Famous (and infamous) people.. who are pilots

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Peter Ha, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. MacFly

    MacFly Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Messages:
    525
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MacFly
    I agree with that, and it gives me confidence in my RV. Firewall forward is a plain old Lycoming factory new engine. Nothing about maintaining or inspecting it gives my A&P even the slightest pause.
     
  2. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,338
    Location:
    Seattle
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ron Wanttaja
    No chance at all of getting into the tail cone of my airplane, but at least it has a line of inspection holes running across the bottom so that I can get a hand in there.

    Here's me in the midst of installing my own ADS-B out. Under normal circumstances, it's very difficult to reach the area underneath the panel. My airplane has a large panel in the belly (about 15" wide by 3' long) that lets me sit on the belly stringers and drop my feet out the bottom. Lets me lean forward under the panel without having to bend in half.

    upload_2020-12-19_9-22-18.png
    The biggest problem is "friends" walking by, yelling, "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" :)

    Ron Wanttaja
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  3. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,338
    Location:
    Seattle
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ron Wanttaja
    John Denver had an infinite level of mechanical ability...because he could afford to hire as many people as he needed to get the plane in the state he wanted it. Not many of us are in that boat.

    He'd received a checkout from another pilot the day before the accident. The NTSB report said, that the checkout pilot "... had simulated changing tanks using the selector on one occasion on the ground and that he was not pleased with the location. Because of the difficulties of using the selector, he said that he had never used the selector in flight."

    Denver had bought the airplane about two weeks earlier...and immediately had it repainted. Hard to believe he hadn't tried to cycle the selector through, especially since it must have been easily accessible when standing outside the airplane.

    We don't know what was in his mind, whether he'd recognized the issue and had planned to correct it in the near future. I tend to believe he probably did. He certainly could have afforded to. But making it pretty had been his first objective, so he had it repainted before he even flew it.

    I am reminded of John Denver's accident every time I try to work the fuel valve in my own airplane...because it's very stiff, and a bit awkward to get at. On the plus side, it's just an on-off valve that only gets turned during annuals. And when one mag wouldn't just off, last summer.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  4. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    54,382
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Kinda par for the course considering the rainbow jet... LOL
     
  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,654
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    I don't doubt there is quite a bit of that, especially with the quick-build options and the builder assist centers. Those are really targeted at standardized airframe construction and "options" or customizing are generally limited to paint schemes, interior finishing and how elaborate the avionics suite is.

    To me this has always seemed a bit of a perversion of the intent of E-AB, which was an educational purpose, especially when we started to see turboprop homebuilts and such. Difficult to see how educational it is to hire someone to build your $1+ MM rocketship, compared to the origins in E-AB building from plans starting with basic materials, like rolls of aluminum or a crate full of spruce.

    There is one other important consituency that is a customer of airplane kits. People that don't actually like to fly, but like to build things. Frank Christensen, who revolutionized the kit built airplane business with the Christen Eagle, may have identified this first. His firm discovered that there were a rather large number of Eagles that were being put up for sale with very few hours flown after completion. In an interview he said that initially everyone in the company was very concerned there was something wrong with the flying characteristics of the plane that they were not aware of, and that was causing dissatisfied 'pilots' to put their airplanes up for sale. After investigating further Christen discovered significant numbers of purchasers of the kits were 'builders', not 'flyers'. And they were selling the completed planes to raise the money to fund the next building project.

    I know a couple of these at my airport. One is now well along building his third RV-10 :eek: (I can't imagine finding the time to assemble just one of those :(), and another has now built six 2-seat RVs, and is about to embark on his next, another RV-8. :cool:
     
  6. MacFly

    MacFly Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Messages:
    525
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MacFly
    Everybody needs a hobby. Some people like to fly, some people like to build. Personally, I don’t care what the “intent “of E-AB is. If the FAA is happy, I’m happy. Isn’t that how the saying goes? “FAA – we’re not happy until you’re happy”?

    Personally, I’m happy that I’m able to fly an experimental airplane without actually having to build it.
     
    Daleandee likes this.
  7. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,802
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    True, but paying people to fix things is not the same thing as truly understanding the ramifications of a particular design and knowing how to deal with issues as they arise.
     
    Daleandee likes this.
  8. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,338
    Location:
    Seattle
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ron Wanttaja
    Absolutely correct, and that's one of the primary things that went wrong in John Denver's accident.

    We pilots are, as a rule, spoiled. We learn to fly on airplanes that were certified in accordance to strict Federal standards. Many of us fly common GA aircraft for years. There are standards for how the planes handle, there are standards to how the controls function, there are standards for maximizing the safety of the design.

    None of that applies to homebuilts. We are all trained to expect planes to react to the controls in a certain way, and a homebuilt isn't necessarily going to do that.

    I'm kind of twentieth-tier when it comes down to aviation press, so the homebuilt manufacturers rarely invite me to fly demo aircraft. One exception to that was about 25 years ago, when I was invited to fly a tube-and-fabric homebuilt that was like an enlarged Kitfox. The company pilot took off, which I figure was OK since, hey, he didn't really know me. But when we got to altitude and took over, I discovered the airplane had MONDO adverse yaw.

    Now, I'd flown Champs, Super Cubs, Stinsons, Stearmans and the like...but had *never* flown a plane with that much adverse yaw. Move the stick to the left....and the plane started turning right. "Lead with the rudder," said the demo pilot, and of course, that worked. But it was certainly counter-intuitive to all my flying reflexes.

    That was probably why he didn't let me do the takeoff. Sure, adverse yaw was pretty common in the early days of aviation. But we'd basically solved that by the mid-30s. Even my Fly Baby, a throwback if there was ever one, has differential gearing on the ailerons to eliminate it.

    But you can imagine how this might surprise a modern pilot making his first flight in the aircraft.

    John Denver had flown other experimental aircraft, and got a checkout in the Long-EZ. A fuel system like that would never have passed muster on an airplane intended to be type certificated, but, as Dana says, Denver didn't truly understand the ramifications. Combine that with needing to read the fuel gauges in a mirror, combine that with the fuel gauges not being marked, combine that with the fuel gauges never having been calibrated.....

    Well.

    Too many buyers of flying homebuilts think that since the plane has completed its test period, all the bugs are out of it. But some bugs are never eradicated.

    I once looked at the accident statistics for purchased homebuilts, and found an interesting result. Roughly 14% of all accidents for brand-new homebuilts occur in the first five hours, but nearly 20% of accidents involving a purchaser occurred in their first five hours of flight in that "proven" aircraft.
    upload_2020-12-19_12-49-44.png
    The builder has several years to prepare for flying their plane the first time. Likely, they'll try to get some stick time in another example of the same type, and will discuss the handling and other issues with other owners. Since they develop the systems, they'll be very familiar with how they work.

    Homebuilt purchasers? Heck, they have 100 hours in a Bonanza, they should be able to handle that Lancair OK....

    The builder-flown aircraft have a higher number of mechanical issues in those first five hours, but pilot error is greatly elevated among the purchased-homebuilt crowd.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  9. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    710
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    My first Sonex (a nose-roller) was mostly built by a gentleman that did a tremendous job of it. I'm glad I got to build the one I have now as I learned a great deal from a mentor that had built a few planes in his life. It also makes the maintenance & inspections easier.

    The build was a great deal of enjoyment. But I do like the flying part of it too ... if I can ever get it put back together.

    BTW ... I likes that new avatar! ;)
     
  10. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    Messages:
    11,161
    Location:
    Bolingbrook, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bruce C
    And that he DECLINED additional fuel despite it being recommended to him.
    And that he was an alcoholic in violation of his Special Issuance.
    and....sigh.....
     
  11. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    387
    Location:
    Lehman, PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingTiger
    I can understand why some didn't like John Denver's music, as a young man I didn't, too soft. However as I have gotten older, learned to appreciate his music and have a few of his songs on my iPod. Don't think it was mentioned but he wrote the song "Leaving on a Jet Plane" made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary. He scores big points for that alone. By all accounts he was genuinely a nice guy until he became self destructive, shame addiction got to him. Believe his dad was a military pilot, possible fighters.

    Phil Mickelson is a pretty accomplished pilot. Another guy that had a military pilot dad.

    Ted Williams, not sure he was previously listed. I remember reading an article that he was an incredible pilot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
  12. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Kolarado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Oldmanb777
    John's Dad was a military pilot. They had their differences. That troubled him a lot. His Dad being career military wasn't too keen on his career choices. Took many years before they started to get along. Ultimately his Dad flew the B707 for John, as well as they flew the Lear together. The Christen Eagle was also on their fun list. Buying the Lear was ( he named it"Windsong") was like a young kid opening presents at Christmas. He had a check made and framed to show the royalties for the movie Oh God. He enjoyed saying that "this check bought that plane. Anyway, for all the issues, I enjoyed the music.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    19,656
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    And had he run out of fuel OR been under the influence, those points would have had some bearing to the crash.
     
  14. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    2,557
    Location:
    Rockwood Storage Facility
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mantis Toboggan, MD
    He certainly kept a cool head. :rolleyes:

    Nauga,
    just chillin'
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    19,656
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I believe the plane was scheduled to go into maintenance shortly after the fatal trip. It was my personal conjecture at the time is that the reason he didn't top off the tanks was he knew the fuel selector was going to be worked on and the tanks needed to be drained anyhow.
     
  16. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    710
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    Harrison Ford has been mentioned already but for as much as we like to poke at him for his famous landings he really is a great promoter of aviation (at least with his slick videos).

    I liked this one because there are a number of really cool planes to be seen in it but a point is being made also ...

     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021 at 7:26 PM
    Howard Wilson and X3 Skier like this.
  17. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    418
    Location:
    KADS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Plano Pilot
  18. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Kolarado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Oldmanb777
    On the John Denver crash. I will leave you with this thought................ "some days are diamonds, some are stones" Make of it what you will..............
     
  19. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    710
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    Well ... let's not forget Tommy Smothers, "I am a pilot!" (Starts at 2:40)

     
    X3 Skier likes this.