Saturday, January 28, 2006

To The Islands!

(With apologies to the Freight Dog; I didn't mean to steal the title from your post. I guess good things just stick in my craw....)

The third Saturday in January in Cleveland, and it's 60 degrees. Kid you not, kids. 60 degrees -- above zero. The sky is clear, the winds are down, and the IFR Pilot's going flying. MS got dragged along too. 'Bout time he did some flyin in 78S.

We got a bit of a late start, so it looked like the typical chicken wing run to PHD or MFD.

Then, lo and behold, MS says, "Let's go to Put-In-Bay."

Ever the skeptic, the IFR Pilot sagely observed, "It's the middle of winter. Nothing's open on the islands in mid-January."

A quick cell phone to the Skyway Restaurant proved the IFR Pilot wrong, so we blasted off with 3W2 as our destination.

The weather was as forecast, and we had no troubles at all -- other than a bit of headwind that promised to lengthen the IFR Pilot's leg to the island, and shorten MS's leg home. We headed northwest, under the watchful eye of Cleveland Approach. Instead of proceeding direct to Put-In-Bay, we headed towards Sandusky to minimize our total overwater flight time. Got a nice aerial view of Cedar Point, which remarkably resembled a ghost town.

Departing Cedar Point, it was a quick descent into a left downwind for Put-In-Bay's Runway 21. The only trick here is to make sure that you turn base before the Perry Memorial, which you're not supposed to overfly. Flight Guide cautions to expect turbulence on final if the winds are in excess of 10 knots. We were below that, though not to much, and had a keep a bit of crab angle in while we on final. No problem, the runway's 500' longer than the home base and considerably wider, so if the IFR Pilot can't get in here, we've got real problems.

After taxiing to park, we paid homage to the airport administration and paid the $10 landing fee. We were told that a couple of places in town were open, but we were not offered use of the airport golf cart, nor were there any others available for rent out-of-season. So, we huffed it around the perimeter of the airport to the Skyway.

Unfortunately, Skyway's cook was also working the "front of the house." Clearly having spent too much time on the island, his pace of service was pretty sllllooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww, and he was challenged in the operation of the cash register and the credit card machine. Fortunately, he knew how to cook a burger and the IFR Pilot was able to savor his delish Black 'N Blue Burger!

After the IFR Pilot slayed MS on the video bowling game (30 points suckah!), it was back to the apron to pick up 78S and head home. MS had to be beat into submission actually to fly. That task done, the IFR Pilot handled the radios and did the sightseeing.

A nice landing ensued and we were home for the day.

And that's the best way to spent a Saturday in January in Cleveland!

(N.B.: Sadly, the IFR Pilot left his camera at home, which explains is why this is not an illustrated story.... But Flight Aware did manage to pick us up, even though we didn't file a flight plan for our VFR adventure.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Night Flying

High pressure having moved into our neighborhood, the IFR Pilot went out tonight to renew his night currency. Checking the logbook, it's been nearly a month since your hero was behind the controls of the beloved 78S, and the last time at night was before the whole bleeding ulcer nightmare. JS had just taken her up for a chicken wing run to PHD, so the IFR Pilot was relieved of the burden of having to preheat, etc. Merely add a quart of oil and take the sky!

Self-portrait just before the first takeoff:

Hurtling down the runway for the first takeoff was a bit overwhelming, what with only one aboard and half tanks, 78S wanted to climb like a fighter. Well, OK, not quite, but you get the idea.

The first trip around the pattern went smoothly, although getting her slowed down and descending required a bit of concentration. The landing was a bit abrupt, as the night tricks on perception were in full effect.

Second time around, the effort to descend didn't work out, and the IFR Pilot declared an early g0-around. No sense ruining things with a diving approach to the home base's short and narrow Runway 21.

Third time around was much mo' better, as was the final trip. With that, the IFR Pilot is fully night current again.

78S tucked away after the adventure:

Empirical evidence that the IFR Pilot knows nothing about taking pictures at night (this is supposed to be another plane inound for landing....):

Who's up for a trip???

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More Aviation Videos

In his continuing quest to avoid doing anything that he really should be doing, the IFR Pilot was again cruising the 'Net. Go here for an incredible collection of aviation videos -- heavy iron, GA stuff, whirlybirds, etc., etc., etc.

Accident of the Week

This week's Accident of the Week involves the crash of a TwinCo just 400' short of the runway threshold. Your guess is as good as the IFR Pilot's about what happened here, so very, very close to landing.

NTSB Identification: LAX06FA089
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 13, 2006 in Visalia, CA
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N791Y
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On January 13, 2006, about 1819 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-30 (Twin Comanche), N791Y, impacted terrain approximately 400 feet from the approach end of runway 30 at Visalia Municipal Airport, Visalia, California. The commercial pilot was the registered owner of the airplane and operated it under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was landing following a flight from Byron Airport, Byron, California, where the pilot had picked up two passengers.

The airplane was reported overdue to the airport manager at 2145 on January 13. He received information that the airplane's services were terminated by Fresno Approach Control at 1811, approximately 7 miles north of Visalia. The airport manager checked the emergency frequency for the transmission of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) but no aural alarm was heard. He then began a ground search for the airplane and it was located near the approach end of runway 30 at 2215.

A witness who was driving on a road paralleling the airport reported seeing the airplane at a low altitude approaching the airport. He could hear the engine running but as the airplane twisted downward and to the left, the noise stopped.

A pilot that was flying a King Air from Santa Monica Airport heard the accident pilot on the Visalia airport UNICOM. The accident pilot called downwind and the pilot and accident pilot exchanged general light conversation. The accident pilot then called base and no further transmissions were heard. The witness landed about 1830, and thought the transmissions with the accident pilot occurred between 1820 and 1825. The witness thought that there may have been another airplane on the frequency but he was not certain. After refueling, the witness departed about 1900 and returned about 2215. The pilot flew over the accident site twice during the evening and did not see the wreckage. The pilot further noted that although he did not personally know the accident pilot, the accident pilot normally flew at least three to four times per week for business purposes. The weather conditions were described as beautiful. Dark lighting conditions existed and there were light winds favoring runway 30, with clear skies or high cirrus clouds. The pilot also noted that the medium intensity approach lighting system was on when the accident airplane was attempting to land.

On January 14, the National Transportation Safety Board investigator, two Federal Aviation Administration inspectors from the Fresno, California, Flight Standards District Office, and a representative from the New Piper Aircraft, a party to the investigation, responded to the accident scene. The airplane came to rest on a heading of 060, 410 feet from the touchdown area of runway 30 and just left of the runway centerline.

The wreckage was confined to the general impact area and all control surfaces were accounted for and still attached to the airplane. Vertical aft accordion crushing was evident on the forward engine nacelles and the nose section. The entire forward portion of the fuselage was crushed and pushed aft. The right wing sustained leading edge crush inboard of the right engine in both an upward and aft direction and the light buckling was present over the wing skins. The left wing leading edge was crushed upward and aft from the left engine, outboard 4.5 feet, to a rivet line where the skin was torn. From this point outboard, the leading edge was bent upward and crumpled. The empennage section was circumferentially buckled 3 feet forward of the vertical stabilizer. The flaps appeared symmetrically extended. The landing gear jack screw indicated zero threads, which was consistent with the landing gear extended. A blue tinted fuel consistent in smell with 100 LL was found in each of the main and outboard fuel tanks.

The right propeller was located approximately 3 feet from the right wing tip and buried in soil. Investigators noted that one of the blades displayed a mild aft bending the length of the blade and the leading edge was polished. The other blade had light, chordwise scratching but was otherwise unremarkable. The left propeller was examined, still attached by two flange bolts to the left engine. One blade had chordwise scratches, with leading edge polishing. This blade had mild aft bending about mid-blade. The other left propeller blade had a gouge out of its tip and had mild aft bending mid-blade.

The ELT was removed from its mount in the tail section of the airplane. Investigators noted that the switch was in the "ARM" position and that the housing cover was cracked. The switch was moved to the "ON" position and investigators noted an aural alarm over frequency 121.5. After changing the switch back to the "ARM" position, investigators attempted to activate the unit but no aural alarm was heard.
One idea that emerges from this discussion is the wisdom of flying a high, tight, close-in approach. Some pilots and CFIs favor this, under the notion that keeping the plane high and close until landing is assured, and then basically diving for the runway, could prevent accidents just such as this one. The IFR Pilot hasn't adopted this as his standard operating procedure, preferring instead to fly a standard pattern.

CFIs out there, if you favor this approach, would you do so even in a twin?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wasting Time At Work

In an effort to avoid actually getting anything done here on a Saturday in the office, the IFR Pilot was searching through Google Video and happened upon a number of videos by "" Enjoy them here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Accident of the Week

This week, we see a report of what is clearly a case of VFR into IMC. This pilot appears to have had plenty of notice about deteriorating weather in front of him, yet chose to continue to press onward in mountainous territory. The outcome is equally predictable and tragic.

NTSB Identification: SEA06LA036
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 02, 2006 in Heber City, UT
Aircraft: Beech 35-A33, registration: N1254Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On January 2, 2006, about 1230 mountain standard time, a Beech 35-A33, N1254Z, impacted terrain under unknown circumstances about 10 miles north of Heber City, Utah. The non-instrument rated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the personal cross country flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane departed Billings, Montana about 0910 with an intended destination of Spanish Fork, Utah. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the departure from Billings, and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site.

According to preliminary information provided by Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center, the flight was receiving VFR flight following services. About 1119, the controller working the flight advised the pilot that there was a storm system in the Salt Lake Valley and to the south. The pilot acknowledged receiving the information. About 1138, the pilot was again advised of deteriorating weather conditions along his route of flight. Again, the pilot acknowledged receiving the information. About 1151, the pilot reported that he was over Evanston, Wyoming at 8,000 feet msl, following I-80 south, and that if needed, he would turn around and land at Fort Bridger, Wyoming. At 1209, relaying through another aircraft, the pilot was informed that radar contact was lost. At 1214, relaying through another aircraft, the pilot reported that he planned to go through Heber City and Provo Canyon. At 1217, another relay was attempted to inform the pilot about level 2 and 3 precipitation in those canyons, and no reply was received. Several other attempts were made to relay without success. At 1229, the airplane was observed on radar for one or two hits. Further attempts were made to contact the airplane, and no reply was received.

The following weather conditions were reported at Evanston, Wyoming, located approximately 50 miles north-northeast of the accident site:

At 1153, wind from 210 at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky conditions: few clouds at 1,500 feet, broken clouds at 3,100 feet, overcast at 4,800 feet, temperature 1 degree C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.81 inches.

At 1207, wind from 250 at 6 knots, visibility 2 1/2 statute miles, snow and mist, sky conditions: few clouds at 900 feet, scattered clouds at 1,300 feet, overcast at 3,100 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.80 inches.

At 1223, wind from 240 at 7 knots, visibility 2 1/2 statute miles, snow and mist, sky conditions: broken clouds at 900 feet, broken clouds at 2,000 feet, overcast at 3,100 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.80 inches.

At 1230, wind from 240 at 6 knots, visibility 2 1/2 statute miles, snow and mist, sky condition: scattered clouds at 600 feet, broken clouds at 1,000 feet, overcast at 3,100 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.80 inches.

At 1234, wind from 230 at 7 knots, visibility 1 3/4 miles, snow and mist, sky condition: broken clouds at 600 feet, broken clouds at 1,000 feet, overcast at 3,100 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.80 inches.

At 1238, wind from 220 at 7 knots, visibility 1 1/2 miles, snow and mist, sky condition: broken clouds at 400 feet, broken clouds at 1,300 feet, overcast at 3,100 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.79 inches.

At 1253, wind from 210 at 7 knots, visibility 1 mile, snow and mist, sky condition: overcast at 400 feet, temperature 0 degrees C, dew point -1 degree C, and altimeter 29.78 inches.
Electing to continue on, rather than turn back, seems very risky in the rugged terrain that this pilot was traversing, with MEAs no lower than 9,500, and as high as 11,800. Here's an excerpt from the sectional:

The other somewhat unusal aspect of this report is that the pilot had his commercial ticket, yet wasn't instrument rated. Sure, you can get your commercial without the IFR rating, but then your commercial privileges get restricted pursuant to FAR 61.133, as follows: "The carriage of passengers for hire in (airplanes) (powered-lifts) on cross-country flights in excess of 50 nautical miles or at night is prohibited."

More Crew Members

Aviation bloggers, rejoice! More crew members have been added to our corner of the blogosphere. Let's all give a rousing welcome to:


Captain: EJA611



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ME Training Postponed

Mother Nature is once again raining on the IFR Pilot's parade. The forecast for Friday and Monday in the vicinity of Cadillac, Michigan -- where the IFR Pilot, JP, and M were to travel for multi-engine flight training with Tom Brady -- is pretty crummy. No sense in going for an "intensive" flight training experience if we're going to be grounded for great portions of it. We knew it was a dicey proposition scheduling in mid-January, but sometimes you catch a break here in the Midwest. Not this week.

We'll try again in a month or so. There are plenty of other adventures to pursue in the meantime!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Accident of the Week

This week, we turn to skydiving. The report below tells of a C206 that, on the 13th load of the day, suffered a loss of engine power at 400' AGL. The pilot managed to land inside an industrial park that, according to the local newspaper report, was under development (a fact not noted in the NTSB report).
NTSB Identification: MIA06LA037
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 29, 2005 in Lake Wales, FL
Aircraft: Cessna P206C, registration: N8640Z
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 29, 2005, about 1145 eastern standard time, a Cessna P206C, N8640Z, registered to Fayard Enterprises, Inc., operated by Florida Skydiving Center, experienced a total loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from Lake Wales Municipal Airport, Lake Wales, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91, local, skydiving flight from Lake Wales Municipal Airport. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, and 3 skydivers were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence.

The pilot stated that on the day of the accident he started his day between 0800 and 0830, and before the first flight added 30 gallons of fuel to each fuel tank. The flight departed with the 1st load of skydivers with the fuel selector positioned to the right tank. He flew 10 "loads"; each "load" was flown to 4,000 feet. After landing following the 10th load he moved the fuel selector to the left tank position, and flew 2 "loads" also to 4,000 feet. He landed, loaded skydivers for his 13th load, and departed. During climbout at 400 feet, the engine quit suddenly. There was no sputtering. He immediately pumped the throttle 2 times, and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump which did not restore engine power. He did not have time to look at the fuel pressure gauge or check the magnetos, and set up for a forced landing in an industrial park near the airport. He maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing, touched down, and rolled approximately 250 feet before coming to rest.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by an FAA airworthiness inspector revealed the left fuel tank contained approximately 20 gallons, and the right fuel tank approximately 7 gallons. No fuel contamination was noted.
Given that there was still substantial fuel in the left tank, which was the one selected, this doesn't appear to be a case of fuel starvation. Perhaps there was some debris in the fuel line? Once again, it'll be interesting to see what NTSB comes up with.

The picture from the local newspaper makes clear that an engine tear down will be in order:

Monday, January 02, 2006

Crew List Updated

The IFR Pilot has updated the list of noteworthy aviation blogs found on the right-hand side of the template. If you're an aviation blogger and would like to be added, e-mail your request to the IFR Pilot using the link to the immediate right.

And now, the IFR Pilot is off to study the systems of the Piper Apache PA 23-150 for next week's flight training adventure.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Year In Review

Some statistics from 2005 for the IFR Pilot:
  • Total hours - 116.1 (career total - 398.6)
    • Actual instrument - 3.9 (career total - 10.9)
    • Simulated instrument - 6.7 (career total - 65.8)
    • Night - 6.7 (career total - 29.6)
    • Cross country - 89.5 (career total - 222.7)
    • Dual instruction received - 1.7 (career total - 153.7)
  • Day landings - 73 (career total - 515)
  • Night landings - 12 (career total - 56)
  • Instrument approaches - 26 (career total - 122)
  • Planes flown - 3 (Cessna 172, Cosy, Lancair Columbia 300)
  • Total flights - 57
    • Flights with engine troubles - 1
  • Airports visited - 34
  • Simulator hours - 1.1 (career total - 3.2)
Goals for 2006:
  1. Multiengine rating
  2. Commercial (single-engine) certificate
  3. Aerial tour of San Francisco Bay Area with the Freight Dog
  4. Five Angel Flights