“Back Seat Driver”

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Diana, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    While cleaning my desk yesterday I ran across an article that I had run off a long time ago to save to re-read later. It was “Back Seat Driver” written by one of my favorite authors, Ken Ibold. Now that I have done some flying from the back seat it was even more relevant. I even went so far as to do my Flight Review from the back seat a few weeks ago to make sure that I was good enough to satisfy my own comfort level/personal criteria for taking passengers, as well as the CFI’s criteria.

    Ken brought up some of the drawbacks that I experienced the first time that I flew with someone else (another pilot) up front that wasn’t familiar with the airplane. Grant did a great job, btw. :yes:

    Since you can’t reach the starter or mix or radios from the back it’s more of a challenge and I don’t know if I would feel comfortable taking a non-pilot with them sitting in the front. I don’t know how CFI’s do it!

    Anyway, reading this article made me realize how much I miss reading Ken’s articles and reflections, especially the type of article that he used to write for Aviation Safety.
     
  2. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I guess you'll have to buy a twin. Or a turbine. ;)

    Sounds like an interesting read - Where can I get it?
     
  3. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So you crawl back there at a deserted airport in west Texas, not even a hangar in sight, thinking there is absolutely nothing he can run into on the takeoff, even if he gets it crooked while you can't see much from the back seat. As you (barely) fly over the wind-sock pole about 15 seconds later you realize just how wrong you were.

     
  4. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    I remember the first time I flew the Pitts with John I couldn't believe he put me in the back seat with all the instruments and controls. I was especially attentive about how to adjust the intercom because he told me, "If you screw it up, you are on your own."
     
  5. sba55

    sba55 En-Route

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    I can't imagine having a non pilot in the front in your plane, Diana.

    A year ago, I had a non pilot in the left seat in the Bonanza, which seems like very, very easy to control from the right (or back) seat compared to your plane. It was a bit scary, however, because I didn't have toe brakes on the right seat. He stopped just fine, but almost got us into a ditch on taxi. I don't think I'll be doing that again.....

    -Felix
     
  6. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The toe brakes only on the left is one of the few dumb things Beech did.
     
  7. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    If Ken doesn't have access to it, I'll get it to you. :)
     
  8. jmaynard

    jmaynard Cleared for Takeoff

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    This comes as a real surprise. I would have expected that any aircraft with dual controls would also have dual toe brakes. Do even current Beech products not have toe brakes on both sides?
     
  9. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Many (most?) 35 series Bonanzas had a "throwover" style yoke -- pull out a pin and change from left to right side.

    The A36 offered dual brakes as an option. I have no idea why someone would want to have yoke and pedals and not have brakes as well.

    You can't do primary training in a throwover yoke model (duh), but the right-side-toe-brake-missing model does cause a bit of problem for some DEs and FAA examiners.

    There is FAA guidance on this, but it's left up to the examiner whether he/she will accept such an airplane for a flight test.
     
  10. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    a lot of cherokees are the same way with no brakes on the right.

    almost all of my back seating has been in gliders. the only thing the student has control of that i dont is the radio and the audio variometer. otherwise the back seat has all the same controls as the front. ive also done some instruction in the super cub, but only with people who already knew how to fly taildraggers.
     
  11. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Some 121 airliners have a tiller for ground steering on the left side only.

    -Skip
     
  12. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My old Cherokee did not have toe brakes on the right side....

    Richard's old Cherokee did not have toe brakes period.

    I don't know why Piper did that....but it works. Just use the handbrake.
     
  13. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Try that in an A36 and you'll be Larry Craig'ed.

    (Though the effort would be pointless, as the toe brakes must be applied and then the parking brake set)
     
  14. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I flew a demo Sport Cub from the back seat. First time flying from the back seat of a taildragger.

    Oh, and the runway was only 20 feet wide. (79C) :hairraise:

    That demo pilot had balls of steel! :goofy: I managed to mostly keep it on the runway. :eek:

    I did somewhat better flying Chip's Husky from the back seat, but when there's a good instructor in the front seat it makes all the difference in the world.

    It certainly requires feeling the non-visual cues a lot earlier than the front seat, especially since I'm tall enough that I can normally see over the cowl on a taildragger from the front seat.
     
  15. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Piper, too. Mine has the "parking brake" in the middle which my CFIs used before I was up to speed on using the toe brakes.
     
  16. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Right..that little lever under the dash....
     
  17. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i think that in most taildragging airplanes the back seater would feel the side to side motion first, because they are sitting well behind the CG, while the front seater is typically more or less on the CG, so only feels the rotation.

    In the gliders i fly from the back seat, the back seater more or less sits on the CG, which makes it really easy to see when the student isnt coordinating well, because you see the whole front of the fuselage rotate.
     
  18. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Awww, you're so sweet! Thanks!

    Sorry, my brain is addled. What date? What issue? Heck, what magazine?!?!?

    Was that one about the post-carb heat trouble flight in your airplane?
     
  19. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    My 78 J-model Mooney did not have right side toe brakes, either.
     
  20. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    Well, it made me a little sad, too, because I really like reading what you write and can't do that anymore.

    Aviation Safety, February 2003. I think it was the Editor's Log.

    That one was good too. :yes:
     
  21. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    That's pretty neat that he put you in back! It requires a lot of trust. :)

    We ran into a problem when Terry put me in the front seat of the CJ-6 for the first time. We had intercom problems the first time we did that and I couldn't even see him for hand signals. And I had access to a few things that he didn't...I can't remember for sure, but the funny landing gear lever was one of them and something else, but I can't remember now. He was getting kinda worried till we got it fixed while flying along.
     
  22. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    If someone wants to read it, here it is.
     

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  23. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    That's the one! Thanks Ken!

    I liked this phrase "bounced halfway to Cleveland". :D I've done that! :yes:
     
  24. 4763E

    4763E Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good article!

    Recently, I took my friend, Rozy, for a ride in my L-19. I offered him the front seat even though he had never flown an L-19, but he chose the back. As soon as we took off I gave him the controls - we were practically upside down a few times, and he insisted my stall warning horn needed a serious adjustment - WAY too sensitive....:hairraise: Anyway, the bird dog is a tough airplane to land until you get used to that spring gear - I don't care who you are - but that damn Rozy greased it on the runway at Gardner the very first time. I hate him.

    On the other hand, I had been his passenger in a P-51 the day before. There's nothing like crawling into the back seat of an airplane like that dressed in Nomex with a parachute strapped to your body and finding there are NO controls back there. :eek: (And I am a woman with some serious control issues.....)

    Great ride, though. :yes:
     
  25. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks! :yes:
     
  26. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    No kidding! At least he had flown with me about 3-4 hours in the Decathlon before this so hopefully he figured I wasn't a total putz, although I sometimes felt like it... :redface:
     
  27. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    :D I can relate to that! Just ask Tom about the time I tried to teach him how to roll the Citabria. I absolutely could not give up my grip on the stick no matter how many times we tried it. :D

    And flying in a different airplane with no access to the controls is very hard for for me too. :redface: One of the few times it didn't bother me was when Tom and Chip were sitting in the front of his Bo and I was riding along in the back.
     
  28. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    Thanks Ken. While you're in the mood for sharing, how about the article on maintaining proficiency "A Short Flight to Mastering the Airplane". EAA I think.
    I seem to have lost my copy.
     
  29. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    I wish that Ken would make all his articles and editor's logs available for us to read somehow, someway.
     
  30. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Jan 04 Aviation Safety, I believe...
     

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  31. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    Excellent. That's the one. Now if you just had some magic pill that I could use to absorb all this IFR stuff I've been working on.
     
  32. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I, too, haven't figured out the no brakes on the right side, especially with dual controls. The Mooney M20F I fly doesn't have them on the right (it doesn't even have a PTT for the right), nor does the Comanche. I don't remember about the Archer or the Cessna, as I don't spend enough time in the right seat of those (yet) to have noticed.

    On the Comanche, though, the hand brake is in the center, and can be grabbed by the person in the right seat for the purposes of stopping the plane.

    Personally, I don't understand why Beech did the "throwover yoke". For instructional purposes, I like to have full dual controls. Apparently I'm not the market they were going for. :)
     
  33. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Bonanza 35 (V tail) design team had a few interesting design parameters.

    For example, the interior cabin had to provide enough room to allow a man to wear a hat. The Step was provided so a woman wearing a dress could gracefully enplane.

    And the throwover yoke gave the right side passenger more leg room and no concerns about having his/her knees and thighs struck by the controls.
     
  34. jmaynard

    jmaynard Cleared for Takeoff

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    These are great! <evilgrin>You should put out a book! It should be easy...after all, you've already written the contents...</evilgrin>

    (Yes, I know it's nowhere near that simple, but I couldn't resist.)
     
  35. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yep, like I said, I wasn't the intended market. None of those are things I'm concerned about. If the controls strike the knees/thighs of the passenger, I make said passenger move the seat. ;)
     
  36. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're not married, are you, Ted?

    :rolleyes:
     
  37. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    And a lot of THOSE didn't even have toe brakes on the LEFT side. It was a handbrake in the middle that also served as the parking brake. That system never caused me any heartburn.
     
  38. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

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    I think so too! :yes:
     
  39. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Sounds like a book idea for Ken. That is if he retains rights to his work. :D
     
  40. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    I have. It is all about saving a few bucks. Or a few pounds. That is really the bottom line.