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Another Vmc Roll

Rolling on short final usually ends badly

Although it doesnít pertain to aerobatics per-se, this video is a demonstration of a loss of aircraft control resulting in a catastrophic crash. And aerobatics is all about aircraft control.

The following accident happened in Brazil, so there is no information about the factors leading up to the crash, but a few things may be gleaned from the video.

The pilot of this Beechcraft was obviously having some trouble coming in to land as the fire trucks were already positioned at the far end of the runway. The propellers are making the characteristic thrumming caused when they're out of synch speed-wise. Turboprop Beechcraft have auto synching propellers, so this indicates a power problem that becomes evident on short final.

On base-to-final, the airplane is losing altitude rapidly, but appears to have plenty of airspeed. The pilot reduces power until the last minute, when the airplane appears not to be able to make the runway, at which point power is increased and right rudder is applied, causing an immediate roll to inverted and subsequent crash.

If the airplane was indeed operating on only one engine and the pilot allowed it to get too slow, increasing power would give the outcome seen. There are a few lessons to be learned here to help avoid such an accident in the future.

First, the airplane should have been headed for the runway instead of a normal base leg. Since the airplane rolled to the right, that means the dead engine was on the right side, meaning the pilot had to turn toward the dead engine to make it to the airport. Shallower turns are better in this instance.

Once the pilot noticed airspeed and altitude were too low when rolling out on final, the runway was nothing but a fantasy. Adding power to compensate was the fatal mistake. No amount of power at that point could have saved the airplane because it just makes it less controllable and gives the obvious outcome. Without altitude to trade for airspeed, the airplane was going to hit the ground regardless - the pilot just decided which side was going to be up.

There's a saying among multi-engine pilots; "The good engine takes you to the crash site." Make sure you know how your airplane behaves at minimum controllable airspeed, and what its expected performance is before every flight. The truth is that most light twins donít have the necessary power to maintain altitude after an engine failure at any weight, so accept that and be prepared.

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