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REFLECTOR: Velocitys aren't hard to land, but...

Fellow Velocitites:

Thank you for the outpouring support and offer to help. This has just been
incredible. I had not been aware that I am part of such a great bunch of guys
and gals!

Dave Black wrote:

>>I must admit that your accident worries me. On several occasions I've tried
to land Wim Huisman's 173 FG and never really had control of the plane on

Actually, I didn't find the Velocity particularely hard to land if you trim for
the right approach speed and use your rudders. My problem was a different one
and it worries me even more. Here's my story as I told it to the FAA and the
insurance adjuster:

During the flight from Midland to Tucson, I sensed the development of a slight
slack or play in the pitch control. The landing was not a nice one because the
flare did not develop as usual and I ran out of elevator control. 

I called Scott Swing and described the symptoms. I asked him if I had to take
off the canard to get to the fore end of the torque tube. He suggested to add
washers or a spacer to the aft end of the aileron torque tube which is easier
to get to. With the help of a local pilot who volunteered to find the necessary
materials, I performed that repair. The stick now felt solid and it appeared to
move the elevator through the whole range of travel.

Takeoff and flight to San Diego were normal. At MYF, I was given runway 28R and
cleared to land as #2. I was in a left base when the #1 landed and I spotted
another airplane in a final so that we would have gotten very close on present
course and speed. I therefore extended my downwind and lined up behind the
unidentified plane. On short final Tower reassigned me runway 28L, a narrow

I managed to line up with it, although it obviously was not what I would call a
stabilised final. When I flared, nothing happened despite me pulling the stick
till it bottomed out. The airplane flew straight onto the runway, bounced,
veered left and came down with the left main wheel off the runway. We skidded
over the rough between the runway and the apron, spun around 180~ and with the
last bit of momentum hit a parked aircraft backwards.

On Saturday, Jan. 2 1999 a group of Velocity and Long EZ builders met at the
hangar on Brown Field where the wreckage had been moved in the meantime. It was
determined that the fore bushing or bearing which holds the aileron torque tube
in place and that was designed to take up the axial forces exerted by the
elevator control was dislodged. The tube was prevented from sliding further
back by a bolt that holds a spacer.

The same observation was made by three representatives of the FAA on Monday,
Jan. 4, 1999. 

The group that had assembled on Saturday opined that the aircraft should be
repaired. The wings and the gear need to be rebuilt as well as the propeller
blades. Some damage to the underside of the hull needs to be repaired. The hull
structure, the canard, the instrument panel, the interior panelling, the fuel
tanks, the engine and the propeller hub seem to be intact pending closer

That's the story.

Three things will probably always stick to our minds:

The ride accross that rough field. Believe it or not: we felt totally secure.
All around us hell had broken loose and we were sitting in a cocoon, simply
KNOWING that nothing would happen to us. The doors opened like nothing had
happened, the avionics worked, the ELT blared dutifully and we never lost a
drop of fuel.

The media. I think the first helo was hovering overhead before the paramedics
arrived. At one point I saw at least 6 cameras and 10 mics pointed at my son.

The support. People that I had never heard of, like John Lambert, the chairman
of the EZ Squadron, known names but unknown faces like Al Gietzen, Marion
Sparrow, Chuck Lehrer and many others offered their help and they delivered. I
may have lost half an airplane but I have gained many new friends. Thank you

Now to the worry: You Elite drivers: (I don't know how this is done in the
Standard) keep a close look at that bearing. In my view this is not a thrust
bearing, yet it has to take up quite some thrust. I'm sure that Scott will come
up with a solution, which should probably take the form of a Mandatory Service
Bulletin. Are there more things like that in our birds? We NEED to find out!
Lots of work ahead! More about that later.