A Near Miss, Bitter Sweet?

Too Close to Call

Most aviators will have a near miss with another aircraft sooner or later in their career. This begs the question. Why do they happen? What can be done to prevent them in the future? My story comes during the hour building portion of my flight training, so naturally I was a very inexperienced pilot just starting to gain confidence. Thankfully for me the situation was not fatal, however, it could have been. So, what went wrong?

This story is set in the North of England at an airfield called “Sherburn”. Sherburn is an uncontrolled airfield, this means there is no ATC and no one who has authority to control aircraft traffic. Sherburn is a fairly quiet airport with a variety of visiting aircraft. This includes old WW2 training aircraft like the “Tiger Moth” which are not equipped with radios or transponders. The significance of this will become apparent later on.

Although I didn’t realize it yet, the problems started when I was doing my engine power checks at the runway holding point. I had noticed an irregularity between my left and right magnetos. Whilst I was trying to fix this problem, I missed a vital radio message from a nearby helicopter who was returning to Sherburn to enter the circuit and land.

*Helicopter Golf Lima Zulu, positioning to cross runway 24 centreline, 500 feet.*

What happened next could have been a disaster. After I resolved the issue I completed my checks and made the following radio message.

*Golf Charlie Sierra, lining up 24*

As I advanced the power to full throttle I closely monitored my ASI and applied appropriate back pressure as I reached my takeoff speed of 55 knots. At this point my eyes were still firmly glued to my cockpit instruments. My hands were busy as I put away flap, pitched and trimmed for my target climb speed. Once I was happy with my instruments, I raised my head to look at the sky ahead of me. The problem was that the sky was being obscured by a helicopter crossing directly in front of my flight path. The helicopter was only 50-100 feet away from me as I yanked my yoke sharply to the right. Thankfully the helicopter saw me and also broke away into a steep right turn.

However, the danger was not over. As I was looking for the helicopter and talking on the radio, my airspeed was decreasing whilst I was in a climbing turn. Experienced pilots will know this combination can lead to fatal consequences when operating close to the ground. By the grace of god my stall warner went off and I quickly lowered the nose and leveled the wings. It was only afterwards, once I had landed, that I realized how close I had been to entering a spin only 500ft above ground.

What followed was a heated conversation with the helicopter pilot, radio controller and a flight instructor who had witnessed the situation. The helicopter pilot was foreign and had little experience operating at small uncontrolled airfields. The point was made to him that you cannot rely on radio messages or help from radio operators when flying to uncontrolled airfields. Furthermore, crossing the centreline of an active runway is a big no no, unless you can be 100% sure there are no aircraft using it. The helicopter pilot continued his protests, stating that the radio operator should have done more to help. He was promptly reminded that aircraft with no radios, like the Tiger Moth, frequently use the airfield and that a radio operator cannot be relied upon to control traffic.

So, what did I learn…..

Many pilots will tell you that they learnt the most about flying during hour building. I would absolutely agree, this experience had a few key takeaways for me:

  1. Remain vigilant at all times – My first mistake was not getting my head up and taking a look to make sure the climb path was clear. All it takes is one quick glance and I would have been able to perform an RTO, avoiding the entire situation.
  2. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate – 3 words that I had heard a million times during flight training would have prevented how close I had come to a spin.
  3. Know airfields circuit patterns and rules – This one applies mostly to the helicopter pilot who was unfamiliar with UK rules and crossed the centreline of an active runway.
  4. Don’t panic – Had I remained calmer I would have been able to deal with the near miss and stabilize the aircraft without coming close to a stall and spin.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings – A simple radio message is not always enough to guarantee safety.

General Aviation is all about being safe and having awareness. It’s experiences like this that make you a better pilot.

Stay safe and happy landings!

Scott Calvert.
United Kingdom

https://www.fiverr.com/scottcalvert918

I could see the whites of his eyes
Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on A Near Miss, Bitter Sweet?

Aviation Writers Wanted

Writing good articles for aviation readers

We are looking for energetic writers that have expertise in the field of aviation that are willing to create good, informative and entertaining articles. Reading that is helpful, and effective at promoting aviation and the community it supports. We pay for articles that are noteworthy and are ready to review your topic proposal for aviation articles that you create. If you feel that this is an activity for you. Please feel free to contact us and pitch us some of your ideas. If your article is accepted we will decide together a reasonable remuneration for your article. You can contact us through the contact page and Pitch an idea for articles or just ask questions on how to go about creating articles for us and yourself.
Please Contact Us….

Posted in Welcome | Comments Off on Aviation Writers Wanted

Emergencies are as simple as a 4 legged chair

In aviation, many pilots dread the experience of an emergency in flight. In my early years I also disliked working on emergencies. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Done correctly, emergencies are as simple as a 4 legged chair.

Pick  field, any field
air under your chair
flying
Pick A Field

First Leg.
Maintain Aircraft Control.

A situation occurs, the engine runs weird, some change in rpm that seems unusual. An RPM change from 2450 down to 2100 and then back up again in an instant. You and your flying partner look at each other. The RPM then drops again to 2000 RPM…

You have likely heard others say, “Fly The Plane” or “Maintain Aircraft Control”. Well in this case, just fly straight and level. No turns, trim the plane to get level flight at the power setting that you are experiencing. If that means reducing speed to best endurance then do so and get it trimmed. This may stabilize the rough engine or power loss.

Then Wait… well 15 seconds wait, to do the next Leg in the chair.

Second Leg
Analyze The Situation

Like really look at the aircraft, it’s indications, it’s running habits and analyze what is happening, don’t jump on a fix. wait another 15 seconds. Keep flying the plane! Try to discover what is going on, or going wrong.

Third Leg
Take Appropriate Action

It’s at this point you make a plan to rectify the situation, Red Page? Yellow Page? (what are those?) See if a change in what the checklist says for the situation makes a difference to the flight condition. Get the airplane operating safely, even if it’s a reduced speed and power setting. Don’t forget Leg One.

Fourth Leg
Logical Conclusion
Bring the situation to a logical conclusion. “think like Spock” be realistic, logical, the correct answer to these situations is a four letter word.
“LAND” Land now or Land later, you will land. Make a plan to fly the plane to a normal landing. Don’t panic, be reasonable, make a simple plan. Use in the plan the basic flying skills that you were shown in your training, don’t get complicated. Use airspeeds just above approach. Trim your plane. Find a way home or to the nearest suitable aerodrome or private airstrip. Normal rejoin to the traffic pattern, normal circuit, normal landing. Do what you know. Be prompt but don’t rush. Remember, you want to be logical with the choices that you make are safe and effective.

LAND

Taxi free of the landing strip. Shut down, get out of the plane and walk away from it. You Are walking away…

Walk Away

walking away
Walking Away

Bruce Feaver
“Air Under Your Chair”

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Emergencies are as simple as a 4 legged chair

Same Thing Each Time

Flying procedure is working routine


Piloting is a work in progress, and often you find yourself doing routine tasks over and over. But, there is a pace of task that has to be recognized in order to get tasks done in a prompt and routine manner.

When standing still, tasks halt.
In flying there is no halt, the tasks keep going because you are not standing still. One of the challenges for new pilots to grasp is the sense of routine and its associated pace. If there is a challenge to flight performance and degraded pace of learning, it’s because students or new student pilots are not developing the sense of expectation and task application. Continue Reading….

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Same Thing Each Time

Why are International Aviation Students and Canada Best Friends?

Aspiring Aviation

Canada has been increasingly becoming the go-to choice for most international students. Be it graduate courses, undergraduate programs, diplomas, or post-doctoral programs, students have been increasingly seen drawn to the country. In fact, according to the Professional Flight Centre, 50% of the business they get is from abroad. Continue Reading…

New Article by
Ashwera Hasan

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Why are International Aviation Students and Canada Best Friends?

A bad days flying is better than a good day at the office

The day started normal enough, light winds from the North, high overcast, and fine temperatures. April is a good time to get a checkout in a new airplane and I had been looking forward to learning to fly a new design. The Light Sport Aircraft category of aircraft and are becoming popular all over the world. As a flight instructor, this makes new opportunities to check out some new pilots in these sport airplanes. The airplane that I was invited to fly was a TL-2000 Sting Sport Aircraft. Continue Reading

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on A bad days flying is better than a good day at the office

Adding a Telegram Channel

I have added some features to this blog site, like an auto link from this site right to my telegram channel. The Telegram channel is called Air Under Your Chair and is a regular channel to discuss aviation ideas and topics that may serve to assist this blog with ideas and topics related to aviation. Lower down the page is a running presentation of what is being posted on my telegram page.

Drone Retriever for the Retriever

 

Posted in Welcome | Comments Off on Adding a Telegram Channel

High Wing Low Wing, Does it even Matter?

Is there a case for picking the low wing over the high wing in flight training? I certainly have my preferences and perhaps you may as well. People tend to pick the airplane style that they trained on but in the long run they fly the plane that they feel is the easiest for them to fly. In fact, learn to fly everything you get a to operate. The flying characteristics of an aircraft really come down to it’s wing area and overall weight. Wing Loading is the term, and just because the wing is up or down has little bearing on Wing Loading. Some aircraft have wings in the middle.

I recommend that in your flight training you try both the high wing and the low wing airplanes to see what you like, if that is an option. Bottom line is that in your flying experience, fly as many different types of airplanes as you can. At some point you will find airplanes that you like to fly and ones that you don’t. Over time you will form your own preferences. As your experience develops so will your choice in airplanes.

My preference is the low wing.

Grob 120A


Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on High Wing Low Wing, Does it even Matter?

Good Landings Start At The Downwind Turn

Alon A2 Aircoupe

Everything’s connected. Your landings are a direct result of how well you fly your circuit pattern. Recently I have been reviewing procedures for various aircraft and I have completed a procedure for the Alon A2 Air coupe that was presented earlier on my website.

It’s a small 2 seat classic aircraft with a long history over the decades. In this case I have outlined the circuit and approach plan for this airplane in an effort to create a Checkout Notes program.

Below is a quick sketch and I will include the write up for this on a separate page. Continue reading.

Alon A2 Circuit

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Good Landings Start At The Downwind Turn

It’s Just A Tin Plate

So you get into your airplane and your instructor says to you,

“Hey where is your Kneeboard, your desk? What are you going to write on and fly at the same time”?

“My what”?

“Kneeboard”

“I did not think I needed one of those.”

“Well look what’s on my knee! I am a professional, I use the Pro tools, If you were a pro golfer you would want the pro golf clubs right, you want to be a Pro Pilot one day don’t you”?

“Well, Yes, but I am trying to save money for flying”?

“Ya, Crappy flying”…

It’s Just a Tin Plate…

It’s just a tin plate, but in the aircraft, this thing is your second brain. You are so busy flying you don’t have time to think because you are already reasoning about the size of your circuit, and the speed you need to be at before you turn to base. ATC calls the Cessna in front of you that is on final and gives him some new winds, you write that info down on your kneeboard because you don’t need that info just yet but can use it. So, on final you are trying to sort out your crosswind and since you wrote the wind info down on your kneeboard it’s there, right there. Your Runway is RW 26 and the winds are 280/22Kts and you think, “can I handle that crosswind”?
Because you had a desk, you used it when you had the chance and later the info was there when you needed it. However, Prior to flight, your instructor got you to prepare the details of the flight on a piece of paper that just so happens to be just the size to fit on a kneeboard. That’s by design. Up and Down times, Departure plan, Radio frequencies, Altitudes and distance restrictions. Notes, Notes.

Over the years I have found it an indispensable tool. It holds the pen, is solid surface, and clips my mission cards and flight notes, navigation logs to something rigid, like your leg.

I have always used the thin aluminum plate, It does not get in the way of the controls. It’s light and easy to attach to your leg. And best of all it’s Under $25 bucks. The last tin plate kneeboard lasted 25 years, I worked it out, that’s $1.00 a year, for a highly Under Rated aviation tool. You will use a kneeboard for your whole career in one form or another.

The Image above is linked to a location for you to purchase one. Great tool in the airplane that serves as a platform for your second brain.

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on It’s Just A Tin Plate

Ground Training in Aviation

Knowledge is the cornerstone to being the best aviator you can be. Without reasonable knowledge about your flying education, your ability to operate successfully is compromised.

So how do you get educated? Transport Canada with the Private Pilot and the Commercial Pilot Flight Training programs require particular lengths of ground training outlined in each section of the requirements for Pilot Training. Continue Reading here….

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Ground Training in Aviation

Simulators in Civil Aviation

Simulators in Development, 2008 PFC Cirrus II Legacy Simulator that is re-certified Level 2

Simulators for aviation have been around a long time, certainly since I began using my home PC in 1989. I wanted my home PC to work flight sims since I was a new commercial pilot. I could see advantages to my aviation experience through the early flight sim software like Microsoft Flight Sim. Things have come a long way for sims from that time.

As an aspiring Private Pilot, how are these types of simulators an advantage?

Flight sim work in aviation training can be credited if the simulator is Accredited or Certified. These types of sims are attached to Flight Training Schools and serve to build skills necessary for the Private Pilot License and The Commercial Pilot License. Some flight time in these simulators is credited to the Instrument Flying portions of each license. The alternative is doing this same work in the aircraft at twice the price. In some cases savings can be considerable. This sim time is allowed to be logged in your personal Logbook or Training record. However, nothing beats a real plane. Continue Reading….

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Simulators in Civil Aviation

Free Aviation Education

Free you say?
I have to shell out big bucks for every flight for the airplane and the instructor. Yup you do, but just remember that education is all the time, in the plane or out.

The moment you put a booking onto the flight sheet for the next flight, is when the education for that flight begins. You are committing to a future event that you know will make you a better pilot. Perhaps its getting to solo, perhaps it’s a practice flight prior to your commercial flight test. So now that the mission is booked what do you do? Many people do very little, perhaps read a bit of assigned material that their instructor told them. Perhaps some people do more. So you get to your flight session and your instructor asks, “did you read that section on landings yet?” and you say “ah, no, not really”. Just then, you experience your flying account money get drained out sooner because now your instructor has to review more extensively the things he wants to cover in the flight, in the pre-flight briefing. Had you read that material beforehand then he would have skipped or skimmed over the material recognizing that you have a reasonable grasp of the things he wants to show you in the plane. Pre-Flight prep saves you big time in the briefing room and the airplane time.

The Aircraft is a horrible environment to learn something new, with the stress, noise, movements, yacking instructor. So you want to make the most of the things you do with the airplane while flying. It’s the place to practice the things that you have already learned. It’s a place to do stuff with your hands, feet and brain. Sure at times, your instructor will demonstrate new things, or fly the plane for you and do things with the plane that you would not have seen or done before. “hey, I have control, let me show you something that we are going to be doing next, or soon”… But at that point you will have many questions

So you go through your flying lesson and you do the aircraft handling that your instructor asks, and all is OK. You land, and complete the flight, fill out the papers and go away from the flight school. The rest of the day, or early evening, you review what the flying day was like and you go Hmmm. Why did my instructor do the landing the way he did? How does he do that? Why can’t I do that?

So you now realize that this is the opportunity to do some homework and review the mission of the day. “Just Because The Flight Is Over” does not mean that the learning has stopped. Many people go on with the rest of the week not giving more review thought to what went on during the last flight. They just barely do some minor review of what is to go on for the next flight. But some magic occurs in that reviewing the previous flight and getting your understanding of what you did wrong or what you did not like are clues that you can use to do some more homework.


Make a list of questions for the Instructor.


Practice the procedure routines for the different flight exercises that you have already completed. Commit these routines to memory. How you do Slow Flight, How you enter, and recover from a spin. How you set up your circuit, approach and landing.


Look up education, videos, anything on the internet to help you learn about your flying.

Read the manuals that your flying institutions provide, they are the backbone to what your flight instructor is going to do and show you.

Remember, the time you spend after each flight and before each flight is free flight training, you will not work so hard in the airplane and the briefing room with the pilot instructor that costs you big money.

The time you spend reviewing what you have done in the airplane that day, is a big deal that saves you good money. What if, as you sit there, with your coffee, you remember that demonstration of the approach your instructor did, but you were too distracted at the time being in the plane. Now, you review and remember just what he did and what he said at the time things were happening, just what was happening. AND Click… “I get why he did that”.

So you just taught yourself some flying and saved at least another circuit at, at dual rates. So next flight you remember, “I am going to try that, what he did on last flight” and so you do and it works.

The power of pre-flight and post flight preparation is a game changer, we all need to be working more, out of the plane, in our resting times, reviewing more and reading often.

The words your instructor says in the plane are words that come out of the textbooks. The last thing you need to be doing in the plane is not knowing a important word.

Take the time, do the homework read and review things you do and you will be a better pilot and save money for the future dream plane that you want, for real.

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Free Aviation Education

Project Log

New addition to this website is a modest presentation of the repairing a 1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe. These are popular airplanes of the period and it’s nice to see another one getting improvements to make it work better. They are a fun airplane, sturdy, and forgiving. A fantastic conversation piece at fly ins and gatherings. Please have a look at the link on the home page for more details.

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on Project Log

1966 Alon Aircoupe Rebuild Log.

This website is going to be presenting a Rebuild thread on the very popular Alon A2 Aircoupe. It is a 1966 model in good condition and worthy of its progress being presented for those with an interest in Alon A2 Aircoupe to follow along and compare. This aircoupe in question is from BC. Canada and has recently changed hands to a new owner that has taken on the task of making much needed changes to bring this airplane up to Snuff.

1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe
66 Alon A2

The project can be found in the main menu under 1966 Alon Aircoupe Rebuild Log.

Posted in Civil Aviation | Comments Off on 1966 Alon Aircoupe Rebuild Log.

Flight School in Trying Times

Now is not the time to give up on your flight training just because the industry is on hold due to restricted travel. If you are in Private, Commercial, or Flight Instructor training phase, Keep Going. The industry is not in a demand downturn, its just on pause. Demand for travel will snap back and the industry will resume quickly. This may be a good time to focus on your flight training in order to be ready for the industry when it happens. Some flying job opportunities will remain around, like flight instruction, water operations up north and feeder airline flight activity. Find a flight school that is operating, they are deemed an essential service and are not closed. Find a way to fly every day, or at a minimum 3 times a week to keep pace. Remember that frequency of missions is the only way to save money, by not stretching times between flights. Flight schools will be happy to accommodate you as they need the business to keep the doors open. Stay on track, don’t let the health restrictions slow you down. Find a way.

Posted in Welcome | Comments Off on Flight School in Trying Times