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Flying lesson No. 1: Check gas before taking off
Old 05-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Flying lesson No. 1: Check gas before taking off

Out of gas - Yahoo! News

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The Federal Aviation Administration said pilots who run out of fuel usually get a verbal admonition.
And a change of underwear. Not necessarily in that order.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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I can see a 'verbal' for a new pilot, or student pilot, but an instructor should loose his license, especially for a 45 min flight!

It does bring up memory of an F-4 crew that landed an George AFB, CA, chose not to refuel because they had a very short hop to Vegas. They had plenty of gas in their drop tanks. Took the runway, right at lift off, the bird ran out of gas. Seems like they forgot that you could not transfer gas from the drops to the main wing while the aircraft was on the ground. I think the air force issued a Verbal, and maybe something a little stronger!
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #3
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A flight instructor is required to teach a simulated engine-out landing, but I guess he decided "simulation" is for wusses.

What's that saying about old, bold pilots?
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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He really, really wanted to find out if the published glide ratio in the POH was accurate.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
I can see a 'verbal' for a new pilot, or student pilot, but an instructor should loose his license, especially for a 45 min flight!
If a new pilot did not check the fuel, he did not do a pre-flight checkout. I am not a pilot so maybe I'm being stupid, but to me any pilot (new or not) who forgets this should not be allowed to fly ever again in his life. In the case of a student and instructor, the instructor should be the one to lose his license because he is responsible.

This is doing a favor for the pilot and might save his life in the future.

If I was the mother of that 16-year-old student, I would sue the instructor for endangering my son and scaring me to death! Neither may be against the law but I would do it anyway, and anything else I could think of to be a PITA.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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If a new pilot did not check the fuel, he did not do a pre-flight checkout. I am not a pilot so maybe I'm being stupid....
No, you're absolutely right. Pilots are trained to go through a pre-flight checklist for all the things to check before you start the engine, and after you start the engine but before you take the runway. One of those things, obviously, is to check that you have more than enough fuel for the flight you are planning. I seem to remember from my pilot training a few years back that you want to make sure you have 30 minutes of reserve fuel (above what you calculate you'll need) at minimum, and ideally 60 minutes more.

A CFI that allowed this to happen was grossly negligent. Someone with that much flight experience should be doing this (and most other things in the checklist) without even thinking about it and be able to practically do it in their sleep.

When I was training one of the more sobering things I used to do was read the NTSB's aviation incident reports. It coud scare the hell out of you as a student pilot like those car wreck videos did in driver ed, but it really enforced good habits and what NOT to do when flying.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:59 PM   #7
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My father was a private pilot. I took lessons, but didn't get licensed.

I still remember -

DO the lists.
DO THE LISTS.
DO THE CHECKLISTS!

As the first 3 rules.

Followed by 'don't be stupid' and
'Yell for help when you realize you have been stupid. Pride kills."

ta,
mew
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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My dad was also a private pilot and he owned a little single engine plane when I was a kid. I went up with him several times but can't remember the check list thing. Hopefully he did. My brother decided he wanted a pilot's license when he was in his mid 30's. I remember very well the check list he went over on the day I went flying with him. But I also remember being nervous as hell as we took off. But he did just fine.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:19 PM   #9
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So I wonder what else this "pilot" didn't do as part of his pre-flight checks?
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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So I wonder what else this "pilot" didn't do as part of his pre-flight checks?
Pre-flight checks don't always go as planned. Here is famous Canadian instance.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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I love the Gimili Glider story.

Had a couple of close fuel situations, but never because I didn't check the gas tank before taking off.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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Then, as later in the Hudson landing glider qualified pilots made the winning difference between disaster and a successful landing.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:10 PM   #13
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There are hundred of stories of things that real experienced pilots do. I was at a base with two runways. One had 9,000 feet, the other less than 5,000. I remember an instructor pilot that was going to demonstrate landing a 727 in less than 5,000 feet. You guessed it he picked the short runway and ran off the end. I know of two other instances where pilots have done similar things. One flew all the way to the last 1,000 feet of a 13,000 foot runway to prove he could stop in less than 1,000 feet. He did not and it destroyed the air craft!
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:04 PM   #14
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I could add a story of when I was taking flying lessons.

We (mostly real pilots with licenses, but me a student) didn't have a lot of good to say about our Air Traffic Controllers. One of them started taking flying lessons. He got his license.

One day he decides to fly from YXE to YYC. Files a flight plan and all the rest. Plans to fly at 2500 ft. Halfway there her turned around. He thought his altimeter must be broken since the ground kept getting closer.

What happened?
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kumquat View Post

One day he decides to fly from YXE to YYC. Files a flight plan and all the rest. Plans to fly at 2500 ft. Halfway there her turned around. He thought his altimeter must be broken since the ground kept getting closer.

What happened?
The ground did start getting closer since he was flying at an altitude 1,000 feet lower than his destination.

YXE (Saskatoon) is at an elevation of ~1,700 feet. YYC (Calgary) is at ~3,500 feet. Flying at an elevation of 2,500 feet, he would have probably "landed" somewhere in the vicinity of Youngstown, AB.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:38 PM   #16
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What happened?
? Maybe he used the standard IFR altimeter setting (29.92" Hg) instead of the altimeter setting provided by METRO, then flew into a weather system of decreasing pressure?


Running out of fuel: There is a story of a Colombian C-130 crew many years ago that took off from their mainland for one of their islands off the coast. Apparently in Colombia the navigator does the fuel planning. Anyway, it was only after they'd been flying awhile that the nav determined they didn't have enough fuel to make it to the island. At that point, they also didn't have enough fuel to make it back to land. They ditched in the ocean and everybody lived, which was the most successful ditching ever in a C-130 (as a high-wing airplane, it does not ditch well--tends to dig in and tumble/break up. Ugly.) . It is said that there was one casualty, as the pilot shot the navigator once they were in the raft.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:08 PM   #17
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The ground did start getting closer since he was flying at an altitude 1,000 feet lower than his destination.

YXE (Saskatoon) is at an elevation of ~1,700 feet. YYC (Calgary) is at ~3,500 feet. Flying at an elevation of 2,500 feet, he would have probably "landed" somewhere in the vicinity of Youngstown, AB.
Ding, ding, ding. The gentleman wins the cigar! Why did we laugh at him?

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? Maybe he used the standard IFR altimeter setting (29.92" Hg) instead of the altimeter setting provided by METRO, then flew into a weather system of decreasing pressure?
Possibly, but see above.

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Running out of fuel: There is a story of a Colombian C-130 crew many years ago that took off from their mainland for one of their islands off the coast. Apparently in Colombia the navigator does the fuel planning. Anyway, it was only after they'd been flying awhile that the nav determined they didn't have enough fuel to make it to the island. At that point, they also didn't have enough fuel to make it back to land. They ditched in the ocean and everybody lived, which was the most successful ditching ever in a C-130 (as a high-wing airplane, it does not ditch well--tends to dig in and tumble/break up. Ugly.) . It is said that there was one casualty, as the pilot shot the navigator once they were in the raft.
Bolding is mine. I hope it was true. Someone deserved it.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:26 PM   #18
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During my student pilot days, all my instructors drilled it into my head to check the fuel religiously before each flight. Step up there, pull the cap off the tank and visually confirm what the guages say. Oh, and get the damn cap back on tight

Aviation writer Gordon Baxter said it well; "Never miss an opportunity to fill the fuel tanks and empty your bladder."
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:45 PM   #19
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I remember an instructor pilot that was going to demonstrate landing a 727 in less than 5,000 feet. You guessed it he picked the short runway and ran off the end. I know of two other instances where pilots have done similar things. One flew all the way to the last 1,000 feet of a 13,000 foot runway to prove he could stop in less than 1,000 feet. He did not and it destroyed the air craft!
He could've had a C-130:
C-130 Hercules - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Code One Magazine Online: Second Quarter 2005 - Veni Vidi Falcon
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:30 AM   #20
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He could've had a C-130:
Or, he coulda used . The CREDIBLE SPORT YMC-130 was a quick-reaction mod designed to land and then take off from Tehran's soccer stadium as a means to rescue the American hostages. The plane could achieve the required landing and takeoff distances. There was some high adventure in the testing (note the last part of the clip. . . "a high sink rate developed" . . . ). No one hurt, but the helicopter option was deemed to be better. In the end, that didn't utrn out too well, either.
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