KWVI Watsonville MId Air, Multiple Fatalities

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Shawn, Aug 18, 2022.

  1. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    I can see why they'd do that. They probably thought you were making an on-course pattern departure off the downwind. Why didn't you turn abeam the Cirrus too?
     
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  2. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    If they were listening to the radio and he didn’t announce departing the pattern, why should they think that? Oh, never mind. I’ll tune out again.
     
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  3. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    If it's operative it must be operating.
     
  4. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    4 students doing touch and goes and the Cirrus pilot calls and then flies a straight in? The cirrus pilot is a dick. That said, I wonder why the other two behind you didn't see you extending. Did you make a call that you were extending to let the dick on the straight in go by?
     
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  5. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Did you announce that you were extending downwind for the straight-in aircraft?
     
  6. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    With 4 in the pattern, a straight in is probably the easiest way to get into the flow of traffic. Where is he supposed to fit coming in on the 45? I just don’t understand the hostility over the straight in.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you happen to be approaching straight in, there’s nothing you can do that’s any better than just going straight in. Gets you out of the pattern the fastest.
     
  8. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I fly a Cirrus, and I do straight ins quite a bit, when there is no or little traffic. It sounds like this guy was doing a straight in with 4 planes on down wind. A cirrus can easily fly 100 knots in the pattern which makes it pretty easy to blend in with other traffic in a normal pattern. I have a problem with the straight in guy because there was no way he wasn't going to cut at least one plane off. It sounds none of these guys were talking, other than probably making standard calls. IMO the Cirrus guy was the one who should have been talking more. Figuring out if he was going to be able to blend in and hopefully hearing that the planes on downwind would extend for him.

    I have no problem with straight ins, but pilots have to use their heads. I've broken off my straight ins to maneuver into the pattern from a more standard entry when the straight in was going to cause problems.

    The other problem I have with the scenario is 4 students flying touch and goes in a pattern especially with other planes flying in to land. It's been a long time, but I'm pretty sure my primary instructor, way back when, wanted me to not fly solo in crowded untowered patterns.
     
  9. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Sounds to me like someone missed their opportunity to turn in and want to blame it on someone else.
     
  10. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Yep, that 340 was resting in a hangar in no time.
     
  11. Flying Doc

    Flying Doc Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree with almost everything but the statement above. It sounds good but it is factually and statistically false. Towers have a much lower accident rate. And would be very useful in very congested areas.
     
  12. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    But the tower controlled field rate should be zero in theory, not just "lower". Everyone is in communication on the same frequency, and when tower gives an instruction you are required by regs to comply unless it's necessary to deviate because of an emergency.

    While the accident rate should be zero, it's astounding to me how many mid-airs actually occur in towered airspace, and they make up a big percentage of the overall mid-air collision rate. I sometimes wonder what the accident rate would be if we required EVERYONE approaching to land at any airport to circle the field to the left and fit in when you see an opportunity.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The “accident” rate might be lower, but as long as there are still people at the controls, there will still be idiots claiming ROW instead of allowing the opportunity.
     
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  14. Flying Doc

    Flying Doc Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The students are a reflection of their instructors. If what you say is true that is not an airport I ever want to fly into or would want my kids learning at. My instructor spent a good amount of time with me not just focusing on hitting the numbers on touchdown but making sure I get there alive in the pattern. Basic pilot survival rules weve all addressed here: never do straight in if anyone in pattern. Like circle to land its too dangerous. Always respect the pattern. When in doubt overfly 1000feet above and descend into the 45. And last but not least save your own ***. Get out of the way of Morons. Like you did. extend downwind the go kick some arse once safely on grownd.
     
  15. Flying Doc

    Flying Doc Pre-takeoff checklist

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    LMAO. Example why we have accidents. Most in GA have regular ground jobs and think arguing the rules and winning the argument will result in a safe flight. It may, until another thinks he is right and damn be the other. … unlike the ground based workplace, in the air its damn be both.
    Lets keep it simple. If you are one of the rude arses that drops straight in after watching TopGun or Star Wars get in line. Configure your ****ty little plane to do what everyone else is doing. Fly safely, join the pattern get out of the way of idiots and stay alive. Cirrus and other smart alecs with slightly faster planes talking about how they do this and that. Ugh those planes are still like the upper lower class calling the middle lower class poor. And if your plane is so entitled that it cannot fly the pattern go somewhere else or build your own airport.
     
  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Pilots can be pedantic folk

    Good ADM means sometimes straight in is appropriate and other times it is not. If a glider dives in with his spoilers on and excess speed in front of someone else, obviously the guy behind is in a better position to avoid that glider but does not mean that the glider was in the right. If a car runs a red light they also do not have the right of way but you'll do your best not to hit them

    What I like about joining on the downwind is it gives me time to figure out the traffic flow and slide inappropriately. If I'm going for the straight in there is an unknown there, when will that person on donwind turn base and final and how it impact my flow..

    Just recently I was at Fallbrook (L18) doing touch and goes in the pattern, small uncontrolled airport with a short-ish runway (~2160). There was a 182 coming in on the rnav practice approach. We communicated, and I extended my downwind so he could do the straight in from the rnav. He wasn't an A$$ and I didn't cut him off. We communicated and worked together. I probably could have slipped in in front of them but it was just easier to extend the downwind..

    Pilots need to be adaptable to a variety of situations.
     
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  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    TLDR; just don't be a d!ck
     
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  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One thing that worries me is the number of people who sound like they believe that traffic in the pattern has the right-of-way over traffic on final if the traffic on final got there via a straight-in-approach. That seems to me to be a dangerous belief, considering the wording of both Section 11.11 of AC 90-66B and 14 CFR 91.113(g). On the other hand, that which is legal is not always safe. No matter which side of the right-of-way argument you are on, no one should take it for granted that the other aircraft will yield, and everyone should keep their head on a swivel, be ready to take evasive action if needed, and quickly and concisely communicate in which direction they are deviating.
     
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  19. Aaron Leiby

    Aaron Leiby Filing Flight Plan

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    Why?
     
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  20. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    The problem with T&Gs by multiple planes (school) is they basically monopolize the airport.
    I think (I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this) is incoming full stop traffic (often cross countries) should be given priority to allow them to land and get out of the way.
    Planes staying in the pattern need to adjust their patterns to allow visiting traffic to land. If I was the airport manager I would insist any local school do this.
    I’ve made a straight in without affecting pattern traffic, but with no taxiway had to back taxi and been yelled by planes in the pattern now turning base/final I’m on their runway. The FBO manager quickly shut him up, but they actually felt they “owned” the airport?
     
  21. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    I agree with this - in general. Completely prohibiting straight-in approaches doesn't solve the problem for aircraft with high approach speeds, because those planes would still need to enter a wide pattern, fly the legs, then enter final further from the airport than most of the aircraft already in the pattern. The problem comes when slower aircraft abuse the privilege, and it becomes a huge problem when more pilots do it at the same airport.

    All pilots should be able to accommodate the occasional straight-in approach when it's justified, but I think the hostility to the abusers is also justified, especially when it becomes part of the culture at a particular airport. That's one reason that towers are needed at high volume airports handling high approach speeds.

    I'd be happy to see those four training planes doing a touch and go also train to look for traffic on long finals and learn to adjust to them with minimal disruption in the pattern flow, which means simply extending downwind to let the faster plane continue and turn base to continue right behind it. That may add a minute or so to the time spent in the pattern until a gap appears which allows the pattern aircraft to shorten the legs again. It's a small price to pay to reduce the kind of accident that happened at Watsonville and gets repeated all to often at other fields.
     
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  22. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    TL:DR Sometimes, straight in is safer.

    Phase I in Sebastian was a nightmare sometimes. Pattern full of Pipers from the pilot mills up and down the coast with marginal English proficient students at the controls flying downwind at 75kts (or slower). Unable to understand but half of what they were announcing. One time when departing, I had to give up and taxi back to the hangar because there was never a space to get on to the runway to depart (oil temp got too hot).

    When it was like this, the jump planes would turn final about 1.5mi out (after doing their spiraling 90,000 FPM descent from "jumpers away") and call "final". The Piper's extended their downwind to accommodate. After I saw that a couple times I walked over and talked to one of the jump plane pilots. He said that it's the only way when it's crowed. So when I would return and the pattern was full like that, I just started doing straight in's. I had HID landing lights in the canard tips on wig-wag so I was highly visible. Gave me a lot of time to watch the traffic and I made sure that I could see everyone before getting inside the pattern. Worked out pretty well. Only had to break off the approach a couple times because someone turned base. No way I was going to try and dance in pattern with those guys when I was going 100kts.
     
  23. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    To me there are 3 reasons pilots do straight in approaches:

    1. They are flying an actual or simulated instrument approach.
    2. They are flying a heavy, fast, and complex aircraft where a longer stabilized descent is preferable.
    3. They do not want to go a few miles out of their way to set up a downwind entry.

    Two of them seem like pretty good reasons. The other, not so much.

    I also think some pilots put themselves in category 2 when they are not, perhaps due to a lack of confidence in their stick and rudder skills. Cirri drivers, looking at you! ::ducks::

    BTW I have seen KC-135's flying a reasonably tight pattern at MacDill AFB, and have seen F-16's fly a pattern that would make a Pitts proud.
     
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  24. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If I’m coming from the south to an airport with 3 in the pattern using 36, the best way for me to enter is straight in IMO. Anything else adds complication and doesn’t solve anything.
     
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  25. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    I fly NORDO in a Cub frequently. In the situation you describe, I just position myself on the non-pattern side of the approach course well before the pattern then enter an upwind for 36. It gives me a good look at the runway environment, the windsock, and the entire pattern side of the airfield, and it adds very little time to the flight. I'll often do that in the C206 as well if I suspect there are other aircraft in the pattern, including NORDO aircraft.

    ADD: Please don't let this suck anyone into a NORDO discussion, other than to remind people that they do co-exist at non-towered fields.
     
  26. Mahneuvers

    Mahneuvers Line Up and Wait

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    I'll add one to your list. When your passengers are new to flying or are otherwise uneasy. They sometimes don't like pattern turns at pattern altitudes.
     
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  27. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    Nor do corporate passengers or their on-board bosses like to fly in circles. I really don't mind the jets or fast twins or turbos flying straight-ins. It's probably good for GA that they have that option.

    Side note: Warren Sugarbush airport is privately owned, and we wanted to publish a prohibition of straight in approaches because of abundant glider activity, but my understanding is that we were not allowed to. I still look to the final approach path on every landing in the tow plane before turning to final.
     
  28. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At Watsonville, I wonder if that would risk a conflict with the skydivers who come down on the non-pattern side of the field.
     
  29. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    45 downwind entry cuts the closure rate between two aircraft nearly in half compared to straight in.

    Take the two aircraft in this accident. Closure rate was approx 200 mph. On a 45 entry it would have been 133 mph. That might have solved something.
     
  30. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe. But only one plane could make visual contact in that scenario, where both could in a straight in. And that one plane is the guy going 180. I don’t think he was looking out the window at all, so that makes a 45 entry much worse.
     
  31. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    Maybe, but the upwind leg is flown close to the runway, not a distance away like the downwind. It's also the "corridor" for go-arounds, so if it's a risk to the sky divers it's been there for a long time.
     
  32. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    But does flying out to a safe distance to a 45 to the downwind offer an advantage to just flying the upwind, crosswind, and downwind all close to the airport, particularly where there might be other aircraft inbound to the downwind? On the 45, your belly is facing any inbound traffic, which helps them see you but hurts you seeing them. On the upwind entry, your view of the pattern is much broader throughout the approach, and your escape from a conflict is always the option of widening your pattern - or turning inside the pattern, where no one else is "likely" to be.
     
  33. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    Not sure what that means.
     
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  34. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    If you're coming from the south and enter a 45 to the downwind for rwy 36, you would fly to the west of the pattern, then you make a right turn to enter the 45 for the downwind. With that turn you can't see any other inbound traffic that may also be trying to enter the 45. By turning, your wings are more visible to that aircraft, but the inbound aircraft is obscured from your vision because you are turning away from him.
     
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  35. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Which is why I make radio calls when turning…”Mooney is turning left base”. I have modern super bright LEDs as well. But none of that will help if the other plane is screaming in at 200 knots with “get out of my way “ attitude.
     
  36. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    As you should.


    There is no such thing as the best way to enter a pattern. There is only a best way for each scenario. Sometimes the best way is a straight in approach and this is true for every aircraft type.
     
  37. danhagan

    danhagan En-Route

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    I made the call extending ... more accurate I guess to state they probably turned a little earlier than abeam the straight in ...

    Clusters up students ... am pretty sure 2 of the 4 students were first time solo (which I think were the early base turn pilots). Years ago, with jump planes and transient AC, the max I saw was 10 in the pattern during an RV fly in (over 100 AC total) ...
     
  38. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wedging in to that mess from any direction clusters up students....
     
  39. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Hey but I got rights!". sigh.

    As to a tower being protective- well, yes and no. It has no responsibilty for VFR VFR air to air separation.
    Years ago (!1990?), at the home of "Hobbs Rules" (ERAU-West, Prescott AZ), I was ~#6 for the field on the ILS coming from Mingus mountain. The pattern was chock full. People were stepping on each other and it was chaos (on Com 2).

    Suddenly a deeper baritone voice came on:
    123ER, penalty box for you. Hold at drake as published, 9,000.
    345ER, I've had it with your overrunning traffic in front. Hold at drake at 8000.
    567ER, turn left midfield, exit to the northeast. You may re-enter the pattern in turn.
    NOW IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE who desires to not comply?
    567 ER protested that he would be late for class. That baritone voice, then cleared him to hold at drake at 10,000. OUCH,

    It got quiet fast.
    But I am always reminded of the DVT controller who "forgot" about the Cessna on opposite base. We almost traded pain.

    Yeah a tower is nice. But it's not the bee's knees. It's best to have cautious, courteous pilots.
     
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  40. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm reminded of an occasion about six years ago, when I received an instruction from the tower having something to do with when I should turn base, but this occurred right after I touched down. I did as I was taught to do when a controller mixes me up with another aircraft, which is to make a position report. "Skycatcher 07Z is on the landing rollout." The controller immediately got the picture and reissued the instruction to the correct aircraft, and then said "THANK YOU, Skycatcher!"

    More recently, I was doing pattern work at the same field and the controller forgot to tell me to follow the aircraft taking off ahead of me (which I later confirmed on LiveATC). As a result, I encountered that aircraft when I turned crosswind, and had to turn to get behind it.

    The Palo Alto Tower controllers are very proficient, and I would say well above average, but nobody's perfect.
     
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