For much more on flying safely see www.thomaspturner.net
C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved
FLYING LESSONS for April 24, 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:
* Applying power causes the nose of most light airplanes to pitch
upward. Any flap extension generally requires the pilot to trim the
nose to a higher angle; many aircraft land normally with the trim set
well "up" from the safe takeoff range.
* The trim position and nose-up tendency with power application
together mean in many airplanes it takes significant forward control
pressure to avoid pitching excessively nose-high with power application
in a go-around. Combine the likelihood of a high angle of attack, the
surprise and distraction of having to go around, and sometimes gusty
winds, and the airplane is primed for a departure stall.
* We practice power-off stalls a lot, but in many airplanes the
FAA Practical Test Standards means of practicing a power-on stall at
typical airplane training weights results in an unrealistic nose-high
attitude before the onset of stall. So many times the power-on stall is
not realistically presented in training, if it's presented at all.
Maybe this is why many stall mishaps I've reported in almost nine years
of Weekly Accident Updates have been stalls not with the power off on
landing, but on takeoff, in a go-around or on a missed approach with the
power on. We stall in the power-on, fairly shallow deck angle modes
because we've not regularly practiced what these stalls look like, what
airplane weight does to stall onset, or how to avoid power-on stalls.
* Find a flight instructor experienced and current in your model
of airplane and together try this exercise:
. Climb to a safe altitude, say 4000 feet above terrain and
obstacles as well clear of traffic.
. Perform all required airspace clearing turns.
. Set up as if you were flying on the downwind leg of an airport
traffic pattern. You may choose to pick a road or some other reference
as your "runway".
. Fly the pattern, to include flap and/or gear configuration
changes, as appropriate, as you turn "base" and "final". Descend and
trim as you normally would in the pattern.
. On reaching "field elevation", now about 3000 AGL, simulate
the go-around. Note the pitch-up tendency of your airplane. Let the
nose come up to no more than about 20 degrees above the horizon and hold
. The airplane will likely stall before you think it will;
recover at the first aerodynamic indication of the stall.
. Repeat the exercise, except when the nose rises in the
go-around make a roughly 20-degree bank turn and see what that does to
stall warning, tendency in the stall, and the rate at which the stall
. Repeat the exercise again, with go-arounds straight ahead and
turning, but this time holding the nose at the best-climb attitude in
recovery. Get a feel for the amount of forward pressure needed
initially in the go-around.
. Lastly, repeat and practice the exercise to include flap
and/or gear retraction in the go-around while holding the proper pitch
attitude, both visually and, if instrument rated, by reference to
instruments to become confident and practiced in stall avoidance for
takeoffs, go-arounds and missed approaches.
For more see my 2003 article Trimmed
* Busy traffic patterns create distractions that often correlate
with landing gear-related mishaps. If the frequency is busy, use that
as a cue to be especially careful to extend, verify and double-check
landing gear before touchdown.
* There's a common correlation between strong or gusty surface
winds and gear-up landings, likely related to distractions presented
during a turbulent approach.
Questions? Comments? Send me a note at
Responding to last week's FLYING LESSONS about switching fuel tanks just
before takeoff, recommending (in airplanes with left/right tank
selection) start-up on one tank, switching to the other for run-up, and
always taking off on the tank used for the engine run-up a reader wrote:
I would never switch tanks after taxiing and before running up. Stay
with the gal that you brought you to the dance. This after more than
13,000 hrs of flying.
I look at it just a little differently. Taxi on one tank to confirm you
have good, usable fuel from it, then switch and do your run-up on the
second tank. Now you know you've got good, usable fuel from that tank
and can support at least reasonably high power operation with it. And
you know both tanks have accessible fuel.
The important idea, which we share, is to take off on the tank you use
for run-up. After that it's all just technique. Thanks for writing!
Thanks, reader, for thinking about why you do things, not just blindly
following convention or the opinions of "experts" (including me). I
challenge all pilots to read my ideas, adopt what you like, modify what
you need, and throw out the rest-but in all cases to be open to change,
and carefully consider why you do what you do in airplanes.
Personalized FLYING LESSONS
If you fly a Beech Bonanza B36TC, A36TC, A36, F33A or V35B and want to
increase your confidence and competence as a pilot, consider Mastery
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simply a group of pilots wanting to know more about low-workload flight
and single-pilot cockpit management (not just Beech specific)? Get
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NDH: No Damage History?
I received this email (all identifying information has been removed):
I was searching Yahoo.com using the tail number NXXXX. This is a plane
that I am interested in purchasing. I see according to your web page,
there was an incident in [month] 2007. I do not see any history on the
NTSB or FAA web site reflecting this information. Can you tell me where
you got this info? It is very important to me because I am in the
process of purchasing this aircraft.
I looked at the Beech Weekly Accident Update reference he provided
(which was a report of a "minor damage" gear-up landing) and replied:
That would have come from an FAA preliminary report. FAA "prelims" are
posted at www.faa.gov for 14 days, then are deleted from the record.
Since there is no regulation requiring a mishap report be filed with the
FAA, and NTSB 830 specifically exempts most landing gear-related mishap
data from reporting requirements, it's terribly common for someone to
notify FAA (regardless of a requirement to do so) but no permanent NTSB
record be created.
FAA regulations require mechanics record work done on airplanes, but not
the reason for the work. To detect possible gear mishaps in an
airplane's past, look for unexplained propeller overhaul or replacement,
flaps repairs or reskinning, nose or main gear door replacement,
underside antenna replacement and lower cowling or belly skin repair or
replacement as signs of possible gear issues in that airplane's past.
Good luck with your purchase.
The would-be airplane purchaser wrote back:
Thank you very much for your prompt reply! I did do some additional
research and found the prop was replaced and flaps repainted. The
mechanic did repair and note this in the log books, but did not disclose
this at time of negotiation. There were never any 337's written against
these repairs either. Again, thank you for your reply and have a great
Aviation author, lecturer and FLYING LESSONS reader Mike Busch notes in
his highly recommended Savvy Aviator <http://www.savvyaviator.com/>
aircraft owner seminars that U.S. Federal Air Regulations (FARs) require
mechanics to log work performed on certified airplanes and engines, but
not the reason the work was performed. The lack of precise operational
history of most Part 91 (other than passenger- or cargo-carrying
commercial operations) airplanes is a big part of the FAA's
understandable (in this regard) concern about older airplanes. The
issue of "not really knowing the history of the airplane" was verbalized
in two FAA conferences I attended: one following the third "simulated
air combat" T-34 in-flight break-up, the other the March 2006 FAA Aging
General Aviation Aircraft summit.
Either by strict adherence to the FARs or, in some instances, a
deliberate attempt to obscure the accident history of an airplane, some
logbook entries only hint at why the work was done in the first place.
If buying an airplane you may have to "read between the lines" in the
logbooks, and have a very type-knowledgeable mechanic carefully inspect
the airplane before purchase to see if it (1) is as represented for
financial purposes and, much more importantly, (2) that it conforms to
the Type Certificate design or approved modifications, that any repairs
meet the standards of FAR 43 and other guidance, and that all materials
used are approved for use in that type of airplane.
Why am I talking about this in the strictly safety-related FLYING
LESSONS? I feel that the damage of history of an airplane is less
important than the quality, completeness and correctness of any repair
and its documentation. Knowing the true operational history of the
airplane enhances safety by focusing extra attention in your preflight
and scheduled inspections on those areas where problems have occurred in
the past and consequences may appear in the future. Take a good look at
your logbooks, so you can take an even better look at the safety of your
NEW PISTON BEECHCRAFT REPORTS THIS WEEK
The April 24, 2008 Weekly Accident Update is now posted at
www.thomaspturner.net <http://www.thomaspturner.net/> , including these
* An A36's nose gear door was damaged due to ice accumulation on
* An A36TC landed gear up..
* A B55's gear collapsed on landing..
* A C23 stalled during an attempted go-around..
* A C23 landed hard and its gear collapsed..
* A Twin Beech landed gear up..
There's also another update on the recent F33A gear-up landing at San
For more information, commentary and analysis see the Beech
<http://www.thomaspturner.net/WAU%202008.htm> Weekly Accident Update
link at www.thomaspturner.net <http://www.thomaspturner.net/> .
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, <mailto:email@example.com> Inc.
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C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved. Have a great
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