Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Cabaret time

Old 3rd Nov 2015, 23:57
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When something happens in this life which cannot be explained by ‘normal’ analysis then it is usually termed ‘para-normal’. My attitude to the para-normal is that it is the height of arrogance on our part to deny that something could happen just because we can’t explain it
John, an interesting article touching on the subject.

How Pilots Intuitively Make Critical Decisions | Business Aviation content from Aviation Week
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Old 4th Nov 2015, 09:36
  #42 (permalink)  

Do a Hover - it avoids G
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Thank you Megan

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Old 4th Nov 2015, 14:14
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Originally Posted by megan
I enjoyed that very much Megan. Thanks.
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Old 20th Apr 2020, 00:46
  #44 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by John Farley
The two events I am about to relate were certainly aviation close calls so in that respect they qualify for this forum. However the stories offer no information that could possibly be of use to other aviators so I thought three times about posting them. Anyhow here goes.

When something happens in this life which cannot be explained by ‘normal’ analysis then it is usually termed ‘para-normal’. My attitude to the para-normal is that it is the height of arrogance on our part to deny that something could happen just because we can’t explain it. However I realise not everyone shares that view.

The first event goes back to the late 50s just after I had got my wings on the Vampire T11 and when I was a new student on the Hunter 4 OCU at Chivenor. Because the two seat Hunter 7 was yet to happen we were given a dual Vampire T11 instrument ride with an instructor, then a dual sector recce where “sir” pointed out local area features and diversions. We then did a solo T11 sector recce before being fired off in the Hunter. I was briefed for my solo sector recce and told to be back in the overhead at 10,000ft with 1000lb of fuel to do a QGH (controlled descent through cloud). For a QGH one was given R/T steers to base and when the approach controller saw your bearing flick round on his radio direction finder screen (no radar in those days) he gave you an outbound heading to start the descent. As I reached the overhead the fuel gauge read exactly 1000lb. “What an ace you are” went through my head. Then as the controller said “check again for overhead” I saw the gauge move smartly almost to zero. Now gauge failure was not that uncommon on the T11 and pre wings I had a gauge go to zero on a dual sortie just after take-off. On that occasion when I pointed this out to my “sir” he said that we either had a massive fuel leak or a gauge failure “…and we shall know which in a moment Farley so carry on with the climb”. At the top of the climb he said “We will do 40 minutes instead of the usual 50 just to be on the safe side”. So I knew about fuel gauge failures.

Now for the point of this story. When I saw the fuel gauge collapse at the start of the QGH I had what I can only describe as a totally overwhelming sensation that the engine was about to stop. It was so overwhelming that I closed the throttle, called “Over to tower” to the surprised approach controller and spiralled steeply down through the cloud. I broke out on the downwind leg among several Hunters going about their normal business and turned tight onto finals calling that I was “three greens short”. Not surprisingly this unannounced arrival on finals resulted in several reds being fired from the caravan, but despite this I continued and threw it on the runway passing a poor bloke taking off in an Anson in the process.

In dispersal the refuellers arrived as I climbed out and went to the line hut to sign in. On my way back to the crew room I asked them how much they had put in. I can still see the expression on the lad’s face when he replied “We have put in 328 gallons and it’s not full yet”. The tank capacity was 330.

Back in the offices of course all hell had broken loose on account of my arrival behaviour and I was quickly bounced up the chain of command. My description of the gauge behaviour as a reason for the mayhem seemingly cutting no ice. The only reason I continued on the course was because the next day a signal came in not to refuel T11s in the rain because it could cause some of the new capacitance gauges (introduced to replace the older ones that kept failing) to over-read in mid-range. Mine had the mod and was refuelled in the rain before my trip.
On the contrary to your opening statement, I believe the story can be extremely useful to aviators. We has a large twin turboprop depart home base for a quick 30 minute run to a destination airport and back to base. There was no maintenance available at destination and the aircraft departed with return fuel. The fuel gauges seems fine with the proper amount of fuel upon arrival at destination but....while on the ground at destination, one of the quantity indicators suddenly changed to a lower setting. It was assumed that the guage had become faulty and there was no way to drip the tanks. The flight departed and encountered a fuel low level warning on the tank that had the faulty guage(the warning is an independent sensor).

Of course, what happened was, the aircraft departed home base with quantity indicating system for that tank being erroneous(at the higher level) and at destination, it became accurate(at the lower level). I don't know any of the details about uplift checks and yes, there are regulatory issues involved with this flight. But the bottom line is.....if you can't do some sort of visual check/proper dripstick check, then it is best to assume that the lower indication is the accurate indication. Wing heaviness on certain aircraft could be a useful analytical tool on some types depending on the amount of imbalance.
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Old 20th Apr 2020, 17:40
  #45 (permalink)  
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TCAS, while old threads can be - and often are - resurrected, unfortunately the OP can't be in this case. Sadly John Farley died in June 2018. Apologies if you are already aware, it's just your opening line suggests otherwise.
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