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S211 Down Port Phillip Bay

Old 23rd Nov 2023, 08:08
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon
So typical. Monday morning quarterbacks always know the safer option they would have taken after a collision in an aircraft they've never actually flown in circumstances they've never actually experienced. Let's all pile on to the surviving pilot!
Itís human nature to fly ďhome,Ē itís human factors and we are probably all guilty of it in some circumstance at some stage of our flying. Very similar to get-home-itis. Itís in-bred and you canít change it without a conscious effort. Airlines are good at managing this risk and cover it in their SOPís.

Changing your planned destination can be mentally taxing under stressÖ you go back to what you know and itís one of the reasons why we have so many VFR into IMC occurrences.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 08:24
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So walk me through the thought processes and the timing of the processes through which you'd obtain and consider, for example, the NOTAMs for the destinations you hadn't planned to use, while flying a damaged aircraft of unverified endurance that was short on endurance during taxi before take-off. Or do you subscribe to the 'as soon as I declare a MAYDAY the closest available length of sufficiently long piece of tarmac will be safer than any other option' theory?
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 08:55
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon
So walk me through the thought processes and the timing of the processes through which you'd obtain and consider, for example, the NOTAMs for the destinations you hadn't planned to use, while flying a damaged aircraft of unverified endurance that was short on endurance during taxi before take-off. Or do you subscribe to the 'as soon as I declare a MAYDAY the closest available length of sufficiently long piece of tarmac will be safer than any other option' theory?
Avalon is class D with a tower and services large jets, so no doubt has suitable facilities. You donít need to worry about NOTAMís when ATC are involved. Frequency 135.7 would have meant no frequency changes to get them landed at Avalon. Avalon is probably around 5-7nm closer than Essendon too. Avalon would have far less traffic too or which likely all would be on an approach or departure versus circuits, so easy to clear out.

Moorabbin is probably another 5? miles closer, however itís too short to add a safety margin, thereís too much traffic and itís densely populated.

Those flying around the Melbourne basin would instinctively know these facts and Iíd hazard a guess that they had some mention of this in their ops manuals, especially after what happened with the L39 operating out of Bankstown.

When Sully had his bird strike, ATC offered him multiple alternate runways to assist with his thought processes. I didnít hear any alternates being offered in this instance.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 09:00
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie
At the risk of heading for the sightboard, an ejection seat story. I was the Airmanship lecturer at 2FTS at the time, giving a lesson on the Martin-Baker Departure Lounge.For the ejection seat lessons, the best training aid was an actual seat, mounted on a rolling trolley. This enabled me to show how each of the timing systems was able to be armed and activated (to allow the seat to get clear of the fuselage, decelerate below 3g. and be below 10,000 feet) to open the parachute. Everything was present, except the explosive charges that fired it off.

After showing the class a film of how the seat works, and demos of strapping in and unstrapping, I called on a volunteer (ďYOU! Get over here!Ē) and I ran through the strapping procedure again. This seat wasnít particularly comfortable, but the longest flight was only 2 hours, so it was possible to tolerate it for that long.

The lucky volunteer had everything on except the helmet and oxy mask, so he was well trussed-up. The next part of the demonstration was for him to simulate ejection by reaching above his head for the ejection handles and pulling the face blind out and down over his face. When the blind reaches full extension and is covering the pilotís face, the ejection sequence is triggered and (in a real seat) the first part of a three-part explosion is fired.

Well, in this case, the ground technicians who re-packed the seat after the last demonstration, put a small cartridge in the ejection gun. When the poor student pulled down on the face blind, there was an almighty BANG! which scared the crap out of everyone in the room, including me. And when the initial realisation came that the seat hadnít actually launched through the roof, we all looked at the student, still with the blind over his face Ė slowly and shakily he lifted one edge of the blind and we saw a very white face emerge. Everybody broke up laughing, except him.
I hope you were all wearing hearing protection, hi vis vests, did an environmental impact study and had DVA on standby with PTSD claim forms pre-filled with applicant's details.....
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 09:56
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon
So typical. Monday morning quarterbacks always know the safer option they would have taken after a collision in an aircraft they've never actually flown in circumstances they've never actually experienced. Let's all pile on to the surviving pilot!
I'm not piling on the surviving pilot.

Was it the best option? Maybe, maybe not.

But on Thursday we can look at it again with a clear mind. The point is that there are Monday morning quarterquacks who pile on the idea that there is no better options than flying over built up areas after being in a midair collision.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 10:06
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The pilot made his decision based on the information available to him at the time. He landed safely back at Essendon.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 10:11
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
The pilot made his decision based on the information available to him at the time. He landed safely back at Essendon.
Yeah, that was lucky
Listen to the recording further up the thread. He also told ATC that there may be more damage to the aircraft that he knew about. So Thursday night we can listen to that recording and wonder why he didn't declare a Mayday. I guarantee you the ATSB will look at that as well.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 10:12
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Plenty of us here are ex-military QFIs who know full well the intricacies of formation flying. If I were either of the two crew in Viper 1, Iíd count my lucky stars and walk away from this entire operation.
Well, they won't have the choice will they? The operation ceases to exist now.

Dunno what you're inferring from my original post? That the people he was working with are incompetent? Evidence suggests he was working with qualified instructors for the type of operation he was running. Are you saying some of your QFI mates wouldn't get involved in this type of flying? Is it only for military pilots? Civilian pilots aren't worthy of civilian jet formation flight?

What I know about Stephen personally was he sought the most qualified people to do his training.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 10:23
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Originally Posted by WetCompass

Yeah, that was lucky
Thatís aviation. Every time you get back from a flightÖ. feel lucky.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 10:27
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
Thatís aviation. Every time you get back from a flightÖ. feel lucky.
Yeah, and feel like you have tried everything within your capabilities to NOT goof.
So I never kid myself that I made the best decision when clearly there was a better one. It's called learning. That's aviation.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 12:08
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Please refrain from embarrassing Monday morning umpire opinions.

The ATC recording indicates the most professional and calm communication and decision making that I think I have ever heard in such a situation. The PIC just witnessed the possible death of presumably a best mate/business partner, and passenger/client. A lessor pilot would probably be in a blubbering mess. I probably would be. I cannot fault the decision making. The ATSB will spend their usual 2-4 years of deliberation over something he had minutes, and probably come to the same conclusion (or no conclusion, that's not really their job). In such a scenario, there is no "Mayday" requirement. There is no "Land at the nearest airport" requirement. There is no "Must avoid overflying an orphanage" requirement. It is down to the judgement of the PIC. Based on the extremely clear and concise coms with ATC and clear decision making apparent, I trust that judgement.

This was a tragic event, with a fortunate and safe outcome for one of the aircraft and its occupants.

All 4 individuals involved are very well known and respected members of the aviation and film industry.

A bit of respect, please, folks.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 12:24
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Originally Posted by Xhorst
Please refrain from embarrassing Monday morning umpire opinions.

The ATC recording indicates the most professional and calm communication and decision making that I think I have ever heard in such a situation. The PIC just witnessed the possible death of presumably a best mate/business partner, and passenger/client. A lessor pilot would probably be in a blubbering mess. I probably would be. I cannot fault the decision making. The ATSB will spend their usual 2-4 years of deliberation over something he had minutes, and probably come to the same conclusion (or no conclusion, that's not really their job). In such a scenario, there is no "Mayday" requirement. There is no "Land at the nearest airport" requirement. There is no "Must avoid overflying an orphanage" requirement. It is down to the judgement of the PIC. Based on the extremely clear and concise coms with ATC and clear decision making apparent, I trust that judgement.

This was a tragic event, with a fortunate and safe outcome for one of the aircraft and its occupants.

All 4 individuals involved are very well known and respected members of the aviation and film industry.

A bit of respect, please, folks.
....and let's learn nothing in the meantime?

Imagine an alternative possible scenario. A part of the returning aircraft's airframe breaking off as the aircraft flew over Port Melbourne on its way to Essendon and the aircraft crashing in a fireball and killing a dozen people on the ground as well as the pilots on the aircraft.

If you've been involved in a midair over Port Philip Bay have some consideration of those you fly over while you're looking for somewhere to put down, and that may mean landing somewhere other than your departure airport. Is this asking too much?
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 13:47
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Originally Posted by WetCompass
Is this asking too much?
Unless you have intimate insider knowledge of the nature of the accident and the damage to the airframe, then your alternative scenario exists purely in your imagination.

The PIC was there, and made an assessment and a decision. That was his job. There is zero evidence that the decision was a poor one. So given the tragic nature of the event, is it asking too much to keep armchair expert opinions where they belong?
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 18:20
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Originally Posted by Xhorst
Unless you have intimate insider knowledge of the nature of the accident and the damage to the airframe, then your alternative scenario exists purely in your imagination.

The PIC was there, and made an assessment and a decision. That was his job. There is zero evidence that the decision was a poor one. So given the tragic nature of the event, is it asking too much to keep armchair expert opinions where they belong?
You really don't want to understand the point, eh?

In FUTURE midairs, if pilots are unsure of the extent of the damage to their aircraft, they should declare a Mayday and consider alternative airports available other than just home base. That goes for ATC as well, perhaps they should suggest alternatives.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 19:33
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Originally Posted by Xhorst
Unless you have intimate insider knowledge of the nature of the accident and the damage to the airframe, then your alternative scenario exists purely in your imagination.

The PIC was there, and made an assessment and a decision. That was his job. There is zero evidence that the decision was a poor one. So given the tragic nature of the event, is it asking too much to keep armchair expert opinions where they belong?

Iíd be more worried about the aircraft dropping a wing due to the leading edge damage when the speed is reduced for landing. Those wings barely look like they are much more than 6ft long! It looks like a flying brick with an after-burner.

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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 19:44
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I was fortunate enough to ask Garry Cooper some questions about his 'deadstick' landing of Mirage A3-29 into a disused strip at Tomago in May 1966 (there's a thread running with some info). I asked him whether he was supported or criticised for his decision to attempt the landing rather than 'bang out'. He said he was supported by the Williamtown hierarchy but criticised by Deaf Ear (Defence - Air Force Headquarters in Canberra).

What one person considers an extraordinary feat of airmanship another person will consider a lucky outcome despite a bad decision. It will ever be thus while pilots have opinions and feel the need to express them.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 19:48
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So easy to be an expert keyboard warrior with the benefit of hindsight.

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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 20:14
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Originally Posted by WetCompass
You really don't want to understand the point, eh?

In FUTURE midairs, if pilots are unsure of the extent of the damage to their aircraft, they should declare a Mayday and consider alternative airports available other than just home base. That goes for ATC as well, perhaps they should suggest alternatives.
How many hours in high performance jet aircraft do you have?
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 20:57
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA
How many hours in high performance jet aircraft do you have?
I know you have some kind of military exposure, however does it really matter?

Bernoulliís principle applies regardless of the type of engine that is driving the wing, regardless of the length and size of the wing. Leading edge damage, is leading edge damage, regardless of the aircraft type.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 21:11
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700
I know you have some kind of military exposure, however does it really matter?

Bernoulli’s principle applies regardless of the type of engine that is driving the wing, regardless of the length and size of the wing. Leading edge damage, is leading edge damage, regardless of the aircraft type.
Have you actually seen the photo of the aircraft in question?



I think you blokes are working pretty hard to find problems with something that was well handled. Anyone who knows BD will know he'd have considered the options and picked what was best on the balance of how the aircraft was handling and the other domestic considerations (including fuel state) - I am sure there was likely a cockpit discussion occuring between both highly experienced occupents as well. The aeroplane recovered safely at Essendon, a good outcome - for them at least.
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