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Two fatal crashes in France today

2 DR400 crashed today.
One with 3 POB in the Alps.
One with 4 POB on the Atlantic coast.

2020 is really not a good year Even years seem worse than odd ones (2018 bad, 2019 better).

LFPT, LFEH

Do you know what happened ?

The DR400 with 4 people was a 120hp version, quiet heavy load, just 1km away from the runway.
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/241274

The second one, 1 pilot 42yo and 2 teenagers on a DR400-140, in a mountain area (1900m). The crash site reports a collision with the mountain, although weather was reported fine.
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/241201
I have to admit I were once in a dr400 120 around 6000ft in the summer, and although the plane wasn’t too loaded, it was not the best climb of my life. So with 2 more pax and only 20hp more, it may be a bit limited in performance. The crash site was reported to be narrow, synonym of Cfit, let’s see the investigation.

Last Edited by greg_mp at 12 Sep 20:37
LFMD, France

There is always loads of glider activity in that area and a Danger Zone to avoid. Tragic…

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

Hmmmm. 4 people in a 120hp airplane…..

Anyway, 7 fatalities in a day is tragic. RIP.

Here’s the engine spec. for the ‘120’ 2+2 variant.

Lycoming O-235-L2A
Power 118 hp (88 kW) at 2800 rpm, alternate ratings of 115 hp (86 kW) at 2700 rpm, 112 hp (84 kW) at 2600 rpm, 110 hp (82 kW) at 2550 rpm and 105 hp (78 kW) at 2400 rpm.

This is quite a revved up version of the O-235, extracting more power by virtue of 2800 peak RPM. So I suppose with a fixed pitch prop on a fairly aerodynamically clean plane it’s going to be climbing at Vy on something like 105 HP.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 13 Sep 00:45

I think it verges on criminal certifiying a 118hp aircraft to 900 kgs MTOW. Because people WILL go all the way up to the max (and of course sometimes beyond).

I know, these old -120s are rather light – often about 550kgs. So, with one of the pax a child, and say 50 litres (half fuel) on board, he may actually have been just inside the 900kg limit. But boy… I assume it was hot during that takeoff. In that case there is just no excess power left, so if the pilot doesn‘t do everything just right, it might not climb and he might stall it. Maybe he made the classic mistake of rotating too soon, with still half the runway ahead.

Interestingly, „modern“ -120s have been stripped to an even lower empty weight (how on earth did they do that?) and limited the MTOW to 800kg, which I think is the correct max weight for 118hp with a fixed pitch prop. See here.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 13 Sep 08:29
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

boscomantico wrote:

Interestingly, „modern“ -120s have been stripped to an even lower empty weight (how on earth did they do that?)

According to your link at least they removed the rear seat.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

As @Silvaire wrote the DR 400/120 is a 2+2.
The OAT at sea level in the region was somewhere between 27C and 30C. I would guess the higher figure at Arcachon.

France

I suppose that 800 kg would be the same power to MTOW ratio as my D140, but getting unexpected performance from modestly powered aircraft was rather M. D’s stock in trade.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom
88 Posts
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