there is a reason Lycoming rates their engines at certain HP and RPM requirements and limitations, and that prudent operators should stay with in these guidelines. So those that venture out past this area of comfort buy thinking they can install any kind of hi compression piston in a for example narrow deck light crankshaft 540 engine with any kind of propeller and then turn it far in excess to rated rpm, can easily experience catastrophic engine failure!

    Its kind of like my old flight instructor use to say, Dave when you get off into areas like this you become a test pilot with out getting paid for it!

    It is exactly like Wes said, actually it is a testament to companies like Barret Skydynamics and LyCon that have pushed the boundaries of ultimate HP and have been successful, actually forcing Lycoming to do the same by pioneering many of the additions that are now standards today.

    I can certainly understand the zeal for heart stopping and breathtaking performance, regarding Airshow and competition aerobatics, and most all that do so are well aware of the risk, just my thoughts, and worth absolutely nothing. Dave
     
  10. Mar 30, 2018 #10

    will moffitt

    will moffitt

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    I like avare on my nexus. Going over the mountains I don't how much good the push button for nearest airport would be. I guess I do know, worthless. But in unfamiliar territory very valuable, As Rob found out.

    wll
     
  11. Mar 30, 2018 #11

    clay

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    To me reading the report several things fall out:

    1. Kept his head and had time to push the local airport button.

    2. Seems like he came down like the space shuttle

    3. Survived due to great piloting....

    4. Fatigue of any kind really sucks...

    5. He had altitude

    6. We should all be so good and fortunate to overcome that kind of stress.
     
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  12. Mar 30, 2018 #12

    Flybipe

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    Wes,

    As a friend of Rob’s (and a master rigger and skydiving enthusiast) I’d be interested in whether you’ve heard what the surface conditions were that led him not to jump...cause it makes me realize I really ought to go out and get a few jumps under my belt in case I’m ever in a similar scenario!

    Josh
     
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  13. Mar 30, 2018 #13

    PittsDriver68

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    Hello, To the best of my knowledge Rob is still down south. His friends up here are twittering about the crash but I do not know of anyone who has spoken directly to Rob. I will be over at the airport tomorrow and will speak to the owner of the restaurant, who is the airport news/gossip queen. And to Rob's mechanic hangar neighbor who might have first hand info. Mrs Rob works half a planet away.

    That said, I am not aware that Rob has ever made a parachute jump. And with the moving map offering a runway, I would make the same decision. With the wings and tail still in place, and all of the controls doing what they are supposed to do, mere oil on the canopy isn't really a good reason to jump out. Time to do that pilot stuff they talk about in the movies.

    I watched a Mustang at Reno blow an engine once. The pilot pulled up, and with a dead engine and an oily windshield put the gear and flaps down and put it down very nicely on the runway in front of the grandstand. Forward visibility is over-rated.

    Film at 11.

    Wes
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  14. Mar 30, 2018 #14

    Eric_Anderson

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    It is amazing how survivable these machines can be when flown to a stop. Remember that F-16 guy who joined the forum to sell his “Engine Failure” book? The part about gauging surface wind when making the “fly or jump” decision could be a whole new chapter in the 2nd edition.
     
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  15. Mar 30, 2018 #15

    jrs14855

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    Given all the conditions I think Rob was extremely fortunate that the landing gear broke off clean. It is unlikely that he would have been able to stop on a 1650' runway with 20 kt tailwind.
    Regarding the abandoned airport issue this is not the first time. A fatal Bonanza accident in NY resulted from an approach controller vectoring the airplane to an airport that had been closed for years and no longer existed. The controller still had the airport depicted on the radar screen. The GPS databases likely are derived from similar flawed information.
    Regarding the hot rod engines the limitations are pretty well known. Flown extremely hard the 10-1 engines are good for 7-800 hours max. Over 10-1 you have a grenade waiting to explode. The majority of the over 10-1 engines seem to be on Reno racers.
    13-1 pistons might move one from third place to second place at Reno but at what cost?
     
  16. Mar 30, 2018 #16

    StinsonPilot

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    Heck, anyone on this forum that fly the type airplane we fly should be well versed in this dictum.

    I always figure that if I can't see the runway, it must be in front of me! :D

    Sounds like he did good...
     
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  17. Mar 31, 2018 #17

    PittsBird ZB

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    Been there, done it. (but with much less altitude).

    My only advice is to imagine many different engine out scenarios in your head long before you climb in the airplane. Certain decisions made ahead of time will give you more time to focus on what you need to do. It did for me.
     
  18. Mar 31, 2018 #18

    Knight Twister

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    Been there myself but in a boring short wing Piper. 1500 agl and a broken crankshaft. They don't glide well. Decisions made in those very few seconds last a lifetime. Good to hear of no injury.
     
  19. Mar 31, 2018 #19

    Guido Lepore

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    Investigation by the NTSB, really? No injury or third party damage, wouldn’t be any investigation here. I guess Rob could always send his engine back to the builder and ask what happened.

    Bailing out isn’t without its risks in wind, and combined with airport (?) options from 11,000’ that call seemed reasonable. A lot more options than flying around here. Tough luck about the low layer.
     
  20. Mar 31, 2018 #20

    acropilotbret

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    Guido, you have to inform the NTSB in this cas because of the substantial damage. They may or may not deep dive the investigation (which you may or may not be eluding to).

    Accidents
    In Part 830, the NTSB defines an accident as:
    an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and when all such passengers have disembarked,
    in which any person suffers death or serious injury,
    in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.
    Substantial damage means damage or failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance, or flight characteristics of the aircraft. This type of damage would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component.
     

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