Our Hover Power blogger Tim McAdams says the Robinson R66, the company’s first turbine helicopter, feels a little bigger and a little heavier than the piston-powered R44. Its cabin is about eight inches wider than that of the R44. It uses a T-bar cyclic, which means transitioning from the R44 is eaiser. In a full pilot report for the December 2010 AOPA Pilot, McAdams pointed out that the R66 has a sleeker profile along with a Bell JetRanger-style baggage compartment located under the transmission deck. It can hold 300 pounds and “one design objective was for it to be large enough to carry two sets of golf clubs.”—Jill W. Tallman
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
This is a random series of dumb, sometimes just “plane” stupid, and often funny (in retrospect) things that pilots have done. There isn’t a rhyme or reason to the order. But looking back over more than 20 years I’ve been flying, I’ve seen—or heard first hand—some real doozies. These are some of my favorites.
Tried to leave, but couldn’t. One pilot, a student, forgot to untie the tail of the Cessna 152. He started it up, did his After Start checklist, and with his instructor’s consent, juiced the throttle. The nose immediately jerked, went up a bit, and then came back down as the airplane rolled backwards a bit. The CFI had not seen that the tail rope was still tied either, but immediately figured it out. He also acted as though he let all of this happen: “Don’t make me do that to you again! Now, shut this airplane down, and go untie the rope. I hope you’ve learned something!”
At least he was a quick thinker.
Left, but shouldn’t have. Airline crews have certain things that they simply can not leave without. The maintenance log is one of them. I’ve heard of several captains, though, who have, and if they are lucky, they take off, get a radio call before they get too far away, and return to the airport. The tower usually knows what’s going on, and they take enormous pleasure in introducing the world to Captain Forgetful. It’s never happened to me, but I can only imagine what the speech to the passengers is like, let alone the explanation to the chief pilot.
What’s worse is when the crew gets where they are going, and then a special ferry flight has to be scheduled if the company can’t get the logbook onto another flight to XYZ.
As a result, guys come up with all kinds of reminders to make sure that they don’t make this mistake: turning screens off, moving their rudder pedals out of reach, writing notes on their clips or their hands. Hey, whatever works.
Left, but he shouldn’t have, Part II. Did you ever try to retract the landing gear, only to find that you didn’t remove the gear pins? Me either, but others have. The pins are put in to move the airplane after the hydraulic systems depressurize. But even modern hydraulic systems can’t overcome those pins. About the time you notice it, the tower can see the “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT” flags flapping the slipstream. “Hey, did you guys know…?”
Maybe they’ll get the chief pilot mentioned below.
Left…the engine running. This has happened twice that I know of. The first time, jets were new to the property and the crew left for the hotel. Upon arriving in his room, the captain got a phone call from the station. He talked the station through the shutdown procedure, and went to bed. Rumor is the company never knew.
The second time (different captain), the company and the FAA got wind of it, and the captain had to do the carpet dance, as he had several thousand hours in the aircraft. Not too long after, he became the chief pilot. Go figure.
In part II, Chip Wright will share incidents that illustrate how the FAA has eyes in the back of its head, and much more.–Ed.
Many student pilots are mystified when something their flight instructor has taught them is overruled by another flight instructor or a designated pilot examiner.
Such was the case in the August 2012 edition of Rod Machado’s “Since You Asked?” No Name Please (there are a lot of people with that monicker who write in to Rod, it seems) recounted that another CFI at his airport insists that a pilot flying have his hand on the throttle pretty much at all times and “goes bonkers” if he catches someone removing a hand from the throttle during final approach–no matter if a trim or flap adjustment is needed. He’s even been known not to sign off a pilot for a checkout if that hand comes off the throttle.
We asked digital readers to finish this sentence: “On takeoff or on final approach, the hand that’s not on the yoke is…”
The vast majority (94 percent of you) said their hand is on the throttle, but “I will take it off to adjust flaps or trim.”
The remainder (6 percent) said they keep that hand on the the throttle, “and it stays there.” Nobody admitted to keeping that hand in their lap.
Rod’s position is that while it’s reasonable to instruct student pilots to keep their hand on the throttle during takeoff or landing, but there’s no good reason whatsoever that a student pilot–or any other pilot–not be permitted to take his or her hand off the throttle to “do his cockpit business.” Those of us who fly airplanes with non-electric trim are thankful.–Jill W. Tallman
“Since You Asked” polls appear monthly in the digital edition of Flight Training. If you’d like to switch your magazine from paper to digital at no additional charge, go here or call Member Services 800-USA-AOPA weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern.
File this one under “things you hope don’t happen on your checkride”…
A sport pilot had to execute an emergency landing during his checkride after one of the propeller blades on his airplane decided to end things early. According to this article in the Longmont, Colo., Times Call, Brian Garrett was taking a checkride to become a private pilot when one of the blades of the three-bladed Sting Sport TL-2000 separated. By the time he and his designated pilot examiner had made an emergency landing in a field, a second blade had broken off as well.
Cheers to Garrett and his DPE, Drew Chitiea, for handling the situation–and extra cheers to Chitiea, who took the time to point out to a reporter that pilots train for emergency situations just like this—well, maybe not just like this, but close enough—all the time. According to the article, Garrett passed the checkride.—Jill W. Tallman
This is part two of a two-part blog in which readers submitted their aviation heroes–the ones who inspired them to learn to fly or continue their flight training when things got rocky. The first installment can be found here (or cut and paste this URL: http://blog.aopa.org/flighttraining/?p=1690 ).
Dwayne King. The director of Kingdom Air Corps ( http://kingdomaircorps.eaglebusinessweb.com ) is a missionary pilot who was one of the first to make such a flight to Provideniya in Far East Russia. His organization prepares student pilots and mechanics for missions. Many of the students are from LeTourneau University’s aviation program, where he has been on the faculty. Suggested by Matt F.
Charles A. Lindbergh’s solo nonstop flight from Long Island to Paris in 1927 catapulted him to fame. (Some believe the Lindy Hop was named for him, but that’s not the case; it originated before Lindbergh made his flight, and while some called it “the Lindbergh Hop,” that didn’t last.) Lindbergh went on to promote the development of commercial aviation and air mail services. Sadly, Lindbergh’s fame was almost eclipsed by the tragic kidnapping and murder of his infant son. Lindbergh was suggested by Don Eck, who says his hero’s flight across the Atlantic was “absolute proof that ‘navigation’ isn’t simply spelled G-P-S, V-O-R, I-L-S, or A-D-F, and also that it is possible to get to your intended destination to get to the radio.”
Robin Olds was one of the pioneer jet pilots of the U.S. Air Force. As a “triple Ace,” he had a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. Aviation historians consider Olds the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, citing his air-fighting skills and his reputation as a combat leader.
The Millionaires’ Unit: Alyson Booher thoughtfully provided a link to a trailer for a documentary ( www.millionairesunit.org ) on these World War I pilots–a group of Yale University students formed in 1916 who privately funded an air militia that became the nation’s first air coast guard patrol unit.
William “Billy” Mitchell, considered the father of the U.S. Air Force. By the end of World War I he commanded all U.S. air combat units in France. After the war, he advocated increased investment in air power. He is the only person for whom a type of U.S. military aircraft is named–that would be the North American B-25 Mitchell. Suggested by Randall Tilley.
Dick and Burt Rutan. Suggested by Jill (no last name), who called them “the modern-day Wright brothers,” the Rutans formed an aircraft company, and Elbert “Burt” Rutan designed the Voyager–the first airplane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. Richard “Dick” Rutan was the one who made that record-setting flight with co-pilot Jenna Yeager. Burt Rutan also designed the sub-orbital SpaceShipOne and the experimental VariEze and Long-EZ.
“Sky King.” This 1940s and 1950s radio and television series was suggested by Flight Training Contributing Editor Greg Brown. “We desperately need a sequel!” he says of the show, which featured an Arizona rancher and pilot who captured criminals and spies and found lost hikers. His airplane was portrayed by first a Cessna T-50 and, later, a Cessna 310B, and it was called Songbird.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. Suggested by Darrell O’Sullivan, “Smithy” was an Australian pilot who made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia in 1928, as well as the first nonstop crossing of the Australia mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States.
The Tuskegee Airmen. A little-known chapter of aviation history for decades, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots in the U.S. armed forces. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying in the U.S. military. While films and television typically focus on the pilots, “Tuskegee Airmen” actually refers to all who were involved in the Army Airs Corps program at Tuskegee Field in Alabama to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft–pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, and instructors. The pilots formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 447th bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Corps. Suggested by Denis Gagnon, Chris Mullins, and Steven Warren.
Chuck Yeager was a test pilot who was the first to break the sound barrier in October 1947, flying the Bell X-1 at Mach 1. He became synonymous with the term “the right stuff” when he was featured in Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name and its movie adaptation.
Honorable mention: When I published Part 1 of this blog, some readers were stricken to learn that no one had mentioned Bob Hoover and Scott Crossfield. So here they are, and deservedly so.
- Search on YouTube for “Bob Hoover pours ice tea” and watch what happens. If you’ve never seen or read anything about Hoover, this will likely show you more than words could ever say what a great pilot can do. Jimmy Doolittle (remember, he performed the outside loop that had thwarted other hapless pilots) called Hoover “the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived.”
- Crossfield was a test pilot alongside Chuck Yeager, and in fact became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound in 1953. He, too, was featured in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and the film adaptation.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of these remarkable people’s aviation accomplishments, so I urge you to research them yourself. If you have not found an aviation inspiration, surely this group is a great place to start.—Jill W. Tallman
Remember when your parents told you “If you cheat on a test, you’re only cheating yourself”? They were right. But if you cheat on your logged hours, you’re not only cheating yourself, you’re also putting yourself and anybody you take with you at risk.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that an Iowa pilot who inflated his hours to obtain a commercial certificate received probation this week after he pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FAA–which does carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and fine of up to $250,000. Prosecutors had asked for a one-year sentence, but the judge sided with the defense attorneys who said he’d learned his lesson. He did get his ticket yanked. You can read the entire article here, or copy and paste this link: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Student-pilot-to-be-sentenced-for-false-records-3805877.php
Whether or not you think the sentence is a fair one, I’m flabbergasted that the pilot’s attorneys argued he lied about his hours “simply to save money getting the license” (as if that makes it all OK), that he “posed no real danger,” and he “never actually flew beyond his qualifications.” I’d argue he flew beyond his qualifications the minute he made his first specious logbook entry.
What do you think?—Jill W. Tallman
Who are your aviation heroes? Who inspires you to push on with your flight training even though quitting sometimes seems like a very attractive option?
The women in this photo are four pilots from the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP, as they were called, were civilians trained during World War II to ferry military aircraft. These four–Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner, and Blanche Osborn–are shown at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Ohio.
The WASP, collectively, helped me through some frustrating periods in my primary and instrument training. Each time I hit a stumbling block, I would reflect on those women and realize that if they could muscle around B-17s and B-26s, I should be able to handle something like a [insert maneuver here].
So who are your aviation inspirations? Which person or people gave you the inspiration and motivation to push on with your aviation goals? Please tell me in the Comments section, and I will blog your responses.–Jill W. Tallman
The 24-hour news cycle is a blessing and a curse for general aviation. A curse, because now anybody who has ever had a gear-up, an emergency landing, or even a “hard landing” is likely to find themselves the subject of breathless-bordering-on-sensational coverage. A blessing, because the happy events of general aviation–like solos and certificates–are now finding their way into the mainstream media more often. From time to time we’ll post the good stories so that we, too, can celebrate the successes. Congratulations to all!
- Ashley Peniston of Chillicothe, Missouri, soloed a Cessna 172 on July 17. According to the Chillicothe News, Ashley was the first female to solo at Chillicothe Municipal Airport since 2000. (!) She did get her shirt-tail cut (there’s a great photo with her instructor, Mike Langwell). Note to the Constitution-Tribune: It’s yoke, not “yolk.” Ashley and her husband, Bob, are both pilots. Bob soloed on Feb. 25.
- CAP Cadets Matthew Angelo and Jack Nordell soloed in July. Both are from Canon City, N.M. According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Angelo flew at Fort Pickett, Va., and Nordell flew at Shawnee, Okla. A photo shows the cadets in CAP uniform, holding their cut shirt tails.
- Robert Pinksten of Nashua, N.H., soloed a helicopter on July 2. The Nashua Telegraph was quick to crown Robert “Youngest in New England to Pilot Helicopter Solo,” but we’re also happy to give Robert his props, since you don’t see teens soloing helicopters every day. We also love it when media solemnly inform readers that the soloing youngster will be flying an aircraft before he is driving a car. —Jill W. Tallman