Turkey of a Pattern

November 24, 2009 by Bruce Landsberg

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!

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

ASI Online Safety Courses  |  ASI Safety Quiz  |  Support the AOPA Foundation

  • John Green

    Bruce,

    As a brand new pilot (under 60 hours) I was put into a similar situation this past week. Here’s the set up…..I trained in a DA20 and was in the process of taking out the G1000 DA40 for the first time so that I could get more familiar with the it. After making my radio call and lifting off the runway I began a normal climb. Upon reaching 500 feet I glanced to might right only to see another single engine pulling a banner perpendicular to the runway. he couldn’t have been more than 300 ft off to my right at the same altitude. Knowing that one of the CFI’s and a student where on downwind straight at this guy I announced their tail number and gave the non-practiced, non-standard call of “plane pulling a banner at your 12’oclock”. They responded “we have the plane in sight but don’t see a banner”. The pilot committing what I now consider a mortal sin (flying across the threshold of a runway unannounced) responded “its 300 ft behind me”. Unacceptable behavior in my opinion even thought there is nothing illegal about it and he put several people in danger for no reason. Lastly…he didn’t have a transponder so the traffic systems on both planes didn’t pick him up. I tell this story because it taught me a valuable rule about cockpit management (eyes on the move) and to expect the unexpected even when you are taught that the rules are in place so everyone stays safe. All it takes is one knucklehead to mess up the day and I fully agree with the call you made that day. The cirrus had the option to take matters into his hands and I think he should have done what was expected by his fellow pilots in the pattern.

  • Chuck

    The call was the right thing, even with the desire not to intrude. Having the Cirrus intrude on the Mooney, much worse. I am glad to hear he was listening, but sad to see the trend of the B-52 Pattern lives on. I believe it is a sad fact with the number of take-offs and landings on a given day, close calls are going to be statistical fact. In the past 26 years I have had several and I consider myself careful. Always looking for the B1rd or pilot not paying attention. A couple years ago In Florida there were a couple mids, with Towers. Of course being predictable means preventable, I feel that will occur with the ADS-B becomes the norm. Until then, feel free to give me a shout out, to keep my metal Mooney from becoming composite infused…Don’t really have the useful load margin.

  • http://www.ccbcmd.edu/bsswe/aviation/index.html Matthew Stansberry

    Bruce,

    Disaster or none, the situation was still unsafe and the Cirrus pilot should have followed right pattern traffic.

    As an AT-CTI student and student pilot, I would hope a more seasoned airman would make such an announcement to correct ANY potentially dangerous maneuver. We are taught to See and Avoid, and such an announcement is not only a learning tool, but a reminder to all that WE are responsible for the continued safety and promotion of General Aviation.

    God Bless,

    Matthew Stansberry

  • Andy

    I read a lot of the comments and there seems to be a relatively common theme. I’ll offer my own opinion for what it’s worth. I find it hard to believe that I would not speak on the radio if I saw what I believed to be an immediately impending collision. However, if two pilots in the pattern were about to exchange positions because they were not paying attention to one another, or were on the incorrect frequency, or for any other reason, I do not feel it is my place to complicate the situation. As a matter of fact, I would have been annoyed if I was one of the pilots in the air. We are all equal and responsible for fitting safely into the flow of traffic. The 360 pilot announced his diversion from standard pattern (for better or worse) and was heard by the other traffic and is now a factor to be considered by everyone else in the area (whether they heard his announcement or not actually). This does not mean that I wouldn’t be extremely annoyed if I was the oncoming base traffic and felt like some of my maneuvering options were taken away by this 360. But it is for the pilots to deal with. To me, a quick heads-up from the ground is one thing. Anything more was adding to a potential problem.

  • John O’Neill

    When I took my CFI ride at the Orlando FSDO we flew over to Kissimee. At KISM when on downwind if you are not flying a VERY tight pattern somebody absolutely will fly inside of you and speed up to turn base inside of you. Pilots are like people anywhere else: they get mad in traffic! They take on the attitude of willfull teenagers and rebel against the system.
    I must admit that when I was still in the solo stage of my training whem flying at a towered airport, Melborne, FL I was cleaed to land while on downwind and when turning base to final I saw a Mooney pass right underneath me (I mean a lot less than 100 feet) on final. The controller was in training and had forgot about the Mooney on a long final approach and never mentioned the traffic. Well after the threat had come and gone the controller issued instructions for me to go around but by then I was already “seeing and avoiding”.

    Your comments on the radio directed at a specific aircraft were not appropriate.
    A general call to all traffic about the conditions you were seeing would be appropriate.

    There will always be jerks in the pattern but your perspective from the ground is not the same as the one in the air.

    When we see a jerk doing his or her thing then we should let everybody know whats going on and the pilots can then do what they will with the information.

    The Cirrus pilot did at least announce his intentions: that’s actually much more than I expect from some of the idiots I fly with on a regular basis.

    As a professional pilot I am biased against some of the cowboy attitudes I encounter but I respect their right to fly. On the other hand, I have seen some of the best flying I have ever seen performed by dedicated and skillfull private pilots.

    See and avoid. Expect the worst. Be glad when nothing tragic happens.

  • Tony I

    It’s strange to me that people are wary of non-towered airports. I for one am glad that a significant amount of my initial training was conducted out of a very busy non-towered airfield (S43). It instilled in me good techniques that have transferred over to every other airport I’ve been to including towered airports. It develops better traffic scanning techniques, better listening skills, and better situational awareness.

    Bruce was right to make the initial traffic warning, I’ve done that before, and no one (at least no one rational) should get upset at a legitimate imminent safety warning. The follow-up lesson though should be saved for the ground as it does congest the frequency and sets up a more adversarial attitude in the other pilot who may be more inclined to do things their own way.

    That one about the Pilatus overtaking the guy on final gets me mad though. My first question to them would have been “What was your emergency?” Then depending on his answer I’d call the FAA. That’s just unsafe and uncool.

  • http://barberseville.com Charles Plumery

    You were correct to interject your observations intending to avoid chaos, something needed in the air as well as the ground. It amazes me how we are becoming a species of uncaring impolite beings even in the air with no regard for our fellolw pilots let alone ourselves and the people below. Is it any wonder that the cretins in Congress will take any opportunity to restrict free flight when we as a select group act as foolish as the common drivers on the road leading to incidents where incidents need not be. Perhaps one suggestion might be to make radio calls slowly and distinctly given the wide disparity in radio equipment installed in the fleet.

  • Rick Tomalewicz

    I feel the first call to advise of the conflict on final correct. If everyone in the patten had been paying attention, that should have been a heads up that things are changing in the traffic flow, and everyone at that point should have been watching, and adjusting. The second call from the ground, may have been helpful, but may have lead to blocking a transmission from the conflicting airplanes intentions, and jeapordized other aircraft in the pattern. For example “Cirrus XX making left 360 for final”,followed by a call from a Cessna “Cirrus XX be aware Cessna XX now on base turning short final”. It’s a hard call to make. Unfortionatley what happens in the real world, is a lot of pilots are more concerned with what is going on in thier aircraft rather then keeping a heads up stituation awarness, for possibe conflicting VFR traffic in the pattern. I have flown with newly minted pilots that are so fixated on watching the airspeed indicator that they would never know they were over taking, or cutting off traffic in the pattern. I’ve flown with zillion hour pilots as well, with other cockpit distractions, using CTAF as thier own personal party line, and hot shoting manuevers knowing there are students in the pattern. What are the chances all pilots are aware that a Pitts will most likely use a carrier type approach (modified base leg) to see the runway to a short final, or a G5 needs that longer final to slow down (not even entering the pattern from downwind to base). If you hear a call from either entering traffic we need to be aware of adjustments in the pattern.

    I live inside the traffic pattern of a noncontrolled airport with mixed traffic University flight operations, and everything from, Champs (no radios) to Jets (flying IFR appraoches). I can sit on my patio and watch pilots, entering down wind from all which ways and altitudes (some low enough to check for tire wear), over taking other aircraft, extending downwind into dangersouse areas of obsticals (towers), extending base legs over restricited or published areas to avoid, landing on closed portions of runways under construction or repair…… One of the cardnial rules I was taught is that a PIC should know all procedures, and hazards for thier destination airport, even if that destination is shooting T&G’s at your hame base. NOTAMS, Airport Advisories, proper radio proceedures, are all key to knowing how many aircraft you are sharing the pattern with. Did the Mooney pilot know the Cirrus was there, or how many other aircraft were in the pattern a head or behind. Maybe the pilot did and just made a bad move, or let arrogance get in the way, of good VFR pattern practice. Did the Cirrus pilot, hear the call for base to final, if it was ever made. I am sorry I went off topic here, but I am beginning to see a pattern of road rage in the pattern, and the equvilant of texting while flying, when we all should be focused on situation awarness, while approaching a field to enter the pattern. I confess I’m no angel and have enterned a proper donwind on more then one occassion, but still managing to get a little close to aircrfat in the pattern on downwind from crosswind doing T&G’s. I probably caused the staining of more then one, solo student pilots undies. all because I was more fixated on the traffic ahead of me in the pattern, and neglecting conflicting traffic behind, or approaching from the my side. I guess the bottom line is not if the call of conflicting traffic was correct or not, but we all have a responsibility to maintain a steril cockpit enviroment, and situation awarness while operating in shared confinded airspace, with mixed traffic and aircraft. That’s the root cause.

    Once again I aplogize for going off topic, and lets all remeber we are only a landing away from becoming that trukey.

  • Mary

    I applaud the call to the Cirrus. I land quite often at non-towered airports, I fly a dark blue 152 that’s hard to see against timbered terrain at pattern altitudes (even with strobes on) and I have learned the hard way to specifically address traffic if they don’t seem to be hearing my announcement or really paying attention to where I am. (RV turning base, I’m turning base to final at 500 feet). If you see a problem say something! Beats witnessing the collision.

  • Ron

    I agree with most of the posters here. Bruce, you definitely did the right thing by calling out what you saw on the radio. At a busy nontowered airport, sometimes any help at all helps to save the day. I recall a few months ago I was flying with a friend of mine to a very busy nontowered GA airport in my area. She was PIC, I was there basically just for moral support as it had been a while since she had last flown. As we entered the pattern, and made our callouts and turned final, a C172 came out of nowhere and cut us off on short final. The C172 made no radio call – s/he just turned to the final approach course right in front of us. I told my friend to go around, since there was no way the C172 would clear the runway in time for us to land. Just then, instead of landing, and again making no radio call, the C172 initiated a go around too!! This particular runway was left traffic so we sidestepped to the right to keep the C172 in sight and I was making radio calls constantly so that everyone else in the pattern and maybe the pilot of the C172 would also hear what we were doing. Just then a premier IA jet started their takeoff roll and announced that they were going to depart to the right (!), even though it was a left traffic runway and even though I had announced about a billion times that we were deviating to the right as a result of the snafu with the C172. All we could do was just go straight ahead; turning left would’ve resulted in a collision with the 172, turning right would’ve put us on a collision course with the departing Premier IA…It just seemed to me that no one was listening to what was going on in the traffic pattern and doing what they wanted. One of the most stressful times I’ve ever had flying.

  • Chooch

    Many thoughtful responses. None appear to capture how the pilots might have reacted to the transmissions. Was the Cirrus pilot on final glad to have been alerted to the impending collision? Was the Mooney pilot on final glad that someone alerted the Cirrus pilot of the conflict?

    Further, were the pilots of aircraft in the pattern appeciative to know that the Cirrus was breaking off the approach and intending to do a left 360 to re-enter on a left base? It seems to me that the transmissions were much like those we’d expect from a vigilent tower controller. In lieu of such, I’m totally in favor of observant pilots filling the void at uncontrolled airfields.

    My experience on CTAF at uncontrolled airfields is usually either silence or a cacophony of useless banter. My procedure is to enter and follow the pattern as described in the AIM, comply with the recommended announcements of position within the pattern on CTAF, assume that there are multiple aircraft near by and that they don’t hear CTAF transmissions or care, and futher assume the worst possible transgressions will occur. Sounds like driving to the mall?

  • Kevin

    We all have our share of stories of poor behavior in the traffic pattern that increases the risk of potential accidents, and it seems that multiple ‘errors’ occurred in this example as well. I am a Cirrus pilot based at an uncontrolled airport so I will opine that the Cirrus pilot in this example racked up the most errors with the biggest being the left 360 turn when the go-around (as we are trained) is the best choice in a situation such as this – bad decision. Let’s not forget the Mooney turning base inside the Cirrus may have been a contributor that set up the incident and perhaps the Cessna pilot would have been wise to break off his pattern with a downwind departure after hearing multiple calls that indicated compressed traffic on base/final, and potentially a Cirrus on a left base when he turned right base. So do we single out the Cirrus pilot (deservedly) or consider the chain of errors by multiple pilots that may have ended in disaster?

    The issue here is pilot training – not the type of pilots in certain aircraft as some have commented in their responses. Errors will occur in the pattern. It is up to all of us to maintain situational awareness in the traffic pattern, to report positions and listen, and for those of us with extra equipment and electronic displays in their our cockpit to stop looking at the equipment and look outside the plane when in the traffic pattern. And most importantly, we have to be ready to make decisions when things go wrong in the pattern and not just continue flying in the pattern and hope it works out.

    Regarding the second radio call to intervene – it is tough to second guess. My view is that the CTAF for an uncontrolled airport is to report facts, not unsolicited opinions/advice from other pilots in the pattern or on the ground. The PIC in each aircraft must ultimately sort through the facts and make appropriate decisions. We are not air traffic controllers and our well-intentioned interventions can hurt as much as help. It would seem the second call was unnecessary as the Cirrus correctly reported what he was doing, and the Cessna turning right base presumably reported what he was doing, your second call from the ground did not add any new information.

    Having a constructive conversation on the ground to share an observation of the incident is warranted and we all need to step up and do this more often if we see a transgression like this.

  • Paul Draper

    Hi Bruce,

    I feel you did the right thing, air safety is everyones business, when you help in the air what could be more timely!

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, I’ve enjoted everyone of your presentations, much continued success.

  • Ferdinand “Ferdi” Badescu

    2.5 – Bruce, after reading ALL the previous comments and re-reading your story for the 10th. time, my conclusion is that I would have done exactly what you did. Warning the pilots in the traffic was the right thing to do in order to avoid a disaster. It may sound like “coaching”, but one’s bruised ego is far better than the loss of life resulting from a midair colission. Last year, at Corona Airpt (AJO), in California there was a midair collision (NTSB #’s LAX08FA049A and B) that killed not only the people in the two planes, but also a couple of people on the ground in a shopping center. If those people would have had the benefit of a warning, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened.

    You would think people have the wisdom to learn from others’ mistakes, but… Merely three months after the accident, at the same airport, I was in full takeoff roll after properly announcing myself on CTAF, when all of a sudden I see this low-wing plane coming at us head-on. Just like your Cirrus driver, (s)he was trying to land on the runway opposite to the one used that day, going against the traffic. (And, did I mention there was no announcement of his/her intentions on the CTAF?) I pulled instantaneously the throttle and braked as hard as I safely could preparing to exit the runway, while my friend (a CFII flying with me as safety pilot) went on the comm to let the other pilot know (s)he is going in the wrong direction. Fortunately, the other pilot -while not acknowledging itself on CTAF- pulled up before we would become another negative statistic. As an added benefit, were still on the ground. (Needless to say, my takeoff was aborted, and had to taxi back to active runway.)

    Now, this is what I would call “an honest to God mistake”: When you acknowledge it (even though you don’t respond) and take corrective action immediately. I concur with others who responded: the Cirrus driver was doing what was doing not because of ignorance, but because of sheer arrogance and lack of respect for others. For those who are sympathetic to the Cirrus driver’s arrogance, I have one recommendation: try to walk a mile in the shoes of those who lost their loved ones in the midair collision at Corona!

    Bruce, you did the right thing!

  • Steve Kern

    2. I concur with your transmissions in the interest of safety. The traffic pattern, it’s procedures for entering and leaving, were all designed for predictability and standard operations. While the Cirris did announce his intended left turn, it was not a manuever that would be considered standard for any traffic pattern. Just yesterday, I was doing pattern work at an non-towered airport and had to deal with a pilot who elected to enter the pattern on a base leg while I was on the downwind. My head was moving like windshield wipers to get a visual and I widened out my pattern a little since I didn’t see him until he turned final. He should have entered the patttern on a 45 degree entry to the downwind. I don’t see any provision in the description of a traffic pattern in the AIM (par 4-3-3) for a 360 degree turn in any direction anywhere in the pattern. I would suggest that more than a few pilots could use a little refresher on correct pattern procedures.

  • http://N/A Carl Wittfeld

    If someone told me there was a Mooney on my tail, and I was on final & did not see him, I would most likely contact the person who told me and get out of the way. At least go around and take a look; asking for traffic ID in the vicinity or even leaving the pattern in a direction I knew was relatively clear. I can always land somewhere else and a little later if fuel is not critical. A TWA captain told me many moons ago that anyone could have his airspace anytime they wanted it. I agree with that. I would avoid any remote chance of a mid-air. Anyone can
    have a lapse of reason at any time, and can do something that is unsafe and unwise. To me, it should make all pilots more aware that an instant of unaware
    can take us out. Fortunately, there are pilots out there who do take it upon themselves to speak up and warn others in the pattern. I welcome those instances where someone else is watching, can see what I can’t and will warn me of a situation like that.

  • james

    Aviate. Navigate. Communicate. Funny… I can’t seem to find ‘lecture’. You communicated what you perceived to be a near midair. Hooray. You also keyed up to lecture someone who never signed up for your impromptu ground school. Boo. If you want to key up a radio transmitter to lecture people, get a ham license.

  • Lance De Foa

    A few posted comments on how the pattern dimensions are not precisely defined in the regs.

    For my PPL, I was taught to turn base when at 45 degrees from the threshold, flying a downwind where the runway is half way up the strut. In a C172 that means a steep full flap approach. Then, while training for my night rating (5 hours night + 5 more hours instrument) I learned to turn base when I saw the VASIS/PAPI turn from white to red. After I completed my instrument rating, and saw how some descents from IAF to FAF are gentle and others are steep, I got intrigued by approach design, and learned this fact:

    It turns out that for a standard 50′ threshold crossing height, with a standard 3 degree approach slope (as used on most ILS glideslopes & most VASIS/PAPI glidpaths), circuit height intercepts the glideslope/path at about 4 NM from the threshold (right where you might just find an NDB!).

    Maybe you were taught to descend 500′ on base so to turn base to final at 500′ AGL, which one would then expect to find on a 3 degree glidepath at about 2 NM from the threshold. That same slope would require the downwind to be offset from the runway by 2 NM, which sounds like quite a bit to me.

    A one mile downwind offset lets one descend on a 3 degree slope from 1000′ AGL to 750′ AGL for turning final at 3 SM from threshold. Good for a stable “power on,” warm engine for the “missed,” approach. Of course, those flying “power off” approaches will want to turn base closer to the threshold.

    So then, for a 1 mile runway, one could expect a “standard” uncontrolled aiport circuit to be 7 miles long by 1 mile offset. That should work for drivers of hot IFR aircraft made by Mooney, Cirrus & Pilatus. Those flying “power off” approaches will find them selves turning base “inside” the hot birds’ base legs – and so begins the conflict!

    As for the radio calls: First call to alert the of the conflict, no question it was the right thing. Second call – ok again to alert of a potential conflict from converging right & left base traffic. If you had said “you should have gone around rather than the left 360″ that would have been overstepping the bounds.

  • Paul Miller

    You are right to call him out;who wouldn’t want to be alerted to prevent a disaster? Secondly,though..a 360 in the pattern? A go around and re-entering the pattern costs how much? He’s lucky there wasn’t a license-taking authority in the pattern. Or was there?

  • Mark Wood

    Interesting dialog. I have to agree that the call to point the traffic conflict was a good decision. The second call is probably not necessary. Kind of interesting all of time spent pointing out 91.126 that all turns be left turns unless otherwise indicated by appropriate marking. I would find it impossible to comply with that in normal operations as you have to make a right turn from the 45 in order to enter a left downwind so the FARs do have some flaws but there is always the intent and that points the normal turns in the traffic pattern ie downwind to base, base to final… This is for operations in Class G airspace. In class E where IFR operations are likely the rules aren’t as clear cut. Here we run into what and how does a pilot conduct circling approaches especially from an off runway heading approach like a GPS A or VOR A. In this ATC or other procedures may dictate operations different than 91.126 which remains in effect. Reviewing the AIM most of the “normal” operations are recommended procedures and not mandatory and include the overhead initial approach procedures. No wonder it is easy to be confused on how to operate in an airport environment.

    So who was wrong in this situation? I have no idea but it seems there were a few errors. Seems the TIS wasn’t working in the Cirrus or it would have been annoying the pilot with it’s “TRAFFIC” “TRAFFIC” alerts. Maybe he was too busy wondering what that was about to sort out the Mooney ahead. Pet peave of mine as an instructor is to ask my student where the traffic is and have him point to the screen and say right there without ever looking up OMG…!! Okay how about the guy in the Mooney? Did he cut the Cirrus off? Was it intentional or was it because it’s just plane old difficult to see out through that little bitty windshield? It seems he turned inside of the B52 pattern flying Cirrus. I’ve spent lots of hours in the pattern with foreign students and their traffic patterns are different and larger than ours and trust me, following an Oxford B52 pattern Seneca around the pattern in a Champ can be taxing.

    The only real thing with the flying that went wrong was the Cirrus pilots decision to use the 360 on final. This is specifically addressed in the AIM as a disruptive maneuver but that is in terms of ATC. It was a bad call and it’s hard to know why he decided to do it. It probably deserves some one on one refresher training or initial training on the subject. Going around may have been a better alternative or maybe S turns or who knows. Bottom line is it worked, however poorly and he probably learned from it.

    It was probably a little over the edge to take on the roll of ATC and start giving further advisories once the initial alert had taken place. We truly can’t know what was going on within the Cirrus cockpit after the shake up from the first event. We tend to get really worked up on the radio sometimes and as it was pointed out, CTAF is not the place to have these discussions. Stuff like this happens and opening a big dissertation on CTAF about it and arguing inhibits other participation from other aircraft.

    That’s my $.02

  • jason sparks

    Keep offering the advisories! The effort is appreciated! If you had not made the
    advisory and something went wong, you would later wonder if you could have helped to save someone’s life. At least you can consider yourself proactive instead of one of those witnesses that just watch.

  • Robert Boyle

    The action taken to prevent a possible mid-air in my opinion was “spot on” and I’d do the same thing. A mid-air collision in Ohio approximately 3 years ago took the lives of 3 good pilots that just did not see each other.

    One thing that I have observed over the past few years is when I have witnessed things like you spoke of and prevented, it always seems to have the backwards tail attached in some way. I have seen a Mooney cut the runway at an intersection half way to take off ahead of one already on the numbers but not moving and I have been cut off on downwind ay mid field by Mooney who told me on the ground he was short on fuel (did not declare in the air though). Go figure !!

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