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Your first "I learned something from that" story?

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Your first "I learned something from that" story?

Old 18th Jan 2019, 04:13
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Your first "I learned something from that" story?

So pilots, what's your first "I learned something from that" story? What would you offer to newer pilots, that they can learn something you learned, without being as scared as you were by doing it in person? I'll go first:

When I was 15, my buddy invited my to accompany him for the week flying his C 150 from Toronto to Florida and back at Christmas time. This was 1976, and for context, the 150G was equipped with one Nav/Comm, and one transponder, along with the standard panel, and a handful of paper charts. It was long before GPS and intercoms. We'd had a good trip, and were 2/3 the way home. It was late, and the weather said continuing VFR would be okay. Well... weather forecasting was not then what it is now. Over the Appalachian Mountains, at night, in the winter, in a low equipped C 150 is just not the place to be, and worse when in the dark, you find yourself in heavy snow, which is accumulating on the airframe.

Sensing our climb was not what it should be, I started looking for a reason, while my buddy flew. I looked with my flashlight (torch, if you like). I found a whole bunch of snow accumulation on the windshield, which invariably meant it was elsewhere on the aiframe too. My buddy gets more nervous (good reaction, though much too late). Next, I hear the stall warning horn, and feel odd sensations of not being upright anymore. I direct my flashlight to the instrument panel, and see some instruments showing a descent, and others showing certainly not straight and level. My buddy has a panic attack. I ask if I can fly, and he says yes. I fly, he zones out. Knowing no better, I get the plane settled down wings level with 70MPH showing, apply full power, and climb. And climb, and climb. Hey, I did not say I was wise nor experienced at the time! After a while, I could see stars out of the part of the windshield which was not covered in ice. My buddy had a nap. I flew.

I tracked the VORs inbound, which was our planned route, that part was easy. I flew for a couple of hours, making only one more real error. Every time I could receive the next VOR, I switched, and tracked to it, never actually confirming crossing the previous VOR. I knew I was on track, but not how far along the track, setting us up for the next magnificent blunder.

The weather became much more what the forecast had suggested, very nice, excellent vis, and we above a very thin layer, easily able to see city lights through the layer. My buddy returns to the team. Trying to be cool, I simply told him what I knew, and where I thought we were - again, on track, but not sure how far along the track. He was feeling much better about things now, and I was happy to sit back and let him complete the flight. He played with VOR's, and considered the charts. With that, he contacted our intended destination, Hamilton airport, declaring that he had the airport (well, at least the city) in sight. Being about 02:30 in the morning, the tower was pretty obliging, and gave us a landing clearance way back. They did not have us in sight, and no one was thinking about transponders much (enough). So my buddy descends through the very thin layer, we pick out the airport, and the runway, and set up an approach. It had been a long flight, and being on the ground, with less discussion, and review, would be nice. So, with a landing clearance, he landed.

Well.... I had that really bad feeling. I looked around. I looked out the back window, to see that a Boeing 737 had landed behind us, and was catching up fast. "turn off the runway" I said To my buddy. I recall some mention of needing a taxiway, and I told him we were not going to need a taxiway, just turn off the runway now. He got way over to the left side of the runway. I recall the vision of the wingtip of the 737 passing sort of over us, and snow blowing all over the place from his deployed thrust reversers. He avoided us. We were now stopped at the side of the runway. I looked over at the tower, and saw a red light - it just stayed on - so we just stayed stopped there. After a while, a yellow pickup truck drove up to us. On the door, was written "Buffalo Airport Authority". Ah, wrong airport! My buddy was directed to follow the truck, and phone the control tower once inside the office. That was a stressful phone call. I could see that my buddy was kind of melting down. I guess that the controller sensed this, because eventually, at his instruction, my buddy handed the phone to me. The controller asked me to identify myself, and was I a pilot. No, I was 15, and a passenger. "Your friend is in a lot of trouble you know" said the controller. "Yes, I understand" I replied. The controller asked me a couple of questions, which mostly resulted in answers I had already heard my buddy offer. When I sensed that it was my time to ask something, I asked the controller: "Ah, sir, we had the transponder set to 1200 (VFR in North America) for our entire flight, did no one see us on radar as we approached?". There was a pause.... "Please hand the phone back to the pilot". My buddy was asked if we planned to depart that night, to which he replied, no, we would hotel until morning. With that, the phonecall was ended, and I am not aware that there was ever any more communication on the subject, certainly not to my buddy.

This was before the days of TCAS, so there would have been no way for the poor 737 crew to see us, other than visually, should they have chosen to look for fools ahead of them on final. But, the Buffalo (and Cleveland) radar should have been looking for us. We'd errantly landed in, squawking VFR the whole way, and no one had noticed us ahead of IFR cleared traffic. I guess that there must have been some profound apologies to the 737 pilots!

I started my formal flying lessons the following summer. I went to that instruction having learned: Don't fly at night over the mountains, particularly in the winter! Assure that you confirm crossing a VOR, before you track to the next one (not so applicable these days, but in principle...). If you're not certain where you are, tell someone on the radio (which I have done a few times since). If you think you know where you are, double check before you decide that you're certain! Carefully prevent yourself entering IMC if you're not entirely prepared, and in a properly equipped aircraft, and, continuing a trip when you're tired is unwise - you're not sharp. There are a few other lessons buried in there too, but those are the prime ones.

I continued a friendly relationship with my buddy, and we flew a few more very long distance trips in his 150, albeit with more caution, and lessons learned. He retired from flying many decades back, and I lost track of him. I hope that the controller at Buffalo, and the 737 crew all retired with nothing more stressful ever happening to them. And I now think about ways I can share the lessons I have learned, so that other pilots might fly with greater safety. No pilot ever takes off planning to have an accident, but incidents and accidents happen, so we know that despite our best intentions, we need to do better.

I admit, that was not the last time I landed at the wrong airport, but the only other time was two very similar uncontrolled airports annoyingly close together! It was not the last time I was lost, but ever since, I have either transmitted for help, declaring I did not know where I was with sufficient precision, or I turned back to return to a known location. Since then, and indeed three days ago, I turned around when unforecast snow drove conditions down. But, I have never since got in front of another aircraft landing. I try to be as aware as I can in airport environments, to be sure I am not a collision hazard.

So, with that, I'm sure that someone else must have an early experience that they would like to relate, which new pilots can benefit from.....
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Old 18th Jan 2019, 08:28
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Not as a new pilot, but still a lesson learned. A few years ago I bought a Druine Turbulent microlight, single seater homebuilt, but not by me, and after taking delivery I had to wait a few days for the weather to improve, but finally got to play with my new toy and went to an almost deserted nearby grass airfield with two runway vectors, where there was no one to watch me fly a tailwheel aircraft again, after a long absence. I perfected the technique of completing two touch and go's from each approach - with 1500m available and only about 300m needed each time, and no flaps or trim to re-set, this is hardly a challenge. Three-point landings, wheel landings, side-slipping to final, calm Summer evening take off on 17, land on 31, circle to 35, circle to 13, circle to 17 - hey ! this is almost as good as taking a 747 into Hong Kong - and there is never anyone there ! Kids - Don't Try This At Home.

After about 3 weeks a club member asked me to fly his wife in the club C-152 with a camera, to photograph their own aircraft air to air. On landing there was film to spare and they offered to reciprocate with photographs of me, so off we went - formation flying now - another memory from the past.

They landed back ahead of me, but when I was downwind for the short grass rwy, and being used to 3,000m of sealed, International runways, and latterly 1500m at the neighbouring field, the 460m of grass looked awfully short this time, and I considered myself too close, and too high , so flew most of the circuit with the throttle fully closed. (yes, I did remember Carb. heat ) That rwy. is guarded by a stand of tall gums, over which I now know there is permanent downdraft, almost like a standing wave. Being correctly positioned on short final, the downdraft required a touch of throttle - at which point the engine stopped. S..t !

Check fuel on, switches on, keep airspeed, fly the aeroplane - don't stetch a glide. To the right of the now unreachable threshold was a fairly long paddock, which had a mound of winter feed covered in tarpaulin and rubber tyres at the end, at least the tyres would ensure a reasonably soft deceleration - maybe. Unfortunately a pair of trees were in the way and I was convinced that I couldn't squeeze through and so would take the wings off, so it was down to ground level and minimum speed, but in fact I got through with room to spare. Following the best landing of my life I hit a rut and dinged the prop.

I got out cursing heartily, set some chocks, swung the prop, and the engine started immediately, then walked over to the flying club where my friends were expecting me to taxy in behind them instead of slouching dejectedly across the field, dangling my headset. We all went back, the farmer obligingly removed some of his wire strand fence posts, and we pushed my aircraft back to the hangar. And had a beer.

“Carb. icing " said the Bar Room pundits, sagely, but I didn't really believe that, I know one can never say it isn't that sort of day, but it wasn't that sort day - I don't think. Over the next few weeks I had the prop repaired, the engine, carb.,magnetos, fuel pump and fuel lines checked over and via the Internet contacted the UK Tiger Club, who run a fleet of Tiger Moths and Turbulents. " Yes" they said, " It’s happened to us and we recommend a small trickle of power be held right into the flare " I now have a large red line painted on my rpm. gauge, below which I never reduce - ever - until over the hedge.

After a few confidence reassuring flights I decided to see how high I could get - over, or near to, the airfield of course. Achieving 10,000 ft. I was cold and bored - it took a long time - so decided to go home. I pulled the power off and the cyl. head temp. dropped back to the stop. Can't do that. Restored some power and dropped the nose with similar result. Hmm ? Eventually it took me nearly as long to slowly descend with some power on, as to climb up there.

Starting my Turbulent has always been a challenge, those who have owned VW cars will recall having to keep the starter turning and pump the throttle until the thing sprang into life, but with no electric starter, not even an impulse magneto, swinging the prop will only give you one compression at a time, at a time, at a time etc.

When I win the Lottery I'll employ an engineer who will have the aircraft ( cleaned ) stood outside the hangar with the engine idling, so that I can drive up and jump in with a cheery wave and a cry of " back in an hour, make yourself a cup of tea" . The engine has to be started with half choke selected, and if successful one should then kill the choke and immediately open the throttle, the engine stops. Not warm enough.

In retrospect I think I let the engine get too cold and had I grabbed a handful of choke it might have sprung back into life - maybe. I'm not inclined to try and prove the theory and anyway I was too busy flying the aeroplane - always the first priority.

What have I learned ? ( re-learned ? ) Always assume that the engine is going to stop at the worst possible moment and have a cunning plan ready, it isn't the first engine failure I've experienced, but previously I had a few spares to rely on !

Fly the Aeroplane, they actually glide quite well, and remember - glider pilots always have an engine-out landing and they survive ! Usually.

Last edited by YorkshireTyke; 18th Jan 2019 at 22:31.
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Old 18th Jan 2019, 10:06
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Around 11 years ago I was PPL training out of Biggin Hill in a Warrior (never finished, ran out of talent money)

It was probably my second or 3rd session of solo circuits, a good weather day of course. Taxiing down Alpha towards 21 and there were two pheasants ahead of me on the taxiway. They obligingly moved out of my way as I approached.

On the roll, approaching 50 knots or so, these same two pheasants are now standing either side of the centreline. I did a quick couple of glances between them and the airspeed indicator and realised I would be able to clear them. I tensed a bit going over lest they decide to fly vertically up into the prop/windscreen. Once above 200 feet I called the Tower to advise and they went and shooed them off - remainder of circuits were uneventful.

I learned that when birds get out of your path on the taxiway but are heading to the RUNWAY - you have only resolved the first part of a problem - I should have been more aware but was of course focused on the immediate concerns.

I also learned during my first time under the hood that years (and years) of Flight Simulator 98 does NOTHING (and I mean nothing) for actual IMC flying - I was very surprised how difficult it was - I spent the entire time in a gentle left hand turn seemingly powerless to do anything else. I finished that session with no doubts about what my abilities to fly in cloud would have been. Almost nil.

Also, 15 mins of steep turns make me feel bloomin awful :-)

Oh and I just remembered my first ever navigation lesson. Using the old circular computer. I don't know quite what happened that day, but it was perfect. The wind forecast must have been spot on. At one point, my pre-calculations said we would cross a railway line not at x mins but x and a half minutes. I wasn't being arrogant, it's just the computer was right between the two. As we approached the railway line, looking at the stopwatch it was literally, bang on the half minute mark. When we reached the final point of the navigation exercise (Faversham) I declared we should have arrived - but nothing but fields to be seen out the window. I looked at the instructor - he said 'ok, so what now?' I said 'I'll have a look around?' 'Ok'

I banked left and Faversham just appeared right underneath.

Even the instructor said he had never seen that exercise (which was a common one) work out quite that well with regards to timings and wind etc.

Last edited by dany4kin; 18th Jan 2019 at 10:32.
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Old 18th Jan 2019, 20:24
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Yes indeed, Yorkshire Tyke, enjoyed your story, and of course your mention that glider pilots always have an engine-out landing and usually survive! Actually not having an engine is curiously comforting; no dangerous fuel in the wingtanks either! so no worries about the landing whether you should go round or not....any landing is the only one, so just get on with it. I learned on gliders to begin with, at Booker gliding club, which was extremely busy, with helicopters, light aircraft training and just over the horizon, the approach path for LHR, depending of course on the wind of the day....and a lot of the power traffic would carefully insert itself just under the LHR traffic and over our airfield. I can still remember being impressed how BIG a Boeing actually is when it is approx. fifty feet overhead your little craft!

As for Navigation, it was certainly handy to have the military down at the bottom of the hill,whenever I asked them if that was their airfield I was flying across, they would answer kindly Yes ma'am and confirm my position. Upper Heyford had American military crew....and I will always remember being in a glider over Aylesbury, calling Heyford to tell them where I was.....and planning to fly over Heyford to Banbury. In a Glider - I did mention that fact. So the Heyford Yank instructed me to maintain 4,000 feet when crosssing ! ! I'll try! I said. Eventually moved to Shenington Gliding Club, as a tug pilot and gliding instructor. Flew in gliding competitions all over the UK, and even in the Soviet Union! (the Women's European Championships, where I came last....) . Always fun, loved instructing and flying cross country in a glider, never won any medals or prizes, but I never bent an aircraft either, so there.
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Old 18th Jan 2019, 21:14
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Originally Posted by dany4kin View Post
I declared we should have arrived - but nothing but fields to be seen out the window. I looked at the instructor - he said 'ok, so what now?' I said 'I'll have a look around?' 'Ok'

I banked left and Faversham just appeared right underneath.
Done that. Told the instructor that we should have reached the turning point for the navex but I couldn't see it. "Look straight down" he said.
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Old 21st Jan 2019, 17:42
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
Done that. Told the instructor that we should have reached the turning point for the navex but I couldn't see it. "Look straight down" he said.
That's how I usually locate Fenland (UK)
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Old 22nd Jan 2019, 00:41
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I had that problem during a navigation exercise on my RAF basic training. The visibility wasn't great due to the usual haze caused by the farmers burning crop stubble and we couldn't see the waypoint at the appropriate time, which was Brough airfield. My instructor took control, rolled the JP inverted and told me to look up. There it was, directly "overhead".
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Old 24th Jan 2019, 18:04
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Jolly stories; this one is a little more grim. Having gone solo in gliders at Dunstable, many years ago, a friend and I decided to check out the then new motor glider school at Enstone, run by Gordon Camp . Their approach was certainly different, after a couple of circuits we were immediately sent solo in their Tandem Falke. It was an eye opener: arrive at the airfield and actually go flying! At 'proper' gliding clubs, in those days, it was more like work all day out on the field and hope to get 3 short winch launches - if you were lucky! Nine minutes in the log book for a whole day off work.
So we naturally spent more time at Enstone till one early morning we sat quietly in the cafe listening to the duty instructor explain than when looped the Tandem Falke would often exceed Vne but that this was "alright". We sat there quietly, hardly believing what we were being told but too inexperienced to argue with an instructor. I mean instructors were nearly like Gods...
Later that afternoon the wings came off the Falke at the bottom of a low level loop; both occupants were killed.
Since then I am more cautious of believing anyone, instructors included.
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 08:59
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Qualifying X country, entered non forcast cloud over the North Downs. Immediately did a 180, whilst broadcasting to the station I had last spoken to, telling them of my predicament. I popped out into clear weather fairly soon after, congratulating myself on my quick thinking. I then realised I hadn't once looked at the artificial horizon or any instruments for that matter. Pure luck I had maintained a level turn and kept straight and level after the turn. Later with more hours under my belt, I experienced the same thing in my home circuit. This time head down and took a radar service which got me onto the approach and I popped out of cloud on finals at 600'. Moral? First time I panicked and was lucky. Second time I was calm, collected and did it by the book. If it goes white outside, look inside and keep calm.
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 16:25
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What comes before a fall? Happily for me this turned out OK, but...

Climbing out at last from an especially cold and unwelcoming field, in the corner of my eye I thought I saw something on the panel of the 172 SP flash. A few seconds, and again - THE OIL WARNING LIGHT! And again, coming now in pulses. I leveled and started a turn back, finger hovering over the mic switch, "immediate return for landing". But as I scanned the instruments, the words never came. Oil pressure: completely normal (I'd flown 20 Hrs in this plane in the last 2 weeks, so knew what normal was). Temperature, RPM, power setting, rate of climb, etc all normal.

By now the warning light was continuous. It had only taken a few seconds to go there from brief flashes, but the pressure gauge had remained rock steady. No oil on the windscreen, no smell of overheating. Now I was ready to go downwind for an immediate landing. But I didn't. The idea of that inhospitable place, no engineer on field, really grumpy FBO. My next destination, with friendly FBO and engineer on site, was 2Hr away. Over a cold, hostile desert. Unaccountably, I carried on. "Pressure Switch", I said to myself, "I know about these things". All the indications remained rock solid and I continued, ignoring the red light glaring in my face (and carefully studying every possible landing site as the landscape dissapeared under the nose).

On landing, I consulted with the local engineer, who confirmed my diagnosis, and conferred with the chief engineer at my home base who concurred and authorised me to continue to my final destination, where an engineer would be ready to fit a replacement sender. After another 2 Hr of freezing cold and hostile terrain, I landed, parked at the engineer's hangar, and went to a hotel. That night, I did a bit of Internet research, wondering how common failures of these switches were. Common enough to have an AD in Australia it turned out, because: switch failure of itself was harmless enough, but it was caused by failure of the diaphragm. And the switch, full of high pressure oil, was mounted on top of the engine.

The result had been in flight fires. In an instant, my blood ran cold. My clever 'judgement' was based on knowing a little, but not enough.
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 20:36
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I have always thought the acronym was ILAFFT. 'I learned about flying from that". The point being that if you could write it in your log book you probably laughed about it when it was over. Anyway I have a story to tell as well. Is there an honest pilot who hasn't cocked up but got away with it? Here's mine:

A dim misty November Saturday morning at the gliding club of which I was a founder member, the first ab-initio to go solo, and somewhat later one of the first of that early batch to become an assistant instructor. A rather too eager instructor as you shall read.

A bunch of equally eager ab-initios were waiting hoping to do a few more circuits towards their goal of going solo. I was the duty assistant instructor. Word came that the duty man was ill, and could I get things going till another full Cat could arrive to take over? The cloud seemed a bit low and rain threatened, but the enthusiasm of the assembled would be pilots was very obvious. I got a two seater D.I.'d, the winch positioned, the control hut in place, and the Landrover towing out the cables. I decided that an air test would be needed to ascertain the cloud base.

I then decided that rather than go up by myself, wasting a training opportunity for one of the waiting crowd, I called for a volunteer to accompany me. The cloud seemed a bit lower now, but I was a bold young instructor and I didn't want to chicken out having got this far, Cable on, 'all clear above and behind' and off we went. At 700ft I entered cloud. Now this airfield was rather small, and surrounded by suburbia on three sides, and by the time I realised that we could not land ahead safely we were at 800ft. I decided to take the launch to the top as I felt sure that this was only a thin layer and we would break out on top. Wrong! at 1100ft we cast off still in the murk. I had done a little cloud flying, but never at this altitude and over such dodgy territory. The pupil fortunately had a watch with a second hand so I decided the simplest course was to fly race tracks and hope to at least stay over the field. A rate 1 turn takes a minute to complete a 180. So I got my co-pilot, for that was what he had become, to tell me when 30 seconds had elapsed and I did a rate 1 turn on the T/S for a minute, and then another minute with wings levelled as best I could according to the T/S, and then another rate 1turn for a minute and another straight, at the end of which we broke cloud not very far behind the downwind boundary of the field at 500ft. Brakes fully open, and we dived to safety. I let the pupil do the landing since he needed the practice. We put everything back in the hangar and went to the pub. ILAFFT.
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 14:24
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Pilot DAR that is a great post - it's always good to learn from others. I'll join this thread and share some of my "interesting moments" of the last 23 years at the controls when I get a moment. I've never landed at the wrong field but have definitely set up on finals at a deserted GA field 5 miles from my actual GA destination.
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 15:34
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Olympia463's story above reminds me of one of my earliest lessons and I hope that I never have to put into practice what I learned.

It was one of my first flights in a high performance glider, an Olympia 463 was considered to be high performance in those days, and I had an aerotow out to the West from Twinwoods Farm which was a small satellite airfield to the RAE at Bedford. The Tiger Moth tug towed me straight out to the West towards some tempting looking Cumulus clouds which were still some way off when I released at 2000'. For a time a carried on westwards until I eventually realised I would never reach them so did a 180 to return to the field. Now down to about 1700' I was horrified to see how far away the airfield was. With two villages to cross and nowhere else obvious to land and, realising that this brand new glider did not yet have a trailer, I thought it would be embarrassing and awfully inconvenient if I landed out such a short time after taking off. So I continued back towards the airfield in a highly stressed state. As I got nearer to the airfield the situation improved and I thought a downwind landing might save me except that the short runway was occupied by the tug and another glider and there wasn't much useful space elsewhere. Eventually they took off and I realised that I did have enough speed to complete a fairly normal landing into wind. Of course, I later realised that the unaccustomed penetration and speed which had taken me so far from the airfield would also bring me back. However, with the information I had at the time, I am aware that I made the wrong decision in putting myself into a position where failure to succeed would probably have led to a serious accident. I hope that I would never again risk my life and an aircraft just to avoid inconvenience.

Over the years since, I have read countless accident reports where pilots have unsuccessfully risked their lives to avoid inconvenience. The classic of course is the fatal turn after an EFAT. There was a very sad reminder a couple of years ago when a light aircraft out of Lydd lost engine power while a short distance out to sea. Instead of taking the shortest route to land the pilot headed back towards Lydd, closing the coast at a very shallow angle. Once he realised he could't make it, he had not left enough height to turn into quite a strong wind for landing. The result was sadly fatal.
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Old 7th Feb 2019, 17:19
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Ah, another 463 pilot. we are a rare bunch, as not many were made. I had BGA1305. Moving from an Olympia 2b it was quite a step forward in performance as you observed. Lovely plane to fly, easy to rig, and put in the trailer. I fitted an artificial horizon and went cloud flying since I often got to cloud base with it and it seemed a shame to waste a good thermal. I got to 8000ft in cloud once at Sutton Bank when up there doing my instructors ticket.

However, I had an experience of not making it back to the field, on my final check for cross-country in the 2b. The custom at our club was to spread a large bed sheet out in the middle of the field and you had to land and stop on it, or very near, to pass the check. I had a winch launch and picked up a small thermal at the top of the launch. Instead of sticking to the task in hand I could not resist doing 'just a few turns' in this unexpected lift. A few turns more and I had lost it. What I had not noticed while circling was that the wind had got up since I left terra firma, and I was now well down wind of the club. No chance of getting back, but there was a very small farmer's field right on the airfield boundary, and I headed back home knowing that I was going in there, come what may. No one had ever tried landing there. I landed nicely stopping just short of the fence, and as I was getting out I saw my fellow club members climbing over the fence, waving and laughing. They lifted the Oly on their shoulders, lifted it over the fence without de-rigging it, and put it back on our airfield. I was mortified at having messed up big time. The CFI asked me to hand over my log book and said he was grounding me for two weeks, but he was signing me off for C/C. He also informed me that he wanted me now to start training as an instructor. Cost me a bomb that night in the 'Tiger Moth' our local pub.

I had lots of fun in that 463. Sold it when I left the club on changing jobs, and it was destroyed in a midair a couple of years later when the Tiger chopped the tail off it. The CFI was flying it and he took to his chute and survived, but the tug pilot was killed. Very sad - he was a BBC cameraman and had made a nice film of our club.
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Old 8th Feb 2019, 17:41
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Another gliding story. My first gliding competition day 5 and we had flown tasks everyday so I was tired before I took off. Hot with a 4000ft cloudbase and a 300k task. Half an hour in I realised that my water bottle had slipped out of reach. Five hours later I was 7 miles from home and 2500ft so I set off thinking I was home easily. 10 minutes later things were not looking so good i had lost a lot of height without making much progress and was over woodland. Eventually I "arrived" in a crop field 2 short of the airfield. collapsed the undercarriage and put a hole in the wing.
My mistakes. Dehydration. I didnt take enough water with me or make sure it was accessible. Wind direction. When we took off the wing was about 5knts nw. coming back the sea breeze had come in and was about 12knts northerly, right on the nose. I was tired and dehydrated enough not to realise the the situation was deteriorating. It was a competition and there was an element of get-home-itus. My final mistake was going to the wrong farmer to apologize for landing in his field. This resulted in being being required to report to the CFI at the briefing the next day and cost me two bottles of gin
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Old 8th Feb 2019, 18:06
  #16 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Olympia463 View Post
Ah, another 463 pilot. we are a rare bunch, as not many were made. I had BGA1305.

I had lots of fun in Sold it when I left the club on changing jobs, and it was destroyed in a midair a couple of years later when the Tiger chopped the tail off it. The CFI was flying it and he took to his chute and survived, but the tug pilot was killed. Very sad - he was a BBC cameraman and had made a nice film of our club.
Another happy ex Oly 463 owner. I had BGA 1342, serial number 013, and spent many happy hours in it over Kent, Scotland and Austria. We sold it to buy a Bocian in about 1973 and had great fun with that too.

Unfortunately the buyer of our Oly spun it in at Pershore in 1982. I have tried everywhere to find an accident report without success. Any idea where I can find it?

Incidentally the ASN website says your Oly was involved in a mid air collision with a Tiger moth and that both pilots were killed. You may wish to ask them to update their information.
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Old 8th Feb 2019, 18:38
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Never believe a thing a pilot tells you.

Arrived the previous day at Le Touquet with a vacuum pump failure and decided it was unsafe to fly home on partial panel due to the weather.

The following day the weather was similar so we decided to leave it for a bit. TAFs looked “iffy” but some pilots were departing for the UK. I decided to go up to the Tower and see if they were going IFR but all seemed to be on VFR flight plans.

One was calling mid channel so I asked the controller to ask the guys altitude and weather conditions. The answer came back VFR 2000ft.

We departed about 30 minutes later to find that the weather was actually not bad near Le Touquet. However the nearer we got to mid channel the worse it got. Bearing in mind our friends weather “report” we carried on hoping for the promised 2000 ft. It never came. We ended up scud running into pouring rain at 400 ft towards high ground at Dover.

Bearing in mind we had no form of reliable instruments we headed towards Lydd and got a series of QDMs to arrive there with insufficient height for even a circuit. It was still pouring down.Fortunately it was a straight in.

Lydd then told us if we had arrived 20 minutes earlier we would not have got in.

So thanks for the information from mid channel (whoever you were) presumably flying home IFR on a VFR flight plan...for whatever reason.
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Old 8th Feb 2019, 18:50
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Never believe a thing a pilot tells you ...Part 2.

Flying my Trislander back to Stansted one night in beautiful CAVOK conditions I listen to the ATIS ...OVC at 100 ft! Can’t be surely. Nothing on the TAF about that and Southend (the alternate) is CAVOK.

Sit and think for a few minutes...wait for the next ATIS...the same. The visibility is good below so propose to try an approach and if we don’t get in (Cat 1 280 ft from memory) either divert or wait for an improvement. Plenty of fuel.

Eventually get nearer (it’s only a Trislander!) and find we are number 2 to a European flag carrier. Great. Listen to him land so ask ATC to ask the guy what height he got the lights. 280 ft was the reply.

You guessed it the ATIS was dead right and a rather shaken Trislander pilot decided there and then NEVER to ask another pilot about anything.
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Old 8th Feb 2019, 21:56
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When I was going through "the system" ... A lot of flying instructors know how to fly (well certainly an SEP/MEP) but they have little idea how to teach someone else to do it, Similar to a lot of school teachers with their subjects really, who are basically presenters of information that needs to be absorbed for examination purposes. Quite a few instructors are merely "safety pilots" as people cautiously teach themselves the art of piloting an aircraft.

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Old 9th Feb 2019, 13:05
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Originally Posted by 3wheels View Post
Unfortunately the buyer of our Oly spun it in at Pershore in 1982. I have tried everywhere to find an accident report without success. Any idea where I can find it?

Here you go
From the archives of S&G on this page
It is in the S&G Feb/Mar edition of 1983 ( listed as vol 34, No 1)
go to page 32
it is accident report No 121
(the other series in the search result are the VGC newsletters)

In short: winch launch low aborted by pilot due to it being slow and then failure mishandled - cable wrapped round wing whence the a/c entered a spin from around 100ft
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