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Learn From my mistakes!

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Learn From my mistakes!

Old 13th Feb 2013, 06:40
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Learn From my mistakes!

Hi all thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on the mistakes we make......
Basically we could write a story (not too long or people will read past it) on some experience which could have turned out bad but didn't....

Then less experienced people can read about it and learn from it as they may not be so lucky
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 07:13
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I once went to work for a company that I was dubious of. That was a huge mistake and I will certainly not be repeating it.

The moral to that story is that, if you have any reservations about a company, for any reasons at all, don't even entertain the idea of flying for them. It's just not worth the heartache!
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 08:56
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Well took a C172 over the Cairngorms above cloud for maint.

I had done the usual limited engine inspection that you can do with a C172 ie shone a torch down the oil filler cap.

When waiting the Engineer came through with the oil cooler pipe which had been chaffed down and was now weeping oil. If that had gone at FL90 over the Cairngorms I would have been stuffed.

This was the beginning of my adverstion of flying singles at night and out of sight of the ground.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 10:48
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Not really a mistake as such but a 1 in a million

I was flying a Seneca Five twin from the South of England up to Inverness.
I knew there was a line of storms running West to East right across the top of Scotland Hence I needed to stay visual to find a way through and down into Inverness.
I had been pushed up by a rising solid deck of cloud and took a climb in IMC to FL 130.
During that climb I picked up a lot of ice used the boots and was then clear on top but with one engine feeling lumpy.
There was a bang and a large piece of ice flew almost straight forward crossing the nose and came back hitting the prop on the other side.
This slightly bent the tip.
The props are counter rotating and that prop threw the ice into the side of the nose puncturing a 2 in break in the skin.
The ice then came back and hit the Screen where thankfully it went into a snow shower.
I found a gap in the CBs ahead near Aberdeen and descended through there landing at Inverness where they had had hailstones the size of marbles.
There were three wires which went to the props on the pilot side these had rubbed through on the nose and had cut meaning no prop deice on that side.
I checked the satellite pictures and out over the Scottish islands was clear so I elected to take the aircraft back low level down Loch Ness out over the islands down past the IOM.
But 1 in a million chance


Last edited by Pace; 13th Feb 2013 at 10:50.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 12:42
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Hi all thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on the mistakes we make......
I married the wrong woman....
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 17:59
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Went on a long scenic tour of Yorks coast and moors on a very hot day a couple of years ago. Decided to land out at a favourite grass strip on the way home to have a drink as I was parched. Let down into the overhead, got the runway and wind and couldn't work out which way I was supposed to go. Eventually saw another a/c in cct and followed it. A/c I was following promptly disappeared right in front of me.

Made a very shaky landing on what I thought was the right runway and poured myself out of the cockpit breathing heavily.

Dehydration is a killer. Always carry a bottle of water/non fizzy pop on a hot day. Gatorade is very good.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 18:43
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Back in the 90’s had some family in town visiting so took them for a flight to Catalina Island in a rented 172 from KSMO. Landing went fine and had a nice buffalo burger, upon departure preparations half way thru the check-list my numeric pager (yes, before mobile phones) went off so I checked it then went back to the check-list then proceeded to line up, power up and roll on RNY 22. I felt I was not getting the speed/acceleration as usual but kept going, with the departure end of the runway fast approaching and I'm not quite at rotate speed yet I realised I am in big trouble. The end of the runway consists of a bit grass at strip level then a severe drop away of several hundred feet. Now at the departure end I raise the nose and stall warning blaring and the passengers as anxious as me I lower the nose run across the grass and over what could best be described as the cliff!

Initially I did not lose any altitude, but did not gain any till I built some speed. The passengers were now terrified and I was bewildered. On the flight back across the water to LA I said to myself I better figure WTF happened here so I got the check-list back out and went down thru it till the item where the pager went off, the next item was “Brake Release”. I guess that upon returning to the check-list after the pager interruption I had skipped that one item and as I had not fully engaged the brake for run up the plane could get moving but not quite enough to get to rotate speed.

Lesson learned? Turn off and/or ignore all unnecessary bullshit and take care of the business at hand with 100% of your attention.

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Old 13th Feb 2013, 19:19
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I did that once in a 172. Luckily the parking brake was so shite it didn't make much difference.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 20:01
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Learn From my mistakes!

Bloody hell... Some scary stuff.... At my airfield they don't even use the parking brakes.... I still check though!

I once skipped some of checklist out and flattened the battery trying to think why it wasn't starting..... ( was in a hurry on one of my first solo trips ) i left the mixture lean!!!! Omg i learned never to rush and that those engines can start on one dull crank of the prop

Novice mistake! I was blinded by rush and panic... Tut tut for shame on me.... Glad i did it though
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 21:35
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I refueled the Pa28 I was going to take on a 2 hour round trip including 10 minutes over water and didn't wait the requisite rest period before rechecking the fuel drains. All the moisture that had condensed overnight on the insides of the (nearly empty) tanks took about 30 minutes to reach the carburetor by which time we were cruising at 4500 feet.

One precautionary landing later followed by a careful run up and test circuit at the airfield I had diverted to we returned home to tell the tale.

The lesson: if you can top up the tanks the day before you leave, then do so. Otherwise, wait at least 30 minutes after filling them in the morning before you test the fuel drains, especially if the previous night was a cool one and the aircraft lives outside.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 21:53
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I was once practising a PFL in South Africa in a C152, I got rather low and didn't really notice that the field that I'd picked had quite a significant upslope. I was set up perfect to come in when I realised that I had nowhere to go...slammed open the throttle, pitched for Vx and prayed!

As I neared the crest of the hill the ground seemed to rise towards me before dropping away again. There were also powerlines at the end of the field which I cleared by less than 100ft. That certainly got my heart racing and a few very bewildered looking farmers looked up at me from tending their crops...they must have thought I was crazy.

Once safely at altitude I realised that in my panic I'd left the carb heat on...

I sheepishly headed back to the airfield and hoped that no one had called to complain....which thankfully no one had.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 23:20
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"good luck I'll be in the tower if you need me". With those words I set out on my first overland navigation, and second solo flight. I was quite nervous because I had expected my instructor to go with me on the flight.

But figuring that if he thought I was ready for it, I must be ready. So there I went, alone. everything seem to go really well. After around 75 min or so I was back at the field thinking I did pretty good on my own.

Later I realised i made a couple really stuppid mistakes

I checked the GPS recording I made of the flight and found out that the bridge over a river that I had used as navigation checkpoint was a totally different bridge than the one I used during the flight.... I was around 10NM off without knowing it

I used ground wind to calculate wind corrections at 2500ft

I did not check my heading indicator against the compass during the flight.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 03:30
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Complete and catastrophic engine failure in Hughes 300C helicopter I was training in back in the early 90's. We'd just passed out over a large body of water when it quit. Thankfully I had instructor with me and he turned around immediately and aimed for the little island we'd just passed. He made a flawless autorotation to a field about 100 yards from the shore....

Took off in 172 with 3 people up and noticed after awhile that climb was very anaemic and speed was declining in climbing turn - throttle friction had come loose and throttle had vibrated out.

2 cylinders and valves chewed to pieces on left engine and engine ran very rough. Thankfully I was in twin and could continue to my destination airport which was close.

Left carb heat on by mistake taking off at Big Bear - field elevation 6752ft on a hot day. Climb was not very impressive...

Electrical failure on short final at night - twice! Finally found culprit in loose connector to breaker.

Gear down light micro switch had been misaligned and repaired. Then on night trip with friend, it doesn't come on again. I can see the mains are locked and in place, but the front wheel can not be seen at night in the spinners. I have a hunch it's the microswitch again and land. It holds - phew. Then next day as I fly it to mechanic and as we tow it in, the front wheel collapses on the tug..! Turns out there was a structural problem in the FW attachment and it could have collapsed at any time on landing...

Scud running in very bad weather on numerous occasions... Not so smart, but your tolerance levels go up when you fly a lot in it and you insidiously accept worse after a while. Be warned.

Last edited by AdamFrisch; 14th Feb 2013 at 15:25.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 10:46
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Flying a glider fresh out of maintenance including a repair & repaint.

General handling, spinning check = no recovery !! a 20 turn flattish spin from 5000' feet. Undid the straps to jump out (was wearing a chute luckily), lent forward and - instant recovery................ !

Came back to land PDQ and checked the W&B - found out I was flying out of limits as a result of the respray and and repair near the tailplane that had taken the CG out of limits. The glider had been released from maintenance without being replacarded with new W&B limits..................

Nowadays I check the W&B if I'm unsure of the aeroplane..............

Live and Learn................

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Old 14th Feb 2013, 10:47
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Back in the early 80's I used to fly a TB10 to/from a farm strip near RAF Marham, Norfolk.

The plan always was that the owner flew it down to our engineering facility for some work to be done. He would pick me up and fly home, he would get out and I would then take the aircraft back down for its work. We did this series of trips numerous times over a few years.

On this occasion when he flew it down for work it was decided that it could not be used to take him home due to maintenance 'issues'. So I borrowed one of the clubs TB9's and flew him home in that. Job done, chuck him out with a cheery wave, see you in a few days, turn the machine around and off we go!

Now it was one of those strips that wasn't over endowed with length and you used to land towards the farmhouse and take off away from it unless it was really blowing a gale. So there could sometimes be a few knots of tailwind. The TB10 (180hp V/P prop) when lightly loaded was actually quite good at short field. The TB9 (160 hp fixed prop) was another matter!

Halfway down the take off run I had one of those 'momentary thoughts' along the line of 'what the hell are you doing this in a TB9 for?'. Remembering that the TB9 could be hauled off early and into ground effect where it would happily sit for many many many many metres I decided not to haul back and gingerly eased it off.

Cut a long story short (too late you say) I cleared the trees at the end with the stall warning bell merrily ringing away so I am here to tell the story.

Morale of the story? I always gave the strip due respect because of its topography, so much so that I forgot the other half of the equation which was to use a suitable machine! Particularly when it comes in two varieties of the same aircraft in which you fly numerous hours in both and usually at light weights.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 11:07
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Ill pass on a friends experience as had it not been for him it could well have happened to me.
After hiring a PA28 for an early flight to the south of england for a meeting later in the morning, initial run up, takeoff and climb went fine. Weather was clear, but cold. About 10 mins into the cruise the engine began to run very rough so a swift divert and lnding was carried out. Upon inspection and consult of an experienced pilot on the ground it was found to be icing in the fuel. When carrying out the contents check the tanks were on tabs but iced over. This then melted in flight when the sun warmed the wings, settled and entered the engine.

Moral of the story? Always try to move the wings on fuel contents check to check for any ice on the surface of the fuel-particularly on cold mornings!!
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 12:11
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McTall, the freezing point of 100LL is -58 celsius. HOW cold was it outside?
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 12:21
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For clarification are you saying that the wing was iced over, your friend removed the fuel cap and had a look at the fuel content, some ice fell into the tank, the ice later melted into water, and the water caused the rough running?

Your moral doesnt quite read properly. Are you saying clean the ice off of the wings first, and then do things like check the fuel contents?

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Old 14th Feb 2013, 12:53
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I Learn't About Flying From That - Clearly Not

Not long after being let loose in single-seat gliders, a cold and blustery winter's day at Bicester. I'm making a pretty good approach to land, standard approach speed when at about 50 feet the bottom drops out of the world and I make a very hard landing followed by a very short landing run. By the time I've closed the spoliers, unclipped the straps, opened the canopy and thought 'Oh deary me - windshear!' (or something like that!) the CFI (A*** G****) was ready to greet me with 'You - dual - now!'. I'll never do that again, I thought, and the need to add airspeed was reinforced.

Roll forward a couple of years, now with my PPL and another cold, blustery day, cross country and approaching to land at Dundee. Going well and getting ready to flare when ... sudden and uncommanded descent to a rather harder landing than planned. No CFI (or any other) comment this time as no-one was watching (I think!). The term 'idiot' followed by 'lucky' seemed appropriate. Even though the first incident was still fresh in my brain, as was the PPL training about windshear, I'd failed to connect it to the situation I was in. On reflection, I hink it was because I was focussing hard on my first landing at a new and exciting airfield, still inexperinced, and simply was not thinking!

And the title? The RAF air safety publication 'Air Clues' used to have fascinating, anonymous articles called'I Learn't About flying from That!. Gold dust!
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 15:34
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I did most of my power flying training out of a very large, busy airport with a mix of singles, twins, helicopters and airliners.

Due to the amount of circuit traffic congesting the R/T, many readbacks ended up as just acknowledgements, usually with just the last two letters of the callsign, e.g. "G-FB, number seven, call downwind and turning base"..."FB".

I got sent off on my first solo after only a few lessons, as I was already an experienced glider pilot, so it was just the engine that was new to me. I did as briefed: took off, flew a standard circuit (rather large due the sheer volume of traffic and ATC having to juggle various types of aircraft onto finals), then eventually got to line up with the runway and was cleared to land, which I read back.

Apparently, when I was on short finals at 300', the tower asked me to go-around as an aircraft wanted to cross the runway to the other side of the airport. I replied with the end of my callsign "FB", or whatever it was, but by then had fixated on the runway as I was "Cleared To Land", plus pretty much all of my previous flying experience was in aircraft where a go-around was NOT an option available most of the time.

I vividly remember flaring, cutting the power, just about to touch down then to my horror seeing a twin-turboprop come onto the the runway a couple of hundred metres away and turn towards me. I still have a picture in my mind's eye of the two prop discs.

By that time, everyone who could see what was happening and was near a radio had started transmitting, so it turned into unintelligible noise.

I made an instant decision (possibly influenced by the go-around instruction that I hadn't read back earlier trickling back into my consciousness) that I might not be able to stop before colliding with the other aircraft, so gave my machine full power and yanked it back into the air. The turboprop pilot saw me at about the same time and went for the nearest exit while I zoomed overhead. I don't know what the miss distance was but I have no desire to get any closer to another aircraft head-on.

I flew a rather wobbly second circuit to an uneventful landing and shut down on the pan. The first person to meet me was the deputy CFI, who instead of delivering a massive bollocking, asked if I'd like to sit down and have a cup of tea! Afterwards, he said that I had gone completely white with eyes like saucers, so there was nothing he could have said to make it any worse.

There was a 3-way discussion between the CFI, ATC and the turboprop pilot and they agreed that we all had learnt from the incident: ATC knew that I was on a 1st solo yet had prioritised a ground movement over my landing, I didn't read back the instruction properly but that lack of readback was missed, plus the other pilot didn't check the approach was clear before lining up.

The ATC recordings got lost in mysterious circumstances shortly afterwards and everyone started doing proper readbacks. I was still so hyped-up that I had to leave my car at the airfield and get a lift home with someone else. Since then I have always put a lot of effort into proper R/T...
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