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Mid-Air Collision over Bedfordshire

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Mid-Air Collision over Bedfordshire

Old 24th Sep 2014, 20:54
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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The weather was clear. Sunny and blue sky.

I was in my garden at the time and the crash is about 1500m from the end of my garden.

I was watching the air ambulance and police helicopters through binos just after the event and there was no haze visible.

Last edited by DeepC; 25th Sep 2014 at 09:18.
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 21:10
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Ta, DeepC, that wasn't to blame then.

Rans6. .....
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Old 24th Sep 2014, 21:54
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Actually, having flown yesterday both morning and afternoon, the visibility was variously reported as around 8-9 km. It was reasonably hazy, and I was grateful for the traffic service I had for the afternoon flight in the afternoon which was mostly in a westerly direction (towards low sun in haze) because spotting stuff was hard enough even knowing where to look.
I'm not saying these conditions may or may not have been contributory, just saying that conditions "up top" are not necessarily that easy to ascertain from one's garden.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 07:11
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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fwjc, fair point. Just giving my observations.

The Cessna was on it's way to Sywell so would presumably have been heading Westerly away from the morning sun. The kitfox therefore would have to have been looking into the sun (to his left as he was heading southerly to Sandy) to see the Cessna approaching.

Very sad.

Last edited by DeepC; 26th Sep 2014 at 07:27. Reason: Westerly, doh!
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 08:44
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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These mid air tragedies often happen in clear viz. Sometimes haze provides a uniform background which makes other aircraft more visible at close range, whereas in clear viz the background clutter can make visual acquisition of traffic more difficult. Any anyway, in any conditions the human eye is pretty poor at identifying traffic on a collision course (no relative movement) until the last second or so when it's usually too late to avoid.

And this time of year the sun is low in the sky, especially at the time this accident happened. If you're flying into such a sun.....

Usually "the sky is a big place and the chance of two aeroplanes being in the exactly the same place at exactly the same height at exactly the same time" keeps us safe from this sort of tragedy. But in areas of heavy traffic, sometime's it doesn't.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 09:25
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Actually, having flown yesterday both morning and afternoon, the visibility was variously reported as around 8-9 km. It was reasonably hazy, and I was grateful for the traffic service I had for the afternoon flight in the afternoon which was mostly in a westerly direction (towards low sun in haze) because spotting stuff was hard enough even knowing where to look.
This is my biggest fear when flying.

Statistically unlikely in open FIR but the airspace designers seem to want to push us into smaller and smaller areas under the LTMA and between airports where the density of VFR traffic makes mid-airs much more likely. Personally, I route away from such areas, even if it means a substantial diversion around London. Thankfully, in poor viz, Farnborough now seem more willing to give a traffic service but this can't overcome the fact that you have to put your head down to read a map, write down a squalk and then put it into the transponder, check your heading, change tanks, change frequency........ all things that keep you from looking out.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 09:37
  #27 (permalink)  

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Bob, why write down the squawk code? Just dial it up.

Same with radio frequencies, count the clicks from the previous one, then take a quick look inside to confirm and correct if needed.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 09:55
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Usually "the sky is a big place and the chance of two aeroplanes being in the exactly the same place at exactly the same height at exactly the same time" keeps us safe from this sort of tragedy. But in areas of heavy traffic, sometime's it doesn'
Agreed, but there are things we can do that may mitigate the risks even if only to a very small degree but every little bit helps, things like making yourself easier to see, I notice that a local flight school have kitted out their fleet with LED lights, yes they are not cheap but in relation to the other costs of flying like fuel, maintenance landing fees etc it really is a reasonably priced modification especially for non certificated aircraft the options are endless for lightening yourself up like a Christmas tree. PCAS systems have their shortcomings and will never replace the Mark1 eyeball but I use one and they without a doubt enhance your awareness of some but not all nearby traffic. Also, if you jump in your plane and there are several bugs splattered on the windshield get them cleaned off before the flight, I think you subconsciously reduce your scan and ability to pick out distant traffic if your line of sight is dotted with bugs even if just a few. Running with all the lights on in haze or reduced visibility, if the bulbs burn out before expected so what? Using proper self announce practices at uncontrolled fields regardless of if you know/assume you are the only traffic within 100 miles and start you common traffic announcements 10 miles or more out. I have flown into remote strips behind others who's extremely limited position reports make it like a game of hide and seek. And of course the fundamentals like clearing turns etc. And the old dependable, if have passengers tell them the first beer is on you if they spot a plane before you do.

Not saying any of the above would have changed the outcome in the tragedy in this particular thread and condolences to the friends and families.

Fly safe, little things may make the difference
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 11:44
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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ShyTorque

9 times out of 10 when I'm given a squawk, I'm also given a QNH. I was taught that reading back both comes before dialling in the new squawk. If I don't write both down, 9 times out of 10, I will have forgotten the squawk by the time I've read back the QNH, and certainly by the time I've reset the QNH! Others may have better short term memories and recall though. I have to say that modern transponders with buttons for the numbers are a huge improvement on ones with dials. Worst are the ones where you have to press a knob to select the digit, turn it for the digit required, press again for the next digit etc.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 12:13
  #30 (permalink)  

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ShyTorque

9 times out of 10 when I'm given a squawk, I'm also given a QNH. I was taught that reading back both comes before dialling in the new squawk. If I don't write both down, 9 times out of 10, I will have forgotten the squawk by the time I've read back the QNH, and certainly by the time I've reset the QNH! Others may have better short term memories and recall though. I have to say that modern transponders with buttons for the numbers are a huge improvement on ones with dials. Worst are the ones where you have to press a knob to select the digit, turn it for the digit required, press again for the next digit etc.
My point was that it's just as quick to dial in the transponder code while it's being passed as it is to write it down (my transponder has four rotary dials). Same with QNH, just set it directly on the altimeter.

It's often obvious on the radio who is fumbling with their pen before reading back the figures to ATC due to the delay in replying. As well as blocking a busy frequency, it's all extra time "eyes in" because you then have you back inside a second time to change the settings.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 13:26
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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It's often obvious on the radio who is fumbling with their pen before reading back the figures to ATC due to the delay
...or you could have the pen in your hand before you press the button. I'm with Agr - much faster and more reliable with a pen than fiddling with the gismos.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 13:34
  #32 (permalink)  

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Looks like I was taught wrong then. I'll let my instructor know.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 15:18
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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you then have you back inside a second time to change the settings.
...And a second opportunity to get it wrong. Other than receiving a clearance on the ground before taxi, I enter it straight in, then read it back as entered - no pen and paper for that in flight.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 17:29
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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DeepC, wouldn't the Cessna have been heading Westerly if it was going to Sywell? Just asking.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 18:46
  #35 (permalink)  
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Looks like I was taught wrong then. I'll let my instructor know.
Can you still find him?!
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 18:54
  #36 (permalink)  

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Can you still find him?!
Probably not, the instructor who taught me how to navigate light aircraft has long gone, it was forty one years ago.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 19:48
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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To be fair, although I don't write down the squawks and QNHs in the air now, I did do so throughout my training and earlier on in my flying career.

I don't know when it happened, but it was probably at around the 100-125 hour mark, and I wasn't doing it deliberately, it just happened, I think as a result of becoming more familiar with what to expect on the radio.

What also helps is push button transponders rather than the rotary knob types. I find myself keying in the squawk directly as I read it back. Fannying around with the knobs is more time consuming and doesn't lend itself to simultaneous reading back.

On the ground I do write down complex clearances especially at unfamiliar airports. As often as not I have to refer to the plate in those circumstances when they give a specific taxiway and holding point that I'm unfamiliar with.

Only a couple of weeks ago I was given the wrong taxiway, holding point and runway by an ATCO running on autopilot. As the wind was calm, I saw no reason to question it at the time, so I wrote it down, and read it back while writing it down. On taxying, I saw other traffic and questioned the instructions, glad I did... and I had the evidence.
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Old 25th Sep 2014, 21:53
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Whether the Cardinal was going eastish or westish would depend upon where he was coming from, which I haven't seen reported anywhere.

Rans6. .....
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Old 26th Sep 2014, 03:36
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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...it was forty one years ago.
Before transponders in GA then?


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Old 26th Sep 2014, 07:30
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, sorry, Westerly. edited.

If the Cardinal was over Tempsford, Sywell is WNW. Would seem logical he was heading westerly.

Does anyone know where it came from?
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