Archive for 2009

The “Impossible” Turn?

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Impossible Turn RPSLast week ASF posted a new Real Pilot Story, The Impossible Turn. Most will know this as an attempt to return to the airport during an engine failure right after takeoff. The conventional wisdom is to look for something soft and cheap to hit out ahead of the aircraft that involves minimal maneuvering to lessen the chance of a fatal stall.

We have ample evidence that a poorly executed turn or an attempt at too low an altitude is disastrous. What we don’t know is how many people successfully pulled it off because there are no statistics on the positive side. Sorry, but local hangar flying does not quite qualify as a reliable source even as the story gets better with each retelling!

In the unusual case of Mooney pilot, Dave Keller, he had just installed a video camera in his Mooney when the engine quit right after takeoff. He estimated he was perhaps 500 feet AGL. We couldn’t have paid Dave enough to do this on purpose -it was all captured, accidentally, on video. Dave did a fantastic job and had many things going for him. See for yourself in the Real Pilot Story above.

AOPA writer Barry Schiff wrote about the impossible turn some years ago and actually did some testing to show when it might work. There are lots of caveats. We had quite a discussion at ASF on how to present Dave’s experience. There are times when the impossible turn may be quite possible and others when it would be a really bad idea. Perhaps some more testing should be done to identify those situations. What do you think?

If you see an aircraft on the Runway…..

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

7-1 introRunway safety – a continuing saga? Yes, and so it should be. Some may be tired of hearing about it but the facts are that from 2003 through 2008 there were between 24 and 32 Category A or B incursions annually. A & Bs are the bad ones where either exceptional skill, some luck or likely a bit of both prevented a catastrophe.

It was my privilege to represent GA and to speak at the FAA’s International Runway Safety Conference in DC this week along with two NTSB members, The airlines, airport operators air traffic controllers – in short anyone who had anything to do with keeping aircraft and vehicles from getting together on runways was there.

Many things were discussed but here’s what should be of interest to pilots:

1. Moving map displays are a nice addition to any cockpit to help you reference location but remember to look outside.

2. If there’s even the slightest bit of uncertainty, verify with the tower that you are cleared to cross or enter a runway.

3. ALWAYS look even though you’ve been cleared to cross, takeoff or land – it’s saved me several times.

3. Distraction is deadly – avoid multi-tasking and don’t be programing the magic while the aircraft is moving unless there’s another pilot on board and one of you is looking outside.

4. Complacency is deadly – think it can’t happen to you ? Ask anyone of the roughly 900 pilots who had a deviation last year. They have a different opinion – now.

The good news is that for 2009 the A’s and B’s are down to about 12 but it’s too soon to tell if that’s due to reduced flight hours or that we’re starting to get a handle on this.

Runway Safety 2009If you have a runway safety suggestion, share it even for non-towered airports. It was only last week we were discussing traffic patterns there and check out the new runway safety course that FAA Office of Runway Safety was kind enough to sponsor. I guarantee you’ll learn something even if you’ve taken our earlier version. I did. If you’ve got a practical test or a flight review soon this is strongly recommended – chances are excellent inquiring minds will want to know.

Check out these additional ASF resources on Runway Safety:

traditional christmas cards
christmas gifts for new moms
luxury christmas gifts
unusual corporate christmas gifts
handmade christmas gifts
obama christmas cards
humane society christmas cards
christmas gift wrapping ideas

jay strongwater christmas ornaments
engraved christmas ornaments
vera wang christmas cards
teacher christmas gift ideas
pickle christmas ornament
hand stamped christmas cards
star trek christmas ornaments
3d christmas ornaments
top christmas gifts 2009

christmas gifts under $50
online christmas cards
infant christmas gifts
easy homemade christmas ornaments
christmas greeting card template
christmas cards photo cards
edible christmas gift ideas
christmas party gifts
egyptian christmas ornaments

1st christmas ornaments
funny dog christmas cards
primitive christmas tree ornaments
carlton cards christmas ornaments
rude christmas cards
christmas ornament fundraiser
origami christmas cards
irish charity christmas cards
christmas gifts under $25.00

pretty christmas cards
electronic charity christmas cards
christmas card decorations
christmas ornaments online
environmentally friendly christmas gifts
1st christmas gifts
staff christmas gifts
cute christmas gifts for boyfriend
cute christmas card ideas

personalized family christmas cards
occupation christmas ornaments
christmas ornament catalogs
polish christmas cards
recycled christmas card crafts
photo christmas cards
scandinavian christmas cards
christmas ornament frames
christmas gifts for students

mini christmas cards
christmas gifts for my husband
novelty christmas cards
digital photo christmas cards
useful christmas gifts
greyhound christmas cards
a colbert christmas the greatest gift of all
expecting christmas ornament
2009 christmas gift ideas

school christmas cards
adult christmas ornaments
chinese christmas gifts
good christmas gifts for your boyfriend
santa christmas cards
disney christmas cards
christmas card generator
find christmas gifts
vintage christmas cards

christmas cards kids can make
digital christmas cards
creative christmas gift ideas
construction christmas cards
sewing christmas ornaments
spca christmas cards
unicorn christmas ornament
godmother christmas gifts
tearfund christmas cards

merck old world christmas ornaments
christmas gifts for men
western christmas cards
baldwin christmas ornaments
primitive christmas ornaments
fair trade christmas cards
christmas gift ideas for my wife
hottest christmas gifts
inexpensive christmas gifts

christmas ornaments to color
christmas gifts for seniors
unusual christmas gift ideas
personalized family christmas ornaments
nyc christmas ornaments
pig christmas cards
christmas gift ideas 2009
christmas gift ideas uk
christmas gifts by post

vertical photo christmas cards
elmo christmas ornament
glitter christmas cards
cowboy christmas cards
rugby christmas gift
unusual christmas gifts
christmas gifts for my boyfriend
goth christmas cards
female christmas gift ideas

sugar plum fairy christmas ornament
christmas ornaments kids can make
boston christmas cards
boston christmas ornaments
remembrance christmas ornaments
internet christmas cards
railroad christmas cards
christmas party gift exchange
christmas food gift hamper

christmas gifts for 2 year olds
christmas gifts ireland
christmas cookie gifts
design your own christmas cards
must have christmas gifts
disney printable christmas cards
personalized christmas ornaments
mary christmas cards
cool christmas ornaments

bird christmas cards
hunting christmas ornaments
vintage style christmas cards
computer christmas ornaments
old christmas ornaments
top 10 christmas gifts for kids
polish christmas gifts
best christmas gifts
inexpensive christmas gifts to make

christmas gift vouchers
lsu christmas cards
high school musical christmas ornament
seashell christmas ornaments
hot christmas gifts 2009
donkey christmas cards
hot gift ideas for christmas 2009
cool christmas gifts for teens
nutcracker christmas cards

turning christmas ornaments
office christmas gift ideas
christmas card ideas for children
cool christmas card ideas
ukrainian christmas ornaments
best christmas gifts for men
new home christmas ornament
paper magic christmas cards
christmas card holder craft

a christmas story ornaments
ling christmas cards
bulk christmas gifts
international christmas gifts
specialty business christmas cards
scrapbook christmas cards
australian christmas gifts
scrapbooking christmas card templates
simple homemade christmas gifts

make a christmas card holder
baby’s first christmas gift ideas
christmas gift baskets canada
motorcycle christmas ornaments
christmas gifts from the kitchen
baby christmas gift ideas
christmas gifts for mum
equine christmas cards
quilted christmas ornaments

novelty christmas gifts
christmas tree top ornaments
collectible christmas ornaments
the christmas card movie
practical christmas gifts
keepsake christmas ornaments
whippet christmas cards
create christmas photo cards
christmas table place cards

christmas ornament organizer
hard to find christmas gifts
christmas gifts for your man
christmas ornament images
stupid christmas gifts
wire christmas ornaments
antique christmas glass ornament tree
modern christmas photo cards
personalised christmas cards

business christmas gift gift idea
swedish christmas gifts
christmas gift ideas for him
make printable christmas cards
paperchase christmas cards
wooden christmas gifts
christmas gifts for neighbors
inexpensive personalized christmas cards
christmas gifts for tweens

christmas gift certificates
simple christmas cards
christmas gift paper
ribbon christmas ornaments
christmas gifts for 14 year old boys
christmas gifts for 3 year olds
shiny brite christmas ornaments
sample christmas cards
hot christmas gifts 2009

christmas table gifts
unusual christmas ornaments
lennox christmas ornaments
monogrammed christmas gifts
brown christmas ornaments
elegant christmas cards
bulk christmas ornaments
horse racing christmas cards
snowbabies christmas ornaments

beautiful christmas cards
printed photo christmas cards
christmas card activities
puppy christmas cards
western christmas ornaments
racing christmas cards
christmas gift ideas for teens
nasty christmas cards
basset hound christmas cards

law enforcement christmas cards
wood christmas ornaments
special charity christmas cards
advertising last minute christmas gift
hot air balloon christmas ornament
christmas cracker gifts
classic car christmas cards
christian aid christmas cards
cheap christmas gift baskets

cat christmas ornaments
fireman christmas cards
polish christmas ornaments
christmas gifts for young men
christmas gift clip art
christmas ornaments clearance
lime green christmas ornaments
hot new christmas gifts
printable christmas gift certificates

naughty christmas ornaments
christmas gift ideas for couples
midwest christmas ornaments
make my own christmas cards
special christmas gifts
christmas gifts for moms
food christmas ornaments
car christmas ornaments
christmas ornament boxes

perfect christmas gift for dad
black cat christmas cards
christmas gifts online
sweet christmas gifts
martha stewart christmas gifts
inspirational christmas gifts
shop christmas ornaments
pregnant christmas ornament
discount christmas ornaments

golden retriever christmas ornament
celtic christmas ornaments
military christmas cards
handmade christmas tree ornaments
christmas ornament wallpaper
mini christmas ornaments
top 10 christmas gifts 2009
musical christmas cards
beatles christmas ornament

christmas gifts for 15 year olds
christmas ornaments for children to make
religious christmas photo cards
piano christmas ornament
employee christmas gift ideas
top christmas gifts for him
christmas credit card debt
child christmas gift
ethnic christmas cards

guinea pig christmas cards
christmas hostess gifts
printable christmas cards for children
cheap christmas gift ideas
dog photo christmas cards
animated christmas gifts
great christmas gift ideas
order christmas cards online
christmas card scenes

dachshund christmas cards
reed and barton christmas ornaments
favorite christmas gifts
christian christmas card greetings
owl christmas cards
shoebox christmas cards
grinch christmas cards
innovative christmas cards
lalique christmas ornament

horse charity christmas cards
best christmas gifts 2009
english christmas ornaments
photo christmas cards invitations
christmas gift catalogs
recycled christmas gifts
museum christmas cards
simple homemade christmas ornaments
printable christmas bingo cards

christmas gift deals
christmas ornament storage
fair trade christmas ornaments
christmas gifts for 13 year old girls
unusual baby christmas gifts
breyer christmas ornaments
gay christmas cards
chudleigh christmas card
non religious christmas cards

best christmas gifts for boys
right left christmas gift exchange
great christmas cards
chic christmas cards
eiffel tower christmas ornament
bicycle christmas ornament
2009 dated christmas ornaments
chicken christmas cards
needlepoint christmas ornaments

Turkey of a Pattern

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

turkeyAs our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that a maneuver I witnessed last weekend at a very busy non-towered airport didn’t test Newton’s second law . As I was waiting in the lineup for takeoff , the frequency was abuzz with everyone reporting various legs in perfect VFR weather. A Mooney on base leg apparently didn’t see the Cirrus flying a much wider base. He should have but didn’t.

The Mooney turned final as did the Cirrus and both announced but nobody, it seems, was looking or listening.  The Cirrus rapidly overtook the Mooney and it looked like there would be widely scattered composite and aluminum in the forecast. I advised the Cirrus pilot that he had a Mooney at his 12 o’clock low on final.

Most pilots would have acknowledged, sidestepped to the right to keep the traffic ahead in sight and started a climb straight ahead to re-enter downwind at least midfield or beyond.  This particular runway has right traffic. The Cirrus pilot announced he was starting a left 360 so as to re-enter on final from the left side. I probably overstepped my bounds by again advising the Cirrus that he would come head-to-head with another aircraft on right base. Unfazed, the Cirrus pilot tucked in closely behind a Cessna that was following the Mooney. The second aircraft may have “just” cleared the runway when the Cirrus touched down. It was an astounding piece of airmanship!

After reflecting on this for 48 hours, here are some observations:  Midair collisions are rare – average less than 10 per year. They are often serious with fatalities on one or both aircraft. They frequently result in significant reactions from media and the non-flying public even if the wreckage doesn’t cause significant ground damage. Remember the Hudson collision?  It was the first one in the corridor in 45 years and the changes are far reaching. This situation had huge negative potential for this airport based on this pilot’s spur-of-the-moment decision to take a shortcut.

Here are two Safety Advisors for review:

Operations at Non-Towered Airports ( PDF) and


Collision Avoidance ( PDF)

I’m asking for your opinions as a sounding board:

1. I should have kept quiet after the first warning. Nothing wrong with a 360 – There’s no rule against it -and it all worked out.

2. The Cirrus pilot should have flown a normal miss and re-entered the downwind. Get out the tar and feathers – track down the miscreant and make him read the AIM cover to cover!

3. Other — you’ll have to do some writing here.

Don’t lurk -lock in your votes and if you have a chance,  go flying this holiday. Heads up – eyes out!