A few weeks ago, a military test pilot died in an accident near the secretive Area 51 in Nevada. The USAF is not saying what type of aircraft he was in but industry publications have written that it may have been in a Russian-built fighter. The exact details are publicly unknown at this time but there apparently is a secretive squadron that operates aircraft such as the MiG-29 and SU-27 among others in the interest of gaining knowledge about the capabilities of these aircraft types. The squadron is called the Red Hats.
http://aviationweek.com/defense/fatal-n ... ac68914a28
Looking a bit more into the tragic loss of life in this recent accident brought up an interesting story of an earlier crash that happened over 20 years ago that was also fatal and completely unnecessary. The aircraft involved was a MiG 23.
Below are quotes from several different sources......
“The death of Lieutenant General Robert M. Bond on April 26, 1984, in Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site was an avoidable tragedy. With 267 combat missions under his belt, 44 in Korea and 213 in Vietnam, Robert M. Bond was a highly decorated Air Force pilot revered by many. At the time of his accident, he was vice commander of Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland, which made him a VIP when it came to the F‑117 program going on at Area 51. In March of 1984, General Bond arrived at the secret facility to see how things were progressing. The general's visit should have been no different than those made by the scores of generals whose footsteps Bond was following in, visits that began back in 1955 with men like General James "Jimmy" Doolittle and General Curtis LeMay. The dignitaries were always treated in high style; they would eat, drink, and bear witness to top secret history being made. Following in this tradition, General Bond's first visit went without incident.
But in addition to being impressed by the F‑117 Nighthawk, General Bond was equally fascinated by the MiG program, which was still going on at Area 51. In the fifteen years since the CIA had gotten its hands on Munir Redfa's MiG‑21, the Agency and the Air Force had acquired a fleet of Soviet-made aircraft including an MiG‑15, an MiG‑17, and, most recently, the supersonic MiG‑23. Barnes says, "We called it the Flogger. It was a very fast plane, almost Mach 3. But it was squirrelly. Hard to fly. It could kill you if you weren't well trained."
On a visit to Area 51 the following month, General Bond requested to fly the MiG‑23. "There was some debate about whether the general should be allowed to fly," Barnes explains. "Every hour in a Soviet airplane was precious. We did not have spare parts. We could not afford unnecessary wear and tear. Usually a pilot would train for at least two weeks before flying a MiG. Instead, General Bond got a briefing while sitting inside the plane with an instructor pilot saying, ‘Do this, do that.'" In other words, instead of undergoing two weeks of training, General Bond pulled rank. Just a few hours later, General Bond was seated in the cockpit of the MiG, flying high over Groom Lake. All appeared to be going well, but just as he crossed over into the Nevada Test Site, Bond radioed the tower on an emergency channel. "I'm out of control," General Bond said in distress. The MiG was going approximately Mach 2.5. "I've got to get out, I'm out of control" were the general's last words. The MiG had gone into a spin and was on its way down. Bond ejected from the airplane but was apparently killed when his helmet strap broke his neck. The general and the airplane crashed into Area 25 at Jackass Flats, where the land was still highly contaminated from the secret NERVA [nuclear rocket] tests that had gone on there.”
“Bond insisted on flying the MiG-23 BN fighter-bomber after a cursory briefing over the cockpit rail, even though it was considered a difficult aircraft and pilots usually received several hours of ground instruction before flying it. On his second high-speed flight, he was flying at 40,000 feet and over Mach 2, and had left the T-38 chase plane that was flying with him far behind, when a hydro-mechanical inhibitor activated, preventing him from disengaging the afterburner. It was designed to avoid sudden shut-downs at high speed that could damage the Tumansky R-29 engine, or even cause it to explode and destroy the aircraft. At such speeds, with the wings fully swept back to 72°, the MiG had very limited pitch authority and was inclined to yaw and roll. Bond lost control, made a distress call ("I gotta get out of here") and was then killed in the ejection, when the slipstream broke his neck and shredded the canopy of his parachute.”
“The accident investigation was chaired by General Gordon E. Williams. The investigation report was kept secret, but one pilot who had seen it commented unsympathetically: "He should have read the flight manual." The report was required reading for American MiG pilots in years to come.”
Read the flight manual.....and that should really only be the start.
'Summer before last, I was flying a Garmin G500/GTN750 equipped 182 amphibian down the coast of the Baltic sea, in pretty poor weather. I'd been given special VFR, and cleared to land at a Finnish airport from way back. It was tempting to just fly there, and land, but I was nervous - I was at about 600 feet, and I felt that windmills would be a risk. I did not see any displayed on the obstacle display of the G500, but I had seen them on shore. Something was wrong, but skud running entirely unfamiliar territory was a bad idea. Instead I ignored the GPS navigation, and reverted to intersecting the localizer over the sea, then glideslope on the way in. That worked. The next day, I saw we'd been surrounded by windmills. If I'd read the inch thick Garmin manual, I would have learned that the factory default for the obstacle database and display of them is a 5NM scale, I was flying with a 25NM scale. Oddly. though terrain inhibit would be displayed, obstacle inhibit seems not - it just without warning. I should have known that before I flew and applied it in no mistake flying. So, it the manufacturer wrote it, I should read it!
And even where I work, I have been spending several months on the iPad finally, but somewhat slowly, plowing through the details of the FMC and several other systems(such as communications function which is quite large) that were intentionally bypassed during the transition to the aicraft when one has to study the heavy duty stuff and bypass the less important stuff. I had discovered that I would start reading this stuff and then stop and not remember where I was so I would then start at the beginning again and never get anywhere. Now, using Adobe, and grey out what I have read and put a red X beside what I didn't know and could be useful. Once finished, perhaps I can copy and paste the red X stuff into a binder and have all the stuff that i don't know and gets forgotten stuff together.