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Leaving yourself an out

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Leaving yourself an out

Old 9th Dec 2016, 12:26
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Flying is a bit like dealing with women. Always have an escape route.

Oh, if only I'd known about the latter......
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 12:42
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Generally, I absolutely agree about always having an 'out'. It's why, in my later and wiser years, I declined to fly single engine over water (cold, cold UK water) out of gliding distance of land. Did it a lot (IOM for instance - 40 miles of Irish Sea from the Lancashire coast) when I was younger. Almost certainly, in a Chipmunk, if the Gipsy fails over the sea you will probably die. No 'out'.

I always did my aeros at a minimum of 3,000 start base so I had room to sort out any mistakes, as well.

However, I wasn't always consistent about this. For instance, I did do a fair bit of low (but legal) flying as it's fun and the view is better. It definitely reduced the choice of fields in the event of engine failure, but it not to the extent that there were none. And of course in busy corridors like the Manchester LLR it vastly reduced the chances of a mid air. So there's a safety balance there.

But one thing I did a couple of times (no more than that) really didn't have an 'out', but only for a few seconds. A 'zoom take off' in the Yak52 where one holds the aeroplane down to gain speed, then translates to a very steep climbout for about 300', before easing down the nose as the stored energy was dissipated. There's a few seconds there where an engine failure would be 'interesting', so it's not something I'd recommend. Which is why I only did it a couple of times.

I did it because it was fun, and the risk of the engine failing in those few seconds was extremely low. Not sure I'd do it now, though, if I was still flying the Yak. And I only ever did it solo so it was always 'my neck' only.

Life is a balance of risk against 'doing stuff'. It's not black and white.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 13:14
  #23 (permalink)  
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Life is a balance of risk against 'doing stuff'. It's not black and white.
Absolutely! We all would not be gathered around PPRuNe if we did not have some sense of adventure, and risk acceptance, flying is like that. As one considers the range of endeavor from totally reckless through to never get our of bed, near the middle will be neutral, with risk taking on one side, and cautiously prepared on the other side of center.

But for my experience, the neutral point can safely shift toward risk taking (and more fun) if caution and preparedness move along with it. One does not preclude the other. Or, on the other hand, you can have so ill prepared, that even cautious is still risky!

I've done a lot of risky things in 'planes over the decades, and luck played a large part in my still being here, until wisdom and experience took over. One of the things I have noticed is that the same activity/maneuver can be more risky in one place, and more cautious at another. Practicing your airwork, forced approaches, and crosswind landings will always be just a little more safe at your home airfield, you will have help nearby.

I was aggressively maneuvering my flying boat on the water last October, just for fun and skill building. I over did it, and hurt it just a tiny amount. Slight repair needed to fly it out. Happily, I was on the nearest lake to home, with a suitable place to taxi it up to easy road access. With a quick repair from home, I was flying it back home no problem. A little problem stayed little. I've landed the same plane for a camping night, in a lake which was 93 miles from the nearest other person, and much farther than that from any substantial "help". I though carefully about the implications of getting it wrong, and was super careful.

Just think about what you'll do if suddenly things change for the worse. Sometimes there is no choice but to accept more risk, prepare the best you can so you have some kind of out....
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 13:18
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Over on the "Aviation History and Nostalgia" forum a certain well-known former leader of the Red Arrows was apparently seen doing a flypast in his Gnat under the twin tailbooms of an RAF Argosy. Is that foolish or a demonstration of a pilot at the height of his powers?
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 14:11
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I was told by an instructor on a ship handling simulator course that you should always use your engines to get you out of trouble, not to get you into it. Wise words.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 17:13
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Height and speed are money in the bank. Never run out of both at the same time.

If you're going to go low, be fast.

If you want to be slow, go high.

And DO NOT routinely drag a SEP in on a 3 degree approach, power against drag. It's unsafe and inappropriate unless you are needing to do a performance short landing.

Low flying in the Chippy - set higher than normal power for extra speed, and trim a bit nose high so you have to hold the aeroplane down in level flight. The extra speed gives more control response and can, of course, be converted into height should the need arise. The back trim is your 'sneeze factor'; if you relax the push the aeroplane will climb away from terrain.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 19:40
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Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
Height and speed are money in the bank. Never run out of both at the same time.
Pardon the pedantry but I think the real quote is 'speed is money in the hand but height is money in the bank.'
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 20:05
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I was taught that the First Commandment of Flying is:

"Always maintain thy airspeed, lest the ground rise up and smite thee"
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 20:31
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Low flying in the Chippy - set higher than normal power for extra speed, and trim a bit nose high so you have to hold the aeroplane down in level flight. The extra speed gives more control response and can, of course, be converted into height should the need arise. The back trim is your 'sneeze factor'; if you relax the push the aeroplane will climb away from terrain.
Shaggy: Spot on!
I used the same technique in 1980 when I used to fly a Chieftain. No AVGAS at home base meant a short positioning hop of 80nms for fuel after most trips. About 40nms was over desert. After leaving the airport zone, I would set the rad alt to its lowest alert height of 40ft and gradually descend until it sounded. Trimming for a slight required push felt comfortable and a cruise of about 160KIAS gave plenty of convertible energy. There was a low line of power cables about half way but apart from that the only obstacles were camels!
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 23:31
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One anonymous person who has been criticising a female pilot on another post was himself prosecuted for waterskiing in his Maule. In that, and in other Prune forums there is strong evidence of pots accusing kettles of being black!
As an "old, and not bold pilot", and as a flying instructor I encourage openness and advocate caution as a means or encouraging safety. Few will know that the original "Prune", was Pilot Officer Percy Prune, a character from the WW 2 magazine "Tee Emm", and many learned important lessons from that "hapless fool"!
Think you're mistaken Terry, the Waterskiing Maule guy has definitely not criticized any female pilot on another thread.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 01:48
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Almost certainly, in a Chipmunk, if the Gipsy fails over the sea you will probably die. No 'out'.
SSD,

You've reminded me of the T10 Pilot's Notes that I used in the 1960s:



Quite an understatement. At least we had the option of baling out!

Last edited by India Four Two; 10th Dec 2016 at 03:32.
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