View Single Post
Old 17th Mar 2006, 18:32
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: On a cushion by the fire
Posts: 6
I endured 5 years of instructing at my local club and have made or been witness to, virtually every mistake possible.

The usual ones, pull mixture instead of carb heat in a bad weather cicuit etc I have survived but pale into insignificance when compared with some of the really frightening ones.

I went into the club one day and the CFI told me to do a circuit with the chief engineer chappie in one of the twins that had been in for maintenance. He told me to make it quick as there was a selection of people waiting to fly. I ran outside and as I went to the fuel caps to check the fuel, the chief engineer said "Plenty of fuel and oil for what we are doing...only one circuit", so I went. The left engine cut at 300ft on the climb-out and the right cut as I touched down. Had to get a tow to the pumps. Lesson well and truly learned.

Another time I had an IMC student and we were going to conduct the lesson in real IMC. As we pulled onto the runway I reminded him to check his DI with the runway, as I was writing down the clearance, winding up my stopwatch etc. We took off and popped into cloud. After a minute or two I told him to turn north and was surprised that the turn didnt seem to take very long and I assumed he had drifted off heading in the climb out. I noted this then noticed we had flown into a clear spot. I looked down and saw a runway with a tornado running down it. It should not have been there. I took control, did a quick 180 and got out of the area quick. And what had happened? The IMC student with many PPL hours under his belt had lined up on runway 10 and unknown to me had set 010 on the DI which resulted in the aircraft being flown straight over an active MoD airfield. Lesson learned.

I had a trial lesson victim who, either through nerves or deathwish, inadvertantly applied full right rudder at the very moment we took off. He also locked his leg in this position so it made it impossible for me to correct. He only let go after I had administered a short sharp punch to the nose. Afterwards you could see the arc the right wing tip had made in the long grass along the side of the runway. Lesson learned.

I was persuaded to become a meat bomber (parachute drop jockey) and it was suggested that I sit in the back of the aircraft and watch. (not legal but it was a long time ago.) All the seats in the big Cessna, except the pilots seat and rear bench seat, had been removed so it was the rear bench seat that I occupied. Off went the meat bombs on their vertical journey and I unbuckled my belt and carefully crawled to the pilot past the open right side door. I grabbed the plastic strap behind his seat so I could crouch by his seat to tell him something. The handle snapped. I rolled back, gracefully exiting the a/c at 5000ft still clutching the vinyl strap. Instinctively pushing out my feet, I was able to jam them under the pilots seat to arrest my sumersault into oblivion. Once dangling with head in the propwash, he pulled me in with a pull on my trouser belt. Seriously frightening stuff. I still have nightmares about it, 10 years later. I also still have the whitish/ yellowy plastic strap. It is nailed up behind the kitchen door and I hang the dog's lead and collar from it. Lesson learned.

The funniest thing was another trial lesson victim. The chap was very old. He had flown in the war and wanted to do some aeros, as he had enjoyed this many years before. Off we went and I suggested one or two spins to see how we got on. This he agreed to and I entered a spin. I was pattering away as you do, and had got to the "and ease out of the ensuing dive" bit. I then noticed my old chap was not very well. Not very well at all. He was clutching his chest and making some sort of grunting noise with his chin buried deep in his chest. He was also drooling. That did it. I radioed the airfield to say my passenger was having a heart attack and that I'll need an ambulance for him on landing. With this radio call my chap got very aggitated, grabbing my arm and spitting drool at me. He looked in agony and I kept on trying to reassure him and tell him to calm down. He was trying to tell me something. "Meee teeez" "Meee teeez" he repeated again and again. He shouted "Wook" and picked up off the floor a set of false teeth with assorted fluff and the obligatory half melted Spangle stuck to them. At entry to the spin his false teeth had dropped out and he had tried to catch them as they slid down his chest and on to the floor. I had to call the airfield, saying that the ambulance was not required and that my chap was fine. They of course wanted to know more but I told them I would have to see them when I had landed as I and my new friend were laughing so much.

This all happened over 10 years ago. There are many other stories and one day I may write a book. I now fly a biz jet and life is certainly a lot more ordered, predictable and safe! But is it as much fun???

DogsBolx is offline