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What do you do if...

Old 8th Jan 2015, 18:02
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK, or thereabouts
Posts: 181
I always wondered, how slow can a tornado fly? If i'm bimbling along in a C152 with flaps out at 70Kts, is it going to be more "repeated fly-bys" than "shepherd"?
It's not a tornado you want to worry about, it's a pair of typhoons. They'd keep circling you at their lowest cruise speed.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 18:17
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central London
Age: 36
Posts: 311
Quote:
I always wondered, how slow can a tornado fly? If i'm bimbling along in a C152 with flaps out at 70Kts, is it going to be more "repeated fly-bys" than "shepherd"?
During the 2012 Olympics I remember being told that slow flying airspace incursions of the sep variety would be greeted by a helicopter (puma?). If radio formalities failed a marksman in the back would proceed to take out the offending pilot and/or engine block with a sniper rifle! Somewhat less glamorous, if no less lethal, than a fast jet interception.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 18:35
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxmoth
..........unlikely to be used much these days with modern aids, though with a transponder on 7500 it would probably be more noticeable than it would have been when first thought of!
Very noticeable, and the Tornado on each wingtip would make the perfect "Shepherd".

(I think you mean 7600)
Quite correct - that will teach me not to post just before I am heading out!

Also of course, as someone else pointed out, one of the more likely reasons for radio failure is loss of electrics in which case you lose transponder and any other aircraft powered radio equipment.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 19:12
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Uk
Posts: 174
On my first flight post qualification (!) I lost radio en route to Cambridge. Not the busiest airport in the world but busy enough.

Squawking 7600 wasn't an option as it was a total electrical failure - turned out to be a broken alternator. I suspect I hadn't been doing enough of the E in FREDA.

I'd been talking to the local military airfield prior to this, was a little way from Cambridge. After aviating and navigating I switched all electrics off to see if I could get any more juice out of the battery. Sure enough after five minutes I switched just the radio on and got a live display.

I called the military frequency as a Mayday and told them I planned to carry on to Cambridge if they could call ahead and get me clearance. Once there I had just enough juice in the battery to get a partial radio transmission out but it cut before I heard their full reply. However, after seeing that the circuit was obviously clear I went in anyway, fast - partly to get out of anyone's way and partly as I had no flaps. They were expecting me as the 'Follow Me'/Rescue truck was on the side of the runway - apparently there were green light signals from the Tower but I wasn't looking for them.

With hindsight and more experience I wouldn't now call Mayday in this situation but after speaking with ATC at Cambridge and the military they were OK with how I'd handled it.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 19:16
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 10,823
They really don't care what you call it.

Just glad your down safe.

For some it would be a mayday.

For others its just another 3 hours flying a phone call land refuel get someone to swing the prop and then continue on for another 3 hours. All in blissful peace and quiet.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 19:23
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central London
Age: 36
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With hindsight and more experience I wouldn't now call Mayday in this situation but after speaking with ATC at Cambridge and the military they were OK with how I'd handled it.
Sounds like a good call given your circumstances at the time. I'd have been sh*tting myself if that happened on my first flight post ppl. What constitutes a "mayday"' situation is subjective and at least calling mayday prompted ATC to sit up and take notice of a potentially dangerous situation evolving, and it obviously ended in a safe resolution.

I imagine there was some paperwork to do afterwards?
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 19:51
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,051
I would be one of those getting the prop swung and carrying on having made a phone call to my destination - do I think you were wrong calling a Mayday - absolutely NOT. If anyone has a problem and they feel they need to call a Mayday then they should do it, the last thing to do is deter that.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 20:11
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 10,823
Honestly guys don't be scared for calling for help, do it sooner rather than later.

And as for the paper work there will just be the standard MOR form to fill out.

It takes 5 mins max.

They really don't make a fuss about things afterwards.

A phone call or a card to the units that helped you will be appreciated.

But there is no kangaroo court or anything unless you are stupid enough not to fess up and screw with heathrow or the like.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 21:50
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Uk
Posts: 174
Paperwork was a Mandatory Occurrence Report, took a few minutes and that was that. I spent longer on the phone to both ATC's thanking them for their help.

After the MOR went in I gather CAA made contact with the maintenance organisation to see what the cause was.

The bigger problem was that wife and daughters came over to pick me up as arranged. I was on the airfield at the time with an engineer looking at the plane. Question to reception was 'has my husband arrived yet ?'. Answer 'Oh, you mean the one with the emergency landing ?'

And all that work convincing them how safe flying was
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 22:02
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Cambridge, England, EU
Posts: 3,437
apparently there were green light signals from the Tower but I wasn't looking for them
Yes, I once discussed radio failure procedures with the Cambridge controllers - I asked them whether they had a clue where to look for the lights, and after some joking about "weren't they in that cupboard we cleaned out five years ago" they agreed that they did actually know where to put their hands on them.

Answer 'Oh, you mean the one with the emergency landing ?'
I think that actually they luurve "emergency landings" at Cambridge, gives the fire crews something to do.

I've had the fire trucks sent out for me at least three times, and on none of these occasions was I concerned that I had a serious issue.
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 22:31
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 23, Railway Cuttings, East Cheam
Age: 63
Posts: 3,121
I was just reading this and thinking 'Yeah, no radio, bad' etc when I realised I spent around twenty years flying gliders all over the place without speaking to anyone ever. I still like to be talking to someone when I'm flying powered though, God knows why.

Anyway here's my story. Flying a 182 back from somewhere there was a total electrical failure. I was in the RH seat and shouted (no intercom obviously) 'I'll get the checklist out and squawk 7600'.... as the words came out of my mouth I realised....LH seat gave me that smile that says 'You're not going to live that one down.'
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Old 8th Jan 2015, 23:25
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: VVTS (Saigon)
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Passenger in a friend's C140, night flight into Springbank (CYBW), radio failed before we entered the zone, but nav lights on.

We joined downwind, no other traffic, no green light on final, so my friend went around. Next time, still no light so we landed, taxied to the tower and talked to the controller. "Sorry about that. We haven't used the light for such a long time. It fell apart when I picked it up!"
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 01:44
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 162
I once departed from a controlled airport during PPL training when my headset failed just after reaching 500ft. ATC was in the middle of giving me instructions when it happened. I said to the instructor that my headset was malfunctioning, couldn't hear ATC, myself or my instructor. I asked if he could take over the radio while I kept the plane flying. He nodded, so I knew my mic was still working. After a turn into the direction I needed to go I went searching for the problem. Turned out to be a disconnected plug, the cable was wound around something and as I moved the plug was pulled out. It was a good learning experience, and I'm happy my initial reaction was to keep the plane flying, and also in the direction I needed to go
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 08:52
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,548
Yep, communicate is third on the list of priorities. And Thing shares the fact that he flew gliders all over the place not bothered a bit with no radio yak.

But its nice to have somebody to talk to if you have a problem. Coming back from Spain in my Supercub, the radio was getting worse and worse, so stopping at Les Mans, I telephoned LeTouquet and told them I had a radio receiver problem,and the nice lady controller said "No Problem! We shall give you ze green light!" and sure enough, I did a normal circuit, and on approach, there it was, bright and green, on the tower balcony.

When training for the instrument rating, the whole thing makes sense....if you have radio failure, you carry on (after setting the magic numbers on the transponder) and fly exactly the flight plan you filed, and the controllers are supposed to get all the airliners out of your way!

Only time I ever had radio problem while flying IFR in the soup, the hair on the back of my neck was at attention! while I tried to sort the problem, reminding myself that THIS was what all the training was about! just follow the plan, just follow your plan! but I found the problem, headset jack loose, and so radioed Houston, they had never missed me at all at all. " No problem, ma'am, just carry on heading 080."
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 11:06
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wales
Posts: 541
Was planning a trip to North Coates.
Took Off from Sleap, without any reply from the A/G Tower, then called Shawbury for a Matz transit, they replied saying they were only getting carrier wave and no audio. I thought shall I continue without the radio, but then remembered North Coates requires a co-ordinated flight through the Donna Nook Danger Area.
So made a quick circuit and landed back at Sleap, where the engineer found an unsoldered wire on the Mic socket. (The other fault, a u/s AI he couldn't fix.)
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 12:01
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Temporarily Unsure!
Posts: 204
Like Mad Jock, a call on the mobile to the tower made life very simple.
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 12:46
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,420
I've scanned the thread looking for someone to mention "look for a red/green light from the Tower" while on final without radio, which I guess might be the same as while on final and unable to call due to congestion.

You will of course have checked the approach visually for another aircraft ahead of you, or on a long final, before turning cross-wind, and again before turning on to final approach. Won't you? Or has that changed as well?

Am I absurdly out of touch with modern ATC systems? Do VCRs still have red and green lamps hanging ready for instant use if needed?

Edit; I just reread I42's post, which - sort - of asks the same question!

Another edit; ....and there are other posts mentioning red/green lights. But what's the definitive answer? Are they still required to be available - and used - in a VCR providing a full ATC service?
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 13:45
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Perth, WA
Posts: 327
Recognizing that there are national differences, and not wishing to be critical, I'm nonetheless struggling with the idea of a Mayday call for an uncomplicated comms failure. Hard to see the 'grave and imminent danger requiring immediate assistance'. If you have enough electrical power left to talk to ATC a simple plain language advisory call may be enough or, for a more serious conflation of events, a pan-pan call.

There are grey areas of course. I was particularly impressed with the threshold applied by a young charter pilot here in Oz when a deranged passenger tried to take over a light twin. His pan-pan came through with a certain edge (apparently he was being beaten around the head) but did the job. Still, I think I might have been pushed to a Mayday in those circumstances.

Another suggestion we are given is to listen to destination airfield navaid audio channels, if available. ATC transmissions can be impressed on the VOR or NDB audio channel, although in the one Class D comms failure I've had the home-field NDB was out of service, so I never got to try it out. By the way, the failure was due to the frequency selector knob on my ancient Narco comms unit shattering, and being unable to grip the shafts of the rotary switch. I pressed on with a standard arrival, and watched for the green light from the tower. No drama, but I recall being surprised at how feeble the lantern was - not sure exactly what I was expecting!

Last edited by tecman; 9th Jan 2015 at 14:16.
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 14:47
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,051
not wishing to be critical, I'm nonetheless struggling with the idea of a Mayday call for an uncomplicated comms failure.
It may not be needed but I would rather someone do this than struggle unnecessarily.
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 16:25
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central London
Age: 36
Posts: 311
I'm nonetheless struggling with the idea of a Mayday call for an uncomplicated comms failure. Hard to see the 'grave and imminent danger requiring immediate assistance'.
But doesn't the question of when to declare an emergency depend on that particular pilot's individual assessment of their ability to handle situation they are in? E.g. As a ppl with no IR if I had a choice between either continuing VFR flight into IMC or declaring an emergency to get me onto the ground at a controlled field it would a no brainer to declare a mayday. An IR rated pilot in that same situation would simply shrug their shoulders and continue IMC.

A very inexperienced PPL (as 150 Driver said he was at the time) suffering radio failure who has never flown non radio could easily panic. This panic itself could then become the "grave imminent danger"... Ref the sad fatal accident at Southend a few years back where a student pilot was turned away from a final approach due to ILS traffic. The unfamiliarity of the situation confused/panicked him and he ended up stalling into the ground because he forgot he was in landing configuration.

On the basis of accidents like the above I would always err on the side of advising pilots to declare whatever they feel is right at the time. Sweat the details once you're safely on the ground!

Last edited by taxistaxing; 9th Jan 2015 at 17:20.
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