Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why can't RV builders deal with accidents?

First, I love Van's Air Force. It provides a great service to the RV building community, but the recent crash of an RV-6 provides a typical example of what happens when an RV airplane crashes.

It follows a pattern:

1. Someone posts about an accident.
2. Someone speculates about the cause.
3. Someone says it's disrespectful to the family to discuss the crash.
4. A moderator closes the thread.

It happened with this thread today.

Let's be honest here: For the most part, families don't read Van's Air Force. And this isn't about respect for families. We're afraid to talk about crashes. Period.

This is unique to the aviation community. You don't see the same reaction to car crashes or crimes, for that matter. Only with airplane crashes.

What are we really so afraid of?

Like it or not, this happened, and the discussion surrounding accidents can refocus our building efforts on safety. You don't need a bureaucrats report to do that.

If we're grown up enough to build and fly airplanes, we should be grown up enough to talk about the occasional crash.


  1. It might be more correct to say it's unique to I haven't see threads in AOPA or PoA forums shut down like that.

  2. Exactly. It's a vansairforce problem, not an RV builder problem. People are way too hypersensitive there.

  3. The moderators are too hypersensitive. They shut down anything except right-wing posts.

  4. Thanks for posting this Bob, and letting people know about it on my site, As you already know, I encourage people to talk about accidents on my site, publish accident reports, and will never delete a post about accidents on RVairspace. Glenn Brasch

  5. Bob, this is a hot topic for me...couldnt agree with you more. As a new member, I used to want to discuss things like this on, after four yrs I know exactly how it will unfold with the so called moderators, so I dont even try. When the NTSB report comes out, it will be old news and no one revives the topic to discuss it then either. So all accidents on VAF are not to be spoken about...ever! In addition...I dont see anything wrong with speculation, lets be honest, almost all GA accident reports are inconclusive...the exact cause is exactly that, speculative...there are no first hand witnesses since they perished in the crash. I personally will speculate (outside of VAF of course), even if its not accurate, it still gets me to thinking about possible scenarios in the cockpit when I fly. The best protection is to try and think about it beforehand, if possible. What do I do if this happens? Lets all speculate...lets all try to learn how to keep ourselves alive...its really a ridiculous stance on VAF.

    One last thing...if I crash my RV...please, please, please...EVERYONE talk about it, speculate about it...look at it from every angle, learn anything and everything you can from it. Its really a waste not a fellow aviator, you have my permission.

    Sorry for the rant... :)

    1. Very good points. Accidents are learning experiences. In the military I knew of every incident/accident that involved the a/c I flew and was able to read the detailed preliminary safety narrative that was transmitted within 48 hours of the event. When I flew for the airlines it was totally the opposite due the legal aspect. Most incidents were never disiminated to the flight crews hence a great loss of info to build upon.

  6. First, I was the one who started the thread at VAF. It was started because I am from the area. Although I did not know the pilot or passenger, we are "small town" around here and everyone is "family".

    Secondly, I was shocked when the news reported that a wing had separated. I know that Vans aircraft are built "hell-for-stout" and was concerned if there could be some, as yet unseen, flaw.

    Thirdly, when the issues with the RV-12 came up, it was a way to congregate information and a fix quickly followed. If there *was* an issue with the RV-6 wing, I believed that VAF would be a great place to start. If I can ever sell enough newspapers to get my -12 and someone's -12 had a wing break off, you can bet the farm that I would be checking my wing spars with a microscope before I ever took her up again.

    My 2¢, FWIW.

  7. This is a Doug Reeves problem. He is trying way
    too hard to earn a full living from a little web-
    site. This sport is more dangerous than motorcycle
    riding, and Doug is trying his hardest to hide this fact.