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A VERY close call for this pilot in Pacoima CA

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A VERY close call for this pilot in Pacoima CA

Old 10th Jan 2022, 23:19
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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As others have pointed out. They had the time to put the safety tape up.

It would have probably only taken a couple of cops to drag the aircraft off the tracks by it’s tail with the pilot still in (probably less likely to cause further injury than dragging him out in a panic)

But hindsight eyy
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 23:38
  #22 (permalink)  
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But if you don’t know much about planes, e.g., how light they are compared to cars or SUVs, and you do know that a train IS coming that may have too much momentum to stop in time, and some idiots might try to drive or walk across the RR crossing, then putting up the warning tape seems like a really good idea.

I didn’t hear the pilot ask them to pull his plane off the train tracks…
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 00:14
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I had also noticed the yellow tape and wondered how long the police had been there. I have moved enough Cessnas over the years to know that a few policemen pressing down on the stabilizer and pushing would have got it off the tracks PDQ. I also wondered why the police on site or the dispatcher hadn't call the railroad signalling center.

That's a great tip about short-circuiting the rails, Pilot DAR. I'm sure my battery jumper cables are more than 4' 8˝" long!

With regards to airports in built-up areas like the Los Angeles basin, several years ago piperboy84 took me for a tour of the area. We had several discussions about where to land in an emergency. One of the plethora of freeways would be the obvious choice, but they are usually too busy. I favoured railroad tracks - luckily there are no overhead wires - but piperboy84 preferred the concrete ditch that is euphemistically called the Los Angeles River. I warned him that he would have to look out for the Terminator on a Harley!

On final to Fullerton, I commented that the warehouse roofs would be an option. He was flying high on the VASIS which was a good idea, considering the undershoot:



See here for more pictures of our "Cook's Tour":
A Scotsman and an Englishman in “The Glens of LA”
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 02:51
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Originally Posted by FakePilot View Post
I was going to say this. Also a good survival tip if you are lost in wilderness and find a railroad track.
Do I need to carry a step ladder with me in case I get lost in the wilderness?
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 04:11
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Originally Posted by OPENDOOR View Post
Possibly the time spent stringing yellow tape might have been better employed moving the aircraft out of the path of the train?
Unknown as to why the responders didn't check the train schedule or have Dispatch call Metrolink. Departures from the Sylmar / San Fernando station (just a few miles away upline) to Union Station , according the the Sunday schedule around that time, look to be 12:42pm, 2:06pm and 3:51pm,. The timestamp on the police bodycam says 2:15pm so maybe they thought the 2:06 train has already passed? Metrolink has different schedules on M-F vs Sat. vs Sun.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 07:02
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Originally Posted by mickjoebill View Post
6 seconds before the train hit, he was still behind the control column...
My point exactly - how long had it taken the responders up to then to extricate the pilot from his harness and the cockpit ?

As I pointed out (admittedly, with hindsight) in the post immediately prior to yours, and echoed subsequently by other posters, that time might have been better spent dragging the 172 off the tracks - plenty of muscle available, no train collision, no dangerous flying debris, no traumatised train driver (who gets nary a mention in any of the media reports).
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 07:14
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As I pointed out (admittedly, with hindsight) in the post immediately prior to yours, and echoed subsequently by other posters, that time might have been better spent dragging the 172 off the tracks - plenty of muscle available, no train collision, no dangerous flying debris, no traumatised train driver (who gets nary a mention in any of the media reports).
That looks like leaking fuel you'd be dragging it through, down by the nose, and it isn't clear what posts/street furniture were around.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 10:12
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
My point exactly - how long had it taken the responders up to then to extricate the pilot from his harness and the cockpit ?

As I pointed out (admittedly, with hindsight) in the post immediately prior to yours, and echoed subsequently by other posters, that time might have been better spent dragging the 172 off the tracks - plenty of muscle available, no train collision, no dangerous flying debris, no traumatised train driver (who gets nary a mention in any of the media reports).
I would hazard a guess that in the heat of the moment, you make a call as to which is the quicker course of action, & go with that decision. Hesitating whilst deciding whether it's easier for a couple of people to extract the pilot, or whether you have sufficient time & people to move the aircraft, could be vital seconds lost. In saying that, perhaps that process was undertaken off camera, & the conclusion was the aircraft was wedged in some way & it would be quicker just to extract him. Hindsight also says they were right, I suggest.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 10:33
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Am I right in thinking that there is no apparent braking by the train? I appreciate it probably wouldn't have stopped in time but wouldn't hitting emergency brakes be an automatic response or maybe SOPs dicate otherwise?
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 11:15
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
As I pointed out (admittedly, with hindsight) in the post immediately prior to yours, and echoed subsequently by other posters, that time might have been better spent dragging the 172 off the tracks - plenty of muscle available, no train collision, no dangerous flying debris, no traumatised train driver (who gets nary a mention in any of the media reports).
Dragging the wreckage with the pilot still inside could have caused him further injury.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 12:50
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Hats off to the first responders.
My 0.02$, we all know you can move a Cessna, but that does not mean the first responders do. I would assume they are more trained (no pun intended) to get people out, or to secure the wreckage in spot.
In looking at the images in the first post, the nose wheel is on the ground along with the left wing, so I dont think coming "forward" would work all that well, you would have to go "back wards" across the tracks??
We weren't there, I still think the first team did great.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 16:59
  #32 (permalink)  
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I trained firefighters in extrication for years, including from GA planes. We would never attempt to move a vehicle with a patient in it. Only stabilize and extricate. If you try to move a vehicle with someone in it, and something goes wrong, which is really possible, it's now your cause. The patient could be further injured, further trapped, it could catch fire, roll over, or another first responder could be injured - stabilize only. I've crawled into a lot of unpleasant places to cut a patient out of a car. For the couple of accidents where the vehicle had to be moved first, we had already determined that there was no rush, as we'd wait for the coroner. Though we did do auto extrication on or very near railway tracks, we were always able to get the trains stopped first, or it had already stopped. But, knowing that could be impossible to stop a very near train at track speed, my admiration of these police officers!
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 19:30
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To my mind the thing about accidents/disasters etc is that while training for them may be able to assist in the event, by their very nature they're impossible to train for specifically.

Each event is different and will require decisions to be made on the spot and often with little time. To say that you should never move a vehicle regardless seems to me to dangerously limit options that first or second tier responders may have to rescue or prevent further injury. Perhaps we're lucky here but I wonder, DAR, from your comments, if Canada has a similar legal environment to what I understand the U.S. to have, and that as a rescuer you could be held liable for all sorts of things - and that's a significant reason for not moving as an option?

While I quite understand the reasons not to move a person from a vehicle there are times when other factors can overrule that, IMO. Just the same as with moving a vehicle. In my life I've had occasion to attend several disasters and accidents, and make important decisions about what to do. At least one of those was to extract two people from a vehicle that had crashed into a bridge abutment; the rapidly increasing smoke and leaking petrol tipped the balance for me against leaving them inside and potentially reaching a point where it would have been impossible to rescue them.

Perhaps it's an indictment on today's society, but I suggest competence-based training is more what's needed than rules-based, sadly however I see much more of the latter - all I can hope is that if I'm ever in a position to need assistance the person(s) who turn up will know what to do, rather than what rules they must follow. So good on these police for doing what was needed at the time, whether it was extraction or moving the 'plane it seems they made a decision based on circumstances and went with it
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Old 12th Jan 2022, 18:52
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there are times when other factors can overrule that, IMO.
Of course. Our actions as firefighters are defined by operating guidelines. Each guideline, includes a reference to the possible need to do something else. But, if you, as a firefighter singularly decide to do something which contradicts a guideline, you will probably called upon to explain later, particularly if something goes wrong. If you're operating within the guideline, and something goes wrong, it's pretty well an automatic "well, you did your best". If you were outside the guideline, people are going to ask and think a lot before they may reach the same conclusion.

We move patients as little as possible, but sometimes you have to move them. If you have to move them, you control their condition and position as much as you can before you move them. But, if there's a critical need to move them, you do what you have to do, with the foregoing considered. So If I have to suddenly drag someone out of immediate peril, it is what it is, I may not make their condition worse, while I'll probably save their life. But, to move someone, possibly loose inside a vehicle, by pulling the vehicle, means that they could flop around inside the vehicle as it moves (or rolls over), and become more badly injured. The vehicle could catch fire while being moved, and then you just trapped them inside, and caused a fire! Or, the vehicle could further jam, so when moved, is less accessible for extrication. We've taken as long as 45 minutes to cut someone from a car without inuring them further.

Upon arrival, the first thing you do before patient assessment and assistance is to assess the scene, which these police obviously did well - patient safety and condition, bystander safety, and your safety. Correctly done (and hopefully called in), that assessment forms the basis of what you'll do next, and how urgently. If the patient is injured, it is never not urgent, you have an hour. But, particularly with medics arriving on scene, if you have the time, you should use some of the time to do it right, assess and immobilize the patient, then move them.

During auto extrication training I conducted, I had an old 172 fuselage taken to the wrecking yard too. While I was teaching to look for airbags before cutting through a B post, I was teaching that's where the fuel lines are in a Cessna!

Experience comes from both doing it a lot, but also realizing how close your success was to non success in many ways, and remembering that for next time!
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Old 12th Jan 2022, 19:41
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Originally Posted by sitigeltfel View Post
Dragging the wreckage with the pilot still inside could have caused him further injury.
Indeed it could.

And if extricating him had taken 5 seconds longer, his worries would have been over permanently.

Just because the outcome was a good one doesn't mean that lessons can't be learned.
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Old 12th Jan 2022, 20:22
  #36 (permalink)  
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Lessons can always be learned!

Attempting to move that plane with the pilot in it would have been a wayyyy less good choice compared to what the police succeeded in doing. Can you imaging taking the time to find the rope or tow strap, hook it to a structure you do not understand, and then onto a hard point on your patrol car that you also do not understand, to find the as you pulled, the plane rolled a bit, the pilot's arm flopped out, and got caught, so you stopped dragging it, or it hooked on the track and wouldn't move, and maybe what you'd hooked too broke off? All of that did not work, took time, and prevented the direct rescue of the pilot in the mean time - then the train hits and kills the patient. The police would have been in for massive criticism then! As it was, it had a lot of risk to both pilot and police officer. The risk went down for the pilot as it went up for the police officer - but the police officer never increased the risk to the pilot as a patient.

I have had times when I could not save a person, I tried. I did what I was trained to do, it did not work. patient died, I did not. I did my job. I've had times when I refused to start a zero zero in snow night rescue, because I knew that the very remote chance we could find them was offset by immense risk to our team, and the slight risk that finding the patients could have been by running them over with the airboat. But the lesson learned was that we needed FLIR, then the Chief let me buy one - we just needed the lesson!

From time to time on scene I'd shout "Freeze". That means that everyone has to stop, while we consider something safety related which a firefighter has noticed. The minute I witnessed someone connecting a tow anything to that airplane with someone in it, I would have yelled freeze for sure!
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Old 13th Jan 2022, 04:57
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Dragging the wreckage with the pilot still inside could have caused him further injury
Dragging the wreckage and possibility of causing sparks may not be a good idea as there has been fuel spillage - evident under right wing. What could they have used as an attach point on the aircraft in order to tow it, looks as though the engine is no longer attached to the firewall, possible sparking from dislodged battery in the engine compartment. 70 year old ex fighter pilot lives to fly another day.
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Old 13th Jan 2022, 10:08
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Originally Posted by Clay_T View Post
There are (supposed to be) signs posted at each crossing with an emergency phone number to call in case the crossing is obstructed.



I would imagine police officers/first responders have it on speed dial.
Probably a dud number , staffed at best, by tree monkeys.
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Old 13th Jan 2022, 10:42
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The step ladder trick to stop the train is excellent and worth noting for similar emergencies. On most operational main lines in the UK, and probably in the US, short circuiting the very low voltage across the rails mimics the presence of a train, automatically puts the nearest signal on that track to red / danger, and alerts the signalman. However, it takes a long time and distance to stop a speeding train and there is no guarantee that a train hasn't already passed the signal when it goes to red.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 08:28
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I was going to say this. Also a good survival tip if you are lost in wilderness and find a railroad track.
then all you need to find in the wilderness is a stepladder
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