2021 TO DATE:
So far, up thru the end of August this year, the record still stands at 3 fatal accidents with 6 fatalities, the one out by Williams (KCMR), the second one over by Holbrook, and the 3rd , the King Air fire-fighting crash out by Wikieup.
FOR INFORMATION ON ALL ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED LAST MONTH, REFER TO JIM TIMM’S ACCIDENT SUMMARY HEREIN.
Fred’s Perspective –
July 20, 1974
Federal Aviation Administration Washington, D.C.
I was asked to make a written statement concerning certain events that occurred yesterday. First of all, I would like to thank that very nice FAA man who took my student pilot's license and told me I wouldn't need it any more. I guess that means that you're giving me my full—fledged pilot's license. You should watch that fellow though, after 1 told him all of this he seemed quite nervous and his hand was shaking. Anyway, here is what happened:
The weather had been kind of bad since last week, when I soloed, but on the day in question I was not about to let low ceilings and visibility, and a slight freezing drizzle, deter me from another exciting experience at the controls of an airplane. I was pretty proud of my accomplishments, and I had invited my neighbor to go with me since I planned to fly to the town about two hundred miles away where I knew of an excellent restaurant that served absolutely wonderful, charcoaled steaks and the greatest martinis. On the way to the airport my neighbor was a little concerned about the weather, but I assured him once again about the steaks and martinis that we would soon be enjoying and he seemed much happier.
When we arrived at the airport the freezing drizzle had stopped, as I already knew from my ground school meteorology it would. There were only a few snowflakes. I checked the weather, and I was assured that it was solid IFR. I was delighted. But when I talked to the local operator I found out that my regular airplane, a Piper J—3 Cub, was down for repairs. You could imagine my disappointment. Just then a friendly, intelligent line boy suggested that I take another airplane, which immediately saw was very sleek and looked much easier to fly. I think he called it an Aztec C, also made by Piper. I noticed right away that it didn't have a tail wheel, but I didn't say anything because I was in a hurry. Oh yes, it had a spare engine for some reason.
We climbed in and I began looking for an ignition switch. Now, I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but it shouldn't be necessary to get the airplane manual just to find out how to start an airplane. That's ridiculous. I never saw so many dials and needles and knobs, handles and switches. As we both know, confidentially, they have simplified this in the Cub. I forgot to mention that 1 did file a flight plan, and those people were so nice. Then I told them I was flying an Aztec they said it was all right to go direct via Victor—435, a local superhighway, all the way. These fellows deserve a lot of credit. They told me a lot of other things too, but everybody has problems with red tape.
The takeoff was one of my best and I carefully left the pattern just the way the book says it should be done. The tower operator told me to contact Departure Control Radar, but that seemed kind of silly since I knew where I was going. There must have been some kind of emergency because, all of a sudden, a lot of airplane pilots began yelling at the same time and made such a racket that I just turned off the radio. You'd think that those professionals would be better trained! Anyway, I climbed up into a few little flat clouds, cumulus type, at three hundred feet, but highway 435 was right under me since I knew it was straight East to the town where we were going to have drinks and dinner, I just went on up into the solid overcast, After all, it was snowing so hard by now that it was a waste of time to watch the ground. This was a bad thing to do, I realized. My neighbor undoubtedly wanted to see the scenery, especially the mountains all around us, but everybody has to be disappointed sometimes and we pilots have to make the best of it, don't we?
It was pretty smooth flying and, except for ice that seemed to be forming here and there, especially on the windshield, there wasn't much to see. I will say that I handled the controls quite easily for a pilot with only 6 hours. My computer and pencils fell out of my shirt pocket once in a while but these phenomena sometimes occur I am told. I don't expect you to believe this, but my pocket watch was standing straight up on its chain. That was pretty funny, and I asked my neighbor to look, but he just kept staring ahead with sort of a glassy look in his eyes. I figured that he was afraid of heights like all non—pilots are. By the way, something was wrong with the altimeter, it kept winding and unwinding all the time.
Finally, I decided we had flown about long enough to be where we were going, since I had worked it out on the computer, I am a whiz at the computer, but something must have gone wrong with it since when I came down to 100 feet for the airport there wasn't anything there except mountains. Those weather people sure had been wrong too. It was real marginal conditions with a ceiling of about one hundred feet. You just can't trust anybody in this business except yourself, right? There were even thunderstorms going on with an occasional bolt of lightning. I decided that my neighbor should see how beautiful it was and the way it seemed to turn that fog all yellow, but I guess he was asleep, having gotten over his fear of height, and I didn't want to wake him up. Anyway, just then an emergency occurred, because the engine quit. It really didn't worry me since I had read the manual and I knew right away where the other ignition switch was. I just fired up the other engine and we kept right on going. This business of having two engines is really a safety factor. If one quits, the other is right there ready to go. Maybe all airplanes should have two engines.
As pilot in command, I take my responsibilities very seriously. It was apparent that I would have to go down lower and keep a sharp eye in such bad weather. I was glad my neighbor was asleep because it was pretty dark under the clouds and, if it hadn't been for the lightning flashes, it would have been hard to navigate. Also, it was hard to read the road signs through the ice on the windshield. Several cars ran off the road when we passed, and you can sure see what they mean about flying being a lot safer than driving.
To make a long story short, I finally spotted an airport that I knew right away was pretty close to town and, since we were already late for cocktails and dinner, I decided to land there. It was an Air Force Base, so I knew it had plenty of runway and I could already see a lot of colored lights flashing in the control tower, so I knew that we were welcome. Somebody had told me that you could always talk to these military people on the international emergency frequency so I tried it, but you wouldn't believe the language that I heard. Those people ought to be straightened out by somebody and I would like to complain, as a taxpayer. Evidently, they were expecting somebody to come in and land because they kept talking about some goddamn stupid son—of—a—bitch up in that fog. I wanted to be helpful, so I landed on the ramp to be out of the way in case that other fellow needed the runway. A lot of people came running out waving at us. It was pretty evident that they had never seen an Aztec C before. One fellow, some General with a pretty nasty temper, was real mad about something. I tried to explain to him in a reasonable manner that I didn't think the tower operator should be swearing at that guy up there, but his face was so red that I think he must have a drinking problem.
Well, that's about all. I caught a bus back home, because the weather really got bad, but my neighbor stayed at the hospital there. He can't make a statement yet, because he's still not awake. Poor fellow, he must have the flu, or something.
Let me know if you need anything else, and please send my new license air mail special delivery.
Very truly yours,
Klem K. Kadiddlehopper
Fred’s Pop Quiz…
- The ATIS report says weather is better that 5000 and 5. The absence of the actual sky condition and visibility on the ATIS broadcast indicates that –
- The ceiling is at least 5000 feet and the visibility is 5 miles or more
- The sky condition is clear and visibility is unlimited
- Weather conditions are at or above VFR minimums
- Okie dokie, I have just been cleared into Sky Harbor airport via the EAGUL Six arrival, to cross HOMMR at 14 thousand 250 kts, when my first officer advising me the TAF for KPHX mentions Thunderstorms. I suggest to him that he monitor HIWAS for any adverse conditions in the Phoenix area. He looks at me with the “Deer in the headlights” look and says “Say what? What frequency would that be?”
- NADA, NO WAY JOSE! What the heck is HIWAS?
- Why do the winds given to me by the tower differ from the winds given to me by the ATIS??
- The tower does not believe the ATIS information
- The ATIS winds are true north oriented and the tower winds are from a different source
- The ATIS information is already old when it is recorded, and not current.
- A flashing white light signal from the control tower to a taxing aircraft is an indication of
- Taxi at a slower speed
- Taxi only on taxiways and DO NOT cross any runways
- Return to your starting point on the airport.
- TRSA Service in the terminal radar program provides –
- IFR separation (1000 feet vertical and 3 miles lateral) between all aircraft
- Warning to pilots when their aircraft are in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions or other aircraft
- Sequencing and separation for participating VFR aircraft.
See bottom of article for the correct answers.
Quiz answers: 1.a 2.c 3.b 4.c 5.b 6a