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Worst mistake you've made?

Old 16th Mar 2006, 17:05
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chamonix
Posts: 292
Good on whomever started this thread. Great to tell all your 'war stories' and share your mistakes. You wont live long enough to make them all yourself.

Some errors are accidental, some are deliberately dangerous. Ive used at least 6 of my 9 lives & still have 25yrs flying in me. Ive lost 4 friends along the way (military accidents).....much of y errors were due directly to the invincibility and foolhardiness of youth.

Be safe, be deliberate and check, then check again. After all when it goes wrong for you chaps in GA, you dont have the Martin Baker Letdown option!

Its often not something bad that highlights an error, failure or omission.......its often the absence of something good!

Last edited by petitfromage; 16th Mar 2006 at 19:47.
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Old 16th Mar 2006, 21:42
  #42 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: London, UK
Age: 36
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by fenfly01
...our cessna 150 went from about 45 deg pitch up...
45 deg pitch up!? That stall demo would have scared even me
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Old 17th Mar 2006, 08:19
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Playing in the sand
Posts: 123
midair collision

Came way too close for comfort to a midair collision. Flying out to a practice field to burn up some solo time pre-PPL, making position and altitude reports on air-to-air freq. Just got done with a radio call when out of the corner of my eye I noticed an another helicopter off to my left at the same altitude, heading right for me! I immediately slammed down the collective (which controls the pitch on the blades for you plankers) and lost altitude as quickly as possible. The other helicopter flew directly overhead, about 10 ft above me. Never altered course or altitude, never answered my radio calls asking who was in the same area. Not only was this idiot not looking for other traffic, but he wasn't even on the correct frequency! Assume it was another solo student, but never got his tail number.
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Old 17th Mar 2006, 13:50
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Scotland
Age: 36
Posts: 30
Hello All
I've had a couple of miss-haps meself during EFT on my Uni Air Sqd on the Tutor.
The first was during my circuit consolidation, when I was performing a few glider circuits. Having landed perfectly, I smoothly applied full power, waited for 60 kts, eased back the stick...AND NOTHING HAPPENED. Trundling down the ever-decreasing runway, I kept scanning the controls for a fault, exept there wasnt one. I considered aborting the roller landing when I realised in terror that the RPM lever was still selected to low. As I slammed it back to high, the prop shuddered and the plane literally leapt into the air (a good thing, considering there were tall trees towards the opposite threshold).
Having been told repeatedly NEVER to remove my hand from the RPM lever once the prop had been hand had slipped naturally back onto the throttle, where it stayed until I realised with terror what I had done on the rollout.
Other than the above, I did have a PIO once that shook up my instructor in the tower as much as it did me. Despite recovering properly and going around, before the training kicked in I had a serious 'urge' to let the aircraft settle back onto the ground, much like another student did a year before (though he ended up with a prop strike and a damaged engine cowling).
I remember that at the same airfield, I had seen someone actually land on the wrong runway (boy did she get a bollocking later) as well as hearing about some poor lass who got stuck in the mud on her first solo (having not properly applied the parking brake during the engine run-up). Embaressingly for her, I believe a tractor was called in to drag out the plane...
All for now
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Old 17th Mar 2006, 18:32
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: On a cushion by the fire
Posts: 6
I endured 5 years of instructing at my local club and have made or been witness to, virtually every mistake possible.

The usual ones, pull mixture instead of carb heat in a bad weather cicuit etc I have survived but pale into insignificance when compared with some of the really frightening ones.

I went into the club one day and the CFI told me to do a circuit with the chief engineer chappie in one of the twins that had been in for maintenance. He told me to make it quick as there was a selection of people waiting to fly. I ran outside and as I went to the fuel caps to check the fuel, the chief engineer said "Plenty of fuel and oil for what we are doing...only one circuit", so I went. The left engine cut at 300ft on the climb-out and the right cut as I touched down. Had to get a tow to the pumps. Lesson well and truly learned.

Another time I had an IMC student and we were going to conduct the lesson in real IMC. As we pulled onto the runway I reminded him to check his DI with the runway, as I was writing down the clearance, winding up my stopwatch etc. We took off and popped into cloud. After a minute or two I told him to turn north and was surprised that the turn didnt seem to take very long and I assumed he had drifted off heading in the climb out. I noted this then noticed we had flown into a clear spot. I looked down and saw a runway with a tornado running down it. It should not have been there. I took control, did a quick 180 and got out of the area quick. And what had happened? The IMC student with many PPL hours under his belt had lined up on runway 10 and unknown to me had set 010 on the DI which resulted in the aircraft being flown straight over an active MoD airfield. Lesson learned.

I had a trial lesson victim who, either through nerves or deathwish, inadvertantly applied full right rudder at the very moment we took off. He also locked his leg in this position so it made it impossible for me to correct. He only let go after I had administered a short sharp punch to the nose. Afterwards you could see the arc the right wing tip had made in the long grass along the side of the runway. Lesson learned.

I was persuaded to become a meat bomber (parachute drop jockey) and it was suggested that I sit in the back of the aircraft and watch. (not legal but it was a long time ago.) All the seats in the big Cessna, except the pilots seat and rear bench seat, had been removed so it was the rear bench seat that I occupied. Off went the meat bombs on their vertical journey and I unbuckled my belt and carefully crawled to the pilot past the open right side door. I grabbed the plastic strap behind his seat so I could crouch by his seat to tell him something. The handle snapped. I rolled back, gracefully exiting the a/c at 5000ft still clutching the vinyl strap. Instinctively pushing out my feet, I was able to jam them under the pilots seat to arrest my sumersault into oblivion. Once dangling with head in the propwash, he pulled me in with a pull on my trouser belt. Seriously frightening stuff. I still have nightmares about it, 10 years later. I also still have the whitish/ yellowy plastic strap. It is nailed up behind the kitchen door and I hang the dog's lead and collar from it. Lesson learned.

The funniest thing was another trial lesson victim. The chap was very old. He had flown in the war and wanted to do some aeros, as he had enjoyed this many years before. Off we went and I suggested one or two spins to see how we got on. This he agreed to and I entered a spin. I was pattering away as you do, and had got to the "and ease out of the ensuing dive" bit. I then noticed my old chap was not very well. Not very well at all. He was clutching his chest and making some sort of grunting noise with his chin buried deep in his chest. He was also drooling. That did it. I radioed the airfield to say my passenger was having a heart attack and that I'll need an ambulance for him on landing. With this radio call my chap got very aggitated, grabbing my arm and spitting drool at me. He looked in agony and I kept on trying to reassure him and tell him to calm down. He was trying to tell me something. "Meee teeez" "Meee teeez" he repeated again and again. He shouted "Wook" and picked up off the floor a set of false teeth with assorted fluff and the obligatory half melted Spangle stuck to them. At entry to the spin his false teeth had dropped out and he had tried to catch them as they slid down his chest and on to the floor. I had to call the airfield, saying that the ambulance was not required and that my chap was fine. They of course wanted to know more but I told them I would have to see them when I had landed as I and my new friend were laughing so much.

This all happened over 10 years ago. There are many other stories and one day I may write a book. I now fly a biz jet and life is certainly a lot more ordered, predictable and safe! But is it as much fun???

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Old 21st Mar 2006, 20:15
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: hopefully 5 stars... normaly not...
Age: 40
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Old 21st Mar 2006, 20:41
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Guernsey
Posts: 12
My most memorable one was doing spin training in a Cherokee.

I got the pull out of Dive then power the wrong way round, I never knew a Cherokee could out accelerate a Williams F1 car!
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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 21:49
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ireland
Posts: 112
Building hours in San Diego I invited an eager friend to become my very first passanger. I flew a route I had flown twice the previous day and took great delight oeprating the flight with a high degree of professionalism. Full passanger briefing, I even wrote up an emergency card for him
I can't explein how impressed he was when we landed at Palm Springs, right on time and a greaser of a landing.

Off we went for a nice bit of lunch, Mexican, and as I had an awful thirst a gallon of iced tea. Rushing back to the airfield all I could think of was getting off on time, back to San Diego, a few pints and let my friend tell everyone what a great pilot I was, what a mug.
20 minutes into the air, 8,000 ft over the California mountains, it hit me hard. NOTHING could stop it, no way to hold it, quick assessment and I went for that tiny f****** window in the Piper, no chance.
Luckily my passanger was a caffeine addict and had thrown his empty Grande Latte cup in the back. I know it's terribly unsafe but I hopped into the back for that cup and got 2 refills.

Fisrt cup went out the window no problem. Second cupfull just seemed to leave the aircraft turn around and come straight back in. I saw it on time, pulled back and splat, right over my passanger. Man did he scream. We was fine after a few pints, of beer.

I did learn a lesson, it's not just the aviation stuff you have to be on top of to be safe.

One more, it wasn't me though. Friend in Florida was giving me a lift to another airfield at night. He was real tired, long day and this was a real short hop, 10 minutes max. Our FTO was shut, everyone gone home and no torch for a quick look into the fuel tanks. Whatyedo? Use your lighter, I'm serious, I was standing about 5 ft away, I ran as I shouted at him, DON'T DO IT.
I looked back, still running mind you, I just managed to see the fumes catch, flames about 2 feet straight up from the fuel tank. He had set the f******* fuel tank on fire. In fairness to the guy he didn't panic, maybe it was shock or tiredness he just stood there slapping the source of the flames.
He soon ran and threw the fuel cap back towards the tank, somehow, by some miracle it fell right in place and smothered the flames. During the post incident investigation (in the pub) he reckons the tank was so full of fuel there was no room inside for the flames to propogate.

That'smore than I've ever written on PPRuNe.
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 15:33
  #49 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 1,218
There was a thread similar to this on the private flying forum a while back, there were a few corkers on there. Not funny I know, but had me in stitches some of them, I think it was the first time a lot of people realised adrenalin was brown.

PS like the stories of chucking human excrement out of windows etc and the one where checking the fuel level with a lighter, absolutely pissin myself
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 16:53
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: homeless
Posts: 118
Holy smoke I just nearly sh*t myself reading about the lighter, that is crazy stuff.

Wasnt there an incident recent where some OFT or EFT students just got all their licences and was out doing a bit of flying. They taxied to the runway, took off only to be informed by the tower that they still had the concrete tie down bricks attached! Funny, but not for them as they lost their licences.
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 19:20
  #51 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: london
Posts: 14
Think they were cpl holders from argentina....A collegues best one was when as an instructor,a student tried to commit suicide out of the door of the plane I guess from several thousand feet...apparently a head lock and emergency landing saved the day!
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 19:55
  #52 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London
Posts: 7
I got asked that on an interview at Pinnacle. I told them that "I married the wrong woman." That answer caught them out good but it was clever and true!!!

If I was asked today, I would say getting involved in this miserable career and working for their poor excuse of a company was the worst mistake I ever made!!!!!
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Old 24th Mar 2006, 18:17
  #53 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Far East
Posts: 437
Worst mistake I ever made...

...getting 1 question wrong in the Gen Nav exam
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 03:43
  #54 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Horsham
Age: 41
Posts: 116
Going on a long cross country in a 152 (hour building) after mag checks showed spluttering and a big drop on one magneto. I put it down to taxi-ing it over rich, and presumed it would resolve during the flight. The next day the aircraft went into maintenance, all the spark plugs on one mag had broken up
I won't do it again

Last edited by cosworth211; 26th Mar 2006 at 16:46.
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 09:56
  #55 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: London, Engeeerland!
Age: 39
Posts: 46

How about this then. Going on a 3 hr nax ex (in my days at the delightful CCAT) stuck in a bathtub in which I couldn't move (the Katana 2 seat job). Was the tour of around birmingham (across to Gloucester, then up to some where near Liverpool and back down the uncontrolled corridor to Cranfield). Only problem was, got stuck depserately needing a pi55 overhead Wrexham! Right in the middle and no way directly back.

It took 9 fills of the fuel strainer and a steady hand trying not to let the venturi blow it back in my face when emptying it overboard! People could still see the off-white stain down the side of that a/c for months - think it was deicing fluid, honest!
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Old 1st Apr 2006, 18:08
  #56 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Northumberland
Age: 34
Posts: 369
Originally Posted by ALV2500
I think the worst mistake I ever made was believing I would earn lots of money as an airline pilot.

Superpilot, nothing can explain the sense of relief after releasing the break before landing. Did exactly the same thing from my first grass strip takeoff.

the money looks good to me??
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Old 2nd Apr 2006, 17:10
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: INDIA
Age: 42
Posts: 3
Here are a few I have managed :-

1. WRONG FREQUENCY. First Nav x-country on a 172. All excited, all prepared. (bit over-prepared, I guess).

Correct procedure :- Departure Tower Radar Control. TO destination Control Tower
What happened :- Departure Tower Radar Control TO Alternate Control Tower
Alternate didnt respond to my calls, presumably he was out of range. Luckily, got alerted by a mate who was on the same frequency. Saved the day for me.

2. CLEARANCE Chokes off, power and off you go. BRAKE HARD!!! Need to take a taxi clearance before you can do that. Instructor proceeded to take care of the RT for the rest of the flight.
3. STALL (almost) On finals, solo, looked liked I was undershooting. Bit of power would have been enough, but pulling the stick?? A bit too much!! Stall warning sounded. Purely by instinct applied power, corrected the attitude and got out of the mess.
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Old 2nd Apr 2006, 17:40
  #58 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: A little world of my own - Planet Spandit
Posts: 510
Instructor said "Right, we're going to do an asymmetric touch and go"

Not a problem...

Made the approach, landed - instructor rejigs the flaps for T/O and says "Go"... I push the one throttle full forward...

...I reckon I would've made it even if he hadn't taken control and given me power to the other engine as well
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Old 3rd Apr 2006, 11:20
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Planet earth
Posts: 396
The most stupid thing i did was starting the atpl course and hoping for a job afterwards.

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Old 3rd Apr 2006, 23:34
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Northumberland
Age: 34
Posts: 369
Originally Posted by dboy
The most stupid thing i did was starting the atpl course and hoping for a job afterwards.

i hate reading this it really, really worries me
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