Nov 29 2016

Crash Investigation Final Report for Civvie Prototype

C7 officials charged with the investigation into the crash of the Civvie prototype fixed-wing aircraft last week have reached the conclusion that both the aircraft design and pilot error were at fault. To address these issues individually:

  • Aircraft Design: Although stable in level flight, Val’s reports of control issues while banking did show up in the recorded flight data as large sideslips of the aircraft (side-to-side yawing motions) by as much as 10-15°. These movements of the aircraft added a large burden to the pilot to hold a steady heading, which resulted in an off-approach to the runway.
  • Pilot Error: Pilot in Command, Commander Valentina, is to be largely commended for her control of the aircraft given that she is the only kerbal alive and the first in recent history to attempt to pilot a fixed-wing aircraft. Lack of experience is cited as the biggest contributor to her mistakes, which were failing to deploy the landing parachute and failing to enact a go-around upon realizing her approach was off.

The state of the aircraft is: other than the damaged wing, which is contained to that wing section, and the damaged tail fin – all other structural aspects of the Civvie are intact and fit for flight again. The wing will be repaired and the tail fin will be replaced by a larger version to help mitigate the yaw issues, although the engineers admit a longer tail boom is ultimately needed to eliminate them altogether. A new engine of the same model will replace the one destroyed in the crash.

Commander Val will pass on her experience to Captain Jeb, who will be next in the pilot’s seat when the Civvie returns to flight. Additionally, the deployment protocol of the landing chute has been changed by Flight Director Lanalye from pilot discretion to mandatory. Flight will also command a go-around if they determine the aircraft to be off the appropriate approach vector.

C7 expect that the Civvie will be ready for another flight trial sometime in mid-December.