Saturday, August 07, 2021

Raptor Aircraft, N352TD: Incident occurred August 06, 2021 near Fairmont State Airfield (KFMZ), Fillmore County, Nebraska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska 

Aircraft experienced an engine failure and landed in a cornfield 6 miles NW of Fairmont State Airfield (KFMZ), Fillmore County, Nebraska.

https://registry.faa.gov/N352TD

Date: 06-AUG-21
Time: 11:55:00Z
Regis#: N352TD
Aircraft Make: PETER J MULLER
Aircraft Model: RAPTOR PROTOTYPE
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: FAIRMONT
State: NEBRASKA

Nebraska State Patrol - Extremely thankful that this pilot was able to walk away after this small plane crash yesterday in Fillmore County.

Troopers and Fillmore County Sheriff’s Deputies were able to locate him shortly after the crash in a field.



NEAR FAIRMONT, Nebraska (KSNB) - A pilot from Arkansas walked away after his experimental plane crashed Friday morning in a Nebraska cornfield.

Fillmore County Sheriff Bill Burgess said the crash happened around 7 a.m. Burgess said Peter Muller of Clinton, Arkansas told him that his plane lost power while he was trying to fly between Manhattan, Kansas and Grand Island. The plane crashed into a cornfield just north of Highway 6 about four miles west of Fairmont.

Burgess said Muller was flying the plane in stages as part of a longer trip from Clinton, Arkansas to Boise, Idaho. He said Fillmore County deputies and Nebraska State troopers found Muller 20-30 minutes after the crash. The pilot was uninjured and there was no property damage other than to the cornfield. Burgess said there was no fire or explosion associated with the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate.

41 comments:

  1. Experimental well known from the build videos on YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyEqCPjfEG1Cwt8-YEAOxbg

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    1. Lucky, lucky man to beat the odds and not perish like the commuter craft guy. Everybody watching the youtube videos had concern that when failure came he might not survive, happy to see him walk out of the crash.

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  2. Engine oil over cowl as had already occurred previous event...and nose wheel detached.....thank goodness Mr Muller is ok

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  3. Stake nut holding the prop on let loose. He reused the lock washer but used a new unbent tab. Inevitable that the PSRU would fail again in some fashion. It was a time bomb and apparently he knew that because he wasn't planning to use that design in future iterations. Unfortunately he continued to fly with it. Glad he cheated death once again.

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    1. Tab locking washers are one-time use to allow bending up any tab that aligns when the nut reaches torque. If he had to back up the nut to align to a unused tab, he would have been flying undertorqued.

      Even if the PSRU held together, the fact that it is not mounted to the engine makes belt alignment subject to relative movement between engine and PSRU, which would have failed the belt drive somewhere.

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    2. Yep, sounds like that's a good bet at what happened, undertorqued to use the unbent tab. So foolish to reuse something like that, probably only a dollar or so for the automotive grade he likely used. Even if it was $20 for aviation grade, it doesn't pay to be frugal with airplanes. That was when he had just spent around $5k on replacing the engine (also caused by his negligence) so he probably cheaped out on the washer. It cost him a heck of a lot more than he saved by reusing it.

      I agree that whole power transmission setup was a ticking time bomb. It was just a matter of when and what part of it failed next. If not this, a belt or something else would have let loose. Might have been another hour or might have been 100 hours or more, but it was bound to happen eventually if he kept flying it.

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    3. His tab washer reuse error may have saved his life. The full trek to Idaho includes terrain much less hospitable for emergency landings than Nebraska's cornfields.

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    4. The tab washer is visible at 11:26 in this video from November of 2019. The prop shaft is standing on the bench at 12:17.
      https://youtu.be/Ig15g7YHD0U?t=664

      He had the PSRU apart in February 2021 when a shaft seal pushed out due to omitting a retainer ring that couldn't be installed due to a dimensional error. The first motor was ruined as a outcome from the seal blowout. The seal is seen out of position at 7:30 in this video.
      https://youtu.be/e77CG9HTkLw

      The decision to swap out the motor is covered in this video:
      https://youtu.be/IpqeDZopQ8U

      Reworking the PSRU in this March 2021 video, but did not replace the somewhat surface-distressed prop shaft:
      https://youtu.be/GOHZVvRGlUo

      Continued rework of the PSRU, had to make a bronze sleeve to replace the Delrin oil passageway sleeve that was tried:
      Delrin:
      https://youtu.be/3DL2cRXGK-I
      Bronze:
      https://youtu.be/Xr62SZEZh5Y

      The plane will be trucked to Boise where he intends to resume the project. You can find things to criticize, but the man has determination in abundance.

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  4. Why a person would make a 2 hours x-country at 1,000' AGL I can't imagine. https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N352TD/history/20210806/1058Z/KMHK

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    1. Check out his youtube channel and you'll ask "why why why" until it nearly drives you insane. Eventually you almost quit asking.

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    2. Because it overheats if flown higher. One of its many 'features'. This aircraft was a ticking bomb. It is a relief to see Peter survive it's latest incident but the aircraft badly damaged. Hopefully, it will never fly again.

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    3. Because the maximum altitude he's ever gotten this thing to was 4600'. How he thought he was making it to Idaho is beyond me.

      Also, good chance he was violating his e/r&d operating limitations by taking the thing on a cross country.

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    4. It might not have been able to climb any higher. It weighs twice as much as it was supposed to, and looks (from the first flight video) like it has CG issues, along with a bunch of other squawks, any one of which would keep a prudent pilot from flying it. Elliot Seguin/Wasabi Test Pilot declined to fly it until a bunch of issues were fixed, so Mr. Muller test flew it himself.

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    5. Also, I've been waiting for this crash for some time, just glad no one died (and there weren't even any injuries, it sounds like). Fuel exhaustion?

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    6. @ 07:52 hrs, cruising at +/- 2,700ft, w/ final ADS ping just south of E/W Rt US 6, "Speed: 127 kt Altitude: 2,700 ft, Vert. Rate:-64 ft/min Track: 318.5°"

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  5. And you had the gear down for a Corn Field landing ?........ kinda like hitting' the #3 arrester wire on a carrier landing, bet they helped a lot ..... Peter, Peter, Peter ..... and your a CFI ?

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    1. Speculation seems to be that he was going for a road and didn't make it or changed his mind too late to raise the gear. There was an excellent road he flew over right before going into the corn, but we don't know what he could see from his vantage point. Perhaps not enough altitude to turn 90 degrees, too much traffic, or unsure about power lines or other obstructions. Gear up certainly would have been better in corn, though. Would have been less damage.

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    2. Gear up in corn should have been like a flying boat on water, almost a non incident.

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    3. Super easy. Barely an inconvenience.

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  6. Frustrating... Many, many qualified and smart people offered Peter technical support and design recommendations. He decided that he knew better than them all. I actually watched this happen on FlightAware. I couldn't believe the low altitude he decided to fly at; Fairmont airport was really close. Another bad decision. I'm glad he walked away.

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    1. > I couldn't believe the low altitude he decided to fly at

      It's because the plane overheats when it goes any higher. Highest he's ever flown it was 4600' according to another commenter.

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    2. It doesn't overheat any longer, that was an issue from a very long time ago. The height he's flying at though is a head scratcher

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  7. What on earth will he do with himself now? What will the status of the Raptor project be now??? I bet it was the REDRIVE failing...again...

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  8. I hope the FAA review the Raptor youtube videos in relation to this accident and see the catalog of constant errors and complacency that has got him to this point. He hasn't listenes to any technical advice from the aviation community and dismissed all as negative and unhelpful. The FAA need to stop this kind of irresponsible approach to aviation development and predictable accidents like this can be avoided.

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    1. truth, fortunate to be alive. Peter doesn't listen to anyone it seems

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  9. A large proportion of the 'critical comments' were deleted from the YouTube videos. So it doesn't look like he was told about much... If the FAA somehow read just the deleted comments rather than plough through the zillion attaboys, they would save time a lot of time and get valuable insight into his MO...

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  10. registration lists "Engine: AUDI TDI (Reciprocating) Horsepower: 245."
    which is the V6 "3,0 Diesel engine. This 2967 cc engine size produces 245 horsepower with 500 Nm torque."
    also "Raptor Aircraft says they can tweak the 272 hp 3.0 TDI engine by implementing a remapped ECU which will bump output to as much as 310 hp" reported in July 2015.

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  11. many were expecting this outcome, glad he is ok

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  12. So after all that great advice that wasn't taken, and all of the time spent to get it this far this is what happens. Seems like a great time to of tried out the BRS system or maybe he didn't trust in that design either. Such a shame, I wonder if this was finally a wake up call to that numbskull.

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    1. Should have installed a PT-6 from day one, probably too late now.

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    2. long list of use http://blog.covingtonaircraft.com/2020/06/29/aircraft-powered-by-the-pt6a/
      with the 2 pusher turboprop aircraft, for example the Beech Starship and Piaggio Avanti.
      w/ known engine oil-cooling during low speed ground and initial climb with 'Pusher Type Turbo Prop Aircraft.'

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  13. Come on now! Anyone who tracked this project shouldn't be surprised.

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  14. For those that can't do teach or give advice . It is easy to sit at your computer and criticize and guess what he has done wrong and not go out and do it better. Glad he is Ok.

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  15. Man! Sure have a lot of geniuses sitting on the sidelines while Peter lives in the glass house arena. I heard Burt Rutan say at OSH that he did his work in the desert so no-one knew how many times he failed, crashed and blew things up and no-one saw his craft until the bugs were worked out. Maybe that is what Peter should learn from this - to keep his development to himself so all the Sunday morning quarterbacks have to look elsewhere for their "I'm so smart and I told you so" moment. Good grief!

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  16. The pilot just released a video explaining his crash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoPvEIgRaZA as well as stunning plans to redesign the plane into a hybrid electric which can fit into a 2 car garage. Quite a dreamer...

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    1. if you didn't have people like him even when failing nothing would change.. love or hate him people like him are what push industries to bigger and better things.

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    2. Concept development has to eventually demonstrate the new idea full scale, with as few unknowns baked in as possible. If it works, you get performance numbers you can advertise.

      It is to Mr. Muller's great credit that he brought his concept to the point that he could fly manned at full scale. He found out what the performance was with one person aboard. The hoped-for high speed and climb to high altitude with all seats filled in air conditioned, pressurized comfort did not come to pass. No shame in that.

      The pusher automotive diesel idea could have been prototyped separately on the back of a Cessna Skymaster to determine performance, discover the cooling requirements, adapt to Jet-A and be run long duration to uncover weaknesses. If it worked well, had a business case and engines could be sourced without relying on salvage yards or being legally blocked by Audi over liability, the product could go forward on its own.

      The Raptor airframe could have been tested with a conventional engine, fixed gear and rudimentary seats to evaluate performance. If it was superior to Velocity and had a business case, it would be able to go forward on its own.

      If experimenting with a box wing must be done, modding a used Piper by adding a canard, replacing wings and rehanging fixed main gear as an experimental test mule is an option. If the box wing works, mounting electric ducted fans on the same testbed and pulling back power on the OEM mill in the nose to operate short bursts on batteries would be the next step.

      Does an experimental Piper test mule sound crazy? It does, but unless a test mule can be built and reach a functional state, years of effort to build and revise a sleek one-off carbon fiber box wing concept bird with embedded powerplant, electric ducted fans, batteries, retractable gear, air conditioning and beautiful interior with capacity for passengers is not likely to succeed and lacks the rapid reconfiguration possible using a mule to develop and test basic elements of the design.

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  17. This YouTube video contains all the information you could need on this clowns death trap - https://youtu.be/H2vnFSTk6qE

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