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General aviation accidents - first responder safety


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Do your area first responders understand the intricacies of general aviation aircraft? If not, plan a meeting (preferably at an airport) to enlighten all on the nuances of personal aircraft. This power point provides a starting to personalize the discussion to your area needs.

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General aviation accidents - first responder safety

  1. 1. General Aviation Accidents First Responder Safety
  2. 2. DisclaimerThis presentation is an overview of hazards first responders mayencounter when responding to a General Aviation (GA) accident.Obviously, all aircraft types and situations cannot be addressed, butthis presentation will provide overview information most respondersmay not have considered.While this presentation can be viewed as a standalone item, Istrongly recommend you seek out a qualified instructor orcommercial pilot who can use this presentation, along with personalobservations, to provide a more thorough briefing. Also, AirplaneOwners and Pilots Association (AOPA) 800/872-2672 can put you intouch with a pilot, in your community.
  3. 3. Where does the typical GA accident occur?• The majority happen near airports, because that is where the concentration is greater• Generally they happen in good weather, because more people fly when the weather is good• Mid-air collisions are surprisingly rare – big sky theory• Pilot error (causal or contributory) constitutes the bulk of accident findings
  4. 4. KJYO Leesburg VAVisual Flight Rules (VFR) Traffic Pattern Washington D.C. FSRA
  5. 5. KJYO Leesburg VAVisual Flight Rules (VFR) Traffic Pattern Traffic Landing Runway 17
  6. 6. KJYO Leesburg VAInstrument Flight Rules (IFR) ILS/GPS
  7. 7. KJYO Leesburg VASummary of Approach/Missed Approach Instrument Patterns
  8. 8. KJYO Leesburg VAInstrument Flight Rules (IFR) Approaches
  9. 9. Hazards• Fuel/Fire – GA aircraft (average) between 50 & 100+ gallons of fuel – Carried internally and/or in the wings – Pressurized Oxygen• Electrical – 12/28 volts (sometimes multiple batteries) – Future electric engines (very high voltage batteries)• Pyrotechnic/Explosives – Ballistic Recovery Parachutes (BRS) – Air Bags (primarily within the seat belts)
  10. 10. Fuel/Fire• Secure fuel flow to engine compartment – First: Pull throttle control (Black) & mixture control (Red) levers to off position (all the way out/all the way down) Typical Single Engine Cessna
  11. 11. More Throttle & Mixture Controls Single Engine PiperSingle Engine Diamond Aircraft
  12. 12. More Throttle & Mixture Controls Single/Twin FADEC Aircraft have no Mixture Levers (Red) Twin Engine Piper Aircraft
  13. 13. Fuel Cut-Off• Second: Secure the Fuel Valve – Note some valves require pushing/lifting the lever or retention pins, before it can be rotated Cessna
  14. 14. Fuel Cut-Off Piper Aircraft
  15. 15. Single Engine Fuel Cut-Off Diamond Aircraft Twin Engine
  16. 16. Additional Fire Hazard Pressurized Oxygen• Pressurized oxygen bottles are not common on small GA aircraft, but it is a possibility.• The oxygen containers are normally accented with the industry standard green and can be of the small portable bottles or internal system variety.• Pressurized vessels & oxygen are obvious hazards to first responders.
  17. 17. Secure Electrical System (reduces chance of fire)• Aircraft electrical power is controlled through the Master Switch (toggle), but it has no control over ignition.• The ignition switch (unlike that in automobiles) does not control electrical power. Basically, it is a grounding switch for the engine magneto. If the engine is running it will (if undamaged) turn it off, but if the previous steps, removing the fuel supply, were applied, the engine should not be running.
  18. 18. Secure Electrical System Single Engine Cessna Master Power Switch (Red)
  19. 19. Secure Electrical System Single Engine Piper
  20. 20. Secure Electrical System Twin Engine Piper
  21. 21. Secure Electrical System Diamond Aircraft Twin/Single
  22. 22. Pyrotechnic/Explosives Airbags • Not all aircraft have airbags • Aircraft airbags are within the seatbelts, not physical structures • Lap & Shoulder Straps
  23. 23. Pyrotechnic/Explosives Parachutes• Currently limited to some newer single-engine, aircraft and Hang gliders.• See FAA Presentation:
  24. 24. Pyrotechnic/Explosives Parachutes• The 55+ pound parachute pack is deployed by a rocket motor The rocket motor is ignited by pulling an activation handle in the cockpit. They then accelerate to over 100 mph in the first tenth of a second after ignition. While the total firing period is only one second, someone in the path of an escaping rocket could be seriously injured or killed. These are powerful rockets (about 1½-2 inches diameter and 8-10 inches long) that work very efficiently.
  25. 25. Pyrotechnic/Explosives Parachutes • This is a close up of the BRS 900 rocket motor, common to both Cessna and Cirrus installations. It produces roughly 225 pounds of thrust over a 1.2 second burn time and must be respected. It burns solid propellant derived from military formulations and is very resistant to accidental initiation.
  26. 26. Pyrotechnic/Explosives Accident Site
  27. 27. Pyrotechnic/ExplosivesActivation Handle (Generic)
  28. 28. Pyrotechnic/Explosives • Rescue personnel should first determine the existence of a BRS-brand unit. If possible, locate the parachute container, rocket, activation cable (housing) assembly and activation handle. The activation housing, again, joins the firing handle on one end to the rocket motor on the other. Pulling either end away from one another can fire the unit. Normally the handle and the parachute unit will be mounted securely, but as stated above, in an accident, orientation may change. Rescue workers, police officers, and fire fighters should initially exercise extreme care when working around these systems, especially if the airplane is severely broken up or the activation cable appears to be tightly stretched. Examine the parachute container. Alongside the parachute container should be a 2-3 inch diameter black, silver or white tube about 10 inches in length. This is called the launch tube and it contains the rocket motor.
  29. 29. Pyrotechnic/Explosives HAS THE ROCKET FIRED?• If the airframe has experienced significant breakup, there is a very good chance that the rocket motor has been initiated. Telltale signs of this would be the parachute canopy extracted from its container, the rocket motor no longer in the launch tube, a burned appearance on the lanyards joining the rocket motor to the parachute or being unable to locate the rocket motor at all. A rocket motor that has separated from the igniter poses no significant hazard, unless it is exposed to fire. Experience has shown that a rocket motor subjected to high temperatures (fire) will not ignite in a normal manner and launch. Rather, they have been observed to burst in a relatively non-threatening display. After a determination is made that the rocket is live, under no circumstances should rescue personnel place any part of their person in front of the launch tube. Clear a 90 degree area in front of the rocket motor, extending 100 feet out, if possible.
  30. 30. Pyrotechnic/Explosives HAS THE ROCKET FIRED?• THE ROCKET MOTOR IGNITER IS NOT AN ARMED, HAIR-TRIGGER DEVICE. It requires a deliberate pull of about 30-40 pounds to cock and fire the system. Both cocking and firing are accomplished by one pull of the handle. Because of the design, the handle will come free of the handle holder and travel roughly two inches unimpeded. Then, spring compression begins. At that point, the system needs only about 7/16 inch of additional movement to ignite. Under certain circumstances, crash forces may physically separate the rocket from the igniter. This separation alone greatly reduces risks. The igniter contains two shotgun primers and a small amount of black powder/magnesium mix. The output is a loud report and a flash of flame. This could cause minor injury, but it is not particularly dangerous. Should one encounter this scenario, cutting the activating cable is still desirable. NOTE: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CUT THE ACTIVATION HOUSING WITH AN ORDINARLY BOLT CUTTER OR SIDE CUTTER! They are NOT effective at cutting the cable housing.
  31. 31. Advance Planning• Obtain (rapid contact) telephone numbers for aviation agencies in your jurisdiction. – Flight Service Station 800-992-7433 (they can help obtain numbers for applicable agencies below) – Control Tower/Approach Control – ARTCC (Center) – FAA District Office – NTSB District Office – C.A.P.
  32. 32. Advance Planning• Unless Safety Would Be Compromised: – Maintain site security (until FAA/NTSB releases) • Record weather observations at site • Other observables (fuel smell, bird activity etc.) • Do not move/relocate any aircraft or cargo components • Photograph aircraft pieces, wreckage patterns, impact points and any gouge marks
  33. 33. To Be Considered• Many pilots carry handheld GPS units. These units should remain in place (unless fire is a threat and they can safely be retrieved). These units may contain data that can assist the accident investigation team. The data is subject to being overwritten, over time, so it advisable to power off any operating GPS units.