September 2019

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Subscribers Only - Once again, the Experimental Aircraft Association in July pulled off another great AirVenture fly-in at its home in Oshkosh, Wis. This year’s event had a little of everything, including torrential rain the Friday evening before Monday’s opening day, nighttime air shows and lots of airplanes of every shape, size and purpose. Perhaps because the pre-show rain knocked everyone off-kilter—followed by mid-week heat—the overall event seemed to need more cowbell, but it definitely was worthwhile checking out all the new stuff and checking in with long-time friends.

#OSH19

Subscribers Only - Once again, the Experimental Aircraft Association in July pulled off another great AirVenture fly-in at its home in Oshkosh, Wis. This year’s event had a little of everything, including torrential rain the Friday evening before Monday’s opening day, nighttime air shows and lots of airplanes of every shape, size and purpose. Perhaps because the pre-show rain knocked everyone off-kilter—followed by mid-week heat—the overall event seemed to need more cowbell, but it definitely was worthwhile checking out all the new stuff and checking in with long-time friends.

More Cockpit Stress

Subscribers Only - In the May 2019 issue, I couldn’t help but note the connection between Key Dismukes’ article “Stress in the Cockpit” and Mr. Burnside’s observations in “Cockpit Communication.” When there is poor communication in the cockpit, stress levels are going to rise. It doesn't matter if the communication shortfall takes place in the air or on the ground. Two of the four categories of errors made by airline crews that were pointed out by Dr. Dismukes were “inadequate comprehension, interpretation, or assessment of a situation,” and “inadequate communication.” These categories are faithful descriptions of the failure to explicitly define and communicate expectations that your friend experienced with his flight instructor.

Managing Risk In Aircraft Certification

Subscribers Only - Most of my articles for this journal focus on managing the risk of flying piston-powered general aviation aircraft, with examples of good and poor risk management. But risk management is at least equally critical in the world of operating airliners and turbine-powered transport category aircraft. Recent air carrier accidents provide illustration and lessons relevant to operating small general aviation aircraft, especially when designing and certifying them. In fact, and just as during flight operations, the job of managing risk in the design and certification is to identify, assess and mitigate that risk. These procedures apply even more objectively when using rigid design criteria, especially when they involve transport category aircraft.

I’ll Be Missing You

Subscribers Only - We all know how to fly a missed approach. We probably did a handful of them on our instrument checkrides, and when we’re out practicing approaches, even in a sim, we most often go missed. We may not be flying a full missed approach procedure as published, but we still have to reconfigure the airplane and climb away. When we’re practicing, we know how the approach will terminate: by going around at the missed approach point. It’s what we expect when practicing.

Airborne Hot Spots

Subscribers Only - The FAA defines a hot spot as a location on an airport movement area that demands heightened attention by pilots and vehicle operators due to the history of potential collision or runway incursion. Knowing where any hot spots are at the airports you intend to use arms you with useful risk management information. Meanwhile, the FAA has gone sort of nuts with the airport hot spot concept. Don’t believe me? Check out the airport diagram for Addison Airport (KADS) in Dallas, Texas, below. Every taxiway intersection east of the runway is a hot spot.

Engine-Out Energy Management

Subscribers Only - Moreover, the FAA’s Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for private and commercial certificates specify that pilots are to have knowledge of EM concepts for many maneuvers. They include emergency approach and landing, soft-field/rough-field landing, normal approach and landing, short-field landing, various types of water landings, power-off 180-degree accuracy approach and landing and go-around/rejected landing. The word “knowledge” implies pilots should have, at least, a basic understanding of EM concepts and be able to apply these concepts to tasks in the FAA’s ACS.

Our Airplanes Are Aging

Subscribers Only - The event perhaps most demonstrative of what can happen as an aircraft ages occurred on April 28, 1988, over Hawaii. That’s when an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 operating in scheduled passenger service as Flight 243 between Hilo and Honolulu lost part of its cabin roof while in cruise at FL240. The crew successfully landed the airplane after diverting to Maui. Of the 89 passengers and six crewmembers aboard, there was one fatality—a flight attendant who was swept overboard during the decompression event.

Dude, Where’s My Clearance?

Subscribers Only - There are two basic ways to obtain an IFR clearance in the U.S. before departing a non-towered airport. One is to telephone Flight Service directly and get the clearance over the phone. Another is to use a remote communications outlet (RCO) to contact Flight Service or a ground communications outlet (GCO) to reach ATC over your aircraft’s communication radio. In both cases, of course, you’re likely to receive a clearance with a void time, since ATC can’t “see” you on radar until you’re airborne, and has to block off some portion of the airspace around your departure airport to ensure separation, at least until you’re in radar contact.

Preflight, Interrupted

Subscribers Only - The airline industry long ago figured out that one of the most dangerous things in aviation is two pilots trying to fly the same airplane at the same time. One inevitable result of such an arrangement is that there are times when no one is flying, and one of the ways we know this is from the accident record. Airlines evolved the pilot-flying/pilot-not-flying concept to acknowledge this characteristic of crewed cockpits and established clear responsibilities for each pilot.

NTSB Reports

Subscribers Only - During the landing roll, three deer ran from right to left across the runway. The pilot felt a hard strike on the inboard section of the right wing, observed a deer roll over the right wing and felt a sensation of the right landing gear running over a second deer. Although the airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing, the pilot was able to maintain control and taxied to the ramp without further incident. The pilot and passenger had to egress through the rear baggage door due to damage to the cabin door.