Dodged a bullet

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Timbeck2, May 17, 2017.

  1. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    First of all, not MY plane but I feel that as a pilot, I was equally responsible. Last weekend I flew my Cherokee up to Falcon Field (KFFZ) to meet up with a pilot buddy to fly his Arrow to Bullhead City (KIFP). He has a covered parking spot at KFFZ so the plan was to pull his Arrow out, pull my Cherokee in and go. Well, he needed to get fuel first and he told me that he'd do his preflight afterwards. After we loaded up, he started it up and we taxied the couple hundred yards or so to the fuel pump without our headsets on. He looked at me and said, "Ya know, I've never taxied before without my headset on. It sounds different, almost like a metallic noise I never noticed."
    As we neared the pump, I noticed a couple of mechanics walking from a hangar nearby towards us. We pulled up to the pump and since I was in the right seat, I got out first and walked towards the nose to hook up the ground wire. I stopped in my tracks as I noticed that the tow bar was still attached. The mechanics walked up smiling and admitted that they were just waiting for a circus.
    If that thing had bounced up a hit the three blade prop..but instead it just ground down the handle of the tow bar to a nice shiny reminder of what NOT to do.
     
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  2. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    It's the little things... Just one little moment of inattention can cost you an engine teardown. Glad it didn't bounce!
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yikes! Glad it didn't catch the prop!

    I remember back when I was doing my PP training, I had attached the tow bar to the airplane post flight and was about to push it back into the hangar, when I wanted to go behind the airplane and make sure everything was clear inside the hangar. I set the tow bar down, still attached to the nose wheel and my CFI said "Ryan, this is one thing I don't ever want to see you do again. Never leave the tow bar attached to the airplane without it being in your hands."

    And still to this day, I have never forgotten this valuable piece of advice!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  4. rtk11

    rtk11 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Wow - lucky! And great dodging of the bullet. Yeah, if that had popped up, I'd wager that at least one prop blade would be toast, there'd be an inspection on the Rotax gearbox, and possible some nosewheel skirt damage.

    This is a great reminder to never rush the checklist or a preflight. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    He needs to buy a lottery ticket, like right now before whatever it is wears off
     
  6. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow, that's lucky.

    I witnessed a not-so-lucky guy last summer.

    Big CAP event -- cadet encampment. Hundreds of cadet rides given over two days. As I was loading up my plane, a neighboring one pulled up. At the time, the CAP shutdown checklist said to run the engine at 1800 RPM for two minutes "if possible" prior to shutdown. The neighboring plane came to a stop with a wooden chock under the prop. He dialed it up to 1800 RPM, and I saw the chocks hovering under the prop. I ran behind his strut waving my arms, screaming my head off, and giving the engine cut and stop signs. Not surprisingly, he didn't see or hear me. The chocks got flung in the opposite direction and the engine had to be torn down and the prop replaced.

    The CAP checklist doesn't have that entry anymore.

    The poor pilot was mortified. He was not at all a happy camper.
     
  7. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    What was the point of that checklist entry?
     
  8. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

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    I had a lineman chase down a Sabreliner that did that at Teterboro... Caught him at the corner of K and L taxiways...whew!
     
  9. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  10. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think it was to clean up the spark plugs before shutdown. It's in the Cessna checklist as well (182T).
     
  11. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    I could see how this would happen. IDK about anyone else but while I do a thorough pre-flight and go through the checklist before my first flight of the day every time without fail I don't necessarily feel like I need to if I'm just taxing from a parking spot to a gas pump/hangar/other parking spot.
     
  12. Rebel Lord

    Rebel Lord Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So far only gats jar on the wing and leaving the chokes are the most embarrassing things I've done.
     
  13. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Been there done that before, felt like an idiot.
     
  14. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    I'm waiting for the day when I attempt the PTS maneuver of turns around a tie down.
     
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  15. Rebel Lord

    Rebel Lord Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Make sure it's on GoPro when you do it ;)
     
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  16. Pnwannabe2

    Pnwannabe2 Pre-Flight

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    My CFI says the same. It's hanging on the wall or in your hands at all times.
     
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  17. AKBill

    AKBill Cleared for Takeoff

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    I guess that's one of those never again moments, glad it worked out the way it did. Yah I stopped in Sitka one time and the line folks chalked the tires, well you don't go far with the wheels chalked....:)
     
  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Yeah, I learned to check for chocks in Sitka as well....:lol::lol::lol:
     
  19. Briar Rabbit

    Briar Rabbit Pre-Flight

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    Have a cfii friend that instructed in a 172 doing approaches and when they got out of the airplane found the tow bar hanging on the nose gear. And another friend that got in a hurry and now has a newer prop on his Bonanza and a new tow bar, he did not make airborne though. Easier to see how you would forget it just taxiing to the pumps.
     
  20. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-Flight

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    It's experiences like this that I added an additional step to my pre-flight. After I complete my pre-flight, and then any other pre-start chores, I walk around the plane one last time to make sure I've forgotten, or missed, nothing.

    I have been pre-flighting exactly the same way for 30 years. Every flight, exactly the same way. While this is good practice it can create another problem. The problem being you only look at the same things, the same way every time. If there is something that's not on your pre-flight checklist you might not see it.

    So, after my pre-flight I finish whatever chores I need to do before start-up, then I take a deep breath and take one more slow walk around the airplane. I try to do it with a critical eye looking at everything from a bit of a distance. I also use this brief moment to relax myself, maybe stretch a bit, a get myself focused for the flight.

    This process helped me discover a low tire (that didn't seem low during my pre-flight), a screw driver I had left sitting on wing and an external baggage door that didn't have one of the cam-locks closed.
     
  21. comanchepilot

    comanchepilot En-Route

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    The only time that tow bar is ever attached to an airplane is when it is in your hand . . . .
     
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  22. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You bet.

    Wanna put it down? Remove it from the plane and stow it.
     
  23. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Another case made for a final 360° walkaround.

    Though I can see how the mindset of "I'm only taxiing" could short circuit that.
     
  24. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One of my favorites....
    [​IMG]
     
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  25. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Years ago, a Beechjet from a neighboring charter company dragged a GPU from the FBO ramp to the end of the runway at SLC. I guess the crew couldn't be bothered with waiting for the FBO's ground crew and forgot to notice the GPU still attached to their airplane. Oops!
     
  26. citizen5000

    citizen5000 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You said it yourself. No preflight.
     
  27. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Damn! Pilots are starting earlier than ever. Previously it was guys getting their certificate in 40 hours, now this!;););););)
     
  28. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Sounds to me that if he's able to push a plan back into the hangar then he's waaaaaaay late on the PP training. ;)
     
  29. FLYGUYRY

    FLYGUYRY Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Interesting, at my school SOP is to put the bar on to push the plane back in the hangar and it stays on till someone pulls it out, wonder if that's bad practice
     
  30. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    All of this confirms that my doing one final "big picture" lap around the aircraft is a really good idea. Especially if I have gotten distracted by returning to the hangar for something.
     
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  31. arnoha

    arnoha Line Up and Wait

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    One of the things that I've often seen, and am considering...

    If you have a two-part tow-bar, keep the pin on the keyring. That way, you can't start the engine with the pin still in the towbar.
     
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  32. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    ^^^^^^This^^^^^^

    I have caught several items on this large lap around the plane.

    Tow bar...cones that I failed to move...chocks...even luggage sitting outside the plane...
     
  33. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    I fly for a living and I do just that. I also double check all the doors and latches at that time to ensure closed and locked.

    Just a side note, the Piper PA-350 Chieftain has had some pretty bad crashes from the nose cargo door coming open right after rotation, so that one is checked and double checked.
     
  34. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Yep.. minimum preflight inspection is a walkaround. Check chocks, visually inspect control surfaces, look for open compartments etc... Even for the shortest stops.

    Lesson learned, I stopped in New Bern one day just to take a leak. While I was taking care of business some enterprising line guy came in and chocked a wheel. Started up, called tower for taxi clearance, throttled up.. whoops!! "Uh tower, I forgot the chocks, BRB"
     
  35. Squirrelfury

    Squirrelfury Filing Flight Plan

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    I sure think so. I'm an advocate of the "... towbar isn't attached to the strut unless my hand is on it" school of thought.

    Last year, a fellow at my airport took his towbar for a flight. Another pilot saw him depart and radioed him to come back. By that time, I was parked at the last-chance area and took the photo below as he landed. No prop contact, no damage. Dodged a bullet.

    fullsizeoutput_3ba.jpeg
     
  36. FLYGUYRY

    FLYGUYRY Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hmm...do you guys have to pull it out of the hangar there? I'm not sure how someone would forget to take the bar off if you pull it out of the hangar, but I could see it happening if you just park on the ramp or grass and only have to push it into place, not pull it out.
     
  37. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I don't think that's what many here are advocating at all.

    I advocate a 360° final walkaround, but only after a normal preflight, never in lieu of one.
     
  38. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Yes... I always do a "full" preflight for the first flight of the day.
     
  39. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Which you're free to do, truncating or eliminating the preflight on all subsequent legs on a given day.

    Personally, the logic escapes me. Why, exactly, is something significant that needs attention less likely to develop on flights on a given day, as opposed to the last leg, to be caught on the next day's preflight?

    I still recommend a full preflight every time one is out of the plane and in a position to do so. I don't buy "It's too much trouble", "It takes too much time" or "It's just not necessary" as convincing reasons not to.
     
  40. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    To each his own, but a full preflight takes time. If I fly one hour and stop to take a bathroom break, I don't see the need to go through the whole song and dance when I was just flying the airplane 5 minutes ago. I mean why do we wait a whole year to do an annual?

    Personally I do a full preflight on the first flight of the day. That means oil, gas, get down on my knees, inspect brakes, gear, tires, pressure, turn on the lights, look closely at all of the control surface attachments, flaps, flap actuator, control cables, pitot/static, prop blades, check for nests in the cowl flaps etc...

    Subsequent flights the preflight inspection is usually limited to oil, gas, 360 walkaround, maybe wiggle the tail feathers/ailerons on my way around.