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T tail single engine planes


Well-Known Member
Apr 14, 2010
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While having lunch with my friend the accident investigator the recent crash of a Diamond 20 at my airport came up. He explained that it was a result of several things, primarily poor instruction agravated by the T tail design. The student was doing some sole exercises involving some "stop and goes" in which he landed, came to a stop and then accelerated to take off again (runway is long enough for this). Anyhow the plane rotated suddenly and went into an extreme angle of climb before stalling and crashing just off the edge of the runway ending upside down. The student survived but was badly hurt. The investigator said that this was something that T tailed singles are vulnerable to as when a pilot makes the mistake of pulling the controls back too soon and too much and holds them while it is accelerating, when the elevator responds to the increase in airspeed enough to start to rotate the plane there is a real risk of the elevator then dropping down into the prop wash which will very suddenly increase the response. If the pilot is caught by surprise at this the result is what happened to the Diamond. He said that they see accidents with all the single T tailed planes like this including Tomahawks, some Saratogas etc.

I don't know if I have explained this clearly (probably not) but have any of you heard of this "problem" related to T tailed singles? This wouldn't apply to any multis or gliders etc.

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