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Light aircraft crash Leigh Creek

Old 11th Jul 2019, 00:07
  #101 (permalink)  
601
 
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I remember being told by a very Senior Examiner (remember them) that soon after NVFR was introduced he had to do a flight test for the issue of the NVFR departing from an outback town.
On the flight test the take-off, towards a well lit town was normal. As soon as they entered what would be downwind for departure, he had to recover the aircraft three times before calling the test off and landing.

As soon as the applicant lost sight of the town lights, he had no outside visual reference in what was a moonless night and could not keep the aircraft straight in a climb.
To make matters worst, the occasional lights from homesteads merged with the stars.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 01:02
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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What about an out landing before dark so you can see what yr doing.. Better to be on the ground having a brew by the campfire...even if the a/c is damaged in the process..or not.
Ive always reckoned that outlandings.. as in gliding are very useful training. And having had to land on a narrow road as opposed to yr usual big wide runway sure makes you want to get it right. Next time around , not so traumatic as you have had previous experience.
In the good old days the 'forced landing' actually was one...unless yr selection was obviously not a good choice. Watch out the sheep !!
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 01:36
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Desert Flower View Post
Aircraft definitely had nav lights, I know this for certain because it flew very low right in front of my house as I was trying to explain to him how to turn the lights on.

DF.
Whoops! You are 100% correct DF and others. Off to ophthalmologist for poteroo.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 01:57
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 601 View Post
I remember being told by a very Senior Examiner (remember them) that soon after NVFR was introduced he had to do a flight test for the issue of the NVFR departing from an outback town.
On the flight test the take-off, towards a well lit town was normal. As soon as they entered what would be downwind for departure, he had to recover the aircraft three times before calling the test off and landing.

As soon as the applicant lost sight of the town lights, he had no outside visual reference in what was a moonless night and could not keep the aircraft straight in a climb.
To make matters worst, the occasional lights from homesteads merged with the stars.
That obviously wasn't NVFR then as there wasn't a discernable horizon.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 02:27
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bront View Post
That obviously wasn't NVFR then as there wasn't a discernable horizon.
Is a discernible horizon a legal requirement for NVFR?

A friend got his very recently and did a few trips in a complete black hole for some 80 or more miles!

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Old 11th Jul 2019, 03:08
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bront View Post
That obviously wasn't NVFR then as there wasn't a discernable horizon.
It was called a Class 4 Instrument rating back in the 70s, and there was a requirement for the pilot to demonstrate good instrument flying skills. Each navaid had to be passed separately.... the usual was ADF or VOR.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 03:26
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by poteroo View Post
It was called a Class 4 Instrument rating back in the 70s, and there was a requirement for the pilot to demonstrate good instrument flying skills. Each navaid had to be passed separately.... the usual was ADF or VOR.
I recall getting my Class 4 back a 100 years ago when I was not so wise. The examiner on the night of my test flight (a DOT guy) said it's the most dangerous rating you can acquire, he was right about that, it's a very high risk activity with minimal training required to get the ticket, worse than IMC in some ways when in the outback! No horizon & a moonless night with total cloud cover was bloody scary! After a few flights a long time ago at night where I was concentrating so much I didn't enjoy it I never did it again under those conditions. It's one of the skills where it needs to be practised a lot.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 05:25
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Going back to the Coroner's report into the two gentlemen that were tragically killed (originally posted by Sunfish), was curious as to why it was removed? Did Sunfish remove it or was it done by the Moderator(s)? It did not read well for Mr Coates, however what I found unusual was that there was no official letterhead on that document indicating Coroner's Office etc, hence was it a legitimate document?
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 05:31
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by VH-MLE View Post
Going back to the Coroner's report into the two gentlemen that were tragically killed (originally posted by Sunfish), was curious as to why it was removed? Did Sunfish remove it or was it done by the Moderator(s)? It did not read well for Mr Coates, however what I found unusual was that there was no official letterhead on that document indicating Coroner's Office etc, hence was it a legitimate document?
Probably removed because it was not relevant to this thread and also as you say, with no letterhead it could have been fabricated by anyone. From memory it came about from someone making lots of vexatious allegations that were later proven to be false.

There seems to be a lot of those types of people in the aviation world and it usually stems from jealousy!
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 05:34
  #110 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
Hi DF

I got the impression (perhaps mistaken or based on inaccurate rumour) that the runway lights were activated by the pilot of the accompanying aircraft after landing? If thatís correct (it may well not be) I surmised that the accident aircraft was still flying around in the interim, eventually in the dark, consuming fuel all the while.

Reference was made earlier to some difficulty with the PAL system. What was that difficulty?
I don't know whether the accompanying aircraft got the lights on before he landed or after, but the bottom line is they were definitely on while the accident aircraft was still airborne. I believe the only difficulty with the PAL system was finger trouble - i.e. he was probably keying the mic too quick. It's happened many times over the years.

DF.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 07:36
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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I wrote to the head of CASA around 7? years ago with a well crafted and formal letter that I was assisted with by Dick Smith. The letter was in relation to NVFR forming part of the PPL syllabus and was in response to a higher than normal number of night-time crashes by un-rated PPL’s at the time, in crashes not dissimilar to this one. References were made to how CASA’s mandate is to follow the world’s best practice and how the USA include the NVFR with the PPL etc.
The official response was that the director was in caretaker mode and my request would be actioned as soon as the new head took over. Nothing but crickets since then despite two follow-up letters.
I later heard through unofficial channels that if they did try to do that, they would go out to the industry for consultation, which in this case would include half a dozen grumpy old CFI’s and that they would say it was unsafe etc, cost them money, etc etc and that it would never go ahead.
I have since noted / read that the USA has a disproportionately high number of NVFR accidents in comparison with Australia in terms of hours flown at night under the NVFR. I then wondered if in fact it was a good idea in the first place.
I did my Class 4 Instrument Rating (ie NVFR) (Yes, I am that old!) back in the 70's.
My test was conducted on a very smoking night with no visible horizon, essentially IFR, and ended with a partial panel leg, for real, after the vac pump failed about half way between Moree and Warwick for a landing with a kerosene flare path. I subsequently did quite a bit of NVFR in western Qld including a number of Longreach - Toowoomba trips. Also did a bit in NZ.

The key to safe and successful NVFR is:
  • Be properly trained
  • Be adequate experienced
  • Be current
  • Follow the rules
By the time I had completed my UPPL and Class 4 IR, I could fly around quite happily on instruments and even partial panel, and intercept and track the VOR and ADF (That probably saved my life on at least one occassion).

As I understand it, the requirements for instrument flight time for an UPPL, or whatever it is called these days, have been significantly reduced. Mind you, some still smacked in back then, but I suspect there was much more NVFR being conducted back then than there is today.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 08:08
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks DF

It was Obidiahís post at #28 that had me thinking there might be more to it than finger trouble:
Leigh Creek PAL has been problematic for well over a year, most of my arrivals result in orbiting over the top repeatedly trying to get them on and often someone on the ground has to turn them on.
In any event, itís an awful situation in which to be attempting oneís first night landing.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 08:30
  #113 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
Thanks DF

It was Obidiahís post at #28 that had me thinking there might be more to it than finger trouble:In any event, itís an awful situation in which to be attempting oneís first night landing.
There have been a few times when it has failed that was not due to finger trouble. There have been a couple of times that the RFDS has had trouble, but only when flying one particular aircraft in their fleet from what I can gather. Why that would be I have no idea. I can vividly remember having to assist in the laying of a flare path for the RFDS on one freezing June night many years ago though!

DF.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 08:46
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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You should write a book, DF! (Seriously)
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 08:54
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

I once had trouble with the lights at Charters Towers - Qantas International passing overhead soon fixed that !
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 09:14
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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You should write a book, too, Forkie!
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 09:22
  #117 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
You should write a book, DF! (Seriously)
I have thought about it, & often wish I'd kept a diary. Trouble is, I would have to change quite a lot of names to protect the guilty!

DF.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 09:33
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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If you've never used a PAL system before, the triggering of them can be hit and miss, most people click on the transmit button too quickly. Once you are familiar with the system it works very well.

I'm not familiar with the requirements in Oz but on this side of the ditch a "night rating " requires a minimum of 5 hours of dual training, including circuits and away from the field flying. In addition to this training the student must also have had 5 hours of basic IF training.to prepare them for situations where there is no horizon. There is also a currency requirement to have made 3 take off and landings by night or have a dual check before you can exercise the night priviledges carrying passengers.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 12:52
  #119 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 27/09 View Post
If you've never used a PAL system before, the triggering of them can be hit and miss, most people click on the transmit button too quickly.
That is precisely what happens with the PAL system here. And from what I have been told not all PAL systems are the same when it comes to activating them.

DF.
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Old 11th Jul 2019, 14:15
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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There are basically two methods which ERSA describes in a very long winded way. Where a PAL is on the same frequency as the CTAF it is one second on, one second off. When the PAL is on its own frequency it is normally 3 seconds on and 1 second off.
As I alluded to earlier, what can be really stressful even if you are sure that you are keying the correct tx sequence is that no confirmation message is being transmitted from the unit. Not fun flying to a location in the dark and not knowing if you have lights until you're visual with the field. Leigh Creek has one such unit. The only saving grace being that there is a flashing beacon that is visible for quite a ways out on a clear night. From memory though, the flashing (rotation) interval on the beacon is not as per the published 6 seconds. Might be time for a bit of maintenance of the system out there.
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