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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jspilot, Apr 15, 2019.
Here is a video of the flight with atc and radar images. This guy at a minimum sounded not IFR current, I question if he was rated. To his credit he flew it to the end which saved his and his passenger's lives, but he should have never been in this position. The conditions looked like they were barely above minimums and it sounds like other planes were getting in. Why do we keep doing these things to ourselves??
A great big iron pilot does not make a great Cessna pilot. Glad everything turned out alright. Probably the end of his career.
Man that is one lucky ducky!
I was scheduled to fly yesterday out of KISP. I cancelled early on because the WX forecast was going to be pretty bad all day. It was NOT a hard decision. Not even close.
That’s two Cessna 172s this week that seemed to try there hardest to save the pilots. Glad everyone is ok.
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I checked the metars about a half hour after this happened. I saw multiple airports in nj (south west of jfk) showing vfr, and keep in mind he flew right past that area on the way to Long Island.
Wow! I did not know people were acting out, in real life, my worst nightmares.
One thing I have not seen is, historical forecasts.
I have to wonder (assuming this pilot even looked), what the destination forecast was for his arrival time.
What was he seeing?
“Looking good; supposed to clear”?
Or something else?
Have seen plenty of historical metars but not historical tafs.
This is from memory.. I am pretty /very sure that the terminal that morning was low ifr followed by some improvement mid day and back to low ifr the afternoon into the evening..
I’m not sure what to make of this. It will no doubt be an AOPA air safety video some day or an IFR Mastery episode. He seemed to handle the approaches and misses properly. Didn’t sound panicky. I hate to be critical as a couch pilot but it would seem he thought he had the equipment and ability to fly to minimums - but didn’t seem to provide himself with an out as evidenced by poor fuel planning and poor en route decision making when weather was getting bad. Can’t believe everyone survived that. What a hellish trip for the passengers in that plane.
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How in the world can a 737 driver not know how to fly an ILS? No way this guy was actually instrument current and certificated commercial pilot. No chance. Hope they never let him fly again.
Not sure he wasn't able to fly the ILS. The weather was "at" minimums at the best. After the second attempt at FRG he started to get pretty frazzled,
How in the hell do you get a Type Rating in a 737 and can’t do an approach in a 172 at 1/2 the speed?
What's the point in going missed when there's no place better in range?
I see your point, but the tape suggests he was unable to remain on the LOC.
I'm trying to figure out why he was even going missed, at that point. Especially once he was going to Kennedy. Yeah, not a great situation to be in, but he knew his situation was fuel critical and he knew he had a massive runway 200' below him and just in front of him. If you have lots of fuel, go missed and get the weather somewhere else. In this situation, just land the aircraft nice and slow.
In addition to the other insane luck that occurred, they're fortunate they weren't electrocuted. When a utility distribution circuit is shorted by a metallic object, guess what happens? Often in such an occurrence, a circuit breaker will open, but then automatically reclose a couple of times attempting to clear the fault. Bzzzap!
This. I've only had my IFR ticket 6 months, so correct me if I'm wrong; regardless of the choices that got you there, if you're critical on fuel, can't you declare an emergency and land below minimums? I assume an airline would pilot hesitate to declare for fear of jeopardizing his job?
I’m not sure exactly what the vis/rvr was at Farmingdale, but to the best of my knowledge JFK was not below 2400 rvr during the initial three approaches. ANY instrument pilot that thinks that is to low, or thinks it silly for another IR pilot to fly in that weather is wrong, should not have an IR.
My thoughts as well. By the time I got over there, they already had it down from the power lines and started taking the wings off. I couldn't help but think of the possibility of electrocution and explosion had he not run the tanks dry! This was a miracle outcome for sure! I'm glad they survived with no injuries and best of all, none of the residents were injured or killed.
Nassau Co. Police had yellow tape at the start of that street, which is where all the news crew were standing. That was as close as they allowed any of us to stand, which was several hundred feet from the plane, but even from that distance, it was a helluva thing to see.......A freakin Cessna sitting on the lawn!
I can only imagine how wild it was to see it dangling from those power lines at night!!!
Of course. And I'd not have hesitated to do so at JFK. Better to controlled crash into the airport than to just have to dead stick it into wherever once you're out of fuel and out of options.
FRG was 1/4 mile and they do not have RVR readouts.
I can fly ILSs to mins all day and night.... At work in a 737.... I'll be dammed if I fly my Sierra on an ILS in the crud right now. Currency and competentcy are mutually exclusive in my case. Humility vs pride, otoh.
If there is one thing that recent events have taught us is that not all 737 pilots are great pilots.
Just got my IR ticket, my minimums right now are published plus 500 ft and 2 miles. Are you saying my ticket should be taken away?
While JFK was giving RVRs around 3000, they were also officially reporting 1/8 mile visibility overall. If you listen to the approach tapes you'll here quite a variable amount of RVR numbers reported.
At one time the statistic was bandied about that "the fatality rate in the Cessna 172 due to engine stoppage is one in every two million flight hours". Fanciful, but that may have been more accurate when many more hours were flown (@ronwattanja probably knows off the top of his head). That plane's got yer back!
I was following this as soon as it happened as I live not far and also have some time in the accident airplane. Wx was definitely mins but also doable on the ILS especially in JFK with mins being 200/1800rvr. There are some obviously questionable ADM on this flight but it struck me as odd that a pilot would make 5 attempts without being able to land so I pulled up his radar track and noticed, specifically at JFK where he only went around once prior to fuel exhaustion, that he went missed and broke off the approach far from the approach end of 22. So I reviewed the radar data and what do you know? On every one of the 5 attempts he descended no lower than 6-700'. Terminal radar in that area is very accurate and can be corroborated with his being level at 2k before every approach. I don't care what you have in the cockpit. If you don't go below 600' and the wx is 200/pea soup you ain't gonna land. Apparently this guy didn't have what it takes to fly an approach to mins and that's fine. I'd venture to say the majority of pilots won't fly a skyhawk with no GPS and a bare bones six pack on an ILS to mins/mins. But if that was the case, why not land somewhere in CT where the wx was VFR? What's that saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? TG he ran outta fuel otherwise he'd still be up there... He was uncomfortable descending below 600' but eventually good ole gravity showed him it ain't that bad...
Apparently he flies big iron. I've done a circle-to-land at minimums in my six-pack Skyhawk, no GPS; not something I want to make a habit of. But an ILS, I'd follow down to the runway in a "bingo fuel" situation, because any alternative is worse.
I'd be careful making any assumptions about the flight aware ground track. It definitely seems to stop reporting below a certain level.
RVR and reported visibility are not the same. RVR is measured horizontally down on the runway surface with special light refraction equipment. Visibility is measured at an upward angle from the ground to the ceiling. In this case 200'. Obviously as you closer to the bases especially in low foggy conditions, visibility deteriorates relative to the ground. Hence reported visibility of 650' (1/8 mile) with RVR ranging from 1600-4000'.
Agreed but bear in mind that circle to land mins are generally Way higher than ILS mins.
Well on his final gravity driven descent it pegged him at 100' so...
Especially a runway like 22L jfk. 8500' long and 200' wide. You can practically be full deflection and still land on a taxi way...
No... I do appreciate personal minimums.
That said, I would bet you could go lower, and do it safely, over the alternative of running out of gas.
Ok, absolutely agreed.
When I fly an approach, and go missed and then repeat I figure 15-20 minutes per lap (more-or-less). Looking at the METARS and TAF, couldn't this pilot have tried once or even twice at FRG and said "Screw it, another day" and made it to MMU, or even ABE where weather was, at worst marginal VFR.
I'm glad he was OK. Poor ADM, but pretty good piloting to fly 6 approaches, low, at the end of a long, tiring flight and not veer off path and hit something--that's the usual end of stories like this. I'm pretty tired at the end of a long IFR flight and my abilities have deteriorated significantly. That why I'm pretty sure I would not have taken off. In general I think poor ADM causes just as many or more accidents than poor piloting...
I'm not going to blame ATC, but should they have suggested MMU or someplace with better weather ? Did they send him to JFK to crash on a runway knowing he was low on fuel ? I guess dangerous to send him over populated territory to MMU...tough call on ATC's part if they don't know fuel status.
Many years ago my instructor told me the only time you have too much fuel is when you are on fire ! Almost no exceptions except, perhaps, 'when you are over gross !'
He tried the approach like 4 times at FRG. I’m pretty sure the weather in NJ was a lot better than NYC and Long Island but he probably didn’t even have enough gas to get there.
Model is a 172N, max 43 gallons, but a 160 engine, which most people plan around 8.5. At full fuel, the expected time is about 5 hours, 4 minutes. If you're being conservative, you'd plan it at 10 gph, which gives 4 hours, 18 minutes fuel. Assuming the previous flight was VFR, it actually went 5 minutes into the reserve, but you don't know what the planning was.
Overall, my take away is not to expect 737 performance from a 172.