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Thread: "the dark dangers of the clark fork river"

  1. #1
    mountainflier's Avatar
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    "the dark dangers of the clark fork river"

    Recently I was sent this short story and pictures about someone that landed their Supercub on a gravel bar on the Clark Fork River. They came very close to losing their airplane to the river. What happened, the person came in and landed on the gravel bar with his Supercub and got out of the airplane to take a piss break. During that time, the river water was rapidly rising from the dam miles up stream due to the demand of electricity. The gravel bar was under water in less than three minutes! After two failed attempted takeoffs, he barley got off the gravel bar on the third try. I bet this got his heart pumping!!
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    Last edited by mountainflier; 10-28-2020 at 12:50 AM. Reason: spelling
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  2. #2
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    Scary. Take a jar. I learned the hard way. Really had to take a #2, had something, landed a O1D Bird Dog in a grain field. Judged by time of year I though it wouldn't be too long. It was 2 feet +. Not a farmer, I don't know what it was but just a little taller would have been too $##&$ much. (of coarse a jar wouldn't help #2) I had to go again before I got back. I won't tell the rest of the story. I should NOT have been flying. Dumber than above. (BTW I was a civilian in military flying club, NOT on a mission in VN.....)

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Dang, the Brazos River goes up to 27 feet plus and down below 3 ft but never that rapidly. Know your river and what it can do.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    spinner2's Avatar
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    That was a close one!

    This must be on the short section of the river in Idaho? I can’t think of a section of river in Montana on the Lower Clark Fork where there is both a hydroelectric dam and gravel below.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

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    Richgj3's Avatar
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    In the 90’s I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Alaska for some fishing. I’m from NY, so a big deal for me. We were helicoptered to a spot on the Rocky River (I think. Kenai Peninsula) the River is fordable on foot until the tide turns and it runs backwards and it changes very quickly. Two of us got caught on one side and two on the other. The guys on the other side had the only fire arm for bear protection. The helicopter pilot warned us, but we didn’t take it to heart, I guess. When he came to get us he had to land twice, which pissed him off.

    Where I live the tide runs about 18 inches

    Rich

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    Hydro rivers, especially those with rocky/impervious channels can rise really quick.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I'd be curious what his prop looked like after that.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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    Utah-Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    I'd be curious what his prop looked like after that.

    Web
    And his underwear too!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    And his underwear too!!!
    underwear was clean I am sure. At times like that you couldn't put a greased finish nail up there.. Probably still picking seat cushion out.

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    I’m wondering if there’s any chance of finding this sandbar urinater then having him make a confessional YouTube video describing how he peed his name in the sand, followed by rapidly rising water then a tail high aborted T/O followed by a successful soft field/tail low departure while only being interrupted once by a Square Space and Manscaping ad....

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    Staying alive in an airplane has a lot more to do with mastering ourselves than mastering the aircraft.
    Thanks hangarmonkey thanked for this post

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinJ View Post
    Iím wondering if thereís any chance of finding this sandbar urinater then having him make a confessional YouTube video describing how he peed his name in the sand, followed by rapidly rising water then a tail high aborted T/O followed by a successful soft field/tail low departure while only being interrupted once by a Square Space and Manscaping ad....
    They only make the YouTube video after they crash. To
    Make sure the faa and insurance knows exactly what happened. Duh.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    I have to wonder what would have happened if he had jumped on his brakes when he hit his maximum speed rolling through the water. I used the technique with a 100 horse 12 with no flaps on gar aero 29’s. I have read on this site that brakes don’t make any difference in takeoff and landings for water assisted landings, but it made a huge difference with my 12. Hit the brakes and you’re instantly on the step taking off. Dump the brakes in shallow water and the airplane fell off the step water spinning over the wheels and hitting the wings.

    One time i was landing on a strip that was short for that setup. I landed with my brakes partially on and immediately hydroplaned and used up alot of the strip before I wised up and got off the brakes, fell off the step and threw water everywhere. I added some moose meat for my buddies who wanted out of camp because of torrential rains..The strip was covered with 6 to 10 inches of water. Put the power to it and got no acceleration past a certain point. I jumped on the brakes and came off way faster than I would have on the dry strip. I used the technique often until the airplane was modified with a 150hp with borer prop and flaps.
    Last edited by logjam; 11-04-2020 at 12:26 PM.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    ^^^^^This is good

    Gary

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    courierguy's Avatar
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    I landed an island once at Thompson Falls MT, back in the early '80's, on an XC in my Pterodactyl ultralight. I blew up my raft after setting up my camp, and rowed across the river into town to get something to eat, and maybe drink. On the return trip, now very dusky, I failed to account for the river current, and soon found that vigorous rowing would be needed to hit the island before drifting past it. I did it, just barely. The next morning on takeoff, I then saw there was a dam about a 1/2 mile or less downstream, with hydro intakes, screened I suppose, but I still wonder what would have happened.....

  16. #16
    mountainflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
    That was a close one!

    This must be on the short section of the river in Idaho? I can’t think of a section of river in Montana on the Lower Clark Fork where there is both a hydroelectric dam and gravel below.
    You are right on spinner2! It is in the short section in Idaho below the dam. To add to the story, during the attempted takeoffs, the engine ingested a bunch of river water and lost power. The river water level came up about 4-5 feet that evening and it was dark about an hour or so after the Cub got off the gravel bar. Some of locals that live along the Clark Fork River below the dam have a collection of Supercub parts that have washed up on the river banks.
    Last edited by mountainflier; 11-01-2020 at 10:03 PM.

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logjam View Post
    I have to wonder what would have happened if he had jumped on his brakes when he hit his maximum speed rolling through the water. I used the technique with a 100 horse 12 with no flaps on gar aero 29’s. I have read on this site that brakes don’t make any difference in takeoff and landings for water assisted landings, but it made a huge difference with my 12. Hit the brakes and you’re instantly on the step taking off. Dump the brakes in shallow water and the airplane fell off the step water spinning over the wheels and hitting the wings.

    One time i was landing on a strip that was short for that setup. I landed with my brakes partially on and immediately hydroplaned and used up alot of the strip before I wised up and got off the brakes, fell off the step and threw water everywhere. I added some moose meat for my buddies who wanted out of camp because of torrential rains..The strip was covered with 8 or 10 inches of water. Put the power to it and got no acceleration past a certain point. I jumped on the brakes and came off way faster than I would have on the dry strip. I used the technique often until the airplane was modified with a 150hp with borer prop and flaps.
    I don't want to practice that technique.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  18. #18
    txpacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Dang, the Brazos River goes up to 27 feet plus and down below 3 ft but never that rapidly. Know your river and what it can do.
    I've seen a wall of water flowing down the Red River downstream of the Texoma dam.

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    Clark fork landings

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainflier View Post
    You are right on spinner2! It is in the short section in Idaho below the dam. To add to the story, during the attempted takeoffs, the engine ingested a bunch of river water and lost power. The river water level came up about 4-5 feet that evening and it was dark about an hour or so after the Cub got off the gravel bar. Some of locals that live along the Clark Fork River below the dam have a collection of Supercub parts that have washed up on the river banks.

    Ask Bill Rusk about those parts
    Light Hauler

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I don't want to practice that technique.
    Roger that Steve! I haven’t used that technique since I had a ragged out old underpowered 12 that needed a rebuild...and I was 35 years younger and bulletproof! A few things about the airplane are different now too. More weight on the nose and I have flaps. I don't think I would use more than a notch of flaps.
    Still if I needed to use it to save the airplane or ditch in deep water it would be with the brakes locked!

  21. #21
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Good to know, I was balls to the wall without enough bar left when I had to rotate, skipped three time and I joined the Club. Applying brakes might have saved me on that one. Thanks for the heads up.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    mountainflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Woodson View Post
    Ask Bill Rusk about those parts
    This was a part found along the river bank a few years ago. It looks like a right front cowl door from somebody's Supercub, and appears to had a bumpy ride down along the bottom of the river with a little river slime on it. The person that found it, would be happy to give the part back to the original owner.
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  23. #23
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    That looks like Bill Rusk's that went through the generator.
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    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  24. #24
    mountainflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    That looks like Bill Rusk's that went through the generator.
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    If this is the airplane it went to, it looks like the part would match the left cowl lid door.
    Last edited by mountainflier; 11-03-2020 at 01:09 PM.

  25. #25
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Sure looks like it to me.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainflier View Post
    This was a part found along the river bank a few years ago. It looks like a right front cowl door from somebody's Supercub, and appears to had a bumpy ride down along the bottom of the river with a little river slime on it. The person that found it, would be happy to give the part back to the original owner.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Iíd be convinced...how neat to be able to have that piece back after that experience.

    óAmy
    Proud owner of a collection of airplane pieces (sometimes in one big piece) known as the Oklahoma Kid.

  27. #27
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I just emailed a link to this thread to Bill.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers
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  28. #28
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Thank you Steve. I have not been very active lately.

    Yes, I had a bad day on that river and left many parts (pretty much all) downstream of the dam. We did not even know where the airplane was for a couple of months. At the face of the dam or downstream? Two months after my mishap we found a part of the fuselage and only then did we know for a fact that it had gone over the dam. I do not have any parts or memorabilia from the mishap and would appreciate anything offered.

    There is info in a thread on the site (donít have time to link it right now) if you want to look it up.

    That river and I do have a history.

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  29. #29
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Steve Pierce

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    I landed on a bar on the Clark Fork in my old PA18 in 2009 that was almost too short. Some friends that came by in a jet boat took the picture.

    Bill, I thought about your Cub. Maybe this thread will reunite you with a few pieces.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Good to know, I was balls to the wall without enough bar left when I had to rotate, skipped three time and I joined the Club. Applying brakes might have saved me on that one. Thanks for the heads up.
    Steve, sorry to not let this go, but I dont know if the brakes would have saved you and i dont want to trick someone else into using brakes and hoping for the best. Your words “had to rotate” might have been your downfall as well as the guy whose picture we see in the first post. He looks like he was trying to rotate and sticking his tail anchor into the water which would cause him to slow down and pitch back up in an oscillation which might put more pressure on the mains.
    A number of guys talking about water assisted take offs and landings have reported that they don't have to use their brakes. For me i was using the water surface to support my weight until I was in the air. I don't think I had any rotation
    as such. I was solid on the water and in no hurry to get off until I had flying speed. The water was just a continuation of my runway and I hit the water way below flying speed.

    My landing was carrying power and keeping weight on the mains with the tail out of the water until such time as i came off the step and on the bottom. There was tendencies to pitch up as coming off the step in deeper water, and I had to be instant with stick back as the tail came up.

    you know how if you try and land on a runway before the airplane is done flying and you get an oscillation going and a go around is the best way to save yourself? I think youre screwed when you get that going by trying to rotate before youre ready to fly on water; a go around is impossible.

    I wish some of the guys that use water assisted takeoffs and landings would add their input here. I am not an instructor and I haven’t used the technique in years.

  32. #32
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logjam View Post
    I have to wonder what would have happened if he had jumped on his brakes when he hit his maximum speed rolling through the water. I used the technique with a 100 horse 12 with no flaps on gar aero 29ís. I have read on this site that brakes donít make any difference in takeoff and landings for water assisted landings, but it made a huge difference with my 12. Hit the brakes and youíre instantly on the step taking off. Dump the brakes in shallow water and the airplane fell off the step water spinning over the wheels and hitting the wings.

    One time i was landing on a strip that was short for that setup. I landed with my brakes partially on and immediately hydroplaned and used up alot of the strip before I wised up and got off the brakes, fell off the step and threw water everywhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by logjam View Post
    I wish some of the guys that use water assisted takeoffs and landings would add their input here. I am not an instructor and I havenít used the technique in years.
    I've done a lot of aviation stuff, but landing in or on the water with wheels is not one of them. I have heard of this brakes locked trick.
    When the wheel is rotating the surface tension between the wheel and the water causes the water to become attached to the rotating tire building up in the same manner as driving through wet and sticky snow. This build up becomes more drag. When the wheel is locked it starts to hydroplane as does a car on a wet road, just sliding across the surface as though on skis. Hydroplane speed is proportional to the pressure in the tires. The higher the pressure, the higher the hydroplane speed. At least this is how it works on a hard surface.
    Something to consider when found in this situation. While plowing through the water filling your pants, try rolling one wheel out of the water reducing half the drag. All else being equal, rolling the right wheel out will be easier due to the torque effect from the propeller helping. This is a trick done with a float plane when it isn't quite flying. Raise the right float, cut the drag drastically, fly away. Raising the left float requires more aileron/drag and speed.
    This is an interesting discussion on the topic.
    https://www.fusd1.org/site/handlers/...n-Adhesion.pdf
    N1PA

  33. #33
    Olibuilt's Avatar
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    Water assisted landing are easier than takeoffs...

    On 35's, touching water at less than 40mph ground speed is risky. But from there you can slow down and feel the tires going deeper in the water.

    For takeoffs, the plane wants to fly at about 25mph. Hit deep water at that speed and it could be bad.
    In a necessity, I would rather try to use the water at the beginning of the takeoff than at the rotation part of it..


    You can really see the tires rolling on the water in this video. Would be interesting to lock the wheels while hydroplaning:


  34. #34
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I say rotate but it was more of a nursing it off. It wasn't ready to fly at the end of the bar and I pulled it off at the end of the bar. It skipped across about 3 times before digging in. This was several years ago in my Pacer. I use the water assist on landing quite a bit in my Super Cub but early on I got it to slow and a lot of water came over the windshield before I got in the power and got my speed up and up on dry land. That was a wake up call.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers
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  35. #35
    mountainflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Thank you Steve. I have not been very active lately.

    Yes, I had a bad day on that river and left many parts (pretty much all) downstream of the dam. We did not even know where the airplane was for a couple of months. At the face of the dam or downstream? Two months after my mishap we found a part of the fuselage and only then did we know for a fact that it had gone over the dam. I do not have any parts or memorabilia from the mishap and would appreciate anything offered.

    There is info in a thread on the site (donít have time to link it right now) if you want to look it up.

    That river and I do have a history.

    Bill
    I will try to get that left cowl door for you Bill. It might not be till next springtime, because I am not in the area right now.
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  36. #36
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Thank you. No rush. I am grateful for anything that comes my way, whenever it happens.

    Very much appreciated

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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