10-200S -- N38PC
Sad news: This plane crashed on November 11, 2007.
Details of the crash taken from a WMUR video interview with L. D. Jeffries:
The winds were calm. It was a nice day. It had been a while since LD had flown N38PC. He had planned to practice formation flying with four or five friends as they do every week, but the winds were expected to kick up later in the day, so he went out by himself to practice aerobatics for twenty or thirty minutes instead. He was using Plumb Crazy to train for an airshow routine for the 2009 season.
LD had taken his parachute to be repacked the day before the crash. He says that he plans to give his parachute packer a bottle of his choice in gratitude for saving his life.
After doing some hammerheads, loops, rolls, and snaps, the last maneuver he intended to practice was an avalanche before heading for home. The maneuver begins as a loop. At the top of the loop, the pilot snap-rolls the aircraft from inverted flight back to inverted. Then rest of the loop is completed.
LD didn't have enough airspeed coming out of the snap roll at the top of the loop. He could feel the controls becoming sluggish. He pulled the nose through to complete the loop, but had too much rudder control in. The plane stalled and fell into a spin.
Under normal conditions, Plumb Crazy's aileron controls were very effective. The plane had a roll rate of about 400 degrees a second in an aileron roll. He felt that he could fly out of the spin using pro-spin/anti-spin technique rather than taking a more aggressive approach, so he left the throttle at 25 inches of power (2500 RPM--full aerobatic power), expecting the rudder to stop the spin and the ailerons to level the wings.
In hindsight, LD realized he should have taken a different tack. Leaving the throttle in cost him a lot of altitude in a quickly rotating spin. Pulling the power back to idle reduces the amount of gyroscopic effect coming from the prop and makes the rudder and ailerons more effective in countering a spin.
The spin started around 3000' but LD didn't lower the throttle until around 2000'. Coming down through 1700 feet, the spin started slowing a little bit. At 1500 feet, he was still spinning. He was worried that there wouldn't be enough altitude to recover even if he managed to stop the spin. More importantly, he had made this agreement with himself a long time ago: "If I'm in trouble and not in control at 1500 feet, I will leave the airplane."
LD was confident that he would survive the parachute jump. He has made more than 1000 jumps in his lifetime as a pararescuer. But he was not confident that he could regain control of the plane: "If I jumped, I would be OK; if I didn't jump, I was going to live or die with my decision to pass my 1500 foot floor."
It might have taken five seconds to release the canopy and undo his seatbelts once he decided to get out.
The slipstream carried away his lucky 757 hat when he bailed out but it drifted right into the crash site. He landed about 30' from the wreckage. His brand-new glasses also flew off, but they haven't turned up yet.
"I don't have a death wish. I have a life wish. To me, life is living on the edge but having a bunch of rules. If you keep the rules, you'll probably survive. I have seven or eight reserve parachute rides from canopies that didn't open or were bad or got tangled with somebody else. I've jumped in the mountains, in the trees, out in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the night to rescue people. I've been in helicopter crashes in the military. This has been an long, fun ride and I'm not willing to give up. This is not going to end today or tomorrow or yesterday. That's my plan!
"'Plumb Crazy' was a great name for it. And I have to say this: it was a great airplane, it was a wonderful airplane. The airplane didn't do anything wrong. She took great care of me. It was my ham-handedness that caused her to be sitting on the ground over there where she's at. I feel terrible about that. It was a beautiful airplane. Did everything well. It was fairly predictable. [I made a mistake in] thinking that I could fly out of the spin using pro- and anti-spin technique versus aggressively treating it like a spin and recovering. If I had just done that one thing--pulled the power to idle as soon as it happened--it would have taken maybe a couple of turns, but it would have stopped and we wouldn't be talking right now."
This aircraft was completed in 1993 and has been designated as a Bateleur 2000 named "Plumb Crazy".
Featuring an award winning finish this aircraft is perfectly trimmed. It is fully aerobatic and stressed to +/- 10G. Flaperons and a Whitman gear make it a breeze to land.
Herewith the specifications:
Richard J. Brand gave me these photos.
Hope all is well with you. Got some Ultimate news: Plumb Crazy (N38PC) has been sold been sold to L.D. Jefferies of West Ossipee, NH. I flew 38PC to it's new home yesterday. The fit & finish is unbelievable on that airplane.
September 30, 2004
N38PC is now in Beach City, Ohio. I purchased it from Jim Cash in Kalispell, Montana.
It flies better at the lower altitudes here in Ohio.
Sure enjoyed visiting your Ultimate site.
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