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Old 08-18-2017, 05:34 PM   #1
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Something is going on: Airstream rollover three

You will recall the old saying "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three is enemy action". Well, here goes the action:

Many of you will recall my previous post about two Airstream rollovers in a week on I90 MP319, in roughly the same spot, in early August two years ago. I am a fireman and responded to both. In both cases, weather was perfect, grade was straight and 4% downhill. Both times trailer swung around the TV. One was a small SUV with a long trailer, one a rental unit. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1645004

Today, I received a page MVA I90 MP319. I was off duty, but heard later from the responders that it WAS AN AIRSTREAM IN THE SAME PLACE, where the trailer apparently tried swing the TV, based on skid marks. The TV and trailer were in the ditch on their sides. And it was apparently a rental unit. Young family of four, one transported.

So what do we make of that? I don't believe any of the TV's were larger than 1/2 ton trucks. Were the TV's overloaded? Were the driver's inexperienced? Were the hitches on right? I don't know, but something is going on, and I don't want to be a part of it.

I do know most TV's (in particular 1/2 tons) are overloaded. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post456088.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:42 PM   #2
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Irresponsible of me to guess - but inexperience, no training, and excessive speed. Renting these units suggests (doesn't demand, but suggests) people have no former RV experience, if so, odds are lottery-low they took a 2-day RV Safe Driver course, and without any experience or training may assume you just drive like you always do despite having the trailer behind you. Again - irresponsible to guess here but that's my $0.02...
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:47 PM   #3
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I have no opinion until some actual facts as to cause are known.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshovic View Post
You will recall the old saying "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three is enemy action". Well, here goes the action:

Many of you will recall my previous post about two Airstream rollovers in a week on I90 MP319, in roughly the same spot, in early August two years ago. I am a fireman and responded to both. In both cases, weather was perfect, grade was straight and 4% downhill. Both times trailer swung around the TV. One was a small SUV with a long trailer, one a rental unit. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1645004

Today, I received a page MVA I90 MP319. I was off duty, but heard later from the responders that it WAS AN AIRSTREAM IN THE SAME PLACE, where the trailer apparently tried swing the TV, based on skid marks. The TV and trailer were in the ditch on their sides. And it was apparently a rental unit. Young family of four, one transported.

So what do we make of that? I don't believe any of the TV's were larger than 1/2 ton trucks. Were the TV's overloaded? Were the driver's inexperienced? Were the hitches on right? I don't know, but something is going on, and I don't want to be a part of it.

I do know most TV's (in particular 1/2 tons) are overloaded. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post456088.
Thanks Hank,

Doing all that math right now and have eliminated a number of trailers even though they have a GVWR below my TV tow rating - its the combined weight that didn't work, and that we before altitude adjustment.

Thanks for your service,
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:56 PM   #5
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I have no opinion until some actual facts as to cause are known.


Dagnabbit - why do you have to be all responsible after I venture out irresponsibly?
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:00 PM   #6
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I'm sorry to hear. I drive the pass often going from Bozeman to Livingston, both with Airstream in tow and also on my motorcycle. The wind gusts do get very strong and going downhill I can see someone getting taken by surprise.

http://www.kbzk.com/story/36168224/c...n-bozeman-pass
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:06 PM   #7
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Dagnabbit - why do you have to be all responsible after I venture out irresponsibly?

Because this thread will go the way of all its predecessors.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshovic View Post
One was a small SUV with a long trailer, one a rental unit. Here is the thread.

The TV and trailer were in the ditch on their sides. And it was apparently a rental unit. Young family of four, one transported.

So what do we make of that? I don't believe any of the TV's were larger than 1/2 ton trucks. Were the TV's overloaded? Were the driver's inexperienced? Were the hitches on right?
As an experienced accident investigator, I investigated accidents based on the empirical assumption that there is never just one cause of any accident. There are always two or more. One is an unsafe act, the other an unsafe condition or another unsafe act.

An unsafe condition by itself never causes an accident. If the people involved are aware of the condition, they can make allowances for it, and everything is copacetic.

One unsafe act by itself never causes an accident. That's why people can say, "But I've done it that way for years and never had a problem." Until the one time they DO have a problem, because conditions were different that time.

In these three cases, there is at least one known unsafe condition, namely the 4% downhill grade. One thing that's unsafe about a downhill grade is the gravity-assisted acceleration. Most of us know to downshift and use engine compression to help control speed, and we know not to ride the brakes if we do have to brake, because hot brakes fade. But some people don't even realize that you can downshift an automatic; they just put it in "D" and go on about their way. And if they don't know to downshift, they may ride the brakes for lack of knowing what else to do. And given the way trailer brakes are typically set up, the trailer brakes will fade before the tow vehicle brakes do, leading to the tail trying to wag the dog when the tow vehicle slows and the trailer doesn't. Especially when the trailer outweighs the tow vehicle by a significant margin.

So there's a possible unsafe condition, the downhill grade, and a possible unsafe act, improper method of downhill speed control. One plus one equals two, an accident.

It's all speculation, of course. I wasn't there. I didn't see it. I didn't talk to any of the people involved. But it's entirely plausible, and it makes sense of the same type of accident happening in the same place three different times.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshovic View Post
You will recall the old saying "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three is enemy action". Well, here goes the action:

Many of you will recall my previous post about two Airstream rollovers in a week on I90 MP319, in roughly the same spot, in early August two years ago. I am a fireman and responded to both. In both cases, weather was perfect, grade was straight and 4% downhill. Both times trailer swung around the TV. One was a small SUV with a long trailer, one a rental unit. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1645004

Today, I received a page MVA I90 MP319. I was off duty, but heard later from the responders that it WAS AN AIRSTREAM IN THE SAME PLACE, where the trailer apparently tried swing the TV, based on skid marks. The TV and trailer were in the ditch on their sides. And it was apparently a rental unit. Young family of four, one transported.

So what do we make of that? I don't believe any of the TV's were larger than 1/2 ton trucks. Were the TV's overloaded? Were the driver's inexperienced? Were the hitches on right? I don't know, but something is going on, and I don't want to be a part of it.

I do know most TV's (in particular 1/2 tons) are overloaded. Here is the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post456088.


Well, you are part of it, and encouraging speculation in absence of knowledge is not very productive. One would need the accident reports and root cause analysis. Probably not public information.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:23 PM   #10
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Well, you are part of it, and encouraging speculation in absence of knowledge is not very productive. One would need the accident reports and root cause analysis. Probably not public information.
Don't be too hard on him. We may not be able to learn from the accidents in the absence of documented fact. But we can speculate about possible causes, and learn from each other how to deal with the hypothetical situations we come up with. That's hardly what I would call unproductive.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:43 PM   #11
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I'm sorry to hear. I drive the pass often going from Bozeman to Livingston, both with Airstream in tow and also on my motorcycle. The wind gusts do get very strong and going downhill I can see someone getting taken by surprise.

http://www.kbzk.com/story/36168224/c...n-bozeman-pass
Thanks for the link. The headline refers to Bozeman Pass, but at the bottom of the short article it says:

"Another crash is slowing traffic just east of Livingston (see photos).This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available."

The photos are not much help IMO:






In previous accidents, the photos showed some details which permitted further inquiry.

The news article says it will be updated.

Winds at the airport were light and unremarkable IMO: http://w1.weather.gov/obhistory/KBZN.html

The Livingston paper has nothing that I see: http://www.livingstonenterprise.com/...-local-stories

Nothing at all to go on about what caused the accident IMO.

Peter
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:10 PM   #12
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Here are some traffic cams east of Livingston on (?) I-90:

http://rwis.mdt.mt.gov/scanweb/swfra...va&SenType=All

. . . but not sure how to get the historical data.

Although the winds at the Bozeman airport were light per the previous post, the Livingston airport experienced strong winds this afternoon from 12:53 to 3:53 PM local time, with gusts up to 29 MPH from the west. Not insignificant IMO:

http://w1.weather.gov/obhistory/KLVM.html

The mountain range between Bozeman and Livingston could easily augment the westerly winds coming down the mountain into Livingston IMO.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Li...4d-110.5599556

Here is another view of the wind data, with the westerly gusts highlighted in pink:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/get...M&num=72&raw=0

The 2:03 PM MDT weather warnings here: [scroll down page to find it by time stamp]

http://www.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxt...wa=byz&wwa=all

. . . included this text:

"* Impacts/Timing: A dry cold front will create dry and breezy conditions beginning this afternoon. Wind and dry conditions will likely occur on the midslopes and ridges well into the overnight hours tonight.
* Winds: West winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph through exposed areas. Peak winds are expected between 6 to 9 pm."


Again, no speculation about causes for the roll-over -- just some raw data to consider. If the news article is updated, or the driver posts here [which happened last year -- was that Montana also? Hmmmmm . . . ], then the wind date may come into play.

Have a good weekend!

Cheers,

Peter

FWIW
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:52 PM   #13
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I betcha its those darn Chevys with the bad steering and brakes!

Seriously, it would be good to know if possible. The idea of unfamiliar drivers is a good possibility.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:58 PM   #14
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Speculation...

Looking at the map and following the highway looking for where it might have happened, before I saw the photos, my guess was pretty much correct on the location. So I'll go with my reasoning that led me to select the spot.

On the North side of the highway there are two sections of small cliff blinds, north of those two sections are the valleys which lead north, one housing Jackson Creek Road the other Quinn Creek Road up into the mountains, I live in NH, home of the highest wind speeds ever recorded (okay, not anymore) those speeds are achieved by the mountains funneling affects, the same would be the case here. So even if the airport doesn't see high winds, small winds can be focused and channeled to be stronger somewhere else. This combined with the blinds, creating a calm area, which you are abruptly dumped out of, then add in that you are coming out of the hills and can pretty much see flatter road ahead (causing you to think coast slightly and cool the brakes) then add in 2 of these accidents involved rental units (experience/equipment condition) no muscle memory to reach/squeeze brake controller. Add in a slightly sudden increased tailwind, channel affect and the whole thing could get squirrelly extremely quickly.

It's kinda like the Santa Annas coming in and blowing over parked CH-53s

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https://goo.gl/maps/LdaW2EQ5wEN2
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