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Pell City Squadron Alabama Wing – Civil Air Patrol
Apr 1st 8th 10th 12th 15th 18th-21st 22nd 29th Cadet meeting 1800-2030 Cadet meeting 1800-2030 Officers Meeting 1830-2030 Commanders Call MXF 0900 ES Briefing for BSA Troup 514 Dunavent, AL Cadet meeting 1800-2030 Thunder Over the Valley Columbus GA (Air-show) Cadet meeting 1800-2030 Officers Meeting 1830-2030 Cadet meeting 1800-2030
“A man has got to know his limitations.” This is a very popular and often quoted movie line spoken by Clint Eastwood. This saying has many practical applications in the world we live in. There are limitations imposed on us in every aspect of our lives. We have limitations that we should not exceed in school or at work. We have limitations that we should not exceed in our automobiles. We also have limitations that we should not exceed in an aircraft. There are several types of limitations that we must be aware of as CAP members. Whether pilot, aircrew, or ground team member. Some of the limitations are administrative in nature. These limitations govern what we can do and under what conditions we can do them for CAP. There are limitations placed on the aircraft, the vehicle, the radios, the pilot, the air crew member, and the ground team member. These limitations may by placed by the aircraft or vehicle manufacturer, the FAA, the FCC, or the CAP. Some limitations are placed by ourselves or suggested by our instructor -1-
or mentor. These limitations define the privileges that we are allowed to exercise. These are usually based on our training, our ratings and our demonstrated proficiency through different check rides and training exercises. Our personal experience has a lot to do with the placement of our personal minimums. These restrictions are in place to minimize safety issues. When limitations are exceeded, there is usually some safety risk. The nature and severity of the safety risk depends on the situation. Some of the restrictions are obvious and easy to remember. Some of the restrictions are not as easy to remember. There are many sources to remind us of our limitations that are readily available. The FAR/AIM is one source that defines our limitations as a pilot. The POH defines the limitations of our aircraft. The Operators Handbook defines the limitations to our vehicles. The CAP regulations define our limitation as a CAP member. There are many online sources. The regulations are an excellent place to start. The individual rating task guide is another. There are also instructors, check pilots, and mentors that can help us define our personal limitations. With spring arriving, most people begin to get out and enjoy what they were unable to do during the cold winter months. This often places them at risk and may involve searches for lost and missing people and aircraft. With spring arriving we need to include dusting off our FAR/AIM, POH, Operators Handbook, CAP regulations, and CAP Task Guides and giving them a good review. We can also schedule a flight with one of the many available instructors or mission pilots to work on our proficiency as a pilot or aircrew member. We can also schedule a review or an exercise with a Ground Team Leader or another Ground Team Member. In
this way we will remain ready to efficiently and safely accomplish our missions when needed. If you are a pilot, aircrew or ground team member, you “got to know your limitations.” Captain James T Gosnell Squadron Commander, 118
First Lieutenant Ron Harlan
Safety personnel are often encouraged to review accident reports. Some would say it is to remind all of us of the dire consequences of following the path that the subject pilot did. Some say that it is a way to convince us that we are “too good of pilots” to have ever committed the acts that got this particular pilot in jeopardy in the first place. In the accident report that follows, I can relate to the decisions and the errors that the pilot made that led to his demise. In any such review, your connection with the pilot’s plight is the most powerful lesson of all. Let us begin: It was in late March that the pilot purchased a used Bonanza in Lakeland, FL. The pilot’s home was in Houston, TX. At the start, it would seem that he did everything right, he spent two days at Lakeland taking over 20 hours of ground training and 10 hours of flight training in the aircraft he just purchased. The pilot had an IFR rating and spent at least 1.0 hour flying the aircraft in actual IMC. His -2-
performance was good enough to earn him an Instrument Competency Check and a Biennial Flight Review. If you add these up, you can see that he had little time for rest in these very intensive two days. The day he departed for Houston, there was a weather system that permeated west central Louisiana and, after stopping in Mobile, AL for fuel, he elected to divert to Lafayette and spend the night as the weather moved his way. He was motivated to make it into Houston in time to attend an 8:00 AM meeting at work the next day. As can happen in the South, this Mesoscale Convective Weather System did not move as anticipated and lingered around in nearly the same location as the previous day. The weather briefer indicated that the worst of the weather would be to the northern part of the area so the pilot decided to do an “end run” to the south of the line of thunderstorms. At the time of his departure, this actually seemed like a reasonable option. As he approached the front, however, even though he worked with ATC diligently to find a safe southern route of flight, the convective weather propagated southward even faster than his flight to avoid the weather. In the end, he ended up flying directly into a cell that caused the aircraft to either break up in flight or in his losing control and crashing. The pilot had flown so far south to avoid the front that his aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico and was never recovered. There is much more to this accident report but we need to see that we could very well have been tempted to make the same decisions the pilot made. It is also apparent from the ATC records that the controllers attempted to help him find a safe path through the weather. We need to remember that ATC cannot “see” all the weather on their displays. Enroute ATC can do this better than Approach control but using either one to try to negotiate our way through strong weather systems is just asking for failure. We have already experienced a tornado in the area south of BHM in just the last week. It won’t be the last this year as we move into the prime thunderstorm season in Alabama. Please use all the tools available to you on the ground and in the air to avoid a similar plight as our subject pilot.
Stay Safe! Ronald Harlan, Safety Officer/Squadron 118
After the busy month of February, the cadets began March with a new Cadet Commander and cadet staff. Our new C/Commander is C/2dLt. Trent Johnson and his staff is composed of C/2dLt Rachel Shurbutt as the Deputy C/Commander, C/CMSgt Daniel Brasher is First Sergeant, C/CMSgt Jerrod Finlay is Flight Commander, and C/CMSgt(s) Brian Scott and Wes Morris are Alpha and Bravo Flight Sergeants. During the month of March we have participated in several activities in addition to regular squadron meetings. The first activity was a Friday night visit to the Planetarium at Jacksonville State University. Dr. Laura Weinkauf met all 24 that attended and ushered us into the presentation room where the lights were turned off and our heads were turned to face the ceiling. We learned about different constellations and the stars that make them and some of the history behind the naming of the constellations. There was a section on the planets and a “roller coaster” type animation of traveling in space. After the presentation Dr. Weinkauf had a question and answer session. When we left JSU we traveled to Saks to enjoy the hospitality of the Shurbutts church with a fun filled night of games and food. I think I can speak for everyone and say we all enjoyed this time together. Once again we want to thank the pilots that volunteered their time to give orientation rides to four of our cadets on March 19th. Allison Howard and Tiffany Chandler got to participate in their very -3-
first o-ride that day. Also Brian Scott and Danny Smith went on o-rides, however they were not their first ones as Danny actually finished his fifth and final powered flight o-ride. Now we need to start checking on glider flights. Finally on this past weekend, March 26 through March 28, we once again traveled to Maxwell AFB for the final REGULAR session of WESS. After spending Saturday in the field in Tallassee we returned to Maxwell to be greeted by sounds of planes, gunfire (simulated) and explosions as the annual airshow “Thunder in the Sky” was underway. The brief portion of the show we were exposed to was awesome. The Air Force Thunderbirds were the main attraction and some of the units stayed at Wing HQ after WESS was dismissed in order to watch the show. As much as I would have liked to stay, I was even happier to get home.
Capt Cindy Bennett AL-118 DCC
The USAF performe at Maxwell AFB
“I Heard It From A Pilot Friend…”
I’ve been working part-time at the Pell City Airport since last spring. One of the things I’ve noticed in working at an FBO is that pilots love to talk. Beauty salons have nothing on the gossip that flows through the lobby of a busy FBO. Pilots love to share stories, love to tell jokes, love to embellish on their feats of aeronautical prowess, etc. And man, do they LOVE to share their opinions! The interesting thing is that you can ask a dozen different pilots the same question, and many times you’ll get a dozen different answers. You can ask questions about power settings, control inputs, crosswind landings, gyroscopic precession, approach speeds – anything. Many times, you’ll get all sorts of different answers from different pilots. The problem is that, sometimes there is only ONE correct answer. So what do you do when you’ve heard half a dozen different answers to your question? Bear in mind that, just because you heard it from a pilot, or even several pilots, doesn’t mean it’s correct. The correct answer is usually found in the FARs, or the AIM, or the POH, or some other official document. Years ago, before I became a licensed pilot, I used to fly a lot with my brother-in-law. He was not a CFI, but he taught me a lot about flying. At the time, I was sharing some of this experience with my dad (an ATP of over 30 years and 15,000 hours’ experience) who gave me a piece of advice I have never forgotten: “Never take dual from a private pilot.” Keep in mind that you don’t have to be flying in an airplane to be taking dual. If some pilot is trying to teach you something, whether it’s in a cockpit or sitting across the booth at McDonald’s, he is essentially giving you a lesson. If he hasn’t earned that right (i.e. if he isn’t a CFI), take everything he says with a grain of salt, and verify it. But just because a CFI says it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gospel, either. I’ll give you an example: Not long ago, I was flying a high-performance single-engine airplane with a friend of mine, who owned the plane we were flying. As we got into the traffic pattern, he pulled the throttle on me, and told me to try to make the runway. This person was not a CFI, but he was essentially trying to give me dual -4-
instruction on engine-out procedures. I turned toward the runway but, due to our distance and altitude when the throttle was pulled, I was not able to make the runway without adding power. Sometime later, I told a CFI friend about it. His response was, “Why didn’t you feather the prop? You would have glided farther.” First of all, the pilot I was flying with really didn’t have any business pulling the throttle on me. He wasn’t a certified instructor. Was he truly prepared to handle what could have happened during this “lesson” he was giving me? What if I would have freaked out when he pulled the throttle on me? I didn’t, of course, but what if I would have flipped out, pulled the key out of the ignition, and threw it in the back seat? The point is, don’t take dual from someone who isn’t an instructor, and don’t give dual if you are not an instructor. Secondly, my CFI friend told me to “feather the prop”. The term “feather” doesn’t apply to a pistondriven single, because their props don’t feather. Perhaps this is just semantics, but it’s inaccurate, nonetheless. The correct term is “course pitch”. Thirdly, the CFI’s recommendation that I feather the prop (or pull it to course pitch, as the case may be) is not in the POH for this airplane. In fact, pulling the prop during an engine-out procedure is not a recommended action in any POH for any piston single that I could find on the internet. This included several Cessnas, Beechcrafts, Pipers, and Mooneys. Now, the truth of the matter is, there have been many studies by pilots who have experimented with different power/prop settings. Many of these studies have shown that airplanes have greater engine-out glide performance when their props are pulled to course pitch. But even if ALL of them have greater glide performance at course pitch, if it’s not in the POH, it’s not in the POH for a reason. Anytime you operate the airplane in a manner inconsistent with the POH, you are essentially appointing yourself to be a test pilot. And trust me, you’re not as good a test pilot as the test pilots who flew these aircraft to certification. You’re not going to find out anything that they don’t already know. Here’s another example of an “expert” giving me the wrong answer: Some months ago, I was refueling a Diamond DA-40. The Diamonds are somewhat unique in that
they have a tab on either side of the airplane that is used to ground the aircraft during refueling. You attach the bonding cable to the right tab when fueling the right tank, then attach the cable to the left tab when fueling the left tank. Well, I had never refueled a Diamond before this particular day, and was not aware of these grounding tabs. When I attached the bonding cable to the exhaust stack which is what I normally use to ground most airplanes, the pilot got aggravated and told me to use the tabs. This upset me, probably because the pilot was so irate about it. So I looked it up on the internet when I got home. Sure enough, the POH recommends bonding the airplane by utilizing the tabs, one for each tank. In my opinion, this adds a slightly higher element of risk because, unlike almost all other piston singles, the aircraft has to be grounded twice. Adding one more step to remember means adding one more step that can be forgotten. Here’s the kicker: I asked an A&P friend of mine about this. He informed me that it really doesn’t matter. He told me that he works on a fleet of Diamond DA-40s for a flight school in Florida, and knows first-hand. He stated that the tabs, the exhaust stack, and even the bare metal on the landing gear, are ALL interconnected, and that grounding any of them grounds the airplane – period. Of course my question was, “Then why does the POH specifically state to ground each side separately?” He didn’t have an answer. So guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to abide by the POH, despite the opinion that I received from a licensed A&P. Pilots, CFIs, CFIIs, A&Ps, ATPs, even Saturday morning airport bums…they ALL have opinions, and they ALL consider themselves to be experts. But just because you “heard it from a pilot friend” doesn’t mean it’s correct. Take everything you “learn” with a grain of salt. Verify it with something official (which may require you to – dare I say it – read something), and keep in mind that you might have to “unlearn” what you have learned. But what are you taking my advice for? I’m just a private pilot… By Heath Jarvis AL-118 SM -5-
Comments from Standards and Eval:
As far as pulling the prop to course pitch during an engine out, I like to use this technique also. At work at AA we have a lot of discussions about the difference between “procedures” and “techniques”. A procedure you will find in a book i.e. a POH and a technique is a recognized action. The term “there is more than one way to skin a cat” comes to mind. I have checked in the POH of my Beechcraft Sierra and it actually says to pull the prop to course pitch in order to extend the gliding distance. There are some variables here also. In order for the prop to go to course pitch in a single engine aircraft you will need oil pressure. If the cause of the engine failure is loss of oil press then pulling the prop lever to a course pitch setting will have no effect. What is probably getting ready to happen is the engine is getting ready to seize. And you will really increase your gliding distance. In any case my “technique” during a simulated or an actual engine failure in a SE aircraft is to use all that I have in this “emergency situation” to make a suitable landing. To me this includes pulling the prop to course pitch. For another example, look in some of the newer aircrafts POH’s for a soft field landing procedure. There will be one for a short field but not a soft. A soft field landing is a technique not in a POH but a recognized action. Capt Chris Iddins AL-118 Stan/Eval
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