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View Full Version : Seaplane explodes and crashes off Miami Beach



Cylinder
2005-Dec-19, 09:19 PM
Just breaking on cable news channels. The craft had 18 on board with 12 confirmed fatalities and no known survivors. The crash occurred in Government Cut off Miami Beach.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:21 PM
wow

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 09:23 PM
I am watching on TV right now...

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:24 PM
It's on MSNBC, CHANNEL 356 on DirecTV.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:25 PM
G17 aircraft

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 09:25 PM
I am watching Fox News, FBI says that terrorism is not suspected thankfully.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 09:26 PM
The plane was taking off when the explosion occured.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:27 PM
I am watching Fox News, FBI says that terrorism is not suspected thankfully.
For some reason, that is the last thing I think of during an airplane incident now-a-days. I don't know why the NEWS always focuses on this. :mad:

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:28 PM
Very old airplane! Dang it, I didn't get the year made.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 09:30 PM
For some reason, that is the last thing I think of during an airplane incident now-a-days. I don't know why the NEWS always focuses on this. :mad:

Because they are exactly that, the news, and they report on that because it draws attention, I was actually thinking it was an airliner, but it was only a sea plane, otherwise I would not have said it, sorry. Tis a very sad thing indeed.:(

Cylinder
2005-Dec-19, 09:31 PM
From the Miami Herald story (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/13443342.htm):


At least eight people died Monday afternoon when a seaplane crashed just outside Government Cut near South Beach, sending jet skiers, surfers and rescue workers scrambling to pull passengers from the ocean.
Witnesses on South Beach said the plane flying east and trailing smoke before the rear burst into flames around 2:30 p.m.
''All of a sudden it just burst into a big ball of fire and it went right down,'' said Larry Little, 59, who was working construction on the Apogee building in South Pointe and watched the plane somersault into the water.
There were conflicting reports about the number of passengers. The owner of Chalk's Ocean Airways, which owns the plane, said there were two pilots and 20 passengers, including three unticketed infants.

The airplane was flying to Bimini at the time of the crash.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:43 PM
Wow, realtime for rescue. Wow!

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 09:46 PM
Reported to be 20-30 yrs old.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:48 PM
3 "reported" babies were in the crash. :cry:

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 10:14 PM
I flipped the channel. I got bored. How human am I? :shifty:

Doodler
2005-Dec-19, 10:51 PM
After ten minutes, I don't blame you. If its a slow news day, they'll milk a tragedy to the point you're so sick of it, you want to help shovel the dirt on the holes just to get it over with...

sarongsong
2005-Dec-19, 11:39 PM
more... (http://www.nbc6.net/news/5578502/detail.html)

LurchGS
2005-Dec-19, 11:55 PM
wow - I worked in that Cost Guard office for a while, and lived right up the beach from there...(back in the early 90s)

given the description (white smoke, then flames, then boom), I'd guess fuel issues (spilling fuel is frequently mistaken for white smoke) coming into contact with a heat source. Of course, at that point, there's not much that can be done.

Of course, I Am Not An Expert. I don't even play one on TV. The closest I can come is being related to an expert on trainwrecks

tmosher
2005-Dec-20, 12:46 AM
Airplane was a Grumman G-73T Turbo Mallard. Re-engined from P&W radials to PWC PT6A turboprops back in the 1970's.

Cylinder
2005-Dec-20, 03:42 AM
I wonder if this (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=923925&WxsIERv=Tehzzna%20T-73G%20Gheob%20Znyyneq&Wm=1&WdsYXMg=Punyx%27f%20Bprna%20Nvejnlf&QtODMg=Cnenqvfr%20Vfynaq%20%28CVQ%20%2F%20ZLCV%29&ERDLTkt=Onunznf&ktODMp=Frcgrzore%2010%2C%202005&BP=1&WNEb25u=Wbua%20Gubzcfba&xsIERvdWdsY=A2969&MgTUQtODMgKE=Pbzvat%20va%20sebz%20Sg%20Ynhqreqnyr. %20Ornhgvshy%21&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=8722&NEb25uZWxs=2005-09-17%2017%3A33%3A07&ODJ9dvCE=&O89Dcjdg=W-27&static=yes&width=1024&height=680&sok=JURER%20%20%28nvepensg_trarevp%20%3D%20%27Tehz zna%20T-73%20Znyyneq%27%29%20%20BEQRE%20OL%20cubgb_vq%20QR FP&photo_nr=3&prev_id=937972&next_id=878301) is the actual aircraft, since these are not everyday stock.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-20, 10:21 AM
That's a beautiful plane!

Last thing I heard there were 19 confirmed death and 1 missing.
There's a video of the crash. It appears for some reason the wing came off where the engine is attached. Thankfully, the part with the hull did not burn. Hitting the water seemed hard, so I do hope that those not killed instantly were unconscious when they drowned.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-20, 08:51 PM
Very old airplane! Dang it, I didn't get the year made.

1940's vintage.

Doodler
2005-Dec-20, 08:57 PM
1947, according to MSNBC

Candy
2005-Dec-20, 10:30 PM
I keep seeing the footage on TV. It's fascinating! Has anyone heard anymore on the Black Box? I just don't understand how a wing just falls off, unless weight was a factor. I think in one of the links, it said there was a "bang" just before the wing fell off. Where is the fuel located on this plane? Sorry, for all of the questions.

Doodler
2005-Dec-20, 10:38 PM
I keep seeing the footage on TV. It's fascinating! Has anyone heard anymore on the Black Box? I just don't understand how a wing just falls off, unless weight was a factor. I think in one of the links, it said there was a "bang" just before the wing fell off. Where is the fuel located on this plane? Sorry, for all of the questions.

Could the bang before the boom be the result of a major structural failure in the wing? The bang really being the snapping of metal.

Candy
2005-Dec-20, 10:43 PM
Could the bang before the boom be the result of a major structural failure in the wing? The bang really being the snapping of metal.
I would say yes, since witnesses heard a "bang" and not an explosion. I would think the echoes from the water made it sound really loud. It appears the fire may have started after the wing fell off (friction and fuel). I bet the Black Box won't have much to tell us. Just my two cents.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-20, 11:00 PM
The fuel is in the wings I think. Anyway you can have a structural failure, a fuel explosion inside the wing, a structural failure followed by fuel spilling over the engine and catching fire, an engine exploding, thereby breaking of the wing etcetc maybe even a bird strike resulting in a fan blade going through the wing, thereby making it explode?

There are countless possiblities, which only investigation can (try to) answer.

Anyway they can be sure now that a wing did break of the airframe in flight. By the way the rest of the aircraft remained rather stable with only one wing I must say. Probably because there wasn't too much lift on the other wing in that descending flight. And while it wasn't too unstable, it still turned towards the right wing as one would expect.

Anyway I see structural failure (fatigue or other), fuel explosion (maybe it stood in the sun for a long time, and the non complete fuel loading (remember the hijacking precautions) made very hot fuel fumesappear in the wing) or a problem with the engine (structural, explosion, bird strike, what's it called when it gets no air and it kind of explodes internally as a result) as possible causes.

tmosher
2005-Dec-20, 11:36 PM
I wonder if this (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=923925&WxsIERv=Tehzzna%20T-73G%20Gheob%20Znyyneq&Wm=1&WdsYXMg=Punyx%27f%20Bprna%20Nvejnlf&QtODMg=Cnenqvfr%20Vfynaq%20%28CVQ%20%2F%20ZLCV%29&ERDLTkt=Onunznf&ktODMp=Frcgrzore%2010%2C%202005&BP=1&WNEb25u=Wbua%20Gubzcfba&xsIERvdWdsY=A2969&MgTUQtODMgKE=Pbzvat%20va%20sebz%20Sg%20Ynhqreqnyr. %20Ornhgvshy%21&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=8722&NEb25uZWxs=2005-09-17%2017%3A33%3A07&ODJ9dvCE=&O89Dcjdg=W-27&static=yes&width=1024&height=680&sok=JURER%20%20%28nvepensg_trarevp%20%3D%20%27Tehz zna%20T-73%20Znyyneq%27%29%20%20BEQRE%20OL%20cubgb_vq%20QR FP&photo_nr=3&prev_id=937972&next_id=878301) is the actual aircraft, since these are not everyday stock.

Actual plane was N2969. Built in 1947 and re-engined in the 1970's.

Age doesn't make much of a difference on an airplane. It's the maintenance that it receives that makes or breaks it. There are still quite a few 1940's vintage Douglas DC-3's flying in regular freight service.

Laminal Cockroach
2005-Dec-20, 11:46 PM
Actual plane was N2969. Built in 1947 and re-engined in the 1970's.

Age doesn't make much of a difference on an airplane. It's the maintenance that it receives that makes or breaks it. There are still quite a few 1940's vintage Douglas DC-3's flying in regular freight service.
That one on the link looks quite cool, shame it crashed... and also that all the people died

LurchGS
2005-Dec-21, 06:11 AM
Fuel in the wings, possibly a belly tank, but I doubt it.

Bird strike to the fan...not at all likely to result in this sorta bad thing.. *might* break a blade or two, but not the wing.

I'll buy structural fatigue in the wing spar or engine mount - keeping in mind that A) I'm not an aviation structural engineer, B) I've not read the black box and C) there's been no mention of powerlines at 3000 feet in that area

Stregone
2005-Dec-21, 06:32 AM
The plane was a turboprop not a turbofan/high-bypass jet, so there's no fan blades really.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-21, 06:50 AM
uuuh - turboprop *is* a prop engine.

oh..I see what you mean.. the whole set of blades in a propeller is commonly called a fan, also.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-21, 07:32 AM
What I meant with bird strike was just the possibility of a compressor blade penetrating the wing after getting hit by a bird, thereby making the fuel fumes (they never flew on full fuel load) explode. They also could have had a bird strike making the engine loose a fluent air inlet, which triggers (I STILL don't know the name ARGH) explosions in, uhm, the turbine I guess. Yet another possibliltiy would be a bird strike resulting in the engine break-away bolts partailly braking, aming the engine "climb the wing". Though I think you can scrap that possibility, as it doesn't apply on top engines (firm attachement, no break bolts).

I'm just summing up the bird strike possibilities here, of course there are other (fatigue, fuel explosion without external damage cause etc)

HenrikOlsen
2005-Dec-21, 08:56 AM
Has anyone heard anymore on the Black Box?
Do planes of that size and age even have flightrecorders?
Incidentally, why people keep referring to a bright orange box as black I'll never understand.

Candy
2005-Dec-21, 10:38 AM
CBS stated "corrosion or stress" is most likely the cause of the wing snapping off.

Candy
2005-Dec-21, 11:20 AM
Do planes of that size and age even have flightrecorders?
Incidentally, why people keep referring to a bright orange box as black I'll never understand.
I saw where they were searching for it, or "found" it. When I was watching, the sound on the TV was very low. I was at work. I did see a bright orange box floating in the water. :shifty:

There's a story behind the color thing, but I forgot what it is.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-21, 12:20 PM
"black box" is the name of a conceptual part of a system of which the internals aren't described.

input - black box - output.

Apparently, the FDR get the name "black box" from that term. It was called a "black box" by a journalist after seeing the conceptual prototype (which was red :)).
They're bright orange so they can be found more easily.

So CBS thinks a structural wing failure started the accident. That would mean corrosion, fatigue or an overstress.

Something that comes to mind: changed fatigue properties due to other vibration frequencies of the new engines. It just comes to my mind, as a possible source. However, in such an old seaplane fatigue or corrosion seems more logical. However, spars in metal planes are aluminum (very, little corrosion). For some critical parts steel is used. Maybe the plane had steel close to the wing root.

Stregone
2005-Dec-21, 03:13 PM
oh..I see what you mean.. the whole set of blades in a propeller is commonly called a fan, also.
I've heard people call it that before but not commonly :)

Laminal Cockroach
2005-Dec-21, 03:13 PM
they should call it the rainbo(w)x

Doodler
2005-Dec-21, 03:23 PM
MSNBC's reporting that investigators have found a crack in the wings. Looks like structural failure at first glance. :(

mugaliens
2005-Dec-21, 03:55 PM
Most fuel pumps are submersed, cutting off on auto when the tank runs dry. If they don't, they overheat, and bang.

NTSA claims that's what brought down the flight off the NE coast a few years ago, the one a few people claim was shot down.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-21, 03:57 PM
Why do I hear 20 different stories about what NTSA claims brought down that flight (I'm trying to remember the number)?

Edit: TWA 800 (had to google, I'm SO sorry :))

Candy
2005-Dec-21, 09:03 PM
Why do I hear 20 different stories about what NTSA claims brought down that flight (I'm trying to remember the number)?

Edit: TWA 800 (had to google, I'm SO sorry :))
Geez, I knew that, too, without googling. http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon6.gif

There was footage out their, same day I believe, that does look like somebody shot a "missle" at that plane. It was a spectator with a video camera, and his footage was immediately taken away (by whom - I don't know). The news stopped showing it that same day. I only saw it once. It's been so long ago, but it looked like the "missle" was shot from somewhere in the Ocean. I remember the news interviewed the man, and the man said something like it was taken as evidence. I don't remember much of what became of the footage or the man, thereafter. :shifty:

Nicolas
2005-Dec-21, 09:35 PM
One of the theories there is that it was actually struck by a meteor.

There is no proof of an aircraft ever being downed by a meteor (the natural phenomenon, not the fighter aircraft :)). But a Sabena (now SN Brussels Airlines) Airbus once made an emergency landing because it had a meteor going through its windshield at cruise altitude. They made an extremely fast emergency dive to safe altitude first. The event is next to undocumented. If anybody finds a link I'm interested.

On TWA 800 there are tens of theories.

Sammy
2005-Dec-22, 02:58 AM
The amateur video of the TWA 800 crash has been on TV many times; it was not "supressed" or "taken away." The expert opinion is that it shows burning fuel coming down, not a missile trail going up.

The Grumman Mallard crash off Miami is being attributed to fatigue failure in a wing spar. Not surprising, given the age of the aircraft, and apparent use pattern of the aircraft--fairly short flights with many takeoff/landing cycles over it's lifespan. All the "black boxes' and the cockpit voice recorders have been recoverd, according to the reports I've seen.

Candy
2005-Dec-22, 03:16 AM
The amateur video of the TWA 800 crash has been on TV many times; it was not "supressed" or "taken away." The expert opinion is that it shows burning fuel coming down, not a missile trail going up.
That's the footage "they" wanted you to see. http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

LurchGS
2005-Dec-22, 03:25 AM
well, I don't THINK my sister would lie to me... she worked at NTSB at the time of flt 800. Granted, in RR investigations, not aviation - but it's not THAT big an organization. As I recall, the final report laid the blame on wiring in a fuel tank/reservoir.

I suppose I should pay my nickel at airresearch.com and find out for sure.

Candy
2005-Dec-22, 03:54 AM
If you find a link to the footage, could you please post a link? I'm now interested in seeing it again.

Nicolas
2005-Dec-22, 11:44 AM
well, I don't THINK my sister would lie to me... she worked at NTSB at the time of flt 800. Granted, in RR investigations, not aviation - but it's not THAT big an organization. As I recall, the final report laid the blame on wiring in a fuel tank/reservoir.

I suppose I should pay my nickel at airresearch.com and find out for sure.

The "most official" version I heard was indeed about the wiring:

The aircraft stood a long time in the sun before taking of, filling the CWB with hot fuel fumes. Through this box, a lot of wires run. One must have sparked, and in this case of hot fumes this triggered an explosion. Those in the after part of the aircraft did not have a pretty descend. Nor did those in the front part, but still tumbling seems better to me than burning :( :( .

About the seaplane: it must have had a large amount of takeoff and landing cycles indeed. However, regular inspection *should* show any signs of crack initiation. Of course, nobody sees everything.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-22, 01:55 PM
In skydiving operations we use pretty old planes for the most part. And the routine has to be tough on a plane, basically taking off & landing as many times as possible in a day. Routine for Friday thru Sunday is 20 loads or more, maybe a dozen on weekdays. They take off, climb as quickly as is safely possible to 10 to 15K feet, then get back down in a hurry, refuel if necessary, and go again. I've always felt it was no riskier than any other flight risk because of the inspections and overhauls cycles (maybe safer because I have a backup landing merchanism). This makes me wonder; how good are the inspections if something as significant as a crack able to cause loss of a wing can be missed?

Nicolas
2005-Dec-22, 02:00 PM
Crack initiation and propagation is a strange process. A small crack can grow rapidly and break explosively. A small crack could have grown rapidly if the wing vibrated during takeoff, until the residual strength was too low and the spar explosively broke. (explosively meanin very fast, not an explosion)

Moreover, many parts are very hard to inspect. Inspecion intervals are chosen such that no rack can grow enough between two inspections to become a danger. But what if you missed a crack during one inspection?

Inspection remains a process which has no 100% coverage. The question is whtehr inspection can give an acceptable level of safety forthese old planes to continue flying.

From aircraft (mainly those with pressurized cabin) of some age it is said that they're a flying collectio of cracks. The trick is to find all cracks during inspection and repair them. Which usually works, but not in all cases.

Again it is possible the crack originated in a location that can't be seen during smaller inspections.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-22, 02:59 PM
So I'm assuming from your post that at least during a major airframe inspection, there are no unexamined areas (within the limits of human error of course). I'd better clarify; during the most extensive of inspections, do they actually disassemble the plane to the point where no part can hide?

Also, does any government agency have the authority to permanently ground a specific model of plane simply because they have become too old? Or can they keep flying for as long as they pass inspections? If a carrier wanted to operate passenger service with a Curtiss, could they?

(I've flown in a few oldies - including a couple recent flights in a DC-3. Love the old planes).

Nicolas
2005-Dec-22, 05:27 PM
Question A:

Take the example of a 747. During every D-check (once every 6 years IIRC?) all paint is removed, and subsequenctly almost the complete aircraft is disassembled. All interior is taken out, all instruments, all control surfaces, and all panels AND body plates so the construction can be inspected "completely". The intention is that design and inspection are in such a way that all important parts are accessible for non-destructive testing during the most thorough check. It's amazing, a 747 of 20 years old has been built at least 4 times in its lifetime :). After the rebuild, it is completely checked with test flights. In the meantime you've got smaller checks, the A check being the most frequent (limited) check. The interval at which an object needs to be inspected is determined by the time it would take the object from the smallest detectable damage to breaking up, given that it is a critical item.

As to your second question, I don't know. Regulations change, and I assume that old planes have to obey the newest rules. Of course, there might be different rules for "historical flights". I don't know what the rules are in these cases.