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Leaving yourself an out

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Leaving yourself an out

Old 8th Dec 2016, 12:48
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Leaving yourself an out

I was driving home yesterday, watching other motorists in the "fast lane" speeding, weaving lane to lane, and much to my dislike, following much too closely. These motorists are reducing or eliminating their "out" if something pops up to surprise them.

There's lots of history and wisdom in flying to remind us to leave ourself an out as often as possible. This historic advice is probably largely borne of less reliable engines of the distant past. Now, our [mostly still old] engines seem more reliable. But they still do quit, which is one example if suddenly needing an out.

Often when I see a video of a GA plane doing a "STOL" takeoff, an enviable short ground roll is followed by a super steep, slow climb away - no out! If it quits, that plane is doomed.

On another thread, it has been amply reported that a Stearman pilot flew very low over the water, was that pilot prepared for a ditching? Did they need to be that low over the water? Let alone the silly pilots who waterski their wheelplanes. Are they prepared for ditching? Do they need to fly so as to have no "out"?

Unhappily, a major cause of engine failure is entirely pilot induced - fuel exhaustion. Your out, in that case is assuring that you're carrying the fuel required for the flight, and a decent reserve.

There are lots of examples of pilots who choose to fly in a way, knowingly or otherwise, where their "outs" are limited or none. It's always worth reviewing what you'll do if your situation suddenly becomes worse, have you done the most to make the best of it? Can you describe to the insurer and the accident investigator what you did to minimize risk?
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 13:23
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I remember reading this advice from an ex RAF pilot on one of the forums:

Whenever you're about to do something at all questionable, verbalise it and put the following in front of the words: "At the subsequent inquiry, it was determined that the pilot's decision to........"
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:33
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A lot of the examples used here to frighten or alarm us are significant, and I hope that everyone is saying "I would never do anything that stupid". I fully agree with all the examples they are horrifying. However, there is one further example that catches out more people than all the rest. It has various names. Complacency. Familiarity. Laziness. And the favourite...Get-Home-itis.
I caught myself doing it once, and I sacked myself. I have a different mentality now.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:23
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Originally Posted by Step Turn View Post
I was driving home yesterday, watching other motorists in the "fast lane" speeding, weaving lane to lane, and much to my dislike, following much too closely. These motorists are reducing or eliminating their "out" if something pops up to surprise them.

There's lots of history and wisdom in flying to remind us to leave ourself an out as often as possible. This historic advice is probably largely borne of less reliable engines of the distant past. Now, our [mostly still old] engines seem more reliable. But they still do quit, which is one example if suddenly needing an out.

Often when I see a video of a GA plane doing a "STOL" takeoff, an enviable short ground roll is followed by a super steep, slow climb away - no out! If it quits, that plane is doomed.

On another thread, it has been amply reported that a Stearman pilot flew very low over the water, was that pilot prepared for a ditching? Did they need to be that low over the water? Let alone the silly pilots who waterski their wheelplanes. Are they prepared for ditching? Do they need to fly so as to have no "out"?

Unhappily, a major cause of engine failure is entirely pilot induced - fuel exhaustion. Your out, in that case is assuring that you're carrying the fuel required for the flight, and a decent reserve.

There are lots of examples of pilots who choose to fly in a way, knowingly or otherwise, where their "outs" are limited or none. It's always worth reviewing what you'll do if your situation suddenly becomes worse, have you done the most to make the best of it? Can you describe to the insurer and the accident investigator what you did to minimize risk?
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"!
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:43
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In my (microlight) training, which took several years and several instructors, I was repeatedly told to ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B. I have always stuck to that rule and it has served me well.

That same rule keeps me from crossing the English Channel flying: disallowed to climb higher than 6500', I'd have several minutes where the only plan B would be to ditch and hope for the best. However sorry I am to miss the challenges of UK airspace, I'm staying put this side.

<sarcasm>But of course I am flying a flimsy microlight, powered by the notoriously unreliable Rotax 912 ... </sarcasm>
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:35
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One anonymous person who has been criticising a female pilot on another post was himself prosecuted for water-skiing in his Maule
Terry, that is rather one-sided - the full story is that the CAA's case was dismissed.

The judge considered the prosecution's allegation and the expert evidence they adduced in support of their allegation - more accurately, what was left of it after it had been probed/tested under cross-examination - and concluded there was no evidence that the pilot had endangered the aircraft.

FBW
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:39
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@FBW: right you are, the case was dismissed. Still it doesn't alter the beginning of the story: no sensible pilot seeks danger for the sake of danger. Even if disguised as "thrill" or "skills honing" or whatever. It is not because an action does not get condemned before court that it is a correct action, let alone a wise one.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:53
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Jan,

If the judge concluded there was no evidence that the pilot had endangered the aircraft, why do you claim that the pilot was seeking danger?

I suggest that the judge had rather more evidence to consider than you do.

FBW
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:54
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Terry, your example misses the point. The real issue with the low flying Stearman "Pilot" is not so much the incident may have happened, but that the "Pilot" boasts about it while masquerading as an ambassador for aviation.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:57
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Guys,

The "Ullswater incident" thread is here: http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...ot-guilty.html

If you want to re-open the debate about what is dangerous / safe / personal choice etc. etc. please do it on that thread, not this one.

SD
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:59
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It is not because an action does not get condemned before court that it is a correct action, let alone a wise one.
I agree. There are times when we might contemplate operating an aircraft in an uncommon way. In those situations, have we made the extra, situation appropriate preparations? Could we present ourselves in front of our peers, after an unexpected negative outcome, and say that we did our best to mitigate a poor outcome?

I once landed my wheel plane on a frozen lake, whose Ice I knew to be more than two feet think. The was no doubt that the Ice would support he aircraft with ample excess. I broke through a thin layer, into a hidden pocket of water on the thick ice. The plane did not "break through" the ice, but was stuck none the less. Though I had some gear (ice screws, ropes, axe), I required help to get the plane out. When my peers arrived, they surveyed the scene, and said, "yup, I would have chosen exactly the spot to land that you did!". We got it out, and I flew it home wiser, and happy I'd carried with me most of what I'd need to get out.

For those pilot who choose to operate an aircraft on and off, or very low over the water, the "out you should be leaving yourself is at a minimum a life jacket/immersion suit (depending upon water temperature), and completion of an underwater egress course. Anything less is irresponsible. It is necessary to operate aircraft such that you may end up submerged. 'Darn good chance it will include inverted, and it will happen quickly. Your "out" and pride in the face of your peers, is being properly equipped, and trained.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 19:22
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Step Turn


There is no such thing as a 'fast lane'. On a motorway, certainly in GB, all lanes are equal.


"doing a STOL takeoff".


Safety of this manoeuvre is surely conditional to the type of a/c being used. If you're 'driving' a STOL a/c then one is using it according to its design function. With for example, leading edge slots or slats, it is designed for steep departures and arrivals according to the topography.


The point that perhaps you intended to make was, that any a/c used for a purpose well outside that for which it was designed, is asking for trouble.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 20:11
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The point that perhaps you intended to make was, that any a/c used for a purpose well outside that for which it was designed, is asking for trouble.
Well, that too...

The point I would like to make is that any flying will be more safe if the pilot has thought through the "what ifs", and made allowances. For a steep climb out, yes, there are times when it is necessary, in which case, then the pilot should, but knowing that there is little or no "out" for the Vx portion of the departure. But, if the topography or obstacles do not create a need for a steep departure, it is a needless risk with no out - hard to explain after the accident. Similarly, drowning after an otherwise successful ditching, simply because of not wearing a lifejacket, and being ready to escape from the submerged cabin. This is all about thinking through what you're doing, and the possible not so successful outcomes.

There is no such thing as a 'fast lane'. On a motorway, certainly in GB, all lanes are equal.
Perhaps it's different here, our multi lane highways are signed "slower traffic keep the right", which would make the left lane the "fast lane".
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 20:22
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There is no such thing as a 'fast lane'. On a motorway, certainly in GB, all lanes are equal.
Which makes doing 50mph in the right lane ok because it's legal?

CG
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 20:26
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Which makes doing 50mph in the right lane ok because it's legal?
I refer my learned friend to the Highway code: Motorways - Lane discipline (264 to 266) - The Highway Code

5. Lane discipline (264 to 266)
264
You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.
FBW
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 20:38
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On a motorway, certainly in GB, all lanes are equal.
Perhaps some are more equal than others?
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 22:01
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Perhaps some are more equal than others?
Nicely put, sir!
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 22:27
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Often when I see a video of a GA plane doing a "STOL" takeoff, an enviable short ground roll is followed by a super steep, slow climb away - no out! If it quits, that plane is doomed.


This is a broadly English site. A "plane" is a tool usually used by carpenters to smooth wooden surfaces.
I trust you actually meant "aeroplane" or perhaps "aircraft".

I despise lazy Americanisms.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 23:37
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I despise lazy Americanisms
Yeah, laziness is creeping in, sorry, I should have typed 'plane, so as to prevent confusion with woodworking tools during a discussion about flying safety.

This well known [American] magazine also discusses aviation safety:

Home - Plane & Pilot Magazine

I trust you actually meant "aeroplane" or perhaps "aircraft"
Well, I did not mean aircraft, as there are many aircraft which are not 'planes. I can be okay with Aeroplane though.

I am confident that it is not only my continental neighbours to the south who lazily abbreviate words. I've driven through "Herts", which I understand is actually Hertfordshire, but their local university seems to like it the lazy way: www.herts.ac.uk

And how many "donks" does a "Lanc" have anyway? Does a "Moth" have fixed "undercart"?

Shall we call it even, and discuss flying safety instead?
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 07:26
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The expression my initial (and best) flying instructor repeatedly used was .. "Always have somewhere to go".
I found that to be very good advice.

A couple of other flyers of my acquaintance got a little carried away with themselves and ignored that.
Unfortunately, they're not around to argue with you.
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