How many close calls?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by rpadula, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Stolen from the "Cleared for the Approach" folder:

    Care to elaborate on these Bob so we can all learn from your experiences?

    How about everyone else? What's your near-midair story?

    My only one happened a few years ago when I was in the right seat of my buddy's 210. On a clear morning, we got the standard initial IFR departure from LZU: rwy 25, heading 180, 3000. Tower hands us off to Atlanta and we can't get a word in edgewise to check in. About 30 seconds or so later there's an Arrow heading straight for us! I was the one who spotted it and yelled out "keep climbing!" because, well, in a 210 we could outclimb it. I believe it was inbound for LZU.

    If we had stayed on tower freq. a little longer maybe they could've let us know...likewise if ATL wasn't so busy, they would've had time to tell us too. I don't know if LZU tower had a radar display then, but it does now.


    -Rich
     
  2. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've had a couple. One was a few years ago. OLM had me in a right pattern on 17 with traffic entering the pattern from the south. I was on right crosswind when I saw the inbound traffic coming on the the 45 a bit upwind of where he should have been - right in front of me. I ducked, which was easier for me to do since I was still climbing at the time.

    The second was last October. My son and I were flying down to Mt. Saint Helens to take some pictures. I had just changed course to fly direct to the mountain and was still climbing to my planned cruise altitude when another Cessna passed over us (about 500 feet or so) going the opposite way. No harm, no foul, but there wasn't a whole lot of time to react. Oncoming traffic is really hard to see until the last second.
     
  3. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

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    What is that, a rabbit with a pancake on its head?

    You get a gold star for your avatar.
     
  4. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    I had one back in December.

    I was flying left downwind for runway 8 at KVAY. I had reached the end of downwind and reduced power when an Archer called entering on left base for runway 8. He was about 1/4 mile away on a converging course so I gave it full power and a hard right and climbed/turned out of the pattern. I probably had 20 seconds to do something, but chose to take action right away. The annoying part was that this immediately followed a go-around caused by a plane back-taxiing on the runway.

    I really think that incidents like this should cause the FAA to REQUIRE entry on the 45 for most uncontrolled airports when not IFR. People doing straight-ins and base entries really screw things up when the pattern is busy - they just barge on in.
     
  5. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Straight in vs 45.

    There are times when alternative pattern entries are actually beneficial to the other traffic, and they certainly can be done without creating conflicts with anyone else in the pattern. Barging in and straight in are not synonymous (that's not to say that some pilots on straight in approaches aren't oblivious to other aircraft at the airport). And FWIW if everyone entered "on the 45" you'd end up with a lot more conflicts on midfield downwind. What works best is if everyone involved (in the pattern, enterring the pattern, and on the runway) cooperates instead of trying to get all the "other idiots" in the air to use their methods.
     
  6. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    I think I'd agree if I hadn't had so much trouble in my short flying career. Asking everybody to cooperate is problematic in practice.
     
  7. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In over 25 years of flying I've had suprisingly few and none involved proximity to an uncontrolled field where one usually expects such a problem.

    Two were at towered fields. One of those was at my home base (no doubt my biggest exposure) when the tower turned an airplane 180 degrees directly into my 12 O'Clock about a 100 yards away. This one wasn't really that close a call since I saw the bogey halfway through it's turn and was easily able to turn/climb out of the way, but that's when I learned first hand what the tower's actual traffic separation responsibilities are (pretty much nothing WRT planes in the air).

    The second tower assisted "near paint swap" was when I was landing at night on a nice easy ILS (broke out at about 1000 AGL) and subsequently discovered in the flare that the tower was landing another airplane on the same runway in the opposite direction. We both went around after figuring out that the white lights at the other end of the runway were moving too much to be an out of calibration VASI. I waved at the other plane as we passed although I don't think he could see my hand in the dark.

    And the only other close call I've had was miles from any airport while cruising along in a Cessna. I discovered another Cessna about 50 ft higher on an intersecting course at a nearly right angle when the other plane was about 200 ft away. From my perspective, the plane just materialized there, but there's no doubt that I simply wasn't looking hard enough. As he was clearly going to cross above me, I merely descended a little before attending to the bad smell in my shorts.
     
  8. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    Re: Straight in vs 45.


    Uh oh. The last time this topic got started on "the other board", it went to over 60 replies. There are many strong adherents to the "45 entry only" position and equally as many adherents to the "non-standard entries ok" camp.

    I have done both, as most of us have, I'm sure. The straight ins and base entries and cross-wind entries can be quite safe, if done with some prudence, and with paying attention to other traffic.

    At home, if the pattern is slow or empty, confirmed by both radio and by solid visual scan, I will do non-standard entries if they facilitate my pattern arrival. If the pattern has more than two planes in it, though, I will usually go the long way around and come in 45.

    IMHO.

    Let the discussion begin.

    Jim G
     
  9. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    You know what - if everybody did that, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

    The problem is that people get lazy, and don't make the required checks before using a non-standard entry.

    There's no reason that we couldn't land in opposite directions at the same time if the runway is long enough and winds are right. The fact that the pilots involved might be less than perfect is the reason that we don't.
     
  10. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

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    Re: Straight in vs 45.

    I'll add that our level of experience has a lot to do with how we feel about standard and nonstandard pattern entries. I agree that there are times when a nonstandard entry is the best and safest choice. Back in the fall, maybe until Sept. or Oct., I would only do entries from the 45, and now, even I will occasionally do something different.

    But I am still very close to my student pilot days, and I remember well when other pilots' base, final, or crosswind entries really threw me. There were all these people throwing monkey wrenches into the mix. It was hard enough seeing everyone in the pattern without worrying that they were coming in from all over the place.

    So, I say, when considering a nonstandard entry, pretend that everyone else in the pattern is a student pilot and communicate your intentions clearly and well ahead of time.
     
  11. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    Don't get me wrong, I do not advocate non-standard patterns without lots of looking and talking. At home base, one pilot is particularly noted for coming in straight, even into a busy pattern. And he seems to consider the radio as an optional piece of equipment. He has caused problems on a couple of occasions that I know of.

    Remember too, though, that on marginal days, at airports like 40N, Chester Co., non-towered with an ILS, that many folks will be riding the glide slope in on long, straight in approaches, without talking to anyone until they are fairly close in. These folks "cut the pattern", with good reason of course, but they add to the entertainment value when you are on far downwind and on base.

    As I stated at first, this topic has been the subject of some fun and lively debates in the past.

    Jim G
     
  12. Auburn_CFI

    Auburn_CFI Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Does 91.126 (b) not make entering the pattern in the opposite direction illegal. Such as entering a "right base" when traffic to the runway is published as left. I realize this does not address straight in approaches. Just a question.
     
  13. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    Despite being an attorney, I have to admit that reading the dang FARs gives me a headache. But, I agree that 91.126 pretty clearly says you make left turns if the pattern is left turns. Obviously, there is a FAR somewhere else for helicopter pilots, who enter pattern with right turns.

    But there is no rule limiting straight ins, and cross wind entries and things of that ilk. I can enter the pattern from cross-wind, as long as I do it with standard left turns.

    It seems to come down to safety and judgement as to how you get there. The standard pattern is, obviously, entry on the 45. But it is not a mandatory pattern entry. Recommended. Not mandatory.

    Jim G
     
  14. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Given that a right base entry is pretty darn likely to require a right turn to final ( I suppose you could make a left 270 but let's not go there), I'd say such path would very much violate the reg. And I've read of at least one pilot being violated for that exact transgression. OTOH I do believe that one could legally enter a straight in final from the "wrong" side as long as the wrong direction turn was made well outside the airport traffic area, say 6-10 miles out. This makes the actual entry a straight in.

    BTW the "standard" 45 degree entry to downwind involves an equally "illegal" wrong direction turn, although that one is obviously aceptable.
     
  15. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    My scariest near-miss was in the pattern at Islip; I was doing touch & goes (with my transponder on "standby" per tower's request), and someone else was in a climbing turn to depart. My other top candidates were all at towered fields. Don't trust the tower to do all the separation, even in Class C!

    --Kath
     
  16. RotaryWingBob

    RotaryWingBob En-Route Gone West

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    Ah, my old airport, VAY. I had two close calls there. The first was when I was a student getting a pre-solo checkride with a CFI. I had just departed 8 and was about to turn crosswind when I realized there was a twin on base for 26. No announcement, no nothin'. I know who that SOB was, too. He did a couple of runway incursions later which got him a 709 checkride.

    The second was flying north along rt 206 near Flying W. A Cessna departed the W and almost climbed into me. I got a TIS alert, did a hard right turn and climb and saw him. God bless TIS.

    The third was a little north of my new airport (N99) with a CFI for some recurrent training. I had departed the pattern to the north, got a TIS alert and couldn't finf the other a/c. I asked the CFI to look and he didn't see it either. I told him I was going to make a hard right turn and did about a 60 degree bank. I saw the other a/c about 10 seconds later -- had I not turned we might very well have collided. God bless TIS again.

    All three were in airplanes.

    I don't buy, however, that the 45 is the only safe entry, although I do favor it if there's lots of traffic. I see nothing wrong with joining base or a straight-in if you won't screw up the pattern. Helicopters are a different matter -- I don't think I've ever flown a 45 entry in a helicopter, nor do I see any need to with the great visibility we have and the fact that there's little traffic generally on our side of the field.
     
  17. ggroves

    ggroves Pattern Altitude

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    A few Saturday's back...checking out a guy in the flight school's 172RG.

    We were in the practice area 7 or 8 miles SW of the airport @ 3,000. After a series of S-Turns to clear the area, I asked for a slow flight demo, followed by a power off stall. As the nose dropped and he began the recovery, a Mooney passed underneath us at a 90 degree angle. Out of the corner of my eye, the Mode S display on the 430 showed him 200 feet below our altitude.

    Upon returning to the airport, I discovered it was a maintenance flight with my A & P on board....I'm guessing they were focusing on something besides traffic.

    Greg
    182RG
    CFI-IA
     
  18. RobertGerace

    RobertGerace Guest

    Both times were near training apirports on the first clear Saturday after a long bout of IMC. Atlanta turns in to a hornet's nest.

    I try not to fly on Saturday's any more, but if I do...you guessed it...I file.
     
  19. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've had several.

    One of the more recent was on a day that the EAA SW Regional Fly In was at KBAZ. I went out that morning to fly instrument proficiency with my CFI. We were using the ILS at KHYI (uncontrolled field) because it's the nearest "non-airline" field that has an ILS. When we returned to Approach on the missed, we advised that we were going VFR to another field 20 miles away. They cut us loose in the climb - headed directly toward two inbounds for BAZ. Were it not for the Mode-S transponder, it likely would have been a midair. As it was, we missed by a few hundred feet.

    There have been others, sometimes under IFR or ATC control. Like one time climbing out of Nashville. Or another where we were cleared to land on short final as tower was clearing a flight to depart opposite direction same runway. In the uncontrolled category, there was a guy flying departure out of KHAO in a non-standard pattern as we were inbound.

    Mode-S doesn't work everywhere, but I'm convinced it helps in areas where it does work. It's shown me all the traffic that a visual scan misses.
     
  20. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Lemme guess... Winder? Gainesville?

    As soon as I get some free time, I plan to add to the hornet's nest. Someone here mentioned there's a Commaner for rent over at LZU that I'd like to try.

    I promise I'll keep an eye out for ya! :D


    -Rich
     
  21. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    about 4 that would qualify, equally distributed between Class C and Class E airspace. In each case I did the maneuvering, they apparently didn't even know or care I was there.
    All in good vfr conditions. And my eyesight is not as good as I'd like it to be.
     
  22. anonn

    anonn Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Re: Straight in vs 45.

    Please provide an AIM reference which indicates entry via crosswind, upwind, base, or straight-in is 'non-standard'.
     
  23. Rudy

    Rudy Line Up and Wait

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    I had one. I was flying solo around the pattern and i saw an airplane i radioed and said "aircraft over pittsburg what are your intentions" no answer but he was heading east and i thoght he as staying out of the pattern. I took off and he appeared to be on a long base for the active. I radioed again "aircraft over pittsburg what are your intentions." no answer, at this point i thought his radio was out so i said if you can hear me wave your wings. he appeared to do so. I then turned base in front of him probably about a 1/4 mile and landed. On my touch and go right after taking off i looked out and he was probably 200 ft from me. Turns out he was on the wrong freq. and while i was cussing him he was cussing me too. He thought i cut him off, we talked about it later and no harm was done.
     
  24. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Two come to mind. One was on left base to landing at Deer Valley AZ. Tower "forgot" about the cessna on right base. I was shaking for a good 20 minutes. I kept looking for paint transfer. I called the tower when down, you can bet.

    The other was on the ground at BTP two summers ago. I was departing 26; the runway is crowned, you can't see the other end. After having monitored the freq for about five minutes an dmade two calls, I called taking 26 for departure. As the MP needles settled on 38", I heard a PA28 call rolling on 08. I did make it off the runway at the first taxiway as he roared overhead.

    He obviously rolled out, turned on the radio, and lit the fires. I did my share of screaming. And, I sent a letter to the FSDO probably to no avail (did get the numbers).

    There is a third. This was a nose to nose with an agtractor who was talkin to nobody, reverse in the pattern at a county airport. I could see his Maui Jims over the radial engine. I stalled it inverted in the abrupt pullup-rollover, which was a combined wingover accelerated stall. Sigh. I lived.

    Now I make like Bob G. No country strips unless it's clear; Circling overhead approach midfield at 2000 agl until all fools are found and i.d'd. IFR up in the teens where the crowd isn't, Instrument approaches in C and D space.
     
  25. spiderweb

    spiderweb Final Approach

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    That settles it--I'm ONLY going to fly on hard IMC days!
     
  26. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I believe a better solution would be to require all airports to state the excepted traffic pattern in the Facilities Directory, and require that as a portion of the required preflight planning for all pilots.

    Because the 45 degree entry does not fit all airports, due to noise abatement and other reasons.
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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  28. tparsons

    tparsons Pre-takeoff checklist

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    About 2 years ago, I was involved in a project to fly disabled kids and a parent to a nearby uncontrolled airport to visit an air fair. I had had my PP for only about 1 year.

    There were quite a few aircraft in the pattern, and I had to extend my downwind quiet a bit in order maintain a semblance of spacing for landing. On short final, a descending Cessna 182 suddenly appears in my windscreen, each wingtip roughly at the edges of my view. Wow! Fortunately I kept my wits and did a quick sidestep to the right.

    Another near incident I learned from. While a student pilot, I pulled onto the runway and held after a Cub or similar (small & slow) landed, expecting him to exit shortly. He didn't. He did a slow speed taxi for nearly the remaining length of the runway, then took off. There I am on the threshold waiting, seemingly forever, after another plane has announced base, then final. Never again will I enter a runway while another plane is still on runway.
     
  29. dkneisler

    dkneisler Filing Flight Plan

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  30. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    But Tom, this would require discipline. And GA...well, we don't have no steenkin discipline. Sigh.
     
  31. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Mine was a little different, worth sharing I think.

    Departing a rural airport with a skydiving training school on premises. It was just after sundown, dark enough that I needed the flashlight for preflight and checklist. From immediately after engine start, I had radio on and tuned to CTAF. Leisurely taxi to runup area for the wind-favored runway (God save me from the abuse I'd get if I called it the "active"...), runup, final checklist and ready to go. Never any peep on frequency.

    Called "Smallville traffic, Cessna 123 taking runway three six for takeoff, Smallville." Strobes on (the wild-ass comet flash type), taxi onto runway, line it up, verify DG alignment, final controls-free wiggle, called "Smallville, Cessna 123 on the roll takeoff runway three six, Smallville."

    I brought up the power and, as I began to accelerate, I saw *something* out of the corner of my eye (right eye), knew not what, but knew I saw something, pulled power, hard brakes and on the radio, "Smallville traffic, is there a jump plane on frequency?"

    Reply "This is the jump plane, I have three divers out, I called 'em."

    B.S. I was on frequency a good ten minutes before I took the runway.

    My turnout for home was to the east (right), it was a cool night, I was light, and the jump school people aim for the grass between the runway and the taxiway, east side. I saw (as it turned out) the first of three as he maneuvered for his arrival.

    No lights of any kind on the jumpers.

    He confirmed for me how many he had out and, straining my eyes in the dark, I saw the last one land (and picked out the strobes of the jump plane on his way down), and took off. Coulda been ugly, but instead, it was another chance to learn.

    Oh yeah, there was also the flight of two lawnchairs with engines (powered parachutes) at 2,000 inside the ADS Class D surface area, NORDO, no strobes. But when I posted about those a year or two ago, I got flamed for believing there was anything stupid about it. So, fugehdaboudit.
     
  32. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No guarantee, Ben. There are fools that will pop right through a layer. "Well, there was a hole there". sigh.
     
  33. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Most of the ATC folks behind the mic are good. There is the occasional goofball. The real problem with ATC are the paperpushers sitting behind a desk that have no idea what happens out there. They listen to the airlines, and forumlate policy from there. Example: V198 is the only reasonable route west to east/east to west over the Houston Class B. You won't get it IFR unless you're at 17,000. You'll get a route from somewhere west of Eagle Lake over Scholes, east, then up over Sabine Pass before rejoining the airway. That's why I think that AOPA's efforts to get "Terminal" routes defined through the Class B's will end up being mental masturbation. I don't believe that the ATC management will ever let the controllers actually assign them.

    As for your experience at SAT, that happened because the SWA terminal is at the end of 12R. Shorter, faster, easier for him to roll out the length of the runway than to take the taxiway. SWA management encourages speedy arrivals. Remember the Burbank incident?
     
  34. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Simple radio communications by all, along with visual scanning to form a dynamic picture of the pattern combined with courtesy and common sense will yield no problems for pilots on any entry angle. But there's often some chimp in the sky who can't or won't grasp that simple and time proven concept.