For much more on flying safely see
<> .

C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved

FLYING LESSONS for April 3, 2008

suggested by this week's mishap reports

FLYING LESSONS uses the past week's mishap reports as the jumping-off
point to consider what might have contributed to accidents, so you can
make better decisions if you face similar circumstances. Although most
Flying Lessons are suggested by piston Beechcraft mishaps, commentary
arises from significant mishaps in other aircraft types as noted. In
almost all cases design characteristics of a specific make and model
airplane have little direct bearing on the possible causes of aircraft
accidents, so apply these FLYING LESSONS to any airplane you fly.

Feel free to forward this message for the purpose of pilot education.

This week's lessons:

* New FLYING LESSONS readers may be surprised to learn that my
research <> reveals
there is a landing gear-related mishap (LGRM, a gear up, gear collapse
or mechanically induced gear failure) almost every single day in the
United States.

* The insurance industry tells us it costs, on average, $45,000 to
$60,000 to administer a LGRM claim, meaning that the there is on average
over USD$1 million in insured claims every month in the United States.
No wonder insuring retractable gear airplanes is so expensive, and
insurance companies require a great deal of experience and a stiff
checkout requirement to cover an RG airplane!

* National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regulation 830, which details
accident and incident reporting requirements, in most cases specifically
exempts typical LGRM damage from reporting-explaining why LGRMs always
rank low on the total numbers of accidents in NTSB-derived mishap
studies, and telling us the true number of LGRMs is likely even higher
given the lack of a reporting requirement. FLYING LESSONS readers
involved in the sale of parts used for repairing LGRM damage
consistently tell me they sell far more parts than even my LGRM research
(which incorporates non-NTSB sources) would suggest.

* There is a correlation between strong and gusty surface winds
and landing gear-related mishaps [LGRMs]. Challenging wind conditions
may cause a pilot to land hard or fast, overstressing the gear, or with
a slide-load that exceeds design capabilities.

* It may not be a single high-wind event that leads to failure,
but the cumulative fatigue effects of many wind-affected landings over
time. Be especially careful inspecting the landing gear system at
annual and before each flight as the airplane logs more and more
high-wind landings.

* ATC requests for nonstandard arrivals can divert the pilot's
attention and make him/her miss vital pre-landing actions and checks.
Here's an article describing a predictable technique
f> for flying 150 knots to the marker. I've also posted a printable
agram.pdf> of the technique for your use. Although these materials
apply directly to later-model Beech piston airplanes, you may modify
them as necessary for other airplanes, including those with lower gear
and flap extension speeds and even fast fixed-gear airplanes.

* With a practiced technique for your airplane, complying with a
request for a high-speed or approach becomes just another "normal"
procedure, with less distraction and permitting attention to landing
gear and other pre-landing checks.

* Most of us were taught that, if you attempt to extend the gear
and it does not go down completely, you should cycle the gear.move the
switch to the UP position, bring the gear back up, and try to extend it
again. I've heard many reports, however, when something was about to
break in the gear system [usually a pushrod or rod end], and the action
of retracting the gear during the "cycle" caused that component to jam
or break.

* Instead of cycling the gear, to put less stress on possibly bent
or cracked gear components it's wiser to attempt to extend the gear
manually from the point where it failed, to see if it will go down this
one last time before jamming or breaking.

* Treat any interrupted gear extension, even if resetting a
breaker or some other action caused it to complete its extension
normally, as grounds for putting the airplane on jacks and having a
mechanic give it a thorough inspection and operational check. Remember,
as many as half of all reported RG airplane mishaps involve the landing
gear system.

* For more on LGRMs see these observations and
<> analysis.

Questions? Comments? Send me a note at


A FLYING LESSONS reader sent the sad tale of five aboard a PA46 who died
last week. Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) subsequently
released a preliminary report that includes this excerpted passage:

A Piper PA-46 Turbo[prop-converted] Malibu with five people on board,
was en route IFR at FL 270 when the ACC Sector Controller observed the
aircraft moving erratically. The Controller queried the pilot who
reported a problem with a gyro. The aircraft was then observed in a
rapid descent and ACC lost contact with the aircraft.

The aircraft reportedly broke up in flight an wreckage was spread over a
mile or more.

If gyro failure as an initial contributing factor proves true, it is yet
another case of loss of control after gyroscopic instruments fail in
flight. We pilots have a very poor record of survival "partial panel."
In fact, many of you may have recently received a letter from instrument
air pump manufacturers Parker/Airborne that calls for immediately
removing all its pumps from service, stating:

The pneumatic system that powers gyro flight instruments and/or deice
boots on aircraft [that] fly Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) is critical
to the safety of the pilot and the passengers. If any component of the
pneumatic system fails [in] Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC)
and the pilot is not proficient in using partial panel instruments, the
pilot may become spatially disoriented and may not be able to control
the aircraft.

Parker/Airborne's exit from the instrument air pump market coincides
with a trial judgment resulting from what's come to be known as the
McClanahan case. And Parker/Airborne has always considered its pumps to
have a six calendar year life, which explains the timing of
<> Service
Letter #72 since the last Parker/Airborne pump was built in February
2002. Regardless of the motive behind this letter, however, the recent
Jet-Prop Malibu crash and a great many other partial-panel events reveal
that we all need to consider our fitness for instrument-failure flight.


* Have you ever had a gyroscopic instrument failure in IMC? How
did you identify the failed instrument? How long did it take you to
transition to partial panel flight?

* Have you ever been presented a gyro instrument failure in a
Flight Training Device (FTD) or a simulator? Did you perform as well as
you expected you would? What lessons did you learn about transitioning
to partial panel flights?

* Does your airplane have a back-up attitude instrument? If so,
is it located in your primary scan area, so you can incorporate it with
other instruments in the event of a primary instrument failure?

* If your airplane has back-up instruments on the far side of the
panel, do you regularly practice instrument flight using those
instruments in addition to any remaining on your side of the panel?
What's been your experience using "far-side" back-up instruments?

* Instructors: How do you present partial panel scenarios in
flight? Do you have a technique that requires the pilot identify a
failed instrument (as opposed to simply covering one or more instruments
and telling the student he/she has an instrument failure)? How do you
teach partial panel ("red X") flight in "glass cockpit" airplanes?

* If you teach using an FTD or simulator, what is your experience
with pilots' typical ability to recognize and properly identify a failed

Let me know your experiences at
<> Include whether you want your comments
to remain anonymous.


I received more reader mail this week about engine-out glides:

"Old Bob" Siegfried is a retired United 747 captain and an almost
evangelical proponent of the personal freedoms of flight. Bob was
instrumental in affecting aspects of incorporating GPS into IFR-approved
operation. Here's his take on engine-out glide procedures:

Good Morning Tom,

Have you messed around using slips for glide path control? Back when we
were all taught to make our approaches power-off and rely on slips and
speed control to make the spot, it seems to me that we had fewer
overshoot accidents.

I have NOT practiced slips in the Bonanza recently, but I did do so back
when I owned Straight 35s. That was between 1954 and 1968. I will try
to find the time to do some experimentation in my newer machines, but it
will be a while before I can get it done. Meanwhile, I still often use
the slip for glide path control when flying my Stearman. Once again,
just an ancient thought that I need to research a bit, but it's the way
I would plan an engine out approach in my Bonanza.

Any thoughts?

Happy Skies,

Old Bob

I learned the value of a good slip-to-landing in the flapless Cessna 120
I owned for about seven years. In fact most airplanes slip quite well
(respect the no-slips-with-flaps-extended limitations of some airplanes,
notably high-wing Cessnas). A properly-flown slip dramatically
increases rate-of-descent for a given airspeed as a result of the
additional drag of air against the fuselage. Varying the "steepness" of
a slip a pilot can adeptly adjust glidepath with or without engine

As Bob mentioned, using a slip to touch down at the desired spot
requires the approach be flown high, steep and close-in, traffic pattern
concepts not often taught these days but worth exploration with an
instructor experienced in your airplane type. By the way my usual
mounts, the 36-series Bonanzas, slip very nicely.

Another reader writes:

Hi, Tom. Jeremy Johnston, CFI from NC, FLYING LESSONS reader. I wanted
to make a quick comment on using the prop as a speed brake when gliding
to land in a Bonanza, or any other constant-speed prop-equipped plane.

First of all kudos to yourself and Jock Folan for utilizing the full
capabilities of the prop and thinking outside of the box. My comment
though is more about the training aspect, rather than flying. I always
taught to reduce the RPM/increase the prop pitch just as soon as a
power-off glide becomes apparent, for the same reason you stated:
optimum glide path can only be obtained with this low-drag
configuration. However, there are many reasons for an engine-out glide
and some have drastically different prop control qualities. A failure
due to a mixture control malfunction will give full prop adjustability;
one due to a sudden loss of oil pressure will give zero adjustability.
Still others can involve a creeping oil loss which will cancel prop
control at an inopportune time.

I teach to set the prop for optimum and forget it. Worse than having a
prop stuck at high RPM/high drag is one which suddenly becomes high
RPM/high drag when you have planned and begun executing a wider,
lower-drag approach--you may come up short. KISS: if the prop is stuck
on "drag," then it's a tight, steep approach, otherwise set the prop for
min drag and forget it. We always fall back on our training. No "if,
then" variations. Why should I trust a part of the engine, when the
engine just failed?

I agree with your statements, but it totally hinges on the pilot: the
pilot's ability to analyze the failure and the remaining capabilities of
the airplane, the pilot's ability to analyze a different/new approach
path with what amounts to a new system. As a pilot I would definitely
do it. As an instructor I might show it once, but it's not part of the

PS: I fly power-off approaches a little high and [aiming for touchdown]
a little long so I can hang the gear and still get there. You can
always slip.

Thanks, Jeremy. Jock's concept (in last week's FLYING LESSONS) was to
"pull the prop" to low rpm for the glide, but then once spiraling over
the landing airport to move the prop control about halfway forward.
This increases descent rate somewhat, but gives the pilot a feel for the
rate of descent once the gear is down. Then, when extending the landing
gear, Jock would again pull the prop to low rpm to maintain that rate of
descent to the ground. You're correct, Jeremy, that this would take a
well-trained pilot.

My prop-control technique is not as sophisticated. I teach pulling the
prop to low rpm once committed to the glide and all the way to
touchdown, except that after the gear is down (in retractable-gear
airplanes) if you find yourself high and/or fast using the prop as a
"rotating speed brake" by advancing rpm to get on glidepath, then
pulling it again if needed to get to the field. This, too, takes
training. You and Old Bob are both correct that a slip, well done,
accomplishes the same thing.

Thank you, Jock, Old Bob and Jeremy, for your variations on engine-out
glide techniques. Readers: try it for yourselves (in practice, with a
type-experienced CFI) and see what you'd do in the event of an
engine-out glide.


AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director (and FLYING LESSONS
reader) Bruce Landsberg has begun a Safety
<> eJournal. The Safety
eJournal touches on safety-of-flight issues, procedures, techniques,
judgment, and more. The first two installments, "Goose, It's time to
buzz the tower" and "Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain," focus on
maneuvering flight and special-use airspace [respectively]. Each
installment concludes with an opinion question and a link to contribute
your ideas to ASF. Bruce is one of the take a look
<> !

Preventing runway incursions has become "one of
<> the
FAA's top priorities." To support on-airport situational awareness (to
coin an acronym, OASA) the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) has released Pilot
%5d.pdf> and Aircrew Procedures During Taxi Operations, a briefing guide
oriented toward crew operation on tower-controlled airports. I've taken
the liberty of creating two additional guides (using the same format)
oriented toward single-pilot operators, one each for operations at
towered and nontowered airports.

For a complete explanation of taxi mishap avoidance see my article
erations_197422-1.html> Edge #16: Tools for Taxi Operations, posted
3/31/08 on AVweb <> .

Newly posted on the Tools for
<> Flying
Safely page of the Mastery Flight Training website:

* Pilot
%5d.pdf> and Aircrew Procedures During Taxi Operations (the FAASTeam

* Single-pilot
WERED.pdf> Procedures During Taxi Operations (Tower-controlled airports)

* Single-pilot
NTOWERED.pdf> Procedures During Taxi Operations (Nontowered airports)


Say hi next week at the Sun-N-Fun fly-in. I'll be working the American
Bonanza Society table in the Type Clubs tent, next to the Vintage
Aircraft building, Monday-Thursday. I'll also present two forums:

* Keep Your Beech Flying Safely with ABS Programs and Services
Tuesday, April 8 at 1 PM in Forum Tent #5

* How to Teach Flying Safely Wednesday, April 9 at 1 PM in Forum
Tent #6

I'll be in the National Association of Flight Instructors tent on
Tuesday after my forum. See you at Sun-N-Fun!


The April 3, 2008 Weekly Accident Update is now posted at <> , including these

* An F33A landed gear up..

* An F33A landed in the grass in a suspected mechanical landing
gear failure..

* A C33A lost power during a night takeoff over rugged terrain..

* A G35's landing gear collapsed on landing..

There's also a newly posted NTSB report on a C23 pilot's attempt to land
in a gusty, 25-knot, nearly direct crosswind.

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

Fly safe, and have fun!

Thomas P. Turner, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year

Mastery Flight Training, Inc. <>

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

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LESSONS sent directly to you each week, tell me
<> .

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C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved.

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