Scariest time as a pilot

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rk1996
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Scariest time as a pilot

Post by rk1996 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:29 pm

Hello guys/gals,

Lately, I was thinking about something interesting to ask and to learn from. I was wondering if some of you would share what was the scariest thing that have ever happened to you in your pilot career.

It does not matter wether you have been just a student pilot or already a senior captain, just the worst time. And by scariest, I mean you really did not know if you would make it at the end, and already preparing your prayers.

Of course, that could have been due to whatever reasons, depending on what you have experienced (I.e : bad decision making that led to a critical situation, unexepected failure of the a/c, suspicious passenger, weather, etc...). Moreover, can you tell how were you able to manage this particular situation?

Thanks! :rolleyes:
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jakeandelwood
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by jakeandelwood » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:55 pm

Scariest for me was my 1st day on the job as a FO on a cargo Navajo and having the 22 year old Captain pull this Top Gun, high G 90 degree bank 50 feet off the ground right after takeoff. As the stall warning was going off I surly thought the 20 thousand hour wing spar was going to snap. How did I deal with it? I kept my mouth shut and quietly waited for my turn to go Captain so I could fly nice and level.
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iflyforpie
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by iflyforpie » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:07 am

Losing my only engine at about 500 feet.

Did the impossible turn, lived to tell about it, so did the plane. Learned what I and the aircraft was capable of when lightly loaded (I’d had some formal training on it before), and learned to set solid limits for doing such a maneuver.
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Geez did I say that....? Or just think it....?

lownslow
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by lownslow » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:56 am

This one time I received a registered letter from TC.
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corethatthermal
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by corethatthermal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:15 am

A student pilot is taught to land straight ahead after engine failure because the school doesn't teach them how to get back to the airport with various weight, height and environmental considerations. PRACTICE folks!
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oneplus
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by oneplus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:40 am

iflyforpie wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:07 am
Losing my only engine at about 500 feet.

Did the impossible turn, lived to tell about it, so did the plane. Learned what I and the aircraft was capable of when lightly loaded (I’d had some formal training on it before), and learned to set solid limits for doing such a maneuver.
what plane?
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Heliian
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by Heliian » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:41 am

Reading these forums.

Seriously though,

I had a captain try and kill us once because his temper and ego got away on him. Should have just gone around and set up properly but didn't want to look foolish in front of the clients. Never flew with him again.
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by doiwannabeapilot » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:14 am

My automation tries to kill me at least 6 times every flight !
Sometimes i even have to use speedbrakes! Crazy arrival profiles!
I'm drenched in sweat at the end of every flight because my life was on the line.
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P180
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by P180 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:05 am

With 19000 hours the day I took my wife for a ride...
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Schooner69A
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by Schooner69A » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:24 pm

iflyforpie:

What you executed was "The Possible Turn".

When discussing engine failure after take-off,for each pilot/aircraft/temperature/wind/etc, there is an altitude above which a return to the departure runway is possible and below which it is not. Unfortunately, this altitude is a moving target dependant upon the factors mentioned.

Glider pilots-in-training routinely experience 'rope breaks' at 200 feet. Because, at that altitude, a return to the departure runway is possible. It is doubtful that anyone would advocate practicing same at 50 feet.

It appears that the FAA is getting behind the idea of teaching how to safely execute a return-to-runway following an engine failure when the issued Advisory Circular 61-83J, which states: “Flight instructors should demonstrate and teach trainees when and how to make a safe 180° turn back to the field following an engine failure.”

They are not pushing for "The Impossible Turn", but "The Possible Turn".

Of interest, what type aircraft and how high above ground were you when aligned with the departure runway...?
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TheRealMcCoy
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by TheRealMcCoy » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:39 pm

This one time, in a Beaver...
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by rookiepilot » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:54 pm

Paralleling a long, active weather front and cut the corner crossing the end of it, to get on course for destination. Should have waited for 15 more miles, clipped a couple of TCU's in IMC too strong for a light airplane, stronger than what showed on nexrad. That delay.....

Was a ride for a few moments, no lightning but power washed the plane. Slowed to maneuvering speed, confessed to ATC, flew out of it in a few miles. Lesson learned.
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Last edited by rookiepilot on Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by oldtimer » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:24 pm

Early one evening when her hubby returned home earlier than expected.
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The average pilot, despite the somewhat swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring.
These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by C.W.E. » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:23 pm

Would bring home a communicable disease to the wife count?
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by corethatthermal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:04 pm

Is it appropriate to ask "I fly" at what altitude and A/C he had for a 180+ rtn to landing ? Would it now be the new syllablis IAW that pilot! for avcanadas sake? FIND out your own ability with your A/C that is what training is for Dummies ! BTW, a 240 degree return to runway may involve MORE than you were taught in a blind valley turn around ! It can be a stinkingly drastic maneuver ! How do I know?
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by Schooner69A » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:50 pm

ctt: "Is it appropriate to ask "I fly" at what altitude and A/C he had for a 180+ rtn to landing ?"

Absolutely.
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Shady McSly
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by Shady McSly » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:24 pm

This one time at band camp...
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iflyforpie
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by iflyforpie » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:02 am

Schooner69A wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:24 pm
iflyforpie:

What you executed was "The Possible Turn".

When discussing engine failure after take-off,for each pilot/aircraft/temperature/wind/etc, there is an altitude above which a return to the departure runway is possible and below which it is not. Unfortunately, this altitude is a moving target dependant upon the factors mentioned.

Glider pilots-in-training routinely experience 'rope breaks' at 200 feet. Because, at that altitude, a return to the departure runway is possible. It is doubtful that anyone would advocate practicing same at 50 feet.

It appears that the FAA is getting behind the idea of teaching how to safely execute a return-to-runway following an engine failure when the issued Advisory Circular 61-83J, which states: “Flight instructors should demonstrate and teach trainees when and how to make a safe 180° turn back to the field following an engine failure.”

They are not pushing for "The Impossible Turn", but "The Possible Turn".

Of interest, what type aircraft and how high above ground were you when aligned with the departure runway...?

It was a 206 and I was in ground effect as I rolled wings level.

There is not an altitude where it is possible to do the impossible turn. It is an altitude and a distance ie: departure angle. You need a bare minimum altitude to do the turn (which isn’t 360 total... the tighter you can make the first turn, the less you have to turn final) but if you’re fully loaded with high DA off a short runway with no wind... so that you’re a mile away at 200 feet, there is no way you are ever going to make it back because your aircraft is incapable of the required glide ratio. In fact... there is no safe altitude unless you’ve already turned because you are eating up distance away from the airport as you climb.

I was fortunate as I had a lightly loaded aircraft, a bit of a headwind, and was expecting an engine failure as it was a test flight. I sacrificed altitude for airspeed on the first turn making it as tight as possible (pulling to the stall horn but no more) and only had about 45 degrees to line up with the runway.
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by rookiepilot » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:01 am

Could be worse aircraft than a light 206 for that to happen.....
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by KenoraPilot » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:03 am

First day flying a CRJ in the DRC (last plane flew was the DHC6)
DRC Thunderstorms the size of holland and picking your way through a T-storm line into an airport that reports "no rain or weather on the field" but the rest of the world is lighting and death lol
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by Capt. Underpants » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:08 am

Over the prairies at 02:00 local in a Learjet on a medivac. We were in cloud with smooth air at FL350. The forecast called for possible isolated CBs but nothing was on our radar and the ATC frequency was quiet. Next thing we knew, we saw a flash of lightning, encountered heavy rain and the aircraft entered an uncontrolled climb at about 5000 ft/min. We advised ATC and they said we were clear above all the way to FL430. I was waiting for the inevitable other side where we'd start dropping like a stone but in what seemed like seconds, we popped out the top at FL385 and found ourselves over the anvil. I'm sure my voice changed slightly that night and it took some doing to extricate the seat cushion from my butt. We learned later that our radar RT (which had worked fine on the previous leg) had crapped the bed.
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by goldeneagle » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:35 pm

If one filters thru the regular AvCanada drivel postings polluting this thread, a thread like this has potential to be enlightening for some.

My scariest time in an aircraft was back in the early 80's, Booth Arrival into YVR in a Chieftan. Was around 8pm or so, lots of big buildups on the north shore with freezing level well below us. I was IMC and there was a diesel 9 about 20 miles behind me. I knew it was not going to be fun when I heard them on the radio saying 'Vancouver AC 222 would like to stay up at 220 till the VOR'. At one point somewhere over Harrison Lake we went into some heave precip that started sticking to the airplane. Chieftan lightly loaded, just two pax and not a lot of granny gas on board but we were still going down at a thousand feet a minute with both handles pushed as far forward as they will go. The folks on arrival were really good, they did give me headings to get me out where they could get us lower and below freezing levels. I know we ended up lower than the numbers on the arrival plate, but I dont think we got below the minimum vector altitude, was scary none the less.

But that was NOTHING compared to the Navair MU2 out over Mable Lake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbm8xzLVgQ4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lAu-HpzqM4

I've often wondered if the folks from on ROM that night are around this site. I remember hearing about it the next day, was an unbelievable story floating around the airport, lotsa folks calling BS. I think the tapes played back above are pretty definitive on that event.
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by goingnowherefast » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:40 pm

I never screwed around with Navajos in icing...well same goes for turbine anything, but slightly more tolerant when there's reserve power and more altitude options in pressurized airplanes
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by C.W.E. » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:20 pm

Looking back over the years flying in icing conditions there were a few that sure got my attention.

But the most unusual one was in a Turbo Goose on a trip from Terrace to Vancouver when we encountered a faster build up then forecast and the airplane started to get real difficult to control in the pitching movements.

I was easy to fix, all we needed to do was ask Vancouver for a right hand turn and a lower altitude west of the mountains to get below the freezing altitude.

Of all the airplanes I ever flew in icing that was the weirdest handling machine in icing I ever ran across.

But it was a real performer and a joy to fly in normal conditions and I would love to be able to afford one as a personal toy.


Another interesting thing was it was one of the first turbine powered airplanes I flew, got checked out in the Turbo Goose and the Twin Otter on floats at the same time in the fall of 1974.
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Re: Scariest time as a pilot

Post by PilotDAR » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:27 pm

There have been many. most were scary upon later reflection, as I was busy flying at the time. In terms of my instantly wondering if I would be a TSB report the next day, it was probably the maintenance check flight in which I suddenly found that the elevator trim, though moving the correct direction (I checked before flight) was moving in the wrong travel range, and thus made the plane both un trimmable, and very nearly unflyable. That was a full muscle, full skill, very small circuit.

Happily the scariest flight I had, that time, as the instructor, I really don't remember. Though I remember water coming in the windshield. I woke up four days later with my wife, a doctor and a couple of nurses telling me to wiggle my toes. Three months later I was home, four months after that, I went for a check flight with an instructor. It was like I flew the day before :)!

So there is scary stuff out there, fly as though you're worried that an accident is about to happen, even though it probably won't...
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