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Thread: Wood and Fabric Accident stats

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    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
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    Wood and Fabric Accident stats

    Is there any information that define accident stats with building material? Specific to wood/fabric.?
    Chatter on the Fisher Flying Products use group re BRS brought up the question: Are wood and fabric aircraft more prone to have accidents - specific to structural failures ?

    Jim Heffelfinger

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Heffelfinger View Post
    Is there any information that define accident stats with building material? Specific to wood/fabric.?
    Chatter on the Fisher Flying Products use group re BRS brought up the question: Are wood and fabric aircraft more prone to have accidents - specific to structural failures ?
    Odd coincidence: Just four days ago, I submitted my 2016 accident article to EAA (for the April issue) and my special topic this year *is* structural failures.

    Don't want to spoil my own thunder, but since I didn't include structural types in my analysis, I can talk about it a little bit.

    I took a *quick* cut through my data. Out of 62 structural failure accidents in ~17 years, 30 were in metal airplanes, ten were in composite planes, and 18 were in wood or wood/steel tube airplanes.

    On the metal airplanes, 16 of the 30 were wing failures, of the wood planes, 15 of the 18. But the failures were not necessarily related to the wood itself; many failures were of bracing wires and metal brackets. Five were overstress during aerobatic maneuvers. Seven involved builder error (including using the wrong wood).

    Only two involved Fishers (in 17 years); one was overstress due to aerobatics while the other was builder error.

    Wood wings are probably more complex, and wood airplanes are typically a bit more scratch-built than metal ones. Add that to the popularity of wood and tube biplanes for aerobatics, and I think that pretty much accounts for the differences.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
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    I was hoping to draw you out Ron. Perfection !

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    one thing about those stats though is how they relate to other unknown variables
    I mean things such as
    Useage rates over the population.... sure there are more metal aircraft accidents in that list than wood and fabric, but does that fraction resemble the fraction of hours flown by each group?
    or the types of weather (I'm guessing that sample of metal aircraft were more likely to include more weather flying/instrument type stuff
    or the type of pilot or experience level for each group and how they differ

    just some food for thought

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    crusty old aviator's Avatar
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    I'd rather eat one of those CAP hotdogs at an airshow...

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    Quote Originally Posted by crusty old aviator View Post
    I'd rather eat one of those CAP hotdogs at an airshow...
    Then have a wing fall off, or some sort of failure. The comment above was about as useful as a screen door on a sub.

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    Ron you mention Fisher. But what about Mini-max? Any info on the failures of that brand?

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1600vw View Post
    Ron you mention Fisher. But what about Mini-max? Any info on the failures of that brand?
    I've got only 16 accidents (1998 through 2014, inclusive) involving Team aircraft, including Mini-Max, Z-Max, and Hi-Max. No cases of structural failure, no cases of builder error. Pilot Miscontrol is a bit higher than average (47% vs. 38% overall) but the small sample size may be skewing the result. No other causes stand out.

    Remember, though, my records are only for N-Numbered aircraft. It doesn't include any examples operated as Part 103.

    Ron Wanttaja

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