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).
Do you know what happened ?
The DR400 with 4 people was a 120hp version, quiet heavy load, just 1km away from the runway.
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.
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.
There is always loads of glider activity in that area and a Danger Zone to avoid. Tragic…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.