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Beaver/C206 mid-air over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

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Beaver/C206 mid-air over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Old 6th Jul 2020, 11:57
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Beaver/C206 mid-air over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

8 people are thought to have lost their lives...

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/237681
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Old 9th Jul 2020, 19:35
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Somewhat surprised that there are no comments on this thread.
If memory serves me correct, there has been another recent collision between floatplanes with a similarly tragic outcome.
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 00:54
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Yes, this is at least a second such collision recently.

Water flying introduces variables, which are uncommon in wheel flying. Few bodies of water are "aerodromes", and thus have established traffic patterns. And, the landing zone will be that which the pilot chooses, based upon their preference and experience. So, two floatplanes, particularly two who's pilots are unaware of the presence of the other, could be set up for very different approaches. High wing planes of course reduce visibility in turns. This has been ridiculously aggravated for some Beavers, which were former US Army. Those planes, very wisely, had four excellent skylights, making it much easier to see traffic. When converted to civil, it was a requirement to cover them over, I can't imagine why!?! If I were making the design requirements, I would require skylights, certainly not close them over!

Float flying gives you that wonderful sense of being on your own, out in the wild. That feeling of freedom can reduce one's vigilance for other traffic...
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 04:59
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I thought that this sort of thing is what ADS-B was supposed to prevent. I would appreciate it if those who know more about the ADS-B capabilities than I, would contribute to the discussion.

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Grog
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 07:58
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Never stop learning .....

Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
Yes, this is at least a second such collision recently.

Water flying introduces variables, which are uncommon in wheel flying. Few bodies of water are "aerodromes", and thus have established traffic patterns. And, the landing zone will be that which the pilot chooses, based upon their preference and experience. So, two floatplanes, particularly two who's pilots are unaware of the presence of the other, could be set up for very different approaches. High wing planes of course reduce visibility in turns. This has been ridiculously aggravated for some Beavers, which were former US Army. Those planes, very wisely, had four excellent skylights, making it much easier to see traffic. When converted to civil, it was a requirement to cover them over, I can't imagine why!?! If I were making the design requirements, I would require skylights, certainly not close them over!

Float flying gives you that wonderful sense of being on your own, out in the wild. That feeling of freedom can reduce one's vigilance for other traffic...
Thank you for a very enlightening and succinct explanation of the floatplane flying environment, now this begins to make sense.
You are correct, this fluidity in available landing areas and circuit patterns is something "conditioned" out of us from our first circuits and still applies when flying visual circuits in heavier machinery.

This was completely off my radar.

Thank you.

TR
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 08:28
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Originally Posted by Teddy Robinson View Post
Thank you for a very enlightening and succinct explanation of the floatplane flying environment, now this begins to make sense.
You are correct, this fluidity in available landing areas and circuit patterns is something "conditioned" out of us from our first circuits and still applies when flying visual circuits in heavier machinery.

This was completely off my radar.

Thank you.

TR
In that sense, are floatplanes comparable to helicopter operations ?

Last edited by double_barrel; 10th Jul 2020 at 09:04.
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 10:54
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
In that sense, are floatplanes comparable to helicopter operations ?
In my GA experience, yes and no.

Usually the helos operate on the dead side of an airfield with a lower circuit height for deconfliction with fixed wing traffic
Away from base, they do what they are designed to do, but not usually focussed on one landing area for many machines.

Events such as the Silverstone GP, there are (or were) slot times and arrival departure routes to regulate the situation.

From the foregoing post, it seems that the floatplane operations fall somewhere short in this regard, especially where there are several commercial aircraft and operators using the same area of water.
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Old 10th Jul 2020, 12:25
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Helicopters generally have superior cockpit visibility than planes, let alone that yes, if you bank a floatplane, a float can also block your view. Helicopters can also fly tighter and more direct approaches. I recall on one of my early helicopter solo cross countries, flying into an airport I knew very well as a fixed wing pilot. The tower just told me to remain clear of the approach path to the runway, and otherwise approach as I wished - I was spooked! If multiple helicopters are operating into a non heliport/airport environment, they're usually "on the job", know each other are there, and self coordinating traffic.

For my experience, if a body of water has a commercial operation, or even more than one, there is usually excellent voluntary traffic cooperation, the operator(s) recognize the safety benefits from agreeing informally on a traffic pattern, and in such case, the experienced float pilots will all see the merits of the same approach in given conditions, and the inexperienced float pilots will follow that lead. complications arise when an "outsider" arrives to the area, unaware of a private traffic pattern.

Even the most mundane water landing will have concentration demands equal to the most demanding runway landing. Wheel pilots recognize that with experience and type familiarity, wheel landings can get to the point when they require only minimal demands on concentration. Any water landing involves determining the wind direction, and micro local variations, water conditions ('cause the runway is always moving), surface traffic and hazards, and cockpit checks (particularly for amphibians). So task saturation of a less experienced floatplane pilot is reached more quickly during a water approach, than landplane pilots would anticipate. Add to that glassy water, or high waves or winds, and you're really focused!
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Old 12th Jul 2020, 15:51
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We had a pleasure flight in Beaver N67667 about three years ago a thoroughly enjoyable experience our pilot had 31000 hours. Sadly the same aircraft was in a collision in 2019 with all lost onboard although I understand was under new ownership. There’s some very impressive scenery and some serious granite to view at very close quarters.
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