Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by EvilGenius, Jan 1, 2009.
Hurry back, this could get good!
The scariest stories my CFI friends tell aren't about students - they're about giving biennials to supposedly seasoned pilots.
My puker was pretty funny. He had a breakthrough after struggling, and we stayed out a little longer than usual. He finally mastered full stalls without getting sick, or dropping a wing really badly. Fortunately it was a nice, calm day. An observing soon-to-be CFI was in the back seat behind the student, I'm in the right seat. We make it all the way back after a much longer than normal flight for him, and right on final, very suddenly and loudly he yells out "TAKE IT ERIC!!" and throws his hands up to his mouth. He power-puked at high velocity. Because of his hands in front of his mouth, the puke stream shot out at 90 angles left and right. The right puke stream coated me nice and evenly...... the left stream blasted the left window and door. I remained calm, and said "you got it man, stay with it" and I didn't touch the controls. He put his hand back on throttle/yoke and landed beautifully. We all got a huge laugh out of it, and the gal sitting behind him had a great view of the two puke streams blasting out like a water feature. He learned a hell of a lesson though, when you are a solo pilot, no matter what's happening, you gotta keep flying the plane man!
My 70 year old loved flowers and loved how he could see big fields of wildflowers from the air. We were doing engine out practice to a nice open field. I let him take pretty low before feeding the power back in (field was adjacent to a glider port, in case the power didn't some back up we could land right there). I give him the power back, and as we fly along the field, he's not climbing out. I look over, and he's got this giant grin from ear to ear as he's looking out the left side window watching beautiful flowers buzzing by. He's done this before, so I decided to be a little more assertive in my correction. I should out (I make it a personal policy to NEVER shout as students....) "fly the plane"! My Marine drill instructor voice shook him out of his flower trance and he snapped upright in the seat and he recovered the aircraft, which by now was a bit out of shape and getting lower (under my supervision). We finish up the lesson and get back for the debriefing. We had a good laugh over his momentary distraction, and that episode hammered home the importance of paying attention at all times as a solo pilot. They were pretty flowers!
A student of mine was having great difficulty mastering stalls and recovery. His landings were acceptable but I would not solo him until he could stall and recover. He got mad at me, and thought I was milking him. He went to my boss, another CFI and complained. Said boss was a bit of dickhead, and reads me the riot act. I'm like, okay, you go fly with him. Meanwhile, he wants to take me up and do stalls for "remedial training" because obviously it's my fault. He and I didn't see eye to eye on lots of things. (One potential drawback to working as a CFI in an FBO is having a chief flight instructor that thinks they know everything... especially ones that can't or won't move up to the airlines, and stay on as management at the FBO causing shit storms for the CFI's and being overall pains-in-the-asses). I go to the owner, and he says I gotta go up with him. Fuck.
We fly wordlessly to the practice area. He says "demonstrate a power-on full stall". I do. It's perfect. But noooooo, he thinks I'm not getting a good enough stall-break. He says "watch this" (rut roh Shaggy) and at the moment of stall break (this is a C172), he yanks full-back on the yoke.
Well the poor old gal gives a snappy heave-ho, goes over the top, and sharply goes into a pretty damn nice spin . Now, he's the flying pilot so I'm watching the world roundy-round, waiting for him to recover. Nothings happening and the nose starts to come up (spin is speeding up and getting somewhat flat). I decide I've had enough of this fun, and take the yoke to recover. Well the old gal is having none of it, and the stall isn't breaking as easily as it usually does. By now we're spinning at a decent clip. Faster than I've ever spun in a 172... I start pumping the yoke from neutral to full down, my boot in the rudder. I feel him on the controls also, and both of us are doing exactly the same thing. At an altitude far lower than is healthy for cardiac or mental health, it finally recovers. We wordlessly fly back to base. He mumbles 'good job', and reports that, indeed, I 'm doing stall training correctly.
So he flies with the guy the next week, and comes back to me after one flight with him all animated, man your right, holy cow, blah blah blah blah blah...... I finished him up, and everyone agreed that being able to stall and recover is a good idea before getting a solo sign off...... All that drama for naught. So, for the most part being a CFI is drama-free, but every now and then you get a student that wants to blame you for their lack of progression.
For an aspiring professional pilot, lots of life-lessons and pilot in command lessons are learned flight instructing. Managing office politics is part of it. But the biggest part, is learning how to truly be Pilot In Command, and making decisions and taking actions necessary for safe operation. Sometimes being PIC means you have to stand up to management to articulate/explain your decisions. It starts at the CFI level, and for a professional pilot, it never ends. If you want to be PIC in a professional setting, you gotta have a back-bone and be able to make and defend decisions.
Actually, any first pilot job is where you learn these lessons. Lots of shady operators want pilots to do crazy shit. You have to be willing to walk away if you have to.
No doubt! Because I was sick of my chief CFI, and the low pay, I became an independent CFI.
I specialized in baby sitting high performance twin engine owner/pilots. They liked having a CFI along for trips that were marginal VFR or hard IFR. Flying a Barron or 310 in hard IFR for a low-time pilot that only flies a hundred hours a year can be a bit unnerving.
I did lots of BFR's and instrument currency checks in high performance singles and twins. Lots of doctors, lawyers, successful business owners. It takes a combination of moxy, tell-it-like-it-is, and diplomacy!!
Advise for the newly minted Commercial Pilot:
-never fly an unairworthy aircraft. You'd be surprised how many operators want pilots to fly an unairworthy aircraft. Which, in the commercial world, could be simply a paperwork issue. DON'T DO IT.
-never fly in weather that you, the aircraft, or the landing facility aren't qualified to be in, and don't bust mins. Just don't.
-stay on top of your paperwork. Any and all of it. The paper trail is what gets guys a lot of the time, even at the major airlines. One paperwork mistake could get you some days off without pay, or an FAA suspension. No bueno.
-and never, I mean NEVER compromise your integrity, ever.
This doesnt just apply to newly minted pilots.
Engineers, mechanics, tech services back office (me), Overhaul and service shops.
Following the same theme about paper work and integrity, (there were probably more factors as well) but one mistake can give reaseon for the authority to dig some more.... and more....
Ansett was an Australian airline that - in summary (from memory) - fitted a leading edge slat to a 767-200. Except the IPC effectivity allowed it only to be fitted to a 767-300.
the department went looking further and deeper and found a number of problems, some small, some larger.
On their own single items, a slap on the wrist, but combined, cause some significant problems leading to the airline closing down.
I thought Ansett shutting down was a labor strike
Which reminds me of the time a little commuter outfit I flew 1900's for. Tbey got a Saab 340, a big deal for this family owned little 135 op.
They replaced a prop. That morning I'm doing my walk around on a 1900 as the Saab was being towed out of the hangar. Hmmmm says I, something is off on that thing.
They put the wrong prop on it. Same number of blades, but different diameter!
Yeah, they're not around anymore. I left them when things got spooky. Place endedd up killing some folks.
Don't compromise your integrity kids.
OK, one of my dumbass bad judgement moments in instructing.
I forget if the guy already had a private and wanted his instrument, or hadn't even had his private but wanted to get it and go through to the instrument rating.
He's got an old wobble pump - piano key V-tail Bonanza with pretty basic IFR equipment. The idea was a night cross country, or a instrument cross country from an airport in the LA basin to a field with a VOR approach in the Sierra's (Columbia). He thought it would be cool if it was a little ski vacation weekend. I wasn't so excited about that but agreed to do it anyway. I am at the airport at 5 PM on a Friday. Where is he? He calls, saying he's late. He finally shows up around 630 PM. He says we're driving, the plane is up in the southern Central Valley. I should have stopped right there. I said where: He says Bakersfield.
We drive, 3 hours. From Bakersfield to Columbia is about a 40 minute flight, no big deal, and the weather is really quite good, except for Tule fog (radiation fog) forecast after 2 AM. The plane is not in Bakersfield. It's at a dirt strip in the middle of a peach grove. I am getting pissed, but now I am stuck in a peach field near Dinuba. It's a narrow strip, trees on both sides. I drive it to check it out. Seems OK, but I am not liking this. I make the takeoff, just taxi and landing lights, trees wizzing by. Phew, I was glad that's over.
ATC has a hard time painting us on radar, transponder quits. It's VFR so I'll just decline the IFR and flight following. But I noticed the VORS don't work either (naturally they didn't respond in the peach grove) So now I am over the Sierra foothills, but noticed large patches of tule fog forming in the valley. Go to Columbia sans VOR's? At night? in the low Sierra's? This is all adding up to a cluster, I decide to divert. But FSS tells me most fields are going under the Tule fog. The last place that was open was Fresno. I actually, almost embarrassingly, requested a DF steer from FSS and it seemed to work.
At Fresno he demands to know what's going on. He wants to go on to Columbia. I told him I wasn't his caddy and walked off. Got a cab to the Greyhound station, got a bus back to LA riding through thick Tule fog around 3 AM.
On a scale of bad judgement- stupid 1-10 I give it a solid 7.5. What do the judges say?
I agree. 7.5
My 7.5 was a night take off out of HEF to Murfreesboro TN to check out the college there. Pitch black night with a new moon (meaning no moon visible).
As we approach the mountains, VIS starts dropping and our CAVU flight is looking like an IFR pickup. The problem is, my Private Cert is still wet with no Instrument rating..... I've got a plane load of classmates all keen on getting there to meet with the counselor and tour the campus.
I keep going. Next thing I know, I'm in solid IFR.... this with a total of about 2 hours of hood-time.
I execute a level 180, and in the process get one hell of a case of the spins (vertigo)
I toughed it out focusing on the instruments, which are in a non-standard layout (old PA-28 with Hershey bar wing).... Man that was difficult.
We made it, but that was my 7.5 dumb-fuck maneuver.
I think it was a combination of things. It all happened just before I arrive in Aus to live, there was a lot about it, lot of stories, some truth I suspect but I do remember that incident (the LE Slats) printed in a proper magazine and a CASA finding. At my role / level in aviation, that kind of thing sticks in my mind, p/n effectivity I have always been careful of, even more after I did something (was working remotly, tyring to get tasks done / please people / against the clock)
So, now you want to know about it......
MANY holes in the cheese.... it caught everybody at all levels..... including people with experience and knowledge. Why it didnt get caught at earlier steps, I dont know. It is deffo something that I feel I would have caught if I had access to the IPC, because I know I would have checked it.
An order was put in for some Jet Ranger M/R blades.
Was working at another base, difficult internet coms, disjointed e-mails and I didnt access to the IPC's.
I was asked to add a p/n to the config data base.
At the time I remember thinking it was odd because I had been through the IPC to ensure that all the p/n were loaded for these items, but when the Stainless steel leading edges are fitted, the p/n gets a suffix.
ahh, that will be why the p/n isn't in the config database.
Remember I was against the clock.... because I had tacked on a weeks leave and going to europe the next day and the way the database / system worked, needed to do it that day.
I get back from leave and to my home base and an investigation......
We didnt have any Jet Rangers in the fleet.
Great shot! You should be very proud of your boy (and I'm sure you are)!!!
Turkish man tries to breach the cockpit of American Airlines flight 31 LAX/HNL. Airbus 321H
Sounds like you dodged the bullet that got JFK Jr.
Exactly. I let the pressure get to me to continue.
After we tied down, the four of us, all Private Pilots with instrument rating, sat for a beer and as I was apologizing like crazy they all cut me off and said how relieved they were I turned back.
No one said anything to me in flight.
We all learned a valuable lesson.
Just got back from a pancake breakfast fly in at Havre, MT. They had 4 airplanes giving Young Eagle rides and the FBO had full service 100LL for $4/gallon.
My wife rode along with me today, it's the first time that she's been to a fly in with me and she had a great time. Now, she thinks that we need 50's apparel to match our all original '58 Skylane to wear to fly ins...
Sounds like you just created a monster - congratulations!
Great that she enjoyed it.
Plus a few packs of Chesterfield's? In the 70's I thought 50's GA planes were about as hip as fat Elvis. Now days original or restored to original 50's planes are quite cool, with period correct paint jobs. Things like a '56 180, or Navion, or an early Tuna Tip 310 with the rear nacelle exhausts. Just a few modern add ons in avionics and better seat belts make for a practical, reasonably affordable and classic plane. I'd take restored to original 180 over a Cirrus any day.
Never have flown the 180. Have time in the 140 and 170. My dream tail-dragger is a nicely restored 195, with updated avionics.
195. Never flown one, or flown in one - there are real beauties out there. I could see top line analog King avionics, a modernish AP and a GTN-650. But no G500 or G600, Aspen, or Avdyne flat glass. Maybe I'm a moran but doing that seems sacrilegious.