Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

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niss
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Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by niss »

The PPL is a license to learn/scare the shit out of yourself. How did you scare the bejesus out of yourself, and what lesson did you take from it?

This was my big one: http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/viewtopi ... t=touch+go

What tales can you share that the rest of us may derive a lesson from?
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by Spokes »

I don't think I really scared myself too much, but I did learn a good lesson one day while starting a descent in a 172. Before you pull the throttle back for the descent, make sure your hand is actually on the throttle and not the mixture. You'll still descend, but it will be quite a bit quieter. Not sure how I did not que in on the difference in shape and feel of those controls.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by digits_ »

Rented an airplane for a longer trip. Calculated the maximum stuff I could take, based on the POH numbers. Loaded it up to maximum weight, and taxied out for a departure on a very hot day, 35 degrees. I flew the plane before well below MTOW. When I took off the plane barely climbed. There were trees at the end of the runway that came dangerously close. Of course I rememberd that an airplane climbs better without flaps, so I raised them. I forgot about the initial sink. I managed a 100 fpm climb.

Turns out the manual I used was for the 180hp version of the airplane, not the 150hp version I was flying. The numbers were significantly different...
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by PropToFeather »

digits_ wrote:Of course I rememberd that an airplane climbs better without flaps, so I raised them. I forgot about the initial sink. I managed a 100 fpm climb
I did my PPL in the winter, and got it early spring. The program then switched us into a different type, and by the time I got solo work in it, it was a 30 degree day out. Suffice it to say, doing a touch and go, not getting a good climb, putting flaps up, and then having to push the nose down was more adrenaline than I wanted to deal with.

Also, the first time out of an airport surrounded by hills with tall trees at both ends was a bit of a butt clencher, especially when the guy flying tried to rotate 15kt below rotation speed... on a plane at MTOW. Luckily, he only pouted when I called "abort" (and then aborted, instead of continuing).
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by boogs82 »

Airplane wasn't trimmed properly on a touch and go once. Airplane didn't want to rotate and I was running out of an already short runway. Rather than force her into the air I aborted the takeoff, rolled back, trimmed properly and everything went well.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by schnitzel2k3 »

Took off out of a grass strip in southern Ontario headed back home after some maintenance the same night and into the same icing that likely downed a Seneca Bonanza.

Had to descend essentially to the treetops to keep the ice from building up on my plane. The radar wasn't showing much of anything but the entire area was full of snow/sleet showers coming off the lakes.

A good lesson on how even the nicest days can become dangerous in a small amount of time.

S.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by Trevor »

I once traveled quite a distance for the opportunity to flew a rather rare airplane. It had been raining that morning, but the clouds were breaking up when we got to the farm strip outside Montreal where the plane was kept. Along the way we stopped and filled a 10 gallon jerry-can with gas, then dumped it in the plane.

After about 15 minutes of flying around I felt I had a good feel for the plane and it was time to head home. The owner/PIC had no idea where we were, couldn't recognize any landmarks and I was watching the fuel gauge. At 20 gph I figured we didn't have more than a few minutes of go-juice left. I actually started looking for open stretches of roadway to land on. Then, just before I figured we needed to set down, the airstrip appeared off the nose - straight in approach, no big turns - just land the sucker. It was only after we were airborne that I learned we had no map, no GPS, no transponder, and no radio.

I screwed up a bunch of things on that flight, but the most important lesson was that whenever I fly with another pilot I accompany them on the walk-around and know the fuel load.

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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by oldtimer »

Coming home in a Super Cub and it was snowing with very poor visibility. I decided to follow right over the highway at low altitude with the idea they cannot build a tower right over the highway. But they can curve the highway around the tower. Fortunatley vis picked up enough I could see the curve in the highway and then the reason for the curve. But I finally made it home safe and sound.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by niss »

oldtimer wrote:Coming home in a Super Cub and it was snowing with very poor visibility. I decided to follow right over the highway at low altitude with the idea they cannot build a tower right over the highway. But they can curve the highway around the tower. Fortunatley vis picked up enough I could see the curve in the highway and then the reason for the curve. But I finally made it home safe and sound.
That must have been an interesting experience. There's also power lines that cross the highway. That would be terrifying.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by rv6a »

Three or four years ago I came into a reasonably long, but one way strip (Crawford Bay) with a tailwind in my RV6A. I usually land right on the button, but in this case was a little high and a little fast. Ended up floating for awhile to about halfway. A go-around wasn't an option due to tall trees at end. Grass was maybe a little wet so brakes didn't do much. As I was sliding towards the end I was resigned to bending something. It finally stopped a couple of feet from the end. My next time in there was a lot better.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by Chris M »

I submitted this one to Air Facts last year:
It was the summer of 2004. I was 17-years old and on top of the world. At 30-something hours into my PPL training the time had come for my solo cross country. The route was 200nm, with a touch and go at the first airport, overflight of a second, landing and refuel at the third, and then a straight shot back home. A good way to spend a few hours in a 152. I’d done the flight already with my instructor and though it hadn’t gone exactly to plan (a transponder failure had forced us to divert around controlled airspace), my flying had been fine and I was cleared for my solo.

I regret to say that I actually have no memory of the first two legs of the flight. Obviously, they must have been fairly routine. What I do recall is that shortly after the overflight of the second airport I had to step my altitude down a couple of times to get below a building cloud layer. Not huge steps and I was still at a safe altitude well clear of any obstacles though, so the thought of diverting or heading home never crossed my mind. I pressed on and other than starting my circuit on the wrong side of the airport (all circuits south of the field) the landing was uneventful. I taxied to the pumps, got the tanks topped off and walked inside to grab a bite to eat at the airport restaurant and call my instructor to keep her up to speed on my progress.

The phone call wasn’t encouraging.

“The weather is coming in; you should head back right away.”

Now in hindsight, with the experience I’ve gained since then, this was a bad thing to say to an impressionable young student pilot. Far better would have been to ask me to call for a weather briefing and then discuss options – either fly home or park the plane until the weather cleared. I seem to recall this was in the afternoon, so parking would likely have meant finding a bed for the night.

I also have to take a fair share of the blame myself. I was a terribly shy kid, and even making phone calls to strangers was a scary thought back then. The idea of arranging parking at the airport and finding a place to sleep was downright terrifying to me.

Blend all that together and you have a perfect storm of get-home-itis. An instructor insisting I head back, a student scared of the alternatives, and weather that doesn’t yet look too scary. That last bit was soon to change.

I hopped back in the airplane and taxied out for a totally routine takeoff. The horizon was lost in haze, but that’s normal conditions around here in the summer and I had become used to it. My first sign that things were going to get interesting was that I hit the cloud base at perhaps 1500 AGL, much lower than the nearly hour old forecast I had received before takeoff. Remember me saying that making phone calls was scary? I had convinced myself I didn’t need to call flight planning for a weather briefing, and so had a poor idea of how this system was evolving.

I was perhaps 15 minutes into the final leg of the trip when the first small cloud got in my way. I didn’t know the term “..-running” at the time but I supposed that’s what I was doing now. I dodged a few clouds and popped through a few that were thin enough. I think I was actually enjoying myself at that point. The fun came to a jarring halt when I realized I couldn’t see the ground anymore.

Somehow in the midst of all this I’d run straight into a low overcast, a grey-white soup all around me that was getting progressively darker. Now we all know the smart answer to this situation: focus on the primary instruments and perform a gentle, 180 degree turn to return to clear air. But I wasn’t being smart. I needed to get home. I have to say my impromptu introduction to IFR flying went pretty smoothly for a minute or two, until I felt comfortable enough to start looking out the side window for the ground again. When I brought my head back to the instruments I was shocked to see myself in a mild right descending turn. I straightened the plane out without trouble but then made the mistake of taking my eyes off the instruments to look for the ground again.

Now back in ground school we all learn about special disorientation. About how the body fools the mind into thinking its right side up when you could be anywhere. About how after you realize the problem and try to correct it your body now wants to default back to that position. Every time this came up in ground school I refused to believe it with the confidence that only youthful ignorance can bring. I KNEW that I would be able to feel the plane turning. I KNEW that I could never be tricked into thinking I was straight and level when the truth was anything but that.

So you can imagine the shot of adrenaline that went through my when I looked back at the instruments after mere seconds of distraction and found myself in a 30 degree right turn, heading down in excess of 500 feet per minute with rapidly building airspeed. Bear in mind that I had only started with 1500 feet of air below me.

I’m glad to say that my reaction at that point was the correct one, otherwise I doubt I’d be sitting here on my couch writing this. Fly the airplane. Nothing else matters right now. Get control of the plane. Level the wings and arrest the descent. Make that little airplane on the gauge level with the white line. Blue up, brown down. Use trim to control altitude. Gentle movements. Heading doesn’t matter. Talking doesn’t matter. Just don’t hit the ground.

When I’d brought things back into line I spared a glance to the compass and was not surprised to discover I was heading in the wrong direction. Fortunately I was below terminal airspace, so I told my shyness to get out of the way and called for advice. The controlled gave me my location and suggested I head south for a few miles which should let me get out into clear air. I followed his suggestion and sure enough a few minutes later I broke out of the clouds. And even better, I spotted a large river that I could follow east all the way home.

But I still wasn’t home free. The sky was overcast and dark with looming storms. Traffic on the highway below had turned on their headlights. The controller’s final words before I signed off were to warn me that rain had started both north and south of my location.

Full throttle for the remaining 15 minutes or so of the flight and into the circuit, where the Unicom had switched on the runways lights for me. I actually don’t recall things becoming particularly rough until I turned final, when I noticed that I was pushing triple digit speeds (in a 152) but not descending. I had received my glider license the previous summer, so I knew that whenever you have strong lift you had equally strong sink right next to it.

This thought flew through my brain a half second before I hit the windshear that dropped the plane so fast my head slammed into the headliner. Full throttle and yoke back, prop biting at the air as the wings mushed though and the airspeed fell precipitously. I don’t remember the stall horn sounding but it may very well have. The next few moments are a blur but somehow I managed to coax that little 152 onto the runway. The CFI told me to taxi the plane straight into the hangar without stopping because they were worried I might get blown over if I shut down outside. I think it took me a good 10 minutes to get out of that airplane.

I think the irony of the flight is that it was fear that drove me into that situation, when it should have been fear, or perhaps respect, that kept me out of it. Fear of failure and nerves pushed me to take off when respect for the weather and the lives that have been lost in that exact scenario should have kept me on the ground.

I’m happy to say that I completed my training after that and despite a short hiatus from flying as I went through school, I am currently enjoying life as a casual pilot who won’t be tangling with weather until I start my IFR rating. I’m also happy to say that I’ve learned the value of when it’s better not to fly, and that a delay is a small price to pay when the alternative could be not arriving at all.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by SuperchargedRS »

Think everyone with enough hours has a few 8)

Good one for me was flying jumpers, just before I give them the green light, I looked back because I could feel the moving around a bit, started to pull the prop back just a little, as was our SOP, since I was distracted I was going off sound, you probably guessed it but it did make a different sound as I was twisting the mixture back not the prop, twisted other way, twisted prop and no one new the better, well except for me ego lol
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by porcsord »

Let's see, the first time I almost killed myself:

I was flying 206's in the middle of nowhere of onterrible. I was brining the aircraft to Winnipeg (Selkirk) for maintenance. At the time I probably had about a thousand hours, and naturally felt invincible. The weather enroute was forecast to be mediocre at best but destination was good and departure was fine. The weather was getting progressively worse enroute and I remember crossing between the Winnipeg and the Red river, essentially at tree top by this point. Suddenly I was in cloud, at about 100agl. Now for those of you unfamiliar with the area, there are a lot of towers. I did a 180, maintaining my altitude, and unfortunately did not exit cloud.

At this point my blood pressure was a little higher than I'd like so, I climbed to avoid the towers in the area, which because of the date (mid December) had me climbing into icing. Once the windscreen was covered in ice and the wings weren't doing great. I was pretty sure things weren't going to work out particularly well for me, so I turned north. If I was going to crash, it was going to be a glassy water landing on a frozen lake Winnipeg. After what felt like an eternity I caught a glimpse of the shoreline, and followed it back to the Winnipeg river.

The plan now was lac du bonnet, but I was still in freezing drizzle, and was for the remainder of the flight. I remember on approach I had full power set and was descending at about 300' per minute. Milked it to the runway, which wasn't plowed. After coming to a stop on the apron I shut her down and spent hours chipping inches of ice off everything. It's the closest I've come to quitting aviation permanently. Some lessons were certainly learned, namely: there is no trip worth dying for.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by EPR »

After a weekend away with a rental C172, we were on our way home with a planned fuel stop at Toronto Island Airport. (spent the weekend in Chicago)
It was during that leg that we noticed the r/h fuel gauge was not working. We landed YTZ at night, got full fuel and after a short break, we removed the chocks and hopped in. I did the pre-start check list and just after shouting "clear" and as I was about to engage the starter...I realized I had forgot to visually confirm my fuel load and caps.
I unstrapped and hopped out to visually check (much to the chagrin of my passengers) and sure enough the fueller hadn't replaced the r/h fuel cap!!...(the side with the u/s fuel guage)...MURPHY'S LAW AT WORK!
That event totally reinforced the importance of a quick walk around before each departure and how complacency can happen.
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Last edited by EPR on Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sharing is caring - How did you %$# up?

Post by Changes in Latitudes »

I should have let the guy behind me get to the egg.
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