A scary-close call...

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Lndwarrior, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A very short while ago I was climbing out of my home airport (300 feet ASL) on up to my cruising altitude of 5500 feet. It was a very hot day (100 degrees) and I have a low wing, full plexiglass canopy (aka - "oven" on a hot day) on my Zenith 601.

    I was climbing at max. rate to get up to cooler air quicker and had my overhead shade pulled as far forward as possible. This was in Class E airspace.

    My route takes me about 15 miles (but no closer) from a Class C airport that has occasional commercial traffic. Usually I monitor the tower frequency until I'm well clear just in case some big iron is in the area.

    This day, perhaps distracted by the uncomfortable heat, I did not switch to the tower frequency. I just continued my climb.

    I DO have a habit of lowering the nose and pulling back the sunshade frequently during a climb to look for traffic. A flight instructor, a long time ago, hammered that into my head.

    So, realizing it had been a few minutes since my last look over the nose, I dropped the nose and pulled pulled back the sunshade.

    Nothing straight ahead.

    Then I looked up.

    It was the closest I have ever come to a commercial aircraft. It was a large two engine turboprop on descent into the Class C airport.

    He was descending and I was climbing and we were converging on the same point in the sky. I dropped the nose and dove for the ground. I was so close I knew I didn't need to worry about wake turbulence because I would be past him before it descended to my level.

    I don't know if we would have collided but it was scary-close.

    No, I don't have ADSB capability now. Yes, I will be adding it as soon as possible.

    I had recently been practicing emergency descents and this experience avoided the need to "think" about the right response. I knew exactly how to throw the nose over and the approximate extreme pitch-down angle to get max. descent/speed without over-stressing the plane.

    Another take-away is the need to "look up" when scanning for other aircraft. It's easy to get into the habit of looking straight ahead, and down, for traffic. However, any traffic that is above your level line of sight may not be picked up in your scan. Our vertical peripheral vision is much less that our horizontal. You need to physically look up to see traffic above.

    I have been flying a lot this year and the more I fly, the more I Iearn, to never be "comfortable" in the plane. There is always something I need to be doing, or thinking about, to ensure a safe flight.
     
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  2. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    Glad you caught it and acted appropriately. I just hit 35 hrs and am already seeing how easy it is to get complacent. Thanks for the story and reminder.
     
  3. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nice response. When said said nose over, what technique did you use?

    Tim
     
  4. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Immediate 60 degree pitch down. Slight reduction on the throttle to avoid redline.
     
  5. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff

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    Glad that worked out, how close do you estimate you were? I had a 182 overtake me once from above and behind as we both descended into Urbana Grimes. No way either one of us could see each other as I was invisible beneath his nose. I'd estimate we were 500' apart.
     
  6. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    60º seems extreme. Good job missing it though!
     
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  7. PaulMKE

    PaulMKE Pre-Flight

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    I've been in this situation twice this year, once as the climbing a/c and once as the descending a/c. In both cases, the traffic warnings from the ADSB systems alerted me well before I had visual contact. In the climbing case I'd say it saved mine and the other pilot's lives.
     
  8. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    As in roll to a 60 bank dropping the nose? Or push nose down to 60 degrees?
    My background in a Cirrus or Aerostar I would blow through Vne before you could blink if I went straight down at that angle.
    Note: no critique on my part, just curious. I was taught for a crash emergency descent, drop a wing to drop the nose.

    Tim
     
  9. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, that's how I was taught as well. A rolling decent is beneficial for two reasons. It gets you off the current heading and keeps a positive load on the airframe during the initial push over. I thought 60deg was a bit excessive as well, especially for an abrupt forward push over, but as long as it's safe and it works, than I don't see anything wrong with it.
     
  10. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not sure about the thinking on banking before descending. If a turn is needed, thats one thing. But the fastest way to get out of plane with the approaching aircraft would be a wings level push or pull. Pushing is uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as the impact would be.
     
  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I'm more curious about whether or not the airliner was a) VFR or IFR, and b) whether they had called out to the controller that they had you in sight, removing the controller from needing to maintain IFR separation.

    If IFR and b, they should have given you enough room not to trigger you into a panic dive. If VFR... well, all bets are off. But they so rarely fly VFR, if this is IFR with them providing their own separation, I wonder a little at this if someone would like to review the radar data and maybe have a little chat with the pilots.
     
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  12. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It's not a turn before descending, it's a simultaneous bank and descent + reducing power. The idea, as I mentioned above is to alter course from current heading while reducing the load on the airframe. Pushing forward with wings level poses a higher stress to the airframe than the rolling descent.
     
  13. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Someone send @Cooter the video of the instructor teaching it in an airliner sim... I can't find it right now. :)
     
  14. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    How so? Not arguing, I just haven't heard that. Every airframe I've flown has a lower limit for asymmetrical G, both positive and negative. Rolling G's are typically avoided if possible.
     
  15. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Reading that post, I worded it incorrectly. The rolling descent allows for a positive load on the airframe during the descent, rather than an abrupt negative loading during the initial push of a wings level descent. Easier on the airplane and more comfortable for pilot and pax. Trying to find a video that shows it.

    Edit: Check this video. This guy explains it well in a 182.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  16. rtk11

    rtk11 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Glad that you saw traffic and successfully avoided it. Sounds like your sharp reflexes and excellent sense of timing saved the day.

    I had a close call on final in a Class Delta airport last year. It was the closest my CFI had ever been in an aircraft, and I've never seen him rattled until that moment. I could clearly see the pilot and his eyes, we were that close. After that moment, I made it a point to acquire a Stratus 2 and check for traffic via the iPad. I gave my CFI a Stratux so he could monitor traffic inflight with his other students. I think having ADS-B is an important piece of gear to help safety.

    I don't know how (or if) my flight school got that permanent, clenched fabric out of the pilot's seat...
     
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  17. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Ok, I've not seen that taught. I also can't quite visualize how it would be more effective unless the maneuver isn't urgent and the attempt is to gracefully avoid a conflict. Like rolling into AOB and letting the nose slide down to lose altitude? I be curious in a link if you can find it.

    Edit: That's weird the link wasn't their when I replied, but it was in my reply.
     
  18. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Ok, I watched it. It seems you are confusing Emergency Descent with traffic avoidance maneuver. The video is addressing some form of inflight emergency or something that necessitates getting down quickly. In the airline world, something like Smoke in the Cockpit, or Rapid Depressurization would direct you to an emergency descent, usually to get below 10k. Traffic avoidance would be to avoid an airplane that you see or following a TCAS command. That maneuver is likely to be abrupt and wings level will separate you more quickly, typically. Some aircraft that are TCAS equipped only have vertical guidance and some have horizontal and vertical. Either way, in the situation the OP described, a wings level push would be the most effective way to separate the aircraft.
     
  19. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    This is the way I was taught both emergency decent and traffic avoidance. Back when I was in primary training, I was out with a CFI in the practice area when we had traffic approaching from the east (Medevac Helicopter) and less than one mile. CFI called "TRAFFIC TRAFFIC" and he performed the rolling descent and it was very effective and much more comfortable than if he would've just abruptly pushed forward on the yoke.

    As I mentioned in one of my posts above, it altered the course rather quickly and kept a positive G load during the initial push over. This technique has been practiced ever since. Works well for both emergency scenarios and/or traffic avoidance.
     
  20. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Cleared for Takeoff

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    The OP stated he was in class E and doing a max climb. I've never seen an airliner VFR so it's probably safe to assume they were IFR. In class E there is no separation required between IFR and VFR. That said, I would be issuing traffic and trying to keep them 500 ft apart at least. I've never flown his type a/c so I'm not sure how many fpm a max climb is. If the airliner did report him in sight then as you said, as a controller I'd stop trying to keep them apart and let him do his own thing. Maybe the airliner misjudged his max climb rate? Maybe the OP felt a lot closer than he was with the whole big plane filling the canopy concept? If it was that close and the airliners TCAS was working I'm guessing they would have responded to an RA if they lost sight of him directly over top? Without seeing the radar plot who knows? I could look it up if I knew where/when it happened and let the OP know exactly how close they got.
     
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  21. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    What is a "crash emergency descent"?
     
  22. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Your CFI should have made a clear distinction between the two. Not understanding the difference could be problematic in several ways. Again, not trying to be the everyday POA adversary here, I just think it is worth pointing out. Passenger comfort takes a backseat in an RA or collision avoidance maneuver. Even for the airlines.
     
  23. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In order to avoid a crash begin emergency descent....duh!
     
  24. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    @Cooter @eman1200

    A roll in descent is a mostly positive G maneuver, depending on the plane and how aggressive the pilot is, it will be completely positive or maybe slightly negative. For many GA planes, they roll faster then pitch, therefore roll into a bank and push over the nose will get you going down faster. In addition, a turn scrubs speed. So this will allow you have a greater descent angle, and on some planes you can even push harder by entering into a slip at the same time.

    I was taught three separate emergency descent procedures. Two high speed mostly used for separation or loss of pressurization. The straight push to Vne or the roll in and push to Vne. The low speed was drop gear, flaps, speed brakes to make speed for whatever has the limit (brakes, gear, flaps).

    As usual, do not try this without an experienced CFI with you. If you do it wrong, I have been told you can enter a spin, get vertigo.... Basically not good.

    Tim
     
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  25. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    Basically, yes :D

    Tim
     
  26. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Evasive maneuvers aside, I'd recommend not just monitoring but getting radar advisories from the appropriate center or approach control facility handling your departure airport. Monitoring tower at an airport more than 15nm isn't going to give you anywhere near the whole picture.
     
  27. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    This just is not correct. I'm happy to hear your explanation though?
     
  28. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I have done both and still prefer the +G roll. Rolling into a 45deg bank without any back pressure and you'll lose your vertical component of lift rather quickly. I suppose both can be appropriate in certain circumstances. If you haven't had any aerobatics or upset training, I'd highly recommend. Once you perform both the 'forward push' and '+G Roll' you'll see the practicality that both bring to the table.
     
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  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Understood all, just replying to say VFR does occasionally happen with airliners. Not usually when they're full though. :) Otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it.

    (I've been aboard an airliner on a composite flight plan. Only needed the IFR clearance in Class A... it was a ferry flight... a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...)
     
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  30. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't know how close. I was too busy reacting. 2000 to 3000 feet maybe?
     
  31. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    60 degrees was a guess. This was a "looks about right" situation.
     
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  32. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No tx so no advisories.
     
  33. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not sure why you would assume I haven't done both, but OK. You seem to have it pretty well figured out.
     
  34. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In this case a roll to the left would have put me towards his descent path. A roll to the right may have put me into wake turbulence. In this scenario I made the right decision.
     
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  35. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You apparently missed the line in my post where I noted I was not on the tower freq.. A stupid move on my part.
     
  36. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    You did the right thing. A turn will only slow your displacement and is very difficult to judge if it will even help. Just push or pull to get the airplane moving, which is what it sounds like you did.
     
  37. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Not necessarily true, although they have to pick you up as a primary radar return and have you change heading for radar verification. That said, most folks who don't have a transponder don't have much interest in flight following either. Even still, monitoring tower 15 miles out isn't going to tell you a whole lot about arrivals who are still on en route frequency.

    Please do get ADS-B compliant. Without a transponder, an airliner won't see you on TCAS so eyeballs and big sky are the only things preventing a mid-air.
     
  38. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Congrats on your quick action. I passed really close to a CAP plane last year. He was about 50 feet below me, coming from my 1 o'clock. His head was down at the time. I don't think he ever saw me.
     
  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    He might already be ADS-B compliant for where he's going to fly after 2020. This scenario will continue for at least two more years in airspace defined by 91.225, and continues forever outside of that airspace.

    Folks need to read 91.225 and think a little harder about it. There's a lot of places where people are going to "feel safe" and think ADS-B is watching over them, and someone's still going to go whizzing past the windscreen, legally.
     
  40. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Not insinuating that you haven't, just speaking in broad terms.
     
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