Are Vintage Aircraft Rides Safe?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JayFreddy, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    The recent crash of a WW2 vintage B17 bomber in Connecticut while carrying paying passengers raises some legitimate concerns.

    I didn't realize that vintage military aircraft required exemptions from modern safety regulations.

    It makes sense that standards would be different, but I just assumed that older planes would be maintained to a similar level of safety as any commercially operating aircraft.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news...ey-airport-ct-collings-foundation/3858534002/
     
  2. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Never assume.
    The people in that plane did.
    Very sad.
     
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  3. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity

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    Parachute, never leave the ground without it
    Sorry for the people involved in the accident , hadn’t heard about it.
    In my fantasy dreams I own and fly a WW2 mustang
     
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  4. richbike

    richbike TDPRI Member

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    I watched that Hunter hit the deck at Shoreham the other year. Killed 11 people on the ground none of whom even were there to see old planes.

    Never really resolved if it was the plane or the pilot.

    On the other hand the 737max is not a vintage plane and has issues...
     
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  5. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Completely different can of worms.

    Greed could be a common factor, but other than that, I think manufacturers cutting corners is a different problem.
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    All things mechanical are subject to unanticipated failure. An airplane with 75 years on it may be more likely to fail than a new one but the failure is unlikely to be the result of an undiscovered design flaw. The 737Max had two failures with fatalities earlier this year, both the result of a serious (and known) design flaw. Aircraft from a simpler time didn't rely on computers to manage flight. They were simple. They worked. And they often survived being blasted to pieces by 20mm cannons. I work in a high tech industry investigating failures in the field. One thing we say to each other is, "Thank God we don't make airplanes." When we're training new users, we tell them not to worry about crashes. You just get up, reboot everything, and start over.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  7. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ya, very sad.
    Wear and tear. You probably have to sign legal doc before boarding.
    I flew on a tin goose once, that would have been ok if all
    the engines stopped. You could glide in.
     
  8. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    Flying is inherently dangerous. If you go for a ride in an antique airplane you must accept the risk. Machines break down, and when the machines are defying gravity, the outcome is very unsettling.
     
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  9. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    very few military aircraft ever had civil certification, thats why they get a waver for this type usage. they must still have regular inspections, and usually anything on a special airworthiness or a waver there will have additional requirements beyoun what the regulations stipulate. of course, each incident is a different story. the details are sketchy at this point, but there was apparently an engine problem... but they also had been in the air 5 minutes. there could be other factors, but to me that means it is likely human error and/or just bad luck. are they safe to fly at 75 years old? no reason why they shouldn't be. another opinion on these vintage aircraft is that they are so rare, they should only be flown on special occasions. some go further and say maintain only as a static display. personally, I'm with the occasional usage group on most of the WWII and older machines. for instance, most have engines that have had no support (parts) for at least 30-40 years. and actually, more like 50-60 years. see my avatar... thats my plane... its 60+, but the engine is still current production. aviation has been my profession for over 40 years. mechanic, pilot, inspector, instructor, FAA designee
     
  10. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    and ya, driving your car is dangerous too. try a motorcycle....
     
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  11. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you're driving a vintage car, and it quits running you pull over to the side of the road. If you're flying a vintage airplane and it quits running, you hope you can land on a road. I have a friend who had an old Taylorcraft with a wooden spar in the wing. He and a friend had been out flying it for several hours one day. For no reason at all, he decided to inspect the wing spar a couple of days later, and found that it was cracked. Had they stressed the wing just a tad more, they would have been history in their flight from the few days before.
     
  12. esseff

    esseff Tele-Holic

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    I worked on DC3s (C47/Dakota) for years. Know 'em inside out, the only lifed items are the engines. Not bad for a design well over 70 years old! There are a couple of mandatory Airworthiness Directives of course, but virtually all aircraft have special inspections called up. I always felt safe flying in them, airtests included. Many accidents to DC3s happen in Third-World countries; they're a rugged aircraft but they'll only take so much slipshod maintenance.
    I'm sure vintage aircraft such as those operated by the Collins Foundation are maintained to a very high standard.
     
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  13. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm petty sure it takes nerves of steel to go zipping up the road on the white line between lanes when the cars are stopped hoping no one opens the door on a car to spit out that used up chew. A maneuver I've seen countless times. (spitting out the chew)
     
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  14. PlainAllman

    PlainAllman Tele-Holic

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    Obviously this one wasn’t safe. I do find it curious you think greed is a common factor. Businesses ultimately make less money when they kill their customers. If you think its unsafe you have the right to choose not to patronize the service.
     
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  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Anytime spent on an aircraft in the air is a chance for the unexpected.
     
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  16. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Antiques belong in the museum, not in the air.
     
  17. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, me too, but they are all considered EXPERIMENTAL.

    IMG_20180408_131043_507.jpg

    Cessna 180, 185 or Caravan is enough plane for me.
     
  18. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Totally disagree, 99.99% boredom, even as pilot in command, but then there's that .01% rush, usually from something I messed up. Flying is truly boring, landing is exciting.
     
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  19. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    We've got military aircraft buzzing around our heads all day long where I live, each and every one of which is bult with the same design goals as these WWII bombers. We regularly have them drop out of the sky around here as well. These planes are not built to the same design goals as a modern airliner. No-one who flies in one thinks they are. You must sign a dsclaimer and a waiver of rights to sue before you fly in one.

    I've flown in several military aircraft. I was transported in C130 Herky Birds from the '60s
    [​IMG]
    1950s Douglas C124 Globemaster IIs (Old Shaky)
    [​IMG]
    A WWII Beech H-18 Expediter
    [​IMG]
    A 50s L19 Bird Dog
    [​IMG]
    All these planes performed flawlessly and either are still flying or were retired. In the first two passengers sat on canvas swing-down "seats" that invariably had a pipe going crosswise that put your backside to sleep. The Globemaster could carry 200 fully kitted-out troops on its two decks and serve them coffee in about 15 minutes with a huge coffeemaker aft. The Bird Dog was my initiation into stick-controlled planes. Once I got my earplugs in, the KHerky Bird was the only plane I every slept in. Of course, I had guard duty until the wee hours the night before.

    Just as in commercial operation, the safety they offer comes down to the operator. Is he doing more than the minimum for safety?

    The B-17 prototype, Boeing Model 299, crashed on takeoff on October 30, 1935, because of pilot error, killing the test pilot.

    [​IMG]

    The plane had lockable control surfaces to protect it on the ground. On this flight the pilot forgot to unlock them and lost control. Congressional committees immediately declared that it was too much plane for one man to handle and tried to ban it. That crash caused Boeing to create the world's first flight checklists, still used today, and to improve the safety of the next prototypes (XB-17) in order to allow it it to clear congressional oversight. However, before it went into combat for the United States, it went through four more major update versions to become the B-17D model, all with major improvements to engines, fuel systems, control systems, and safety gear. All current flying B-17s are even three more versions beyond the first wartime variant (B-17D) and are B-17Gs. B-17 Nine-O-Nine was a B-17F. These tour flights are typically flown with a payload of about one-quarter the plane's capacity, counting fuel, oil, and passengers, in order to increase safety.

    In 1949, stunt pilot Paul Mantz flew and then crash-landed a B-17 in front of the cameras for the film Twelve O'clock High. There were many cases of B-17s flown solo due to crew member injury, this is thought to be the only case where aB-17 was taken off and flown solo voluntarily.



    Bob
     
  20. richbike

    richbike TDPRI Member

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    I suppose my point is anything can break, old or new. And anyone can make errors, novice or expert.
    And modern certification is not a cast iron guarantee.
    On the other hand the last avro Vulcan was grounded once the airframe has reached its certified limit...it may well have been perfectly safe for many more hours but having seen it fly over my house low enough to count the tyres I'm glad it was!
     
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