What the Heck Wednesday - PT-17 Crash

This week on What the Heck Wednesday we have a built up PT-17 crash and we want to know what really happened to cause it.


What Went Wrong Here?

This week on What the Heck Wednesday we have a built up PT-17 crash and we want to know what really happened to cause it. The plane lines up on the runway, rolls forward to liftoff and then immediately rolls right and crashes a second or two later. The pilot in the video says he thinks a crosswind caused the incident, but what do you guys think happened?

If you have a video of a weird or entertaining crash and would like to be featured on What the Heck Wednesday, please send me a PM with your submission.

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Nov 10, 2021, 08:52 AM
Registered User
It seemed like it did not have full power or the pilot reduced power. Then liftoff speed was too low for the ailerons to be effective and a stall was the result.
Nov 10, 2021, 08:54 AM
Registered User
ducatirdr's Avatar
Perfect blustery conditions for a maiden. What could go wrong?
Nov 10, 2021, 09:01 AM
Registered User
No rudder input at all straight from the take off roll . Yogi
Nov 10, 2021, 09:20 AM
Fly Low - Hit Hard
Red Flyer's Avatar
No Pilot in the cockpit. No Pilot on the sticks either.

Nov 10, 2021, 10:31 AM
Fire Marshall Bill
Lack of flying speed at take off, so immediate stall. Should have kept it on the runway longer and built some speed.
Nov 10, 2021, 11:06 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by ducatirdr
Perfect blustery conditions for a maiden. What could go wrong?
Pulled a 'Draco'. Shoulda went direct into the wind despite field rules.
Nov 10, 2021, 11:16 AM
Fly 'm if you got 'm
MrEFlyer's Avatar
That's what happens when you horse it off the ground with a crosswind and then cut the throttle when the plane is going down wind with no airspeed.
Nov 10, 2021, 02:28 PM
I fly, therefore, I crash!!!
SteveT.'s Avatar
Agreed, not nearly enough flying speed and stalled. Quartering wind didn’t help, but that wasn’t the main cause. (Just my opinion of course.)

Latest blog entry: My old shop....
Nov 10, 2021, 03:22 PM
Registered User
Slo-Mo's Avatar
Last edited by Slo-Mo; Nov 11, 2021 at 07:59 AM.
Nov 10, 2021, 03:24 PM
A man with too many toys
Inexperienced pilot on first flight. I have seen that many times. Some call it a figure 9 takeoff/crash!

Looks like it was out of trim (up and right). Not sure but if it was not at full throttle that was another cause. Biplanes are a little different to fly because of higher drag making it easier to get into trouble. Use lots of power all the time.

Next time put in some down and left trim. Make sure it stays on the ground until you are at full throttle for a good few seconds then let it slowly rise off the runway. If it turns right or left use both rudder and ailerons to straighten the flight. If you are not good with the rudder you can mix ailerons and rudder.

If you have a more experienced pilot that can get it trimmed out for you that would be the safest.

Nov 10, 2021, 06:12 PM
Registered User
SwampFlier's Avatar
I agree with your assessment... but I don't really care...
BEcause that is a beauty of a flying field!!!! I am green with envy.....
Nov 11, 2021, 07:57 AM
Registered User
Slo-Mo's Avatar
Ok, all kidding aside, these short nosed biplanes like the PT-17 require a lot of nose weight to balance on proper CG, and it's very possible that it was very tail heavy so when it "Popped Up" during take off the pilot panic'd and cut throttle, from there the plane stalled rolled to the right and dropped.

My other post is getting an edit, don't need to be a SAA,,,,,,,,
Nov 11, 2021, 10:01 AM
Registered User
ducatirdr's Avatar
Originally Posted by Henry Hauff
Pulled a 'Draco'.
I almost said the same thing!!!
Nov 11, 2021, 08:42 PM
Registered User
You chopped the power right after takeoff. You could have recovered from your turn with full power....

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