Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cubbin'

Got to go flying over the weekend. A calm morning was followed by a blustery afternoon so after shooting a bunch of landings at N57 with a 12kt crosswind, I wandered over to the lower hangers where I found my Instructor, Ron, who had taught me to fly, just as he was replacing the cowling after installing a new Tachometer in his recently re-built Piper Cub. He wanted to test it out right away. Right place, right time, I guess. I Got to cruise around western Pennsylvania at 1000 feet agl, squished into the front seat of this immacualte Cub. It handled the winds better than the Tomahawk i'd spent the morning in, and on a clear day as Saturday was, it was such a pleasure to fly. I'd love to own one some day....

It occured to me while were out floating around over the farmland, how special this airplane is.

My Instructor had torn the whole thing down last year with his partner in the airplane, Jim. Sadly, Jim had passed away before she was finished. At his funeral service, a local pilot circled overhead in a Cub while his good friend and Cub partner Ron read "High Flight"....

Oh! I Have slipped the surley bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never Lark, or even Eagle flew -
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Once the cub had been completed, Ron's first passenger was Jim's wife who had come to the field to see it the Cub make its first take off since its resoration.

She loved it.

Jim, I dont know if they have blogs up there, but she's quite a machine, sir. You should be proud.

Little lag in posting...


..was due to a large workload this week. I have been writing manuals on procedure, operations and quality control to earn our company a little certification that usually provides more business, and less hassle. In the end it will be time well spent. I have an inspector coming in in Febuary to audit our procedure, at which time we will be ready to change all the company letter head to show off our new certifications.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday.


Low ceiling and some scattered showers stopped me from my planned flight out to Chester County airport this afternoon, so I decided to fly the flight simulator on VATSIM instead. What a day! 917 connections as of this writing, and a ton of ATC.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cool.

the IFR Pilot has some great aviation videos posted. Check 'em out.

It is what it is.




NTSB Identification: DCA05MA031.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 02, 2005 in Teterboro, NJ
Aircraft: Bombardier CL-600-1A11, registration: N370V
Injuries: 4 Serious, 2 Minor, 7 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.


I have a long standing rule. I do my best not to second guess, or judge a pilot in command when an incident, or accident occurs. Now that the 24 hour news networks pick up on aviation incidents with greater frequency, speculation runs rampant for the first several hours after the accident happens. Think about it. The NTSB takes around a year or longer to produce a theory or factual statement of what caused an incident. The talking heads at your local cable station know the answers in the time it takes them to get a live link-up. I do not suggest that speculation be avoided in conversation. After all, I cant imagine going to my local airport and not having a conversation about an incident that made news, or even one that didnt. As pilots, its a part of the learning process. The difference is that people outside of aviation dont often hear of the actual findings of a qualified review board (NTSB in the case of the US). Its the often flawed initial media reporting that they recall. Those interested enough will, and do search out the answers for themselves. And most times, the NTSB leaves little to speculate about...

An accident at Teterboro last year was one I watched with interest. A Challenger 600 crew overran the runway as they attempted to depart. The aircraft hit a fence, crossed Route 46, struck vehicles, and ended up with half the aircraft inside of a building. The crew were injured, but escaped despite a fire after the aircraft struck the building.

The NTSB has released a few facts of the incident, pending the final report. What I read left me scratching my head.

The entire article is at AIN here. I've posted the meat of it below.

Although the NTSB has not yet determined a probable cause for the February 2 Challenger 600 accident at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, it has released a number of factual reports. Apparently, the Platinum Jet Management crew failed to perform weight-and-balance calculations properly and delayed its use of the thrust reversers when the jet failed to take off.

The crew had arrived at Teterboro at 11 p.m. the previous night, after taking an airline flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to La Guardia and a taxi ride to the New Jersey airport. On takeoff around 7 a.m. the next morning, the pilot felt normal acceleration, but when the first officer called rotation speed, the captain could move the control column only about one inch aft. The TEB controller noted that the nosewheel did not lift off the runway. As the aircraft was accelerating through 165 knots, the captain called for an abort.

The NTSB found the accident crew did not perform its pretakeoff weight-and-balance calculations properly and that the actual mtow and cg exceeded the limitations of the airplane flight manual. An onboard fuel computer was found programmed with an empty weight that was too low. The calculated maximum takeoff weight was 41,250 pounds, while the actual weight, after taxi, was 41,323 pounds, 73 pounds greater than the calculated mtow.

In addition, during a post-crash interview, investigators asked the captain to do a weight-and-balance; the cg he calculated exceeded the airplane’s forward cg limit.

The captain had been working for Platinum for less than two months at the time of the accident. He had previously worked for a number of operators and received mixed reviews. Jet Systems’ president told investigators that he “terminated the captain after three months for deficiencies in management and decision making.” Shenandoah Services cited the captain’s “poor judgment and decision-making processes on numerous occasions” as the reasons for his dismissal. Dynamic Aviation fired him for “deficiencies in aircraft knowledge, lack of adherence to various procedures, poor flying performance and interpersonal problems.”

On the other hand, Germany’s Templehof Airways praised him for “quick and skillful actions in handling an engine flameout.” Jet Solutions and Marion Pepsi Bottling commended him for “personal pride, sense of responsibility and practical thinking.”

The captain had an ATP certificate and stated he had 16,374 hours and 3,372 in Challenger 600/601s. He could not provide documentation to support his claims of time logged. The commercial-rated first officer had 5,962 hours, with 82.4 as second-in-command in 600/601s.

So, with all the able pilots out there looking for work, Darby chose to hire a pilot with a questionable record, no documentation of his flight hours, and unable to calculate a weight and balance for the aircraft he operates.

Im trying not to second guess.

Maybe it was because the operation Platinum was running wasnt exactly...legit??

Platinum Jet did not have a Part 135 certificate; it operated under the certificate of Darby Aviation of Muscle Shoals, Ala. The Challenger pilots were independent contractors, not employees of Platinum. At the time of the accident, Platinum operated three Challengers. It advertised its services as aircraft management, jet sales and charter.

The FAA principal operations inspector dealt with Darby, not Platinum, because the latter did not have a Part 135 certificate.

In March the FAA issued an emergency cease-and-desist order to Platinum, citing violations of the FARs. Platinum agreed not to operate charters as it did not have an air carrier certificate under Part 119 and did not have operations specifications to operate under Part 135. By the third week of March, Platinum Jet had ceased operations. It now faces nearly $2 million in penalties.

Now, im just a guy flying VFR in bug smashers. Im no expert on these matters, but I just dont understand why Darby, Platinum, and the pilot in question ended up in this situation. Why, with such a dense market of qualified pilots would a pilot with the flaws reported above be hired by Darby? Is it solely based on aquired hours? How could he be hired without documentation of his flight hours? without being able to do a weight and balance, a basic requirement for a single engine prop PPL?

It doesnt add up. I'd bee very interested in the comments and opinions of those who know more than I, as there are plenty.





Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sim Stats. 40th Flight.

Your Captain's log book since joining Execjet.

Company Name: ExecJet
Number of pilots: 1
Total Flights: 40
Total Crash: 0
Total Flight Time: 41h29
Total Distance: 13,815 Nm
Total Passengers: 274
Total Cargo carried: 94917 lbs
Total Fuel Used: 92874 lbs
Total Flight Income: $10,162,050

Type flown
Multi Engine Jet: 100.0% (40 flight)

Safety Record
Safety level: 100% (no crash)

Payload Record
Average Passengers for 100Nm: 1.98
Average Payload for 100Nm: 687 lbs
Average Game income per passenger: $37,087
Average "Real" income per passenger: $741 (divided by 50)

Fuel record
Comsumption for 100Nm: 672.26 lbs
Comsumption Passenger/100Nm: 2.45 lbs

"Good day for flying....."

The weekend came complete with blue skies and light winds out of the West. My Father and I decided it was a perfect day for some Tail Draggin'. Flew from our home field of New Garden (N57) to Lancaster (KLNS) to stock up on some sectionals. I purchased my local Washington sectional for my real world VFR needs, and a brand new set of complete west coast charts for my flight simming needs.

Tower at KLNS cleared us straight in for runway 31, and despite lots of traffic in the area as everyone takes to the sky on the first clear day in a good while, we slipped in low and slow. A bumpy touchdown greeted us along with a 8kt crosswind. The Citabria isn't a big fan of concrete, but she handles it well, as does my Dad, who was at the stick for the landing.

The pictures didnt translate very well to the blog, and the quality is poor. My apologies....





N57, crossing the field for downwind, 24.


Departing 31 at KLNS


Our reflection in the FBO windows


Back at N57, Dad fuels us up.


She always looks like she wants to fly!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Firing up Connie.


Sometimes, you just gotta go back to basics.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

AOG.



In my line of work in the aircraft parts business, when an aircraft is sitting on a ramp, not being used, at the cost of its frustrated operator because of a broken or faulty part, its "A.O.G." (Aircraft on ground).

Well, Thats me tonite.

Scheduled to KBUR from Scottsdale, I got about halfway when I noticed the left wing tank was dropping fuel 3 times as fast as the right. Soon after, the alarm rang for uneven fuel tanks. The aircraft brings it to your attention, because it indicates a possible fuel leak.

Fuel tanks after touchdown....

Sure enough, FSPassengers had thrown an engine damge related fuel leak in the left engine. Man! 8 sim passengers aboard. Leaking fuel. No brainer. nearest airport please?

29 Palms was coming up in 8 miles. I circled 360 degrees to descend, for an uneventful landing. Or as my FSPassengers flight review called it...."Nice".

I like the sound of that.

We'll get the bird patched up and finish our trip in the morning. I gotta go call EJA dispatch and find a couch to sleep on....

Flight ID: EJA611
Pilot: Neil Parry
Company: ExecJet
Aircraft: Eaglesoft Citation X Deluxe
Flight Date: January 07 2006
Departure: 23h31 (06h32 GMT)
Arrival: 23h15 (07h16 GMT)
From: KSDL
To: KTNP
Nbr of Passengers: 8

Incident Report:

the left tank sustained damage and was leaking fuel. The pilot was able to land the aircraft safely.


Report:

Flight Distance: 203 Nm Landing Speed: 110.93 kt
Time Airborne: 00h39:50 Landing Touchdown: -296.15 ft/m (nice)
Flight Time (block): 00h44:12 Landing Pitch: 5.87°
Time On Ground: 00h06:01 Landing Weight: 30077 lbs
Average Speed: 306.50 kt Total Fuel Used: 3406 lbs
Max. Altitude: 16509ft Fuel Not Used: 4388 lbs
Climb Time: 00h05:51 Climb Fuel Used: 486 lbs
Cruise Time: 00h24:39 Cruise Fuel Used: 1775 lbs
Average Cruise Speed: 435.69 kt (M0.67) Cruise fuel/hour: 4320 lbs (calc)
Descent Time: 00h09:20 Descent Fuel Used: 1145 lbs




Sunday, January 01, 2006

We meet again.


As I mentioned a few posts back, I would return to Aspen, (KASE) and I would conquer.

Flew the Roaring River Visual approach into runway 15 in clear skies, and beautiful weather, on the last day of the year 2005. Visibility was high, and it made this landing a true joy instead of the tense moments that enveloped our last arrival here, in pitch black and gusty winds. This morning (..now 2006) for departure, however, a whole different story. The wind was straight down for runway 33 departures, which was perfect. Moderate snow was falling, and visibility was low, but our departure was uneventful. Tracking the Red Table VOR after departure, its simply a matter of climbing to the recommended 12,000 feet plus to clear mountians, and then making my U-turn west to KSDL.

Looks like United aint skeered either. I complimented this pilot on an excellent approach and landing....


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Happy New years to all.


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