Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dying in One's Sleep

I am a bit late to this. The NTSB released the results of the Reno air crash investigation of the P51-D racer Galloping Ghost. The NTSB found that:

Aerodynamic flutter of the trim tabs resulted in a failure of the left trim tab link assembly, elevator movement, high flight loads, and a loss of control. 

Loss of the left elevator trim tab prevented the pilot from regaining control. Had the right elevator trim tab not been modified and fixed into position by prerace modifications, the pilot would have had a chance to recover the aircraft. As it was, the NTSB thinks he pulled 17g due to the failure. My Dad figures that the seat broke due to the high g load, the pilot was knocked out by GLOC, or both. So, he may have died in his sleep unlike the 10 people on the ground he impacted with the aircraft.

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