|Information about Eric's crash with Shark 003|
As finally last week Eric with help of his friend Jean-Marie bring wreck of 003 back to company, and I spoked with him personally, I can give you our official information regarding this accident.
First of all: Eric is here. Still wearing corset, but here. He have got from us small present and we sing him Happy Birthday to you. Second birthday. As well his son Marc is OK, sitting on rear seat. This is most important. We can produce next 1000 Sharks. It needs just some money and sweat.
Shark 003 short life story
After first flights on the end of February 2011 we was some time fighting with problems occuring at this new baby born.
We was handling problems with faulty proximity sensor, resulted in not locked main landing gear strut- and retracted leg at taxiing. We changed flap, sensor, tuned system, and finally installed optical marks on landing gear lock struts.
After return from Germany Eric flew at home. Short after we was at Friedrichshafen.
Eric was at airshow in Italy, Sweden, in Germany - in Kamenz at Peter Kuhn – our German dealer new hangar opening parade.
He flew at beginning June attempt for world speed record. Reached speed was 284 km/h, what is + 10 km/h over old record. Finally it was rejected by FAI, as vertical profile was not OK = altitude on the final line was below enter line (less than 20 meters). But it still looks on significant reserve in speed.
We was in the meantime working on tests (gallery ») and continuing production of parts (gallery ») which passed tests successfully. Still some tests are missing, but most important are finished and real production of Sharks is starting up.
Eric came to Senica for maintenance, we did some tuning for race – airbox, silencer. He was preparing plane and himself for Paris-Madrid Green air challenge on the end of June. Testing props – finally installed 2 blade DUC, reducing weight.
Paris - Madrid 2011 started on 16-th June.
Weight was critical point, planes was at scales, must fit to French UL rules. Shark at race condition = removed rear seat, no wheel doors... was little over 300 kg empty weight. Some expected competitors – Dynamic, VL3, Millenium don´t engage in competition.
We was in every day contact discussing strategy. As on the last moment was changed coefficient for fuel consumption to 2, analyze says, that the slower will Shark fly, more points can collect. Shark is not motorised glider. We had no fuel consumption data for cruise at 130 – 180 km/h. Probably you don´t know fuel consumption of your Mercedes or Porsche or Ferrari on speed 40 km/h :) Even as it is probably most efficient. Waiting 1 hour on airfield after 300 km trip while all competitors will land don´t helped too much. Best noise results - a gap with others competitors - again did not resulted in significant points gain. Eric was on position around 3. Sinus fits best to rules, CTLS with 600 kg MTOW get a lot of points for payload. Eric was fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Virus piloted by Pierre.
Last day, 21-st June, I have not call from Eric. I have received call from hospital at midnight, that Eric had an accident, he is in hospital, and they need to contact his family. UFF. It was very difficult 2 hours in my life. Finally I called to Pierre, he said me details, that Eric probably because of wind behind hill top and not enough reserve crashed close to Madrid. Marc is OK, Eric have broken vertebra but not next problems. Shark is in small pieces, 10 m below hill top. UUUUFFFF. I can go to sleep. Next day I have got basic information from Eric´s wife Fredy, and next day I spoked with Eric. As we discussed what we can repair and use in his new Shark, it was good. Confirmed pilot mistake. No reserve to overfly hill.
Eric have thousands hours on Mirage and small jets. But missing experience of soaring pilots, that wind behind hill can kill you.
„It don´t climbed!“
“Let me apologize again for having been shot down by that severe downdrift. This was pilot error. I am 100% confident with the Shark. And we have proven during the 3 first stages of the green challenge that Shark can set new standards in that category. Not only about performance but as well for passive security.”
A lot of luck and rigid fuselage structure saved them.
We will analyze structure after this „natural crash test“ and will try even improve it. But it did it´s job very well. Rigid frame, hybrid carbon-aramid fabric in interior, seat, enough strong belt fix points.
New Shark for Eric is in production, thanks to understanding of Jörgen - who gave him his position , we plan that he will fly in about 2 months with his new beast.
More details you can read at Eric´s web pages.