Maybe I should have said something, but what?

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Timbeck2, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Today I was at the hangar and heard noise coming from the hangar behind me so I went to investigate. It was a hangar I'd never seen open with two older gentlemen getting an experimental ready to fly. I forgot the name of it but is was a high wing, open cockpit, fabric covered, tandom seating airplane which looked sort of like a Piper cub. He told me the name which started with a name similar to Baker. I couldn't find it online.

    Anyway the younger of the two (both over 60 maybe closer to 70) said that he had just sold it to the older guy who was about to fly it to Kansas. I noticed the new owner was getting up there in age and that his arm was shaking like someone with Parkinson's disease. Red flag goes up in my head but who am I to ask if someone has a current medical? I could tell they were busy so I excused myself and walked back to my hangar.

    I got my hand held radio out just to see what this guy sounded like. It was as if he was a student or just slow with bad comprehension. Ground had to ask a few times for read-backs and when he did it was "close enough". I switched over to tower's frequency to listen and he was very slow about reading back his clearance which the controllers slowed way down and enunciated every word. Soon after the clearance, the siren went off. I guess the tower's crash phone is connected to it in some way because every time there is an emergency, that siren goes off. The tower said to another aircraft that the runway was closed and someone had ground looped on the runway. I also heard the older pilot talking on the radio saying that he was alright and that there was nobody else on board.

    Meanwhile, the guy that sold him the plane was in his truck trying to watch the take off and when it didn't happen, he drove over to my hangar and I told him what I'd heard over the radio. He then told me that he had lost his medical and therefore couldn't take the buyer up for a flight in that plane. He also told me that the buyer admitted that he'd never flown that type before. The seller also told me that he didn't question the buyer as he said that he'd been flying for 30 years.

    His "mishap" as ATC called it, shut down the main runway for over an hour. I don't know why. If he'd simply ground looped it, they could have pushed the plane off the runway. It sounds much more serious than a simple ground loop.

    It was none of my business so I didn't say anything, but I still feel bad. I'd have felt worse had the old guy been hurt or killed.
     
  2. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't second guess yourself,he was going to fly. No matter what. It's unfortunate that people would take unnecessary risks.
     
  3. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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  4. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Yes Jeff, that's the plane.

    Thanks Ron.
     
  5. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Caveat emptor. Glad he's ok!
     
  6. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    that's an awesome looking plane!
     
  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I bet it would be a surprise at the amount of pilots who fly illegally. As Ron said, it's definitely unfortunate that people attempt things such as this.

    Glad he's alright.
     
  8. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    Both pilot and plane might be a little loopy
     
  9. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe it turned out for the best for all, this way.

    I many times think "what would I regret least", and that's what I do.
     
  10. Walboy

    Walboy Line Up and Wait

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  11. Skywalker

    Skywalker Line Up and Wait

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    Nice plane. I don't think anything you might have said would have kept him from flying his plane home. Glad that he walked away.
     
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  12. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    I've never flown a Duce/Deuce (spelling was changed when a new company took over), but that fin and rudder look kinda small to me.

    Just sayin'.
     
  13. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't think there is anything you could have done or said. If it was me, I would have done the same as you. Maybe if I would have seen him trying to load a passenger I would have tried to say something? A grown man (pilot) decided to fly his (new) plane...nothing you can do but step back.
     
  14. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I recall at least two occasions when I avoided hazardous situations thanks to unsolicited advice or hints.

    My thinking is that it's OK to offer suggestions. It's the other person's prerogative to either act on the suggestion or not.
     
  15. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    These are adults. They make their own choices and there is not much you can do to change things in the long run.
     
  16. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Update: This morning when I got to work I called Tucson tower (they are more talkative when they know its a controller asking questions) and got the story. As I suspected, the ground controller told me, "I had to hold his hand all the way to the runway" and when he started his takeoff roll, he was all over the place. (on a 150' wide runway) He got it airborne and then came right back down and veered off the right side of the runway, ground looped and caught the wing in the dirt. The controller I talked to is a friend of mine and one that I worked with years ago; he was working ground control yesterday. He isn't a pilot so he couldn't tell me the extent of the damage to the plane. Just another example of someone who crashed their plane that they just bought on the first flight. It's sad but the pilot was one of those that none of us want in the pattern with us. It's probably time he hung up his spurs.
     
  17. Wheels

    Wheels Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Why did losing his medical prevent him from taking the buyer for a flight? If the buyer was legal to act as PIC then the seller could go along as a knowledgeable passenger and familiarize the buyer with the plane. Unless the reason for losing his medical physically prevented him from getting in and out of the plane.
     
  18. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    He told me that he wouldn't get in that plane with a passenger if he wasn't in the rear cockpit, which would make him pilot in command, which would be illegal. I also noticed that he had cut himself and was bleeding pretty badly. When I told him about it he said, "yeah, I'm on blood thinners so it does that. That's why I lost my medical." I don't know the guy, having just met him that morning. I think it was pretty crappy of him selling a plane to another guy and letting him fly after admitting he'd never flown that plane before. However, if the buyer told him "he'd been flying for thirty years" and never asked anything about it, one might assume he knew how to fly it.

    But then again, none of my business and I kept my nose out of it.
     
  19. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    Tim,

    Sales are sales, and what the buyer does with it after that is not the seller's responsibility.
     
  20. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    I was wondering the same thing, but the explanation makes sense.

    I tend to mind my own business as well.
     
  21. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is there something about the type that requires the PIC to sit in the rear cockpit?
     
  22. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Making assumptions here but I'll guess at w&b when solo and a lack of controls or instruments at the other seating position.
     
  23. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    I assume the local FSDO will assign an inspector who will take over from here. Bad decisions often lead to bad outcomes.
     
  24. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    In regards to saying something...

    I have chosen both in the past. Thankfully the guy that killed himself in a crash was the one where I said something.

    I still don't know what's right. Its situational . Hard for me to establish clear boundaries. Being an instructor does embolden me a little.
     
  25. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    Tarheelpilot is correct, it's mostly the CG. Most of the biplanes, whether older or new are flown from the rear seat. The CG doesn't change as much with or without the passenger up front. Also the visibility is better from the rear seat, the front seat sits in between the wings and the rear seat is behind the wings, offering better views on TO, landings and general flying. Most setups like the biplanes if there are controls up front, have only a few if any instruments.
     
  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    But does that mean that the rear-seat pilot is legally required to act as pilot-in-command when there are pilots in both seats, as the seller claimed?
     
  27. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I can imagine how you feel Tim, and appreciate you sharing this story. We had several guys in my area that were never licensed and have estimated several hundred hours without CFI instruction.

    Was at the airport once with the radio on during a high west Texas wind day (dust IFR) ... plane attempting to land would not go to the nearby Class C as they weren't IFR rated and made a dozen attempts before getting it down .. the wife said she'd never fly again (they refused Las Cruces as well which has 3 runways).:confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:
     
  28. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    I doubt there is any plane with controls in two seats where the PIC has to be in one or the other. I have been PIC in both seats in the J-3. I solo from the rear seat, which is placarded (most likely for W&B when on floats--the CG envelope is fine to solo from the front on wheels) and which is a good idea because the front seat is dangerous just trying to get in and out of. But if the PIC had to be in the rear seat, you would learn how to fly in the front seat since your CFI would be PIC and be required to sit in the back, and your first solo flight would be your first attempt at flying from a totally different seat with a very different sight picture.

    As far as people who shouldn't fly deciding to fly, that's their decision to make and frankly if all of the warning signs they already have aren't enough to stop them it is not likely that a stranger's admonition will change their mind. It's sad but true that you generally can't protect people from themselves. That being said, if I get to the point that I don't recognize I am not safe, I hope someone tells me before I also get to the point that I won't listen to them.
     
    Timbeck2 likes this.