The September 20, 2007 Weekly Accident Update is now posted at <> .

FLYING LESSONS suggested by this week's report:

Lessons learned from Beech experience are universal. Consider them in
any make and model of airplane.

** Traffic pattern procedures, airspeed control and a timely decision to
go around if not on the ground in the planned touchdown zone are vital
for avoiding a runway overrun.

** Fog can create unusual visual cues, where runway lights are visible
looking downward through a thin layer of fog but are obscured when
looking nearly horizontally toward the runway at the missed approach
point. Seeing the lights during the first missed approach may embolden
a pilot to try again, and make him/her subject to landing expectation
and a temptation to go "just a little lower" on the next approach.

** The overriding lesson of multiple attempts at the same approach is
this: Pilots must show discipline to fly approach procedures as
published EVERY time, and to abandon attempts at getting into a
particular airport long before adverse stress, fuel or fatigue become
issues. Historically, pilots are not good at maintaining this
discipline, and for those who do not, the survival record is abysmal.

** A decision to cruise at a reasonably high altitude may provide the
only option available if an engine acts up.

** Use a preflight inspection checklist following your walk-around to
ensure all items were covered and nothing was missed.

** In general, if a engine is shut down "for cause" in flight, it should
remain shut down through landing. Attempts at engine restart may result
in no power but additional drag, and in some situations an inability to
re-feather the propeller, greatly reducing single-engine performance.

** Personally observe fueling whenever possible. If you're not able to
be present when the airplane is fueled, closely scrutinize all records
to ensure the expected grade and amount of fuel was added.

** Jet fuel contamination will not usually be detectable until the
engine(s) have been run at high power for a little time, i.e., on
takeoff or initial climb. Start-up, ground operations and even engine
run-up will usually appear normal. When jet fuel begins to pre-ignite
or detonate in the cylinders, catastrophic failure is mere seconds away.


Bill Hale, a well-known senior instructor with the Beechcraft Pilot
Proficiency Program (BPPP, <> ) writes
of last week's FLYING LESSONS' observations on the frequency at which
Beechcraft landing gear emergency extension handcranks are found
obstructed by the plastic spar cover, repeated here by permission:

"It boggles the mind that there isn't instruction [from factory or
industry sources] to trim a bit of the spar cover so that the crank
cannot be trapped by the cover. I advise people in the BPPP systems
class to do this regardless of the legality. If it would save one gear
up landing.. It's a great example of NOT [getting] continuous
improvement by the manufacturer."

It's the pilot's responsibility to check the accessibility of the
landing gear emergency handcrank before flight. Bill also comments on
the recent rash of high weight/high density altitude crashes:

"All the takeoff performance arguments boggle the mind. At high
altitude places (or places where it's 107F) I've always argued 'Vy or
die.' Crude but effective. Flight is in doubt till the [aircraft] gets
[to] Vy; Stay in ground effect till getting the speed, or even [stay] on
the ground [until attaining Vy]."

Obviously these techniques would require more runway and obstacle
clearance distance than computed using the Takeoff Performance charts.
It takes significant personal experience in a particular airplane
type/aircraft loading/density altitude combination to make an informed
decision about minimum performance requirements using these techniques.
In short, compute weight and balance and takeoff/climb performance using
the Pilots Operating Handbook, then apply extremely generous margins
(twice or even three times the computed distances) if applying
undocumented techniques meant to provide the best possible performance
in a hot-and-heavy situation. Better yet, wait for cooler temperatures
and/or reduce takeoff weight, but not without making another performance

Thanks, Bill, for adding your considerable experience and insight to
this week's report.


** An A36TC crashed while on an instrument approach..

** An A23-24 veered off the runway on landing..

** A C35 force-landed after its pilot reported an engine failure..

The 2007 record to date, in historical perspective.

Data on piston Beech mishaps, 2000 - present

A graph showing comparison of annual mishap rates in Beech piston
airplanes is at It covers data
by year for 2000 - 2006.

The data suggest a gradual decline in the number of reported Beech
mishaps, although 2004 and to a lesser extent 2005 saw far fewer mishaps
than this gradual reduction would indicate, and 2005-2006 was on an
upward swing despite the overall slightly downward trend.

The number of fatal mishaps remained about steady over the entire study
period, with an anomalous drop on 2004. The percentage of all reported
mishaps that were fatal has remained essentially constant over the
entire seven-year period.

Through September 20 there have been 152 total reported piston Beech
mishaps in 2007. Twenty-one of those, or 14% of the total, have been
fatal. Although the number of mishap reports cannot be expected to be
linear, projecting those 152 mishaps in approximately eight months and
adjusted seasonally would result in about 200 total mishaps for 2007.
If this holds true, 2007 will steepen the downward trend in reported
piston Beechcraft mishaps and result in the second-lowest number of
mishap reports in this decade. This projection would result in the
second-lowest fatal mishap rate since 2000 also.

I hope that this gradual reduction in reports and fatal mishaps results
from improved pilot risk management and a tightening focus on flying
safety. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows,
however, that avgas sales are down 42% since 2000. If this reduction in
flying activity is reflected in the piston Beechcraft fleet, the total
mishap and fatal mishap rates per flight hour would seem to be trending
fairly steeply upward.

The lesson: Without precise data on the number of flying hours it is
difficult to tell whether the record is improving or worsening.
Ultimately either result is academic--as pilots we're concerned about
the outcome of each individual flight we take, not how others are flying
or an overall trend. Your skill, and your risk management, is what is
important to you and your passengers on any given day. None of us can
afford to be complacent, or to make decisions based on what everyone
else seems to be doing. Instead, our decisions must be made with a
brutally honest evaluation of our own abilities and the true
capabilities of our aircraft. Far too often as pilots we overestimate

For more information, commentary and analysis see the Beech Weekly
Accident Update link at
<> .

Fly safe, and have fun!

Thomas P. Turner, Master CFI

Mastery Flight Training, Inc. <>

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact Mastery Flight
Training, <> Inc.

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C2007 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved.

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