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  • My first Wikipedia edit

    Posted on June 17th, 2005 Lee Devlin 1 comment
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    I’ve been using Wikipedia for a few months and have always been impressed with the breath and accuracy of its entries. However, I was reading through it yesterday and was stunned to find a completely inaccurate description of John Denver’s fatal LongEZ accident in his bio. Even though the cause if the accident is written up by the NTSB and available on the web, here is what the Wikipedia entry about the accident read:

    … the design of the aircraft is such that the fuel selector is difficult to reach, being behind the left shoulder of the pilot. Third, on Denver’s aircraft, the fuel selector handle had been replaced with a Vice Grips, complicating operation of the selector further. Finally, due to Denver’s preoccupation with the fuel selector, the aircraft entered a stall, and subsequently, a spin, both conditions of which the Rutan Long-EZ is more unforgiving than aircraft of more conventional design. …

    First of all, the fuel valve in a LongEZ built according to plans is very easy to reach, it’s located between the pilots knees. The aircraft John Denver purchased had it installed in a terrible location, making it necessary to put the plane on autopilot to safely operate the valve. Secondly, a LongEZ CANNOT STALL OR SPIN when operated within the c.g. limit and JD’s aircraft was inside this limit. So I edited the entry to read as follows:

    … the aircraft’s fuel selector valve was not installed according to the aircraft designer’s plans and was difficult to reach, being behind the left shoulder of the pilot. Third, on Denver’s aircraft, the fuel selector handle had been replaced with a Vise Grips, complicating operation of the selector further. Finally, due to Denver’s preoccupation with the fuel selector, he may have unintentionally put the aircraft into a steep bank. According to the NTSB accident report, the investigators noted a natural reaction for the pilot’s right foot to depress the right rudder pedal when turning in the seat to reach the fuel selector handle. With the right rudder depressed in flight, the airplane would pitch up slightly & bank to the right…

    I was rather impressed with how easy it was to correct this information.

     

    One response to “My first Wikipedia edit”

    1. Thanks for improving Wikipedida!

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