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Old 13th May 2012, 20:59   #41 (permalink)
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It was with utter sadness I heard this morning of the deaths of two microlight pilots, one I knew very well. His passing will have a profound effect on the club he represented so well. If answers can be found it should start with the aircraft that were in accompaniment with them as they flew a very similar route and could at least confirm the weather conditions at that time. Apart from that I guess we will have to wait until the official report is compiled. Knowing the deceased pilot I am sure he would not mind speculation I also know today there is a club in Scotland grieving at the loss of a great man and such an influential character who is simply irreplaceable.


Kevin Maccuish

Last edited by madflyer26; 14th May 2012 at 15:46.
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Old 13th May 2012, 21:01   #42 (permalink)
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M-J, from what I remember seeing at Scottish & West Drayton, as soon as someone presses the transmit switch on 121.5 the whole board lights up with red, intersecting lines - number dependent on various things, mainly reception, and the more the better as a more accurate fix can be obtained. There must be someone lurking here who is either a current or former D&D member of staff who can explain it better than I. It's quite impressive to see. Having said that, it took three calls before I was heard by them but it was an equipment failure NOT their fault.
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Old 13th May 2012, 21:32   #43 (permalink)
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VHF triangulation had been off line for quite some time but was reinstated a few weeks ago. There was a notam to that effect.

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Old 13th May 2012, 21:34   #44 (permalink)
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Yep it does DX. But even that doesn't work some places in the highlands.

Your only hope is someone hears you and relays to DnD and the guard police don't tell you to shut up.
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Old 13th May 2012, 22:14   #45 (permalink)
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Guard police? Condolencies to the family and friends. Aviation is tight knit, we all feel a loss like this even if we didn't know them.
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Old 13th May 2012, 22:26   #46 (permalink)
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Very very sad news, a big loss to SAC and beyond. I enjoyed the witty and enthusiastic newsletters

On the subject of radios. Anywhere below 2500-3000' and you will struggle to pick up 119.875 - in addition I hear that freq may interfere with some GPSs.

In fact it can create more problems if you have crappy two way or just lose contact - from both sides of the R/T. I for one don't want to waste fuel time and money continually climbing back into R/T cover. I get enough voices in my head at work....

But, I would suggest anyone flying over remote areas buys and registers an EPIRB such as a McMurdo Fastfind.
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Old 14th May 2012, 08:27   #47 (permalink)
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Firstly sorry that my original post about radio has led this sad event down the incorrect path...that's not what I intended and I am sorry if the comments on here have upset any family and friends of the people we have lost......as a voice of "Scottish Information" I respect every person that aviates around Scotland so your loss is indeed felt as hard by myself also.

I don't know what the plan was that these guys had. But there is no way they could raise Scottish unless they were at at least 5000ft in that area. Anything less and it is pretty spotty. And that is the case all the way until you get pretty near the coast on the other side. There are areas where it works at something around the height of the tops plus 1000 and there are areas it doesn't.
GASAX....You often make some very negative and false claims on this forum about Scottish Info....having been doing the job for the past 16 years I know every place that I will expect to lose contact with aircraft I am talking to....coverage is pretty good above 3000ft in most place's but bear in mind VHF is indeed line of sight so yes we can not expect total coverage from my 3 aerial site's that I am able to use.

MADJOCK....many thanks for your kind comments, always appreciate comments coming from a Commercial pilot that has a huge amount of experience flying both singles and twins around the inhospitable terrain of Scotland.

As for D&D...firstly coverage on 121.5 is not too great over Scotland below 5000ft....DF bearings can be obtained by various means...sometimes this may entail phoning certain airfield or Coastguard units to gather the info.....that said by the end of 2012 the Scottish D&D cell will be moving south to Swanwick so will have all the nice gear they have down there.

Once again I am sorry if this thread has started to drift from the original post but to be honest for me it has been interesting to hear the comments aired so far.

Last edited by fisbangwollop; 14th May 2012 at 08:29.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:20   #48 (permalink)
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The discussion on the using of the information service would be better spun off to another thread. I believe its an important subject which needs addressing as the level of microlight traffic is only going to increase and I am more than happy with any increase in aviation in scotland what ever it may be. We just all need to work together. I certainly don't have a them and us attitude with microlights. When ever I hear them on frequency which to be honest is rarely my main thoughts are "what a lovely day for it" or "they must be freezing their nads off"

Also the coverage of the various frequencys in Scotland is also well worth talking about as all of us seem to have to build up personal experence about where and what alt we can speak to you. How someone from the south is meant to know this knowledge I don't know. As PK says you can be in and out of coverage and sometimes not be able to tell you that your QSYing to another freq. But a routing and an estimate for destination and agreement that you will be out of contact is better than nothing. And you just ask the tower or ring scottish to let them know you have arrived. Actually a mobile number for Scottish info might be a good idea then we can just text you. I know most of the attractive young female aviators already have you personal number FBW but us fat ugly male pilots should have the same service

I don't think folk realise either that the top cover we used to have before Kinloss stopped flying is now gone. Most of the time even in the depths of a glen your transponder was busy flashing away as only it does when a mil asset is interogating it. Now it just sits there. Personally I would have upper Scottish west dialled in now if on the west coast low level then a transatlantic could relay a mayday if required.

And I still reckon a transmitter on top of Cairngorm would sort alot of the coverage issues out. You can get to the top esay with the railway and there is already a host of coms gear up there already. I know its a money thing.

Last edited by mad_jock; 14th May 2012 at 09:35.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:35   #49 (permalink)
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Well to be honest all fixed wing instructors are the same with only 200 hours under there belts.
If that is your idea of honesty then I'm glad I'm not flying with you.

How many fixed wing instructors have you actually met?
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:04   #50 (permalink)
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I used to be one and my RT was shite. And its also a capacity thing until your patter is subconsious the demonstating, pattering, keeping you SA of local traffic, listening to the RT and replying when talked to is extremely high work load.

Which is why you hear quite often "I have called you x times" alot of controllers presume the instructor has turned the radio volume down when actually they are just maxed out. 50 to 100 hours and you have a subconsious ear out and can respond without having to think to much.

I also fly with and train FO's that are 200hours or less and know exactly what they are like on the RT. A 25 hour FIC doesn't change things.

Also alot of the instructors have done the majority of their training abroad so might only have the IR (15hours) and the FI (25 hours) courses using CAP413 in UK airspace.

If they did there PPL and hour building in the UK they are significantly better but still when you add on top teaching, monitoring etc it all falls over because basically your SA has suffered and the RT call comes as a suprise. Instead with a bit of experence you have in the back of your head they are about to pass me traffic info on that cherokee thats just booked in thats coming in from the North 15 miles out so don't have to look for him for another 5 mins but if I turn westerly I will keep out the way all while pattering straight and level part 1. So you know when you get the traffic info you know what the responce is going to be.
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:13   #51 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by thing
Guard police?
The idiots who broadcast "You're on guard" (i.e. transmitting on 121.5) after any broadcast - legitimate emergency or not. Tends to be the shiny jet jockeys who maintain a listening watch on 121.5 and have nothing better to do than assume someone has set their box wrong.

Try a practice PAN one day and see how many you get!
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:16   #52 (permalink)
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The two victims have been named in the press.......

The Courier - Tributes to pair killed in Ben More microlight crash
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:52   #53 (permalink)
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Cause of microlight crash in which two men died remains a mystery

Cause of microlight crash in which two men died remains a mystery - The Daily Record

Cause of microlight crash in which two men died remains a mystery

May 14 2012 By David Taylor
FLYING club members were in shock after the “mystery” death of a popular pilot and his student who perished when their plane crashed on a Scottish mountain.
Dave Martin, 63, and Alan McCaskie, 61, were killed when their microlight aircraft came down on Ben More near Crianlarich in Stirlingshire on Saturday.
Dave, a grandfather from *Kinghorn, Fife, was described as an *“experienced” pilot who had been a member of the Perth-based Scottish Aero Club for 12 years.
Alan lived in Broughty Ferry in Angus and is believed to have a teenage son. Dave McElroy, chairman of the club where Dave served as secretary, said: “We are all in shock.
“This has created a hole and vacuum for us, both personally and for the club as a whole.
“Dave was probably the most visible and popular member of our club.
“There is no indication of the cause which is unknown and under *investigation.
“It’s a mystery to all of us.
“This was a well-maintained aircraft and Dave was a passionate, *experienced and proficient pilot.”
The doomed microlight was one of a group of four aircraft flying to Mull from Perth when it crashed around noon.
Flying conditions were thought to be ideal and the cause of the accident has yet to be established by crash investigators, who continued to scour the scene yesterday.
Central Scotland Police said their investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The accident happened exactly one month after Adrian Paterson, 49, was killed when his microlight crashed into a field in Kennet in *Clackmannanshire.
Founded in 1929 and with 250 members, the Scottish Aero Club are the oldest and largest flying club in Scotland.
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Old 14th May 2012, 11:16   #54 (permalink)
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First of all my sincere condolences to the deceased families.
As a microlight pilot myself I can state that Scottish info are one of the most helpful and nicest FIS one can talk to. As a regular pilot from Ireland crossing to the mainland UK I have no trouble talking to them at all, from relatively low altitudes too.
The question of use of radios is well aired and discussed, personally I think that students should be taught the proper protocol, I went and sat the full RT course and exam after getting my license and it has been singularly the most useful thing I did. Knowing what "not to say" and getting the concise nature of your call across is so important.... saying that, not holding a RT qualification should not hinder anyone from using ATC services.... not withstanding any of the above I dont believe it would have made a jot of difference regarding this tragic accident. I knew one of the deceased, he was/is a gentleman, a vastly experienced pilot, knew how to fly his aircraft and would have done everything possible, so shall we all wait for the report when it comes out before making judgment.
The fact that we fly microlights makes no difference whatsoever, when I obtained my license years ago, an old guy, flying for many years with many hours told me..... when you have flew a thousand hours you will know that you are still learning...... that is so true and it reinforces that "but for the grace of God go we".
Thankfully I have reached the 1000+ hours and indeed I am still learning, long may it continue.

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Old 14th May 2012, 11:55   #55 (permalink)
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Potentially a plus for PPRuNe in that instead of speculating about the unknowns in such a tragedy, which can be hurtful to many friends and family, we have evolved into a discussion about a known (and a known that will have made very little difference to this tragedy, but may assist others in future):

Whether or not it is a good idea to talk to someone (ie Scottish) on the radio, whether or not to carry a locator beacon, who to talk to when making a Mayday, whether or not to have a transponder, and triangulation with D&D.

Have to say, did try a "training fix" with Scottish D&D near Strathaven with a student and they - I think - said they really didn't have the equipment up here for that at our levels. ie below 3k.

I think for location you just can't beat a transponder. For remote areas a beacon. Only one of our school aircraft has a transponder, but I have a locator beacon and I would set it off as soon as was in trouble.

Last edited by xrayalpha; 14th May 2012 at 11:56.
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:02   #56 (permalink)
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I think for location you just can't beat a transponder. For remote areas a beacon. Only one of our school aircraft has a transponder, but I have a locator beacon and I would set it off as soon as was in trouble
100% agree.
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Old 14th May 2012, 13:01   #57 (permalink)
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I know next to nothing about the microlight world but this crash was either in VMC or in IMC.

In between the two is flight in poor vis.

People do fly into terrain in VMC but it is fairly rare, and they won't be setting 7700 when they realise the hill they turned towards is too close. An ELT which auto-activates is the best option.

Traditional CFITs are normally in IMC and the above again applies. The fact that flight in IMC, or even sub-3k vis, is technically illegal is another thing.
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Old 14th May 2012, 13:15   #58 (permalink)
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Peter the place where it happen has some quite complex wind patterns and some very powerful local winds which are extremely hard to predict. A change in 5 knts of wind or a change in direction of 10 degrees or less can completely change things.

Hence why all of us that fly in the area arn't commenting.

It really could be anything from incapacitation right the way through the structural failures/engine problems to getting caught in localised downdraft.

Even if the report came out with that a eagle had attacked them it wouldn't suprise me.

Although if I did meet my maker in a crash I think I woud quite like the out come of the investigation to be Structural failure of the lift surface due to a sea eagle trying to hump the wing.

Last edited by mad_jock; 14th May 2012 at 13:18.
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Old 14th May 2012, 13:26   #59 (permalink)
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Yes; I was just commenting on the radio comms comments. I don't see how carrying or using a radio helps if one is going to fly into terrain.

Post-impact, having a handheld radio has to be a good thing (assuming somebody is alive to use it) alongside an ELT (which should work regardless of survivors).

But why would "A change in 5 knts of wind or a change in direction of 10 degrees or less can completely change things." result in a crash? Are microlighters flying 100ft AGL?

Last edited by peterh337; 14th May 2012 at 13:27.
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Old 14th May 2012, 13:49   #60 (permalink)
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Its just the way the winds seem to work. A change of 5 degrees can make it swap from one side of a ridge to the other so you can go from having to shove the nose down with the power off and still be climbing at Vne to 30 seconds later to max chat at the stall going downwards like a brick parrot.

If the wind increases by 5 knts it gets bounced off high and if it drops by 5 knts you get a more linear flow over the hill and no rotar. In the middle you get sheds loads of turbulence.

You are quite right a radio doesn't help with a CFIT if thats what it was, which we have no way of knowing yet. Scottish pilots tend not to about with clouds unless above MSA they invariably have hard centers.
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