CF-18 crashes in Lethbridge

Military aircraft accidents/mishaps.
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Asif

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Unread post24 Jul 2010, 19:24

The Telegraph wrote:Pilot ejects from fighter plane moments before crash

The pilot of a Canadian fighter plane has made a miraculous escape from his jet, seconds before it smashed into the ground.


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With his £20 million fighter plane hurtling towards the ground, Captain Brian Bews had little time to think. The 36-year-old pilot was forced to choose between battling to save the plane, or bailing to save his life. He chose the latter, launching himself out of the cockpit with the ejector seat and parachuting down to earth – miraculously landing unharmed, as his plane exploded in a mass of flames and black smoke.

These spectacular pictures show just how close Capt Bews, who has clocked 1,400 hours of flying time, came to death.

Capt Bews was practising a daring low altitude pass called the high alpha pass – performed at very low-speed close to the ground – ahead of this weekend's air show at Lethbridge County Airport, 130 miles south of Calgary, when the plane's engine stalled.

Aviation officials in Canada were still investigating the causes of the crash, but Capt Bews was saved by his quick reactions and the plane's rocket powered ejector seat.

"I noticed it start to bank a little bit off to one side, which I kind of thought was unusual," said photographer Ian Martens, who was watching the practice flights.

"I saw a couple of pops and all of a sudden this plane just banked and slowly dropped into the ground into this huge orange ball of fire."

Ryan Griffiths, who also witnessed the crash, said: "You could tell something was going wrong. It was going way too slow. There was a sputtering sound and two puffs of smoke from the engines.

"It started to nose dive, banked to the right, and the pilot ejected."

The pilot was taken to nearby Chinook Regional Hospital with minor injuries.

Capt Bews, who is based at the Bagotville, Quebec airfield, is not an inexperienced pilot.

The airman, who was raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, has been flying planes since 1995, and accumulated 1,200 hours of flying the CF-18 Hornet.

"I always loved aviation," said Capt Bews in a recent interview.

"We had airplanes fly right over our farm, so I always loved seeing them, but being from a small town, you know, you graduate from high school, you drive tractors and you become a farmer – that's just what I thought I had to do, and I didn't think there were any other options for me.

"Once I got over that and realised that I'm going to do whatever I want to do, then it was that determination and work ethic that I learned on the farm that told me to do whatever it took to get it."

Capt Bews begun taking private flying lessons before attending Mount Royal College, to study for a diploma in aviation.

"Flying was always in his blood," said his aunt, Leonora Bews.

"Some young kids get an idea of what they want to do and they don't think of anything but that."

He joined the Canadian air force in 1999, and was selected to join the elite demonstration team earlier this year.

Only a small group of pilots get to fly Hornets and even fewer are chosen to be demo pilots.

The pilots are "hand-picked because they're the best of the best," said Lieutenant Colonel Midas Vogan, commanding officer of the 419 Moose Squadron based in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Nick Buckenham, a veteran British aerobatics pilot and a judge at the World Aerobatics Championships, said: "Display aerobatics is an incredibly dangerous sport, where you deliberately fly incredibly close to the ground to astound the crowds.

"Obviously being this close to the ground poses huge risks, and the chances of escaping alive in such dangerous circumstances are actually incredibly slim.

"At an altitude of just a few hundred feet a pilot has only a fraction of a second to make a decision to eject from his cockpit, especially at high speeds.

"Mr Bews' jet was travelling at very high speed, which makes the process of bailing out from an aeroplane even more difficult.

"He has been incredibly lucky to escape alive."

Additional reporting by Simon Boyle

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... crash.html
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Unread post24 Jul 2010, 19:26

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Unread post24 Jul 2010, 20:31

The Telegraph wrote:Pilot ejects from fighter plane moments before crash

Capt Bews was practising a daring low altitude pass called the high alpha pass – performed at very low-speed......

......a veteran British aerobatics pilot and a judge at the World Aerobatics Championships, said:
"Mr Bews' jet was travelling at very high speed......


Anything can happen when you're doing both simultaneously.

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Unread post24 Jul 2010, 21:55

"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post25 Jul 2010, 06:52

Somebody who's knowledgeable on the F404 please school this Hornet Know-Nothing: There's a back-and-forth on ARC about which engine appears dead. Someone said the right engine because the nozzle is closed down. I suggested the left engine 'cause the nozzle is open. But if that's the case, why is the jet in a right roll? Every other engine nozzle I know of defaults to open (or nearly so) when either in Idle or Cutoff. So when the F404 is off, is the nozzle closed or open? :?
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post25 Jul 2010, 08:55

Well nevermind. This link shows the F404 nozzles as being closed when not running. Guess I was wrong. :oops: Gotta love Google.
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Unread post25 Jul 2010, 16:03

Yeah, it looks like the port engine nozzle is in AB and the starboard nozzle is at idle. MSNBC has some higher resolution images. The gout of flame out of the port engine at impact and the relative nothing from the starboard engine seems to be another clue.
http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/07/23/4739027-pilot-ejects-an-instant-before-fighterjet-crashes
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Unread post26 Jul 2010, 13:05

Guysmiley wrote:Yeah, it looks like the port engine nozzle is in AB and the starboard nozzle is at idle. MSNBC has some higher resolution images. The gout of flame out of the port engine at impact and the relative nothing from the starboard engine seems to be another clue.
http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/07/23/4739027-pilot-ejects-an-instant-before-fighterjet-crashes


Pilot Capt. Brian Bews ejects as his a CF-18 fighter jet plummets to the ground during a practice flight at the Lethbridge County Airport on Friday, July 23 for the weekend airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. "He is alive and we believe right now that his injuries are non-life-threatening," Canadian Forces Capt. Nicole Meszaros told CBC News.
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Ian Martens / Lethbridge Herald / CP via AP
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Ian Martens / Lethbridge Herald / CP via AP
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Ian Martens / Lethbridge Herald / CP via AP
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Ian Martens / Lethbridge Herald / CP via AP
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Unread post27 Jul 2010, 02:05

Glad the pilot got out okay and thanks for uploading the photos Asif!
A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.— Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.
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Unread post09 Oct 2010, 19:49

I don't think there was anything that pilot could have done to save the plane. The F-18's thrust is almost on center-line. The leading-edge slats were out, and the plane was just above stall speed. I saw the rudder fully deflected, which is the correct procedure (at least for the F-14 when one of its horrible engines would have a compressor stall). Pilot would have surely died if he had tried to lower the nose to make it to single engine speed (not sure what that is for the F-18, but its a heck of a lot faster than what he was going). But the important part of the aircraft was saved, the pilot.
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Unread post10 Oct 2010, 01:17

That low to the ground with very little time, it's best to just give it back to the taxpayers. Glad he's ok.
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Unread post08 Nov 2010, 21:32

FDiron wrote:I don't think there was anything that pilot could have done to save the plane. The F-18's thrust is almost on center-line. The leading-edge slats were out, and the plane was just above stall speed. I saw the rudder fully deflected, which is the correct procedure (at least for the F-14 when one of its horrible engines would have a compressor stall). Pilot would have surely died if he had tried to lower the nose to make it to single engine speed (not sure what that is for the F-18, but its a heck of a lot faster than what he was going). But the important part of the aircraft was saved, the pilot.


F-18 engine nozzles may be almost center-line, but the intakes are not! This creates large amounts of differential thrust in one engine inoperative situation.

Display flights should be flown with profiles that does not result crash when one engine quits. In the slow pass there should be enough speed and altitude to permit pushing the nose down and gaining enough airspeed for Vmc. Maybe they should take the calculations again.

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