Swift 737 lands missing tail pieces

deadstick

Well-Known Member

So riddle me this...

When a forward, upper cowling departs a lowly King Air in flight, it goes up and straight back. It has a good chance of striking the horizontal stabilizer. Straight back.

So how does a part from an aircraft traveling faster detach and touch the horizontal stab waaay out there to the side?
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
Day shift: so we got the right side fasteners in on the vert stab closeout fairing but ran into some busted nutplates on the left and none of those are in
Mids (in the middle of eating a cheeseburger and checking Facebook): he said the stab fairing was good to go right?

I know some folks who missed a bird-strike dent on the chrome leading edge (6-8” wide, 1/4” deep) for 3 days (3 preflights). Luckily, the plane didn’t get any trips those days.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
I know some folks who missed a bird-strike dent on the chrome leading edge (6-8” wide, 1/4” deep) for 3 days (3 preflights). Luckily, the plane didn’t get any trips those days.
I would laugh, but after working Medevac for 2.5 years I can pretty easily see how it can be easy to get complacent with a preflight inspection.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Day shift: so we got the right side fasteners in on the vert stab closeout fairing but ran into some busted nutplates on the left and none of those are in
Mids (in the middle of eating a cheeseburger and checking Facebook): he said the stab fairing was good to go right?
You laugh. This happened in a very high profile accident. Similar with the shift change, just different details. Eerily similar
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
You laugh. This happened in a very high profile accident. Similar with the shift change, just different details. Eerily similar
Oh, I worked and managed maintenance long enough to know how that goes. Not at ALL out of the question.
 

fholbert

Mod's - Please don't edit my posts!
Yeah I highly doubt someone is gonna miss most of the tail missing on a preflight or post flight. Or a flight,
I don’t think ground/local control would miss it either. My guess, after looking at the FlightAware track, the missing parts are in the ocean between KLAX and KSAN.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
You laugh. This happened in a very high profile accident. Similar with the shift change, just different details. Eerily similar
Horizontal stab leading edge on B1900 Continental Express out of Houston IIRC. Instant tail stall and nose down to impact.
 

Ecl!pse

Well-Known Member
Good thing this was an -800 and not a -700! Would hate to find out the hard way that the dorsal fin separated in an asymmetric thrust situation on the -700.
 

Ecl!pse

Well-Known Member
are the missing parts not just closeout fairings?
The part that detached from the front of the vertical stab, known as the “dorsal fin”, is there to increase the surface area of the vertical stab so it has more effectiveness in an engine-out situation. It matters less on the longer airplanes (-800 and -900), because the moment arm from CG to VS is long enough to produce sufficient force, but for the shorter airplanes (-600 & -700), that moment arm isn’t long enough and the VS needs to be bigger to have enough authority. For manufacturing simplicity, they keep that dorsal fin on all of the models.
 
D

Deleted member 27505

Guest
My brief association with Swift out of Phoenix ended up being plenty of time to develop some opinions about the way the company was managed, but I don't think for a minute that the pilots failing to do a walk-around out of Victorville (or elsewhere) was the issue. Glad the crew handled it as well as they did. I'm sure the shop's maintenance will receive the scrutiny due a plane shedding parts in flight.View attachment 53576
Later, at the shop...

Wrench clocking in looks at his tool box shelf. Shouts across the hangar to the wrench clocking out.... "Hey, Vern! Did you order a bunch of extra bolts?

More seriously, it's more than a little weird that there are entire pieces missing from the V-stab (with no other obvious external damage), while the H-Stab is full of impact dents. WTH?


Edit: G'dammit, you beat me to it:
Day shift: so we got the right side fasteners in on the vert stab closeout fairing but ran into some busted nutplates on the left and none of those are in
Mids (in the middle of eating a cheeseburger and checking Facebook): he said the stab fairing was good to go right?
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 27505

Guest
The part that detached from the front of the vertical stab, known as the “dorsal fin”, is there to increase the surface area of the vertical stab so it has more effectiveness in an engine-out situation. It matters less on the longer airplanes (-800 and -900), because the moment arm from CG to VS is long enough to produce sufficient force, but for the shorter airplanes (-600 & -700), that moment arm isn’t long enough and the VS needs to be bigger to have enough authority. For manufacturing simplicity, they keep that dorsal fin on all of the models.
You know, that got me thinking.... which is almost always a bad idea with a brain besotted with two beers after being at high altitude for 7 of the last 9 hours. But Hemingway, what if we opened the leading edge of the V-stab (or any other airfoil) and made a channel down the middle exiting at the trailing edge around the rudder. Wouldn't that create a venturi and accelerate air (to something higher than airframe airspeed) over the rudder making the rudder more effective?
 
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