We are now 7 months into 2018 with only two fatal GA accidents so far this year. Only one of the accidents involved an Arizona–based pilot. You guys and gals, our Arizona aviation community, are doing a great job of flying. Let’s keep that trend going and make 2018 the safest year ever.
Subject: "High Flight" (FAA’s Annotated Version)
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth1, and danced2 the skies on laughter silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed3 and joined the tumbling mirth4 of sun-split clouds5 and done a hundred things6 you have not dreamed of – Wheeled and soared and swung7 I've chased the shouting wind10 along, and flung11 My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious12, burning Blue, I've topped the wind-swept heights13 with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle14 flew; And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space15, put out my hand16, and touched the face of God.
- Pilots must insure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted.
- During periods of severe sky dancing, crew and passengers must keep seatbelts fastened. Crew Sunward climbs must not exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling.
- Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth.
- Pilots flying through sun-split clouds under VFR conditions must comply with all applicable minimum clearances.
- Do not perform these hundred things in front of Federal Aviation Administration inspectors.
- Wheeling, soaring, and swinging will not be attempted except in aircraft rated for such activities and within utility class weight limits.
- Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine malfunction has occurred.
- "Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly reliable signal that a flight emergency is imminent.
- Forecasts of shouting winds are available from the local FSS. Encounters with unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots.
- Pilots flinging eager craft through footless halls of air are reminded that they alone are responsible for maintaining separation from other eager craft.
- Should any crewmember or passenger experience delirium while in the burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination.
- Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to maintain VFR minimum separations.
- Aircraft engine ingestion of, or impact with, larks or eagles should be reported to the FAA and the appropriate aircraft maintenance facility.
- Aircraft operating in the high untresspassed sanctity of space must remain in IFR flight regardless of meteorological conditions and visibility.
- Pilots and passengers are reminded that opening doors or windows in order to touch the face of God may result in loss of cabin pressure.
Well, it certainly appears that the monsoon season has arrived. Up here in Flagstaff, it came in with a bang. During the last two weeks of July (as I am writing this), the east side of Flagstaff – out along the Localizer and the inbound course for runway 21 – got blasted with several inches of rain in a very short period of time, i.e., 3 inches in one hour, with lots of street flooding! Ironically, the airport (5 to 7 miles SW) barely got any precip at all!!
Judging from the weather reports on the Phoenix news channels, monsoon season has also arrived in various and sundry places all around the metropolitan area. One needs to be very careful when heading out during monsoon season, especially coming north. Those “boomers” can come up very quickly. ADS-B “In” can be very helpful showing you areas of precip; but remember, even ADS-B “In” data is 10-15 minutes old. Flight following is highly recommended…
Also, there are those ferocious dust storms, the infamous “Haboobs,” usually occurring down south of Phoenix and occasionally rolling into the Phoenix metro area. These can have a significant impact on you, your car, and most certainly, your airplane! Clogged air filters, clogged pitot tubes, clogged static ports, dust and sand intake into your air vents, and potential sand blasting all of your leading edges, prop, nose bowl and your windshield!! HINT! HINT! AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE. Welcome to the desert Southwest!!
True confessions ; there I was…
Years ago, long before ever moving out here to Arizona, there I was, flying back home from Vermont to Pennsylvania in my first airplane, my good ol’ Cessna C182. We were at 8,500 feet in beautiful clear skies, with my wife (the 1st one…) and another couple in the back seats. It was a smooth, almost boring flight – the autopilot was dead on, altitude hold right on, no chatter on the frequency, smooth as glass and quiet as a church mouse as everyone admired the fabulous scenery. And then –
It sounded like someone had just fired both barrels of a shotgun right there in the cockpit. And, in an instant, serenity disappeared, replaced with intense trepidation! What had just happened?? I now had everyone’s attention on me to tell them what that was, and were we all going to die???? Well, needless to say, it certainly had my undivided attention! (My second thought – typical aircraft owner – was How much is this going to cost to fix??) First rule of flying, first rule of problem solving, is AVIATE – FLY THE AIRPLANE. I intently scanned all the engine instruments for any sign of engine failure, but all was normal, and the airplane just flew on as if nothing had happened. I checked all the controls – carefully, I might add - but again, the airplane just flew on as if nothing had happened. I got everyone calmed down, explained all appeared well, and we would land at the next available airport to see what the heck happened. I ran a bunch of scenarios through my mind and settled on the scenario that one of my cowl flaps had broken and slammed closed.
On inspection after landing, I found out I was only half right. It had not slammed shut. The piano hinge on the front of the cowl flap had failed (reason unknown), causing the front of the cowl flap to drop down into the airstream. At 140 plus miles per hour, it was literally ripped off the airplane! The only parts left were the (now damaged) front half of the hinge and a broken cable hanging out the bottom of the cowling. After inspection, we ascertained there was no damage to the belly of the aircraft nor to any antennas. So, we flew home…. And I trailed the other cowl flap to sort of keep the airflow through the engine as even as possible. No effect was discernible and all temperatures remained normal. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but a little more tense….
It took two months to get a replacement cowl flap. I had to buy a new one from Cessna. Of course, I first searched for a used one! I called all the airplane salvage places, and they all said the same thing – “Betcha it was the right one, right?” Yup, I said, and they said, “It is always the right one ‘cause it sits right in back of the exhaust stack and takes all that buffeting.“ And then they said, “We don’t have any used ones ‘cause they are either lost in flight, like yours, or damaged beyond repair when we pick up the wrecks. You need to call Cessna.” $1100.00 dollars and three months later it was all fixed.
Tune in next month for the “Great Potato Chip Affair”…
By Howard Deevers Do you ever worry about getting lost while flying, either locally or on a cross country flight? Sure we do. Beginning pilots are always worried about that. I remember some of my first flights as a student, wondering where we were and how we were going to get back to the airport. Many of my new students are lost as soon as we leave the traffic pattern of the airport. That is part of learning to fly; learning how to find your way around in the sky. On the ground, we have road maps. Aviation has Sectionals. Remember those? Of course, now we have GPS in our cell phones and can get directions to almost anywhere, and it’s the same with aviation. We have GPS in panel displays or even on iPads. Air Traffic Controllers are telling us that since GPS there are fewer lost pilots, but those that are lost are really lost. I have always had a good sense of direction and knowing where I was. My flight instructor was fond of trying to get me lost. He would take the plane and make a series of turns, and then give the controls back to me as ask me to get him back to the airport. I did that easily. On one particular flight, going north from Pittsburgh to Erie, he asked, “Do you know where you are?” I said “Sure, we are coming up on Butler, PA.” He followed up with, “How do you know?” I pointed to a large steel plant and said, “That’s the Armco Steel Plant, just south of Butler.” He said that I knew the landmarks, but that he would get me lost later in the flight. We flew north toward Erie. That part of Pennsylvania is totally forested. Looking down from a few thousand feet, all you can see is a sea of green trees. He took the controls and flew the plane down low. We made a low pass to a grass airfield that if you didn’t know it was there, it would be very difficult to find. After flying a valley for a few minutes, he gave the controls back to me and said to climb up to 3500 feet. I climbed and was back looking at an ocean of green. He said, “OK, get me back to Allegheny County Airport; your sectional just blew out of the window, and your radios don’t work anymore. What are you going to do?” At that altitude everything looked the same, but we were on a northwest heading. So, I said that we flew north to get here, so I’m going to fly south. I knew that we had done several maneuvers and course changes and were not in the same position as when arriving in the area. My instructor was sure that he had me lost. After about 15 minutes he asked, “Do you know where you are?” I looked around and saw no towns, or roads buried in the forest, “No, not yet,” was my reply. My instructor said, “So what are you going to do?” I replied, “Well, we crossed over Interstate 80 on the way up here and that was easy to see, so I’m looking for that.” Interstate 80 crosses east and west across close to the center of Pennsylvania. He said, “I-80 goes east and west, what are you going to do when we get to it?” “When we get to I-80, I will follow it east.” “Why east?” “I-80 crosses over the Allegheny River, and when we get to the river I’ll follow it south; since it will take me to downtown Pittsburgh, I know I can find Allegheny County Airport from there.” After that, my instructor gave up on getting me lost. Actually, I did not know exactly where I was while over the large forest of northwestern PA, but at least I had a plan for finding my way back. The Interstate highway and the river gave me all of the guidance I needed to find my way back. I don’t try to get students lost, but I do try to teach them the things they will need to know to find their way around. One hundred years ago, pilots had to rely on ground features to find their way. Many followed the rail roads and used rivers and other features to find their path. As aviation became more popular, better navigational aids were available, but some were nothing more than a concrete pad with an arrow painted on it. As crude as they were, at least it was a beginning. After becoming an instrument instructor, I took a student/friend on a business trip that I had headed to Buffalo, NY. It was an IFR morning, so I flew left seat on the way to Buffalo. We landed at the non towered airport south of the Buffalo Niagara International airport. After I finished with the business I had to take care of, the weather had cleared up and I suggested that he fly left seat on the way back to AGC. We took off VFR with no flight plan intending to fly direct to AGC, a heading of southwest. I was enjoying the ride and the scenery of western New York. The Piper Archer had a Loran. After about 15 minutes, I put AGC into the Loran and got the distance. After one minute, the distance was a mile further away, not closer. I realized that we were not on the course for AGC. I quickly looked at the heading indicator and compass. They didn’t agree. I asked Tom, “Wasn’t there a large lake (Lake Erie) on our left side when we flew up here this morning?” He said, “Yes, Lake Erie.” I replied, “Have you seen a lake since we took off?” “Nope.” What had happened was the directional gyro was not reset to the compass heading before we departed. So looking at the DG it would seem that we were heading southwest, but we were heading more southeast, and moving farther away from our intended goal. It was a nice afternoon and we had plenty of fuel, so the problem turned into a lesson: Where exactly are we? I asked Tom if he could figure out where we were. I helped him a little by getting the radials from two VOR’s and showing him how the lines crossed to show exactly where we were. It was easy to plot a course to AGC after that. If we had been on an IFR flight, or even getting flight following from ATC, they would have quizzed us about our heading shortly after departure or even in route. It took us a few minutes longer to get back to AGC, but at least it was a nice day, and an error turned into a lesson on navigation and lost procedures. Arizona is a great place to fly, and your ARIZONA PILOTS ASSOCIATION has a safety seminar somewhere in the State every month. Why not navigate to a WINGS safety seminar in your area, or fly to one somewhere else in Arizona? And, don’t forget to “Bring Your Wingman.”