Almost had a plane vs car

Pi1otguy

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Oct 24, 2007
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Fontana, CA
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Fox McCloud
2 weeks ago I came the closest to having an accident since getting my private. And of all things it nearly happened with just another 100 feet of taxing left in the flight.

Having completed a few stop & goes elsewhere that night, I return to my home field and land. Everything is fine and I taxi to the hangers (picture rows of hangers).

As I near the final turn for the club hanger a white van comes from around the blind corner and turns right towards me. It keeps coming so I stop immediately and the van quickly stops just 15-20 feet in front of me. It backs up and I proceed to the hanger.

A few minutes later he pulls up to me after shutdown and apologizes. Apparently he was looking at another aircraft waiting for repairs that was at his 10 o'clock while he made a right turn.

I'm still trying to figure out what the lesson was other than I'll continue to taxi at a "brisk walk" pace where blind corners are a thing. Still trying to figure how I can make a plane with a loud engine and all the lights stand out more. Apparently our bug smashers are super stealth aircraft while taxing.
 
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Vehicles at uncontrolled fields are danger, but short of stopping, not much cam be done. We have a similar intersection at one of the fields I frequent and I slow to a crawl approaching the intersection until I can visually identify it’s clear for me to pass.

Otherwise, better hope the driver has a high limit policy.
 
See and avoid while in the air, and on the ground. Unfortunately, it does not always work as well as it should.
 
My wife asked "Why don't you have horns?"

Maybe I should suggest this to the club. :D

I have stall horn in my plane. And a couple of control horns, too.

I don’t think a set of these will do much, but who knows.
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Re: people not paying attention on active movement areas... As I was being marshalled into a parking spot yesterday, I was directed to loop around behind a parked plane to come in alongside it. As I turned to pass behind the plane, I met a guy messing around on his phone completely blocking my path. He stood there heads-down for about 15 seconds before the lineman walked up and got his attention and he moved. I wished I'd had a horn I could have honked.

He found me a few min later and apologized: "Sorry, I'm so used to airplane noise I just didn't realize you were there." Ohhh-kay, but if you're that familiar with airplane noises, then perhaps maybe you should have also been familiar enough with airports to have the sense not to just park your a$$ smack dab in the middle of a busy ramp??

That episode came only a week after I was taxiing back to my hangar behind an unfamiliar plane at my home base. He pulled up to a turnoff to a set of hangars, then shut down ON THE TAXIWAY, completely blocking me from proceeding. The ground was wet from recent rain so I didn't want to go cross-country through the grass, so I sat there waiting to see what he was planning to do. He and a passenger eventually get out of the plane, slowly mosey over to a nearby hangar, grab a golf cart and a towbar, and start to tow the plane off the taxiway onto the turnoff he stopped near. They took their sweet time, and about 5 minutes later I could finally proceed. They offered a friendly wave as I taxied past. It would have been a lot friendlier if they'd simply taxied into their turnoff before shutting down in the first place, like a normal person.
 
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Several of my back country pilot friends have horns on their planes. Used to get game, birds, and idiots out of the way. Might be worth it. You would think the sound of the engine would be enough but a horn is what people are used to. But maybe an idiot who is about to crash into a plane has been honked at so many times they dismiss it.
 
Not to be a jerk, and not that it would solve the problem, but you might want to ask the airport manager if their insurance is OK with random drivers on the ramp areas. Because at the airports I'm familiar with that does passenger flights, you can't get on the field without going through a training program; and the little airports I'm familiar with it's airport staff and airplane owners only who can drive on the ramp. Maybe that's just around here, though.
 
Not to be a jerk, and not that it would solve the problem, but you might want to ask the airport manager if their insurance is OK with random drivers on the ramp areas
Access is controlled by key cards, so the driver is only "random" in that he's another random tenant at the airport. Vehicles are permitted in the area of the near miss, being a non movement area and all.

I'm debating whether to mention this to airport management when I visit them for an unrelated matter this week. But idk what I expect them to do about it? Email the tenants? Post stop signs all over the place?

In the end, me and the driver talked, he admitted fault and said he'll be more careful.
 
Access is controlled by key cards, so the driver is only "random" in that he's another random tenant at the airport. Vehicles are permitted in the area of the near miss, being a non movement area and all.

I'm debating whether to mention this to airport management when I visit them for an unrelated matter this week. But idk what I expect them to do about it? Email the tenants? Post stop signs all over the place?

In the end, me and the driver talked, he admitted fault and said he'll be more careful.
Given that, for what it's worth I agree. I misinterpreted the original post to be a random delivery driver running around the ramp. With it being a neighbor having a clueless moment it seems a lot different. I'd take it as he was having a bad day.
 
I can't speak to your specific situation, but I know from years of experience at my airport that the blind corner at the end of our T-Hangars somehow acoustically blocks sound from around the corner. More than once, even when moving slow with the windows rolled down I have come around the corner to come face to face with a running aircraft I could neither see nor hear approaching the corner. During driving familiarization, it is one of many points I make to new drivers, to always use caution when coming around the end of the Ts.
 
Coulda been a little bit worse...

Dude looked too low
Stop signage not great

We’d need more video to see if the driver knew they were so close to the end of a runway.

I’m fairly amazed the pilot wasn’t injured
 
Dude looked too low
Stop signage not great

We’d need more video to see if the driver knew they were so close to the end of a runway.

I’m fairly amazed the pilot wasn’t injured
From the news story the lady in the SUV blamed the pilot for the accident, after she kept saying, "whatever fell hit my car...'' It sounded as she had no clue where she was, being on her phone and all.

And yes, STOP written on the pavement is not very noticeable.
 
From the news story the lady in the SUV blamed the pilot for the accident, after she kept saying, "whatever fell hit my car...'' It sounded as she had no clue where she was, being on her phone and all.

And yes, STOP written on the pavement is not very noticeable.
Airport was 52f Student pilot, first solo. Pretty good displaced threshold. He was pretty flat, but...first solo. This wasn't some back country road next to an airport. It looks like its a borderline taxiway that might be used as cars as well as planes. So an actual stop sign would be difficult. But she knew she was at an airport. Zero situational awareness. As evidenced by the post collision interview where she STILL says a piece of equipment fell out of the sky. I guess an airplane is equipment...
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Airport was 52f Student pilot, first solo. Pretty good displaced threshold. He was pretty flat, but...first solo. This wasn't some back country road next to an airport. It looks like its a borderline taxiway that might be used as cars as well as planes. So an actual stop sign would be difficult. But she knew she was at an airport. Zero situational awareness. As evidenced by the post collision interview where she STILL says a piece of equipment fell out of the sky. I guess an airplane is equipment...
The displaced threshold was much smaller at the time. Betcha this incident made them rethink having reduced it.
 
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