Glasair Super II FT Crash on Marion Island

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Starship
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Glasair Super II FT Crash on Marion Island

Unread post by Starship » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:49 pm

What with all the talk on maritime air surveilance, I was checking out the distance of South Africa's offshore territories from the mainland, when I came across the story of "mad Frenchman" Henri Chorosz's mishap on Marion Island. He was attempting to fly around the world via the poles and was on the Cape Town to McMurdo Sound Antarctica leg in November 2002 in a Glasair Super II FT. Now I don't know how many people would attempt a flight like that, but somehow I don't think too many would head down south into what can only be considered a very hostile environment over vast ocean in a single engine homebuilt aircraft. Unfortunately for Henri, it didn't work out when severe icing caused him to divert to Marion Island in the early hours of November 24, 2002, where he thought there was a runway. There of course is no runway on Marion and he had to option but to carry out a forced landing on boggy terrain and flipped the Glasair onto its back. The aircraft was airlifted to the Agulhas in February 2003 by helicopter, but what happened to it after that, I have no idea.

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Polar pilot in crash on Marion Island
Cape Times November 27, 2002
Melanie Gosling

A Frenchman intent on setting a world record by flying around the world from pole to pole, crash-landed on minute Marion Island – 2 200km south of Cape Town – on Sunday after running low on fuel.

Henri Chorosz, who left Cape Town on Saturday morning, escaped with minor injuries and is safe at the South African weather station on Marion, where a team of scientists is based.

A spokeswoman for the French consulate in Cape Town said Chorosz was eager to get off the island as soon as possible.

“He wants to be home for Christmas, but that is not so easy,” she said. “There is no ship going there and we have no solutions at the moment.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Redelinghuys of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre at Silvermine, said he received a call from Washington at 2am on Sunday alerting them to Chorosz’s plight.

Redelinghuys said: “These guys in Washington were in direct communication with the Frenchman and they knew exactly where he was. They said he was doing a solo flight around the world over the South Pole.

“He went from France to Cairo in one stop, refuelled and then to Cape Town in 20 hours.

“They said he was on his way to McMurdo in Antarctica when his wings became heavily iced. That made the plane heavier and so he used more fuel. He realised he wasn’t going to make it and had turned around. He knew he could make it to Marion Island. The Washington guys thought there was a runway on Marion, which there isn't.

“We alerted the team on Marion and I had a C130 aircraft from the air force with a doctor on standby in case he might be injured when he landed.

“The guys on Marion put out a few flares to show him which was the smoothest piece of ground and he crash-landed. He was extremely lucky. He could easily have come down in the sea.”

Henry Valentine of the Department of Environment Affairs Antarctic division said yesterday that staff in Pretoria were looking at options to get Chorosz off the island.

“The SA Agulhas goes down to the Antarctic next week, but will not come back until February,” Valentine said.

The Cape Times put a call through to Marion Island late yesterday and spoke to scientist Derek Yelverton.

“Yes, Henri’s here with us, but he doesn’t want to speak to the press,” Yelverton said.

Yelverton would not give any information about the crash-landing on the instructions of the Department of Environment Affairs in Pretoria.

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Fondly dubbed "Ze Mad Frrrenchman," pilot Henri Chorosz was there to oversee the hooking up of his plane to a helicopter before it was airlifted back to the Agulhas

Aircrash on Marion

Frenchman Henri Chorosz, pilot of a small, home-built, single-engine aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing on Marion Island in the early hours of 24th November 2002 after encountering icing problems during an attempt to fly from Cape Town to Christchurch in New Zealand, via the South Pole and the US McMurdo station on Ross Island.

By the time Chorosz reached latitude 60 degrees south, large amounts of ice had started to build up on his aircraft's wings. He was forced to descend to find warmer conditions so that the ice could melt, but despite flying as low as 20-30 m. above the Southern Ocean, icing persisted. The aircraft almost stalled and Chorosz had to work very hard, burning significant amounts of fuel to keep airborne.

Chorosz decided to head for Marion Island, 1,500 km. to the north-east of his position, believing that there was an airstrip there. There is no airstrip on Marion.

South Africa's Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre was contacted via satellite phone and alerted the research station on Marion Island. A Hercules aircraft was put on stand by in case Chorosz ditched short of the island.

After contacting Chorosz, Marion advised him that there was no runway on the island and that he would have to land on the boggy surface of the island. Seven personnel on the island then marked out a flat area at Macaroni Bay, 3 km. south of the station.

Chorosz circled the flare-marked site twice before landing with only about 100 litres of fuel left. His aircraft immediately dug into the boggy ground, flipping over and causing minor injuries to Chorosz, who was pulled to safety by research personnel.

Chorosz spent 10 days on Marion until the French authorities could retrieve him on December 4th 2002. He was taken to Réunion Island and then made his way back to France, where he awaits a substantial bill from the South African authorities.
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Re: Glasair Super II FT Crash on Marion Island

Unread post by Starship » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:12 pm

Icarus Instruments Delivering Position-Reporting Datalink System

Iridium-based service proven in French pilot's real-world crisis


Well-known within both general-aviation and commercial-aviation circles for its innovative specialty displays and air-date instruments, Icarus Instruments last month began deliveries of a new datalink system designed to provide tracking and communications capabilities between an aircraft and folks on the ground. Introduced at Heli-Expo 2003, Icarus' Sky Connect Tracker system uses the Iridium global satellite phone network to provide speed, altitude, course and position data to a PC running Flight Explorer Pro aircraft situational display software.

The system can also provide global satellite phone coverage through the same Iridium system, explained Icarus President Steve Silverman. Already approved for a number of installations, the Tracker system passed its first real-world test in November when French pilot Henri Chorosz began accumulating ice on his Glasair II during a leg of an around-the-world flight over the southern extremes of the Indian Ocean.

From his Glasair, Chorosz was able to use the system to page Silverman as the Icarus executive was driving near his home in Takoma Park, Md. When Silverman called Chorosz back over the Iridium system, the French pilot explained his plight; with a glance at the Flight Explorer Pro data on his office computer, Silverman could see the severity of Chorosz's situation. "I could see that he had dropped from 15,000 feet to just 300 feet off the ocean -- in the dark," Silverman recounted.

Chorosz told Silverman he was headed to remote Marion Island -- some six hours away -- after finding an ICAO designator for the island. After a couple more calls, Silverman learned that the ICAO code identified not a runway but a weather station. A call to the station confirmed that the island lacked an airport. But Chorosz also lacked another option for a safe landfall and he repeated his intentions to land on the island.

After numerous phone calls, Silverman was able to relay Chorosz's situation and the weather station personnel offered to locate the most suitable terrain on the volcanic island and lay out an array of burning flares to identify the makeshift runway. Chorosz made the island and survived a landing on a bog that flipped his plane upside down. "Without this system no one would have known Henri had gone down, let alone where to look for him," Silverman related.

Icarus' new system is available as a stand-alone $7,500 system that also supports two-way text messaging. Operators may also opt to add the Tracker function to one of several Flight Connect global satellite phone systems the company offers.

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