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Sometimes quit before things go south
Old 02-22-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
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Sometimes quit before things go south

A small plane pilot describes why one should not fly at times.

The concept is transferable to many things which we ought to postpone.

From The AVWeb, an aviation web site

Chain Mail of Errors

"One of the hardest things to learn in aviation is that sometimes, it's just better not to fly and for the most banal of reasons. This is why I'm skeptical that the GA accident rate will ever improve much, if at all. Most of us have had accident-free flying careers through a combination of skill, good judgment and just plain luck. And that judgment thing deserts every one of us occasionally, as it did me last weekend."
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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I am well familiar with that. There has been more than one time when I did not take the motorcycle out because... well, there was just a gut feeling that "today is not a good day to ride".
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
A small plane pilot describes why one should not fly at times.
I sold my vintage J-3 a few years ago and now fly my PA-28-181. I have a lot of stories from my J-3 days. A good plane to learn why planes have a rudder.

2 clichés come to mind when I go flying;

There are old pilots, and bold pilots - but no old bold pilots.
Better to be down on the ground & wishing you were up flying - than up flying, and wishing you were on the ground.

After one extremely windy day flying with my wife she said; From now on if I hear the flag - before she I see the flag - it's too windy for me.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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Like about 18 bazillion other people I learned in a J-3 too. It's a good airplane to learn in. While it is possible to kill yourself in it you have to work at it.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Yep, that's why I don't fly anymore. I found myself in dangerous weather conditions several times over a two year period. I finally decided that staying alive on the ground was more important than the pleasure of flying a G/A aircraft. ( well, the cost was also a factor)

I considered myself a prudent pilot who avoided high risk situations. Yet I still kept finding myself wanting to kiss the ground after stressful weather condition flights. Then DD was born and that did it for me. Hung up the airplane keys. I still miss it though.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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One morning almost exactly three years ago my daughter was taking off from SFO on a commercial flight. She looked down at Palo Alto Airport and saw fog. Upon landing she learned that the pilot of a Cessna 310 failed to clear a power line killing himself and two other Tesla engineers. Her firm subsequently reaffirmed their policy of not having more than two employees on a flight (several are private pilots).
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:02 PM   #7
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A small plane pilot describes why one should not fly at times.

The concept is transferable to many things which we ought to postpone.
....
One thing that comes to mind is house buying. People fall in love with a potential home purchase and deeply regret not getting it. "It wasn't meant to be" rings hollow with younger people until you had a few "experiences".
Experience 1 This house is great, let's buy it. What are those things on the other side of the fence. "Probably toxic waste dump remediation equipment" the realtor joked. Everyone laughed. Drove by later and they really were remediation sites!
Experience 2 Home inspection reveals place has no working sewer system and no hope of getting one. Hand money is returned and offer to buy is cancelled.
I know there are more but I can't call em up now. I am sure you all have some good ones, too.
It wasn't meant to be. It is better not to force the issue on some things.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:22 PM   #8
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Toolman-

Nice pics!!!!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #9
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A Cub is not the easiest plane to fly. Despite being a trainer. I have only flown a Legend Cub which is a reproduction. Much harder to manage than anything I have flown. Toe brakes, a rudder plane but not enough of it! Being a tailwheel adds difficulty that trikes don't have. Low inertia. Light weight.

I have flown other tailwheel aircraft like a Citabria, Decathalon and a Pitts.

Something like a Piper 140 or Piper Warrior, even a Cessna 172 are easier to handle.

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:53 PM   #10
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Seems like G/A is the number one reason celebrities die early.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:18 PM   #11
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Seems like G/A is the number one reason celebrities die early.
Too much quick money buys a fast plane, too few hours as PIC, and get-there-its are a bad combination. ePilot ASF Accident Reports - Get-There-Itis

Overall I feel it's safer than ridding my motorcycle.

Fig 4 shows accident rates by type of aircraft. I am willing to accept these odds.
http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/649219.pdf
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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When I read the article, it reminded me of my days in Seismology, field work in Alaska.

One November several very remote seismic stations went offline. The scientists, wanted them repaired post-haste. Of course We were located in Palisades NY, the sensors were in the Aleutian Islands about 800 miles west of Anchorage. The trips required a lot of logistics in terms of arranging for helicopter lease, putting gear together for replacing any one of the 20 or so components of the sensor/power/transmitter/antenna etc.

I just happened to have a broken humerus about that time, arm in cast. Not quiet field operations ready. Several call to helicopter leasing companies, and NOAA were responded to with "are you nuts" no way. Clearly they understood the unpredictable weather out there. Unlike the north slope in those days, there were no support systems in place for helicopters, plus would have had to charter a C130 to deliver fuel to a remote airstrip.

So the scientist came up with the brilliant idea of flying in some snowmobiles and trailers for them.

I was incredulous. I understood that no data, no science, but we are now talking lunacy. There are no roads out there, the distance involved 60 to 80 miles in several directions, largely unmapped.

I declined to go. The scientists were not happy, I was sure the chances of coming back alive were less than in a combat zone. Just imagine a guy with one arm in sling driving a snowmobile in unknown territory. An adventure easily foregone.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:33 PM   #13
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I just finished reading, "Survive!" about a guy who crashes his plane at the end of November in the Sierra Nevadas and has to hike out.

Survive!: My Fight for Life in the High Sierras: Peter DeLeo: 9780743270069: Amazon.com: Books

The amazon reviews are pretty brutal of this guy. They say he didn't own up that it was a pilot error that caused the crash and his two passengers died because of his errors. For me, the story of his hike out of the Sierras was gripping.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:22 AM   #14
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Overall I feel it's safer than ridding my motorcycle.
Even flying in formation is safer than riding my motorcycle.

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:30 AM   #15
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Well, there's formation flying, and then there's formation flying. Note: While I did take the photos, it was a long time ago, more than 30 years.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:07 AM   #16
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Well, there's formation flying, and then there's formation flying. Note: While I did take the photos, it was a long time ago, more than 30 years.
Good pics. Nice level wings.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:47 AM   #17
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When I read the article, it reminded me of my days in Seismology, field work in Alaska.

One November several very remote seismic stations went offline. The scientists, wanted them repaired post-haste. Of course We were located in Palisades NY, the sensors were in the Aleutian Islands about 800 miles west of Anchorage. The trips required a lot of logistics in terms of arranging for helicopter lease, putting gear together for replacing any one of the 20 or so components of the sensor/power/transmitter/antenna etc.

I just happened to have a broken humerus about that time, arm in cast. Not quiet field operations ready. Several call to helicopter leasing companies, and NOAA were responded to with "are you nuts" no way. Clearly they understood the unpredictable weather out there. Unlike the north slope in those days, there were no support systems in place for helicopters, plus would have had to charter a C130 to deliver fuel to a remote airstrip.

So the scientist came up with the brilliant idea of flying in some snowmobiles and trailers for them.

I was incredulous. I understood that no data, no science, but we are now talking lunacy. There are no roads out there, the distance involved 60 to 80 miles in several directions, largely unmapped.

I declined to go. The scientists were not happy, I was sure the chances of coming back alive were less than in a combat zone. Just imagine a guy with one arm in sling driving a snowmobile in unknown territory. An adventure easily foregone.
Did they talk someone else into going?
If it was so important, maybe they should have volunteered.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:40 PM   #18
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Did they talk someone else into going?
If it was so important, maybe they should have volunteered.
Ah, the rest of the story.

There was another tech with passing familiarity of the systems, he declined.

So the Intrepid scientist wanted three complete sets of electronics, cabling and antennas. No problem, assembled the kits, and boxed them up for transit. The fellow decided that he will go up there himself, and see if he can round up a helicopter and willing pilot in Anchorage.

Off he went, sure enough one company with some loose time and willing pilot offered one week out there, prepaid, minimum 3 hrs of flight time per day, regardless of actual flying, plus transit time, plus fuel pre-placement and cost thereof.

Our intrepid scientist flew on Reeve Aleutian out to Cold Bay, thence with a local Supercub and old pilot out to the remote airfield, set up the stuff at a DEW line outpost, and waited for the whirlybird to arrive from Anchorage. A few day later helicopter and pilot arrived after several stops along the way, one of them was the King Salmon air base.

Then they spent the next two weeks grounded in 40 to 60 knot winds and 0 to 100 foot ceilings, heavy snows, playing cards, scrabble an other indoor sports. The crew of the DEW line tried to make them comfortable, such as it was.

Finally NWS (the weather service) predicted one day of low winds, 500' ceiling. The helicopter pilot rolled up his sleeping bag and was outta there. Intrepid scientist radioed the old pilot with the Supercub, with skis and balloon tires, and requested a ride back to Cold Bay.

And he came back to NY, having left all electronics stuff, which we made use of next year.

The summer service revealed 5 sensor/transmitters sites vandalized by Brown Bears. The cables were strewn all over the place, the batteries yanked and spread around. Antennas, guy bars bent like pretzels, and magnificent teeth marks on everything.

The funny part is that even though he had all the electronics etc., and could have gotten to the stations, none could have been made to work. The batteries were mostly destroyed. They were primary Zinc Air batteries, activated when filled with water. Since even one getting yanked and partially drained, killed the power source.

Some years no problems, some years lots of mayhem on the peninsula stations.


And now the rest of the rest of the story: About 15 years ago trolling the internet, I happened upon a blog by his now grown son. In the blog the son lamented his father's identity crisis. Daddy gave up science and became a politician.

By the way, you may notice, all of this cost some serious NSF funding $$$$

As Ginzu knife commercials used to say, And there is more. Some other time


DEW= Distant Early Warning - for Russky Bear bombers, routinely breaching US airspace. King salmon is where the fighters scrambled from to intercept. And greet the Russian pilots by first name.

NSF= National science Foundation, AKA taxpayer money handout service to science
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:20 PM   #19
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I figured it would be interesting.

Thanks
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:57 PM   #20
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Seems like G/A is the number one reason celebrities die early.
Not sure what type of plane he flew, but this quote reminded me of john Denver.
Love his voice and the songs he wrote/sang.
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