flight safety

Defensive IFR – The Importance of a Two Way Relationship

December 28th, 2010

The following has been abbreviated from an article was posted on avweb, the original article can be found at http://www.avweb.com/news/airman/defensive_ifr_195667-1.html. This article originally appeared in Aviation Safety, Feb. 2005.

The article illustrates the importance of a two way relationship between pilot and controller. It may be the controller’s responsibility to provide you with separation in most IFR situations, but this does not absolve you of the final ultimate responsibility for the safe conduct of the flight. Questioning or cross checking clearances is not argumentative or disruptive it is part of your legal responsibility as a pilot, and any ATC who is worthy of having his posterior in the seat will recognise this and appreciate it.

“The irony of all this is that it’s your chair moving at 150 knots (ed-or more!), not the controller’s. When your airplane slams into that unseen ridge, he’ll probably feel really bad. You probably won’t feel a thing.”

Defensive IFR

July 30, 2007
by Bart Epstein

Why Readbacks Are Important

Reading back a clearance is important not only to make sure you and the controller are on the same page, but to ensure the clearance you read back is actually for you. The “party-line” nature of ATC communications with aircraft sometimes means that transmissions are blocked and similar-sounding callsigns are really meant for someone else. As discussed in the main text below, a crew complied with a descent clearance for another aircraft. Although the wrong crew read back the clearance, the controller didn’t catch the error.


Controllers are just like pilots: All are human and make mistakes. Most are good, know the rules, do everything they can to make your flight efficient and safe, and make sensible judgments. Only a tiny fraction are highly paid chair-warmers too lazy or bored to have opened the book (FAA Order 7110.65) for a refresher on the finer points of their craft.

For pilots, what this means is that amidst what is overwhelmingly professional and courteous ATC service, you’ll hear the occasional boneheaded clearance, instruction or suggestion with which no sensible pilot should comply. That’s why we have readback procedures and is one of the reasons the word “unable” exists and why you should use it without fear of retribution when necessary or appropriate.

Trust, But Verify

The image depicts the minimum vectoring altitudes (circled in red) for the San Diego TRACON overlaid on the area en route IFR low-altitude chart. The accident occurred just southeast of the JLI VORTAC.

No better recent example can be found to illustrate the point that it’s your butt on the line than on May 10, 2004, when Piper Seminole N304PA collided with terrain near the Julian, Calif., VORTAC (JLI) and was destroyed. Both pilots aboard the twin were killed. The planned flight was from Phoenix, Ariz., to Carlsbad, Calif. Nighttime visual conditions prevailed, although the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan.

The cleared routing for N304PA was: Gila Bend, V66, Imperial, V458, Julian, then direct to Palomar. N304PA was number four in a train of five airplanes flying the same route for training. The airplanes were separated by about five to 10 minutes. The airplane directly ahead of N304PA was N434PA, another Seminole.

According to the NTSB, ATC communications and radar data show that N304PA reported level at 8000 feet MSL to the San Diego North Radar (SDNR) controller at 2043:48. The SDNR controller instructed the pilot to fly a 260-degree heading after crossing JLI and then intercept the Palomar localizer. The pilot read back the clearance. At 2045:47, the SDNR controller told the pilot of N434PA to descend to 6000 feet. The pilot of N434PA acknowledged the clearance. At 2047:55, the SDNR controller transmitted, “Seminole four papa alpha descend and maintain five thousand two hundred.” The pilot of N304PA responded, “Down to five thousand two hundred for three zero four papa alpha.” According to the controller, this clearance was intended for N434PA. The controller did not recognize that the clearance had been acknowledged by N304PA rather than N434PA. At 2052, the San Diego AFSS contacted the SDNR sector reporting that they were receiving a strong ELT signal from near the JLI Vortac.

Why the controller missed the readback from the wrong airplane is anyone’s guess. And, certainly, better situational awareness on the part of the two pilots aboard the Seminole probably would have prevented this accident. But the point is that once you close the cabin door and the wheels leave the ground, you’re mostly on your own to ensure the wheels safely touch down again.

Little Voices

Anytime you’re not flying straight and level well above terrain, the little voice in your head should be asking yourself some basic questions: Where am I going? Where am I going after that? What altitude should I be at now? The next leg? What am I going to do if this doesn’t work out?

For example, let’s say you’re droning along en route to your destination when you become aware the weather there has gone down the tubes. At the least, you need to stop and get some more fuel with which to tackle the weather, so you tell ATC you’d like to divert to nearby Cowpie County International. You request a “vector and lower” and the TRACON controller you’re handed off to makes a transposition error on your altitude. He meant to set you up to join the feeder route for the VOR approach at 5300 feet, but instead tells you to “descend and maintain 3500 until established” and clears you for the approach. You read back the clearance and grab the approach plate to get your bearings.

Will you notice that the altitude you’ve been given does not match the feeder route? Will you see that the altitude to which you’re descending is below the minimum safe altitude (MSA) circle on the plate?

A little voice in your head should be asking if you’re where you should be for the approach. That’s one of the reasons why each published feeder route has a minimum altitude and the plate itself has the MSA information.

Twice I have received clearances that made no sense. Both times I was glad my instrument instructor drummed into me the need to physically trace my entire route on a map before takeoff. One of the bad clearances was actually to a fix over the Atlantic Ocean. I still remember sitting in my plane that night, wondering what I had written down wrong to think I was cleared out over the water.

After conferring with the tower, I shut down the engine, trekked up to the tower cab and sat down with the controller to trace out my clearance on a chart. He was positively stunned, especially since he’d given out that same clearance more than 1000 times without any problems. Apparently, the TRACON or someone down the line always amended those clearances well before they became a problem. And, to date, no one had to implement lost comm procedures while flying the bad clearance.

Know Your Rights

But how many pilots would do the same? How many are willing to analyze an ATC clearance or directive on-the-fly then stand up on two hind legs and refuse an unsafe or out-of-line instruction?

Part of the problem is that we tend to accept the authority of anything uttered by a controller as the last word. After all, he wouldn’t be a controller if he didn’t know what he was doing, right?

The antidote, of course, is knowledge and experience. The knowledge comes from knowing the FARs and AIM procedures; we can assure you most controllers and pilots don’t. Experience comes from flying and using the system and applying that knowledge.

And that’s why an annual flight review or IPC without some discussion of real-world procedures and regs is a sham, lending truth to the notion that what you don’t know can hurt you.

Am I Paranoid Enough?

Some may say it is not practical to be constantly paranoid and suspicious of everything ATC asks or commands. And it may seem like overkill to focus on these types of errors when so many pilots are still making much larger and dumber mistakes, like flying well below an MDA to take a peek or launching into icing conditions with nothing more than a lukewarm pitot tube.

Of course, flying defensively is about more than nitpicking clearances. At the end of the day, it’s your butt that matters, not the controller’s.

Controlling The Negotiation

By Jeb Burnside

On many of my regular flights up from the southeast, controllers at the local TRACON routinely give me a descent clearance many miles out from my destination. I suspect it’s because I’m in a FLIB and their letters of agreement specify that IFR FLIBs must be at 5000 feet many miles south of my home plate’s feeder fix. But there are numerous airports in that area, generating all kinds of traffic, and radio reception is sometimes is lacking at that altitude in that area. Droning along level at 5000ft for many minutes that far out from my destination gives me the willies, as I know that, eventually, someone is going to get in my way. Over the years, a few encounters of the close kind with aircraft not talking to the TRACON confirmed my fears.

So, I generally try to negotiate something other than that clearance, usually to cross 20 miles southwest of the fix at and maintain 5000 feet. That keeps me higher longer and ensures decent communications. No one seems to mind.

On other occasions, I’ve refused heading changes and climbs or descents while in the en route environment if they would put me in ice, tall cumulus clouds or other bad situations.

Putting aside for the moment the misconception that controllers “control” airplanes, the bottom line — for me, anyway — is that dealing with ATC is a negotiation. If I like the way the negotiation is going, I’ll be quiet. If there’s a safety, comfort or operational reason for me to not like things, I’ll renegotiate with the controller. I’ll do it professionally, calmly and concisely, and I won’t hesitate to tell him what the problem is. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we can work out something with which we both can live. Especially me.

Who’s The Boss?

By Jeb Burnside

The irony of all this is that it’s your chair moving at 150 knots, not the controller’s. When your airplane slams into that unseen ridge, he’ll probably feel really bad. You probably won’t feel a thing.

Maybe it’s the anarchist gene in me, but I’m not spring-loaded to believe everything the government — or a controller — says. Yet as pilots, most of us react in the opposite way when confronted with ATC clearances and instructions that disrupt our plans and sound fishy or ill-advised. We go along. We comply. We’re happy to help.

Why? For the simple — and understandable — reason that we assume controllers know their business and, as only sometime-users of the system, we similarly assume our knowledge is flawed. So we go along with ATC’s wishes, sometimes to a fault.

The ultimate authority, of course, is FAR 91.3, the PIC imprimatur that gives you ultimate authority over the safety of the flight. Controllers don’t exactly have their own version of this and even if they did, your authority trumps ATC’s.

On the other hand, there’s FAR 91.123, which requires compliance with ATC instructions and directives and requires the pilot to seek clarification if he doesn’t understand ATC’s wishes. The ultimate escape valve, of course, is emergency authority, which overrules anything ATC has to say.

If it was this simple, though, rejecting clearances would be easy. Instead, there are massive gray areas here. For example, rejecting a directive to land your Skyhawk short behind a landing 737 and opting instead to land long for wake avoidance reasons might screw up the local controller’s flow, but that’s not your problem. No right-thinking ATC facility would make an issue of it. The same applies when given a clearance for an immediate takeoff? Should you rush your takeoff and departure routine just because it might save two minutes?

Putting the shoe on the other foot, suppose you were following another aircraft to land, the tower controller calls for a go-around and you reply, “Unable.” You certainly have the authority to do so but you’d better have a good explanation at hand, such as a rough engine, smoke in the cockpit or some other emergency-like condition. The FAA will take a dim view of promiscuous use of “unable” and we suspect an administrative law judge will know the difference between legitimate PIC balking and pure bs.

Some of what ATC does falls into the realm of “suggestions.” Comply at your own whim and risk. Refusing the request won’t cost you any enforcement points while granting it could cost a lot more.

Cessna Training Manuals

I had to Learn About Flying from That!

December 24th, 2010

When I was a student pilot, I used to love reading a column in one of the popular aviation magazines (\’Flying -http://www.flyingmag.com/i-learned-about-flying-9) called \”I Learned About Flying from That\”.

I guess many other pilots enjoyed the column, the column is still going and has been published in book form. The attraction was learning about stupid situations others had unwittingly got themselves into, and narrowly – typically by absolute luck – escaped, in the hope of avoiding these situations yourself.

Articles are personal accounts, and normally anonymous, and as with CAHRS (which are also a great read for all pilots), the column permits the author to write freely in a format that is extremely helpful to others.

I\’ve received recently a few similar accounts, and so named the blog series \”I had to Learn About Flying from That\’, as a reference to the great magazine articles, and as a slight deviation on the theme, in an attempt to remind ourselves that we have (I hope!) progressed a great deal from the days that flying was trial and error, and there are many avenues available to prevent you getting into these situations if you pay attention.

The following is a story by a pilot who had to learn the hard way, in his words.

C of G Limits

So…..there we were….in a far away land of wooden curios and Carlsberg beers (greens)….with a C210 …..six up…baggage…fuel and ….wooden curios….all wanting to get back home….which was 6 hours flying time and two stops away.
How do we solve this problem of space/weight/fuel and still get everyone home without leaving anything behind….was what my friend and I found ourselves discussing on a sidewalk in a dusty African City in Central Africa
He had a Be58 Baron to load and I a C210…. All the wooden curios pushed the weight over the all up weight limit and so a compromise had to be found….so we calculated the flying time for the first leg which turned out to be fairly short…a mere 2h20…..so…for a C210 that equates to roughly 140 litres…add some for mum and make it 200 litres….which means we have about 180 litres of weight available …roughly 160kg…GREAT …problem solved…..
When I walked the pax to the plane I noticed the tail was very near the ground and the nose wheel oleo rather stretched….okay I thought…load the front pax first and the rear last….that worked a charm and then when I started the engine the propwash pulled the nose down and all appeared fine….so off we taxi and trundle to the holding point. Take-off is fine and the climb to altitude is fine…level off and we go cruising along at 150kts….start the descent…fuel is still good although the gauges are extremely close to the big E but I`m expecting that cause of the calculated fuel which means there should only be about 60 litres in the tanks….30 a side….hence the almost empty gauge.
Everything is going smoothly and I round out for the flare….throttle to idle and….and…..wheeyyy….she sits on her butt ….and those spring steel undercarriage legs bounce us back up again….and I push forward on the stick cause the nose is way high….and pull back as we come down again….and those spring steel legs do there thing again…with more enthusiasm…..and again I push forward and pull back as we come down….and again we are flung into the air….much higher this time…and much slower….the elevator and wings are losing effectiveness…the thought enters my mind that if we hit again…something will break….and so instead of pushing forward I hold it sort of straight and level and firewall the throttle….and we sink back towards the runway and touch fairly softly….nose high and then I push the nosewheel down and close the throttle….and then only notice we`ve used up half of a 4000m runway bringing the beast back under control.
Its rather quiet in the plane as we taxi to the apron….

I never took into account the movement of the C of G with the fuel burn….it moved even further back than its limit at take-off….and when I closed the throttle on landing…it did what nature wanted it to do…sit on its butt.

Thank goodness for a long runway, some natural instinct, and that there was no engine failure in a critical stage ….it would have been nasty.

And the moral of the storey? Weight and balance calculations are taught for a reason, not just to irritate student pilots during ground studies!


There are many resources available to prevent you needing to learn the hard way. A considerable amount are free online resources, others are part of your basic training which will be missed if you don\’t complete homework, and some are books which are not more than a few USD, most importantly they are all a thousand times cheaper than an accident, and at least on tenth of a flying hour on most aircraft.

The major investment required in most training and preparation avenues available for improved safety is your time, and considering the return on investment – that is, reducing your own and your passengers risk of loosing their lives, isn\’t it surprising how few people want to invest?

If you carry on reading, you\’ve probably committed to the first step towards improving your own airmanship, do your passengers and all of us involved in aviation a favour, and keep it up.

Radio Phraesology Techniques Link

November 12th, 2010

Here’s a link to a nice article about Radio Phraseology. (You guessed it, it’s one of our pet topics).


The article explains a little about the Flying Tigers accident, which formalised removal of the word “to” from an altitude clearance in ICAO radio procedures – a word, which, along with ‘for’ has been

This alone did not cause the accident, I’ll post a link to the movie clip associated with it soon.

A comment, which I am sure you’ll feel like saying “That’s easy for you to SAY – NOW!” but I’ll say it anyway, and if you listen to the transcripts I’m sure you’ll understand where I’m coming from, but what pilot in their right mind would descend to 400ft AMSL prior to reaching the final approach track???

Cessna 206 Training Manual Pre-release

November 7th, 2010

Press Release Cessna 206

Red Sky Ventures announces the pre-release of the Cessna 206 Training Manual. It’s now available in Red Sky Ventures online store, easily accessible via search at www.lulu.com. And can be found via the direct link here.

The Cessna 206 Training Manual is an information guide book, primarily aimed at pilots, containing in-depth technical information, pilot’s operating notes, performance planning, and a variety of tips and tricks which can help improve operating standards of all pilot’s flying the aircraft. The book has a large number of photographs, diagrams, and schematics to compliment and aid understanding of the text. The book is intended to be used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for ground study purposes, and in such it expands on the information in the POH, and adds clarity and meaning to the manufacturer’s requirements, which are necessarily vague.

Both authors, Danielle Bruckert and Oleg Roud are professional pilots and instructors on the Cessna series of aircraft they write about. They now both fly for airlines, however both remain active as instructors and examiners on light aircraft. Their motivation to write the books was to improve training and operating standards in the general aviation sector – the term used to define the non-airline civil aviation sector, typically involving light aircraft in private and charter operations.

The Cessna Training Manual is the fifth book in the series, and the authors believe it is the best so far. “Experience always shows us ways to improve, from research and compilation, to display and how we get the message across,” Says Danielle Bruckert. Danielle further states that with each book, they find more and more useful information to include on each model. The Cessna 206, at 177 pages is nearly double the length of the Cessna 182 Training Manual, it’s closest counterpart. And although initially Danielle thought it would be a simple process to revise the format they already had in the Cessna 210 Training Manual, the most recent release, three years of extensive research and development later, she admits “It was an underestimate – this book is much more than that!”.

The book is available at present as a special pre-release version. The full book release launch will take place early next year, allowing for media lead times and will include a full colour and hard cover version. .

More information about this and other Cessna books in the series can be found at www.redskyventures.org. Cessna_206_Manual_thumbnail

Instrument Departures

October 16th, 2010

The previous post has got lost somewhere deep down in my blog. This topic is quite controversial and in my (somewhat humble) opinion quite important. So I’m going to post another one just to see if anyone out there in cyberspace can post a more meaningful reply.

JAR-OPS 1.230 Instrument departure and approach procedures

(a) An operator shall ensure that instrument departure and approach procedures established by the State in which the aerodrome is located are used.

(b) Notwithstanding sub-paragraph (a) above, a commander may accept an ATC clearance to deviate from a published departure or arrival route, provided obstacle clearance criteria are observed and full account is taken of the operating conditions. The final approach must be flown visually or in accordance with the established instrument approach

(c) Different procedures to those required to be used in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) above may only be implemented by an operator provided they have been approved by the State in which the aerodrome is located, if required, and accepted by the Authority.

The part “to deviate from a published departure or arrival route, provided obstacle clearance criteria are observed and full account is taken of the operating conditions” clearly indicates that you can not deviate in IMC where clearance from obstacles could not be guaranteed. And if you are below MSA (or MRA), the only time you could guarantee obstacle clearance is if you are following a published track.

The same paragraph exists in UAE CAROPS (even with the same number) and a very similar paragraph exists in the Namibian CARs and the content is implied by the entire PANS OPS Section 3 Departure Procedures. The entire PANS OPS II goes into great detail explaining the calculations involved in determining the compliance with terrain avoidance for departures – none of which anyone could be expected (neither pilot or ATC) to complete on departure.

If a country does not have departure procedures then the airport must comply with the omnidirectional departure requirements, that is – there are no obstacles in the departure which prevent an omni directional departure at 3.3%.

Many pilots believe you can depart in IMC without a departure procedure. In fact in some countries, it is a routinely done and no one seems to think there is any problem with it.

The whole essence of PANS Ops II is to define how to construct safe tracks for pilots to follow when they are below the applicable MSA (that means also MRA if you don’t have a precision radar service!).

If you were allowed to fly around below MSA (or MRA) without a published track, wouldn’t you be allowed to do it at all times? I mean what is the difference between being below MSA on arrival or on departure except the direction the nose is pointing? (The mountains hurt just as much when you hit them on a climb as they do when you hit them on a decent!)

Besides from that, when we look at relative costs, if you have gone to the expense of establishing and maintaining an instrument approach procedure, it cost very little extra to publish a departure procedure, and if you haven’t then it’s simple to apply the same weather minimums for arrival and departure, VMC below MSA.

Again the only time the pilot/operator is responsible for his/her own terrain clearance is in VMC or in an emergency.

I think this sums it up fairly nicely, but I am sure I will get some variations of interpretations on this paragraph, since it does not say “where one exists” but nor does it say “at all times” but lets get some debate on this!

Hot, Heavy and High

August 28th, 2010

HOT HIGH and HEAVY: In the Words of the Pilot who Lived to Tell the Tale.

“It was a Cherokee140….or a Pa28 in those days….nobody told me it wasn’t supposed to carry 4 people…I mean come on…it had 4 seats didn’t it…?

This particular 140 had a Pink Panther on the tail and it was a little faster and just slightly better than a regular 140 …..one of those “slick” models.

Anyway there I was with 3 friends at an airfield which I won`t name with an elevation of around 5300ft amsl. We had places to go on this warmish summer day and I was not about to be deterred by anything….I mean the friends are all waiting to be impressed and flown to various destinations after all.

So…pre flight done…..only half tanks because the rest had been used to get to this airfield…..lets all get aboard this fly machine shall we. Me first cause there is only one door and then the two friends in the back who were the smaller two…I knew that much at least….and the other big guy up front with me in last……quick weight calculation…what..? nah never mind we`ve only got half tanks…we`ll be okay…right?

Taxi out…do the run ups…do the radio…its an unmanned airfield so just a broadcast…listen out and we’re good to go.

The first indication things were not as they should be was the sluggish acceleration….Oh boy… a slight uphill strip, followed by a bit of a ridge about 1km after the end of the rwy which is about 200` higher than the rwy, and then a valley with power lines….my favourite….not !!!

so there we were….trundling down the rwy…airspeed creeping and I mean creeping up…and eventually we`re airborne….but only just…the slightest back movement of the stick sets the stall warning off…and a 140 does not have an audio stall warning, thank goodness….it has a red light right in front of you….Well this light was going off at me like an ambulance ..flash ..flashflash…..flash….flashflash…flaaaashh….flashflash…you get the picture?…And we are 20` off the deck just maintaining the slope of the ground airspeed going nowhere….oh boy…those power lines are sure getting big mighty quick….At last over the ridge we go and down…yes down we go into the slight valley….and under…the power lines, and then I notice we have a decent airspeed and the lunatic flashing has stopped….so clear of the power lines I gently coax some altitude out of the Pink Panther and after 40 minutes we`re at 3000` above ground and approaching destination. The friends are happy, impressed and none the wiser of their brush with near disaster. I kept it high until short final …sure of making the runway in case of engine failure and greased it on to the rwy.

I should NOT have done the flight with the weight I had onboard…..but in those early days wise decisions eluded me…”

Many faults exist in the GA training sectors, and one of them, sadly, is a lack of emphasis on performance planning. Pilot’s often train at an airfield that is long enough for their aircraft, cross countries are conducted into similar large airfields. Instructors neglect to instil any reverence for confirming performance calculations during ground training, leaving pilots ambivalent to the threats of a short rough pr high altitude course.

An aircraft at sea level on the coast, in cool temperatures close to ISA, and an aircraft in the interior highlands at ISA +30 provide very different lift characteristics. A graded, highly compact, well used runway will likewise, have very different acceleration to a rough, over-grown, poorly prepared farm strip. It’s not forbidden but nor are there any figures for a rough gravel strip. It is forbidden and the are NO figures for an overweight aircraft. Most light four seat aircraft cannot fly with four normal sized people and full tanks.

The Pilot Who Wasn’t so Lucky

In another similar situation, at Windhoek 5500ft AMSL with an ambient temperature approximately 35 degrees Celsius, giving a density altitude just over 9000ft, a commercial pilot, normally flying on the coast, with a similar mindset, made a fatal decision.

Windshear reported on the main runway prompted ATC to offer the pilot the secondary runway. The runway was 1000m long, and more than adequate for a fully loaded C210 at sea level. The pilot knew the airfield, and hadn’t felt the need to carry airport charts, so asked ATC how long the secondary runway was. ATC provided an incorrect figure of 1500m, which he later corrected to 1000m, however the pilot had already entered the runway and to backtrack to the threshold, and a change of runway now may have appeared to him a loss of face in front of passengers. Considering the risks and benefits, thinking the length of the runway should be adequate, since it was not much shorter than the airfield he normally operated out of at sea level, this may have been a deciding factor.

This pilot wasn’t so lucky.

Shortly after takeoff the aircraft failed to gain altitude and when the pilot attempted to turn to avoid climbing terrain, he stalled, the aircraft impact with terrain and fire killing everyone on board.

Link to Article Containing Fairly Accurate Details of the Accident Report
Link to Forum Discussion on the Accident detailing some History and Photos

The Lessons?
What I want to ask here, is when are we going to start learning these lessons in ground school, and not in near misses and accidents.

When are we going to learn that the cost and time invested in training is far less than that of our passengers lives?

Both of these scenarios would never have happened if the pilots had had proper training to really get to know the performance and handling of aircraft they were operating and had taken the time to consider the proper, mandatory pre-flight planning.

The Curious Saga of the Cessna and the Lawnmower

August 26th, 2010

Take one brand-new Cessna 182, with only 80 hours on it.

Put a lawn mower (with gas in it) in the back seat. Add a power inverter with a laptop plugged into it.

Slosh out a little gas during and after landing. And just as the pilot smells the vapors and starts feeling around for the leak, add a spark.

Don’t add a cabin fire extinguisher—the pilot had removed it because it got in his way.

Add fire trucks, about 15 minutes later.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what this would have been like airborne.


Famous Flying Sayings

August 7th, 2010

Our apologies if some of these have been included elsewhere on the blog, however here follows a collection of some of the famous flying sayings – some all too true, some just humourous…

No matter what else happens, fly the airplane.
Forget all that stuff about thrust and drag, lift and gravity;
an airplane flies because of money.

It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there,
than up there wishing you were down here.

If you’re ever faced with a forced landing at night,
turn on the landing lights to see the landing area.
If you don’t like what you see, turn’ em back off.

A check ride ought to be like a skirt, short enough to be interesting
but still be long enough to cover everything.

Speed is life, altitude is life insurance.
No one has ever collided with the sky.

Always remember you fly an airplane with your head, not your hands.

Never let an airplane take you somewhere
your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier.

Don’t drop the aircraft in order to fly the microphone.
An airplane flies because of a principle discovered by
Bernoulli, not Marconi.

“Unskilled” pilots are always found in the wreckage
with their hand around the microphone.

If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger;
if you pull the stick back they get smaller.
(Unless you keep pulling the stick back-then they get bigger again.)

Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first!

Everyone already knows the definition of a ‘good’ landing
is one from which you can walk away.
But very few know the definition of a ‘great landing.
It’s one after which you can use the airplane another time.

The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.

IFR: I Follow Roads.

You know you’ve landed with the wheels up
when it takes full power to taxi.

Those who hoot with the owls by night,
should not fly with the eagles by day.

A helicopter is a collection of rotating parts going round and round
and reciprocating parts going up and down -
all of them trying to become random in motion.

Helicopters can’t really fly -
they’re just so ugly that the earth immediately repels them.

Pilots believe in clean living.
They never drink whiskey from a dirty glass.

Things which do you no good in aviation:
Altitude above you.
Runways behind you.
Fuel in the truck.
Half a second ago.
Approach plates in the car.
The airspeed you don’t have.

If God meant man to fly, He’d have given him more money.

What’s the difference between God and fighter pilots?
God doesn’t think he’s a fighter pilot.

Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.

A good simulator check ride is like successful surgery on a cadaver.

Asking what a pilot thinks about the FAA
is like asking a fireplug what it thinks about dogs.

Trust your captain but keep your seat belt securely fastened.

An airplane may disappoint a good pilot, but it won’t surprise him.

Any pilot who relies on a terminal forecast
can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge.
If he relies on winds-aloft reports he can be sold Niagara Falls.

The friendliest flight attendants are those on the trip home.

Good judgment comes from experience
and experience comes from bad judgment.

Being an airline pilot would be great
if you didn’t have to go on all those trips.

Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.

The nicer an airplane looks, the better it flies.

There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

It’s a good landing if you can still get the doors open.

Passengers prefer old captains and young flight attendants.

The only thing worse than a captain who never flew as copilot
is a copilot who once was a captain.

It’s best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.

If an earthquake suddenly opened a fissure in a runway
that caused an accident,
the NTSB would find a way to blame it on pilot error.

Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwind.

A thunderstorm is never as bad on the inside as it appears on the outside. It’s worse.

It’s easy to make a small fortune in aviation.
You start with a large fortune.

A male pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he’s flying,
and about flying when he’s with a woman.

A fool and his money are soon flying more airplane than he can handle.

The last thing every pilot does before leaving the aircraft
after making a gear up landing
is to put the gear selection lever in the ‘down’ position.

Try to keep the number of your landings equal
to the number of your takeoffs.

Takeoff’s are optional. Landings are mandatory.

You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.

A Really Cute and Helpful Radio Techniques Guide

August 7th, 2010

I found this guide online at Austin Collins’ webpage.

Here’s an exert, so you’ll understand why I find it cute, helpful, and humourous, all the GoNumbers’ mantras.

Hold the Mayonnaise

Let’s consider a transmission. Then let’s replace all the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise.” Then we’ll hold the mayonnaise and see how much it cleans up the call.

“And, SoCal Approach, this is, uh, Cessna eight zero one three eight with you.”

If we replace the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise” we get:

“Mayonnaise, SoCal Approach, mayonnaise, mayonnaise, Cessna eight zero one three eight mayonnaise.”

All the pilot really needed to say was:

“SoCal Approach, Cessna eight zero one three eight.”

Now let’s try it again.

“And, Orlando Executive Ground, this is Flight Express Trainer Three, we are a Cessna 210 and we are at the Flight Express Ramp with information Tango. We’re ready to taxi to the active runway and we’ll be a VFR departure to the northwest today.”
Again, if we replace the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise” we get:

“Mayonnaise, Orlando Executive Ground, mayonnaise Flight Express Trainer Three, mayonnaise Cessna 210 mayonnaise Flight Express Ramp with information Tango. Mayonnaise mayonnaise mayonnaise mayonnaise VFR mayonnaise northwest mayonnaise.”

All the pilot really needed to say was:

“Orlando Executive Ground, Flight Express Trainer Three, Cessna 210, Flight Express Ramp, Tango, VFR northwest.”

Why say it in 44 words when you can say it in just 15 words?

Next time, before you speak, remember to “Hold the Mayonnaise”.

Check out the rest of the file at www.redskyventures free stuff: www.redskyventures.org/free_stuff.php
Flight Express operates some Cessna 210s on mainly on IFR freight operations, if you want to learn more about the C210, Austin Collins also has a Cessna 210 guide, a short internet search should find it, and you can also check out our Cessna 210 text book at Cessna 210 Book.

How Many Hours Are Enough?

July 19th, 2010


Jul 9, 2010

David Collogan

A notice from the FAA that it may require pilots to meet tougher minimum training and experience standards before serving as copilots in FAR Part 121 flight operations is generating considerable angst throughout the aviation community. Some fear the more-stringent standards could significantly curtail the number of student pilots, siphon experienced pilots to the airlines from other segments of the industry and ultimately result in a nationwide pilot shortage.

The concern results from an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in response to the NTSB’s investigation of the Feb. 12, 2009, crash of a Colgan Air DHC-8 into a house during a night approach in light snow and mist to Buffalo-Niagara, N.Y., International Airport.
David Collogan dlcollogan@gmail.com

The NTSB determined that the captain’s inappropriate response to the activation of the stick shaker led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover. Among the contributing factors cited were the flight crew’s failure to monitor airspeed and adhere to sterile cockpit procedures, and the captain’s failure to effectively manage the flight. An examination of the captain’s training records revealed that he had flunked numerous flight checks, some because of an inability to demonstrate proficiency in basic airmanship.

The Buffalo accident, and the multiple deficiencies revealed, would no doubt have caused the FAA to take a close look at training standards without further prompting. But the agency doesn’t have any choice. Congress is prodding the regulators to take action.

Both the House and Senate rushed to enact legislation (H.R. 3371, the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009, and S.1451, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act), both mandating tougher training standards. Differences between those measures would have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee.

The strong congressional reaction is not surprising given the circumstances of the Buffalo crash and the publicity it received. But we must reiterate our long-held view that few creatures are more dangerous than members of Congress reacting to a high-profile event by rushing to legislate technical standards that would be best addressed by federal regulators. You see, if a federal agency proposes a regulation that turns out to be flawed, it can be fixed or amended after a public comment period. Fixing a bad law, however, is akin to parting the Red Sea — it pretty much requires a miracle.

Both the House and Senate bills essentially require all Part 121 airline pilots (including first officers) to hold Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificates, which could be obtained only after an applicant had logged a minimum of 1,500 flight hours. Currently, Part 121 first officers need a minimum of 250 hours. It’s worth noting that the 47-year-old Colgan Air captain had accumulated 3,379 flight hours and the 24-year-old copilot 2,244 hours.

Unsurprisingly, the FAA’s ANPRM reflects congressional will. However, a chorus of those submitting comments on the proposal emphatically rejects the 1,500 hour/ATP requirement for Part 121 first officers to occupy the right seat.

GAMA said such a requirement could result in an adverse effect on safety because “pilots would no longer focus on getting the best training to prepare them for 121 operations, but rather the cheapest and easiest.”

The Regional Airline Association echoed that concern, noting that “raising the existing, arbitrary total flight hour requirement could have the unintended and negative effect of reducing the number of highly qualified airline pilot professionals without any demonstrable safety benefit.” Simply building hours can be done quickly and cheaply “in ways that do not meaningfully prepare students for airline operations (e.g., towing banners),” the RAA said.

Using an aircraft rental rate of $90 per hour, the NATA calculated that “a pilot would be required to spend $112,500 to acquire sufficient total time to qualify for an ATP certificate and that experience would be gained in the most simple of aircraft . . . without providing any exposure to Part 121 aircraft or operating procedures.” That, said NATA, “will do little but discourage pilots from pursuing a Part 121 career.”

NATA also criticized the “piecemeal approach” of the ANRPM, which it said “will lead to the shifting of the training and evaluation burden from the air carrier to the individual pilot and likely will only exacerbate any existing issues with Part 121 pilot proficiency and professionalism.”

The AOPA said an increase in hiring requirements by the air carriers would likely discourage potential pilots from entering aviation due to higher costs and longer time to qualify. “Long term this is a problem for the entire aviation community,” the AOPA said. “With fewer student pilots, an eventual pilot shortage may occur. It may be difficult or impossible to staff the vital jobs provided by general aviation as well as the nation’s air carriers.”

The association, like many others who filed comments, observed that “experience is not measured in flight time alone. Safety is a combination of experience and training in specific aircraft type and in specific flight conditions,” which is more important than logging a specific number of flight hours.

The deficiencies uncovered in the Buffalo investigation cry out for improvements in airline training programs. Will the FAA embrace industry calls for truly effective changes that actually improve safety? Or will congressional will prevail with an overreaching total flight time requirement offering only illusory safety payoffs while dramatically increasing training costs? There’s a lot riding on the answers to those two questions.

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