Test Flight!

April 4, 2008 by Bruce Landsberg

This is a classic “be careful what you ask for—you just might get it!” The first flight of “Safety e-Journal” turned out to be more than a high-speed taxi test. It got more than airborne when we asked for your responses on “Goose, It’s time to buzz the tower,” commentary about a low pass by a Boeing 777 captain, and “Seeking pleasure—avoiding pain,” about a recent ADIZ incursion.

We received lots of responses! Unfortunately, I can’t respond to each individual, but here are a few comments and the general consensus from pilots.

Buzzing the tower

  1. This is OK and the captain should be reinstated.
    Nobody thought this was a good idea.
  2. Perhaps legal but not smart. The captain should be reprimanded but reinstated after an appropriate time out.
    Half of you voted for this choice.
  3. Really dumb, and we expect PICs everywhere to exercise better judgment—the punishment should stand as a message to all pilots that legalities and safety are sometimes separate.
    Half of you voted for this choice.

Comments

Geraldine voted B, saying, “BUT IT WAS REALLY DUMB.”

Joe Smith: “If in fact senior management was aboard, and approved the maneuver, he (the capt.) should be reinstated, and they should be fired.”

Robert Jones: “…it appears the maneuver was approved by the control tower and the pilot’s superiors on-board the aircraft. It was still a pretty dumb stunt with attendant high risks of endangering many other innocent people. This impromptu air show lacked the required oversight and planning that would minimize associated risks to personnel and property.”

ADIZ Infractions

  1. I fly IFR regardless of weather to avoid “security airspace” issues.
    Just about half voted for A.
  2. I know the airspace rules and comfortably operate VFR.
    Just under half voted for this choice.
  3. What’s an ADIZ and where can I get one?
    Nobody took the bait on this one.
  4. I don’t fly anywhere near any ADIZ or prohibited areas.
    Six of you stay well clear.

Comments

Mike Ryan: ” Might be nice to have an article that points out some of the various strategies a VFR pilot could follow to stay away from restricted airspace boundaries. Highlight a particular area and point out that following the river to the town before turning west will keep them away. Track this VOR radial, then turn west at this radial from the second VOR. Read the GPS directions on how to set the alarm at airspace boundaries….”

Greg Fitzgerald: “Operate VFR with flight following on every flight, to ensure I have continuous contact with ATC.”

There were many other good comments, but this gives us a sampling.

Stand by for e-Journal No. 4. Many thanks to all who took time to respond. Keep ’em coming.

Safe Flights…

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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