Plane down in Western Washington

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Will Kumley, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Declaring an emergency due to the unexpected headwinds is exactly what he should have done.

    The quarantine would almost certainly have not been the case if it was simply a matter of refueling the airplane and being on his way without leaving the ramp (for anything more than to use the washroom and pay for the fuel). Most likely he would have been asked to take a COVID test on reaching his final destination and report the results back to the Canadian Border Services Agency for potential contact tracing purposes. And all of that would have been done over the phone with CBSA since they don't have anyone close by except at Vancouver International these days.

    Forcing him to quarantine for 14 days after declaring an emergency would have resulted in the inevitable contact with more Canadians over a longer duration than a ramp stop to refuel, so there's very little chance they would have detained him, unless there was reason to believe he was infected.

    I'm also wondering why he didn't stay closer to the mainland, overfly the Fraser delta and land at Bellingham instead. It's not like there's a whole bunch of commercial air traffic congestion around CYVR at the moment. :confused: Or even cut over to Friday Harbour in the San Juan's which is further north than where he went down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  2. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    With the luxury of hindsight it’s easy to see solutions. Unfortunately the PIC would have to be around to answer lots of questions to learn everything possible in the chain of events.
     
  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Hindsight?

    When you are in the air and running low on fuel, and you know it (and from the evidence he did know it) I'm only aware of two possible solutions:
    1. Hope you make it, or
    2. Land sooner and add some fuel.
    Hindsight is not required to see the solutions.
    In the last 120 nm of his journey he passed by 5 public airports, and he dropped it in the water less than 25 nm from Victoria International.

    RIP. I just feel so badly for him and his family. :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  4. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    yeah I get that... I was aiming more at the human factors that allowed such obviously bad decisions.
     
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  5. skyking3286

    skyking3286 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nothing has been found that I've heard of. There might be something washing up on shore in the next weeks, but it's a big strait with cold water and high currents so it could be anywhere, even out to sea. I would hope for the family's sake they find something physical.
     
  6. skyking3286

    skyking3286 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi Ron. . . I'm certainly wondering about that one too. Even in the preflight planning mode, he didn't leave any room for errors once the throttle was pushed in at Ketchikan. I think it's fair to say that with the borders being closed right now to non-essential traffic you could have a mindset that it has to be non-stop. If you stopped researching the problem before you found an answer that would work for your situation. . . ?
     
  7. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    Sorry, which one is it? you can stop for gas in a secure area in Canada when transiting between Alaska and Washington, OR, you will need to quarantine for two weeks?
    Sensible, as I've found most Canadians and their policies to be.

    So if this person had declared emergency, landed in Canada, refuelled, and been on his way, in addition to remaining alive, what manner of greeting and fine/jail threats might he have come home to from the US Customs people?
     
  8. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    After refueling he would have been required to:
    • file a US Customs and Border Protection eAPIS manifest (electronic advance passenger information system) for the border crossing;
    • file a flight plan by telephone with the Canadian Flight Information Center in Kamloops;
    • secure a transponder code from the Kamloops FIC (they keep a number of them on file assigned by the FAA in Oklahoma City for traffic crossing south from B.C. into the USA);
    • telephone the US CBP officials at his planned US Port of Entry to secure the required advance landing permission;
    • provide a contact number in the USA so he can be contacted by Canadian Border Services to verify that he actually went directly to where he said he was going and has arrived on US soil (they would have called him after his flight planned arrival time, and if they remain unconvinced after the telephone consultation you can bet they would have contacted US CBP to confirm arrival).
    I can't see why he would be facing any consequences in the USA as a US citizen or Alaska resident, as long as he did the above, all but the last of which is now routine for anyone to enter the USA from Canada in a private aeroplane.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  9. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Does anyone know what the forecast winds were for this flight? Wondering about the flight planning here.
     
  10. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Possibly. If he stayed in his plane and never cleared customs, there's a good chance he could have been off again without an issue.

    I am so tired of reading the same story over and over.
     
  11. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    ???
     
  12. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    Fuel exhaustion begetting a crash, presumably. I agree.
     
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  13. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    FTFY
     
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  14. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Reminds me of the Air Safety Video of the doctor that flew right past Dover AFB critically low on fuel because he didn't think it was an option.

     
  15. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Air crews are specifically exempt from quarantine requirements in Canada. There is no distinction between 91, 135 and 121 flights in that respect, at least not published on any Canadian website. There are no NOTAMs saying the airspace in Canada is closed for any purpose like this.

    That was horrible, and the controllers at Dover didn't do him any favors by discouraging him from landing Dover. I'm still trying to figure why he didn't fly the ILS to the opposite runway at other airport that likely would have gotten him in.
     
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  16. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    She gave him the hint, the only way to land was for it to be an emergency. She can't declare for him!

    Gut wrenching
     
  17. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've heard that controllers can declare an emergency for a pilot. Maybe military rules are different?
     
  18. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    She absolutely can declare for him
     
  19. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    That's what I was thinking. I posted earlier that Port Harty had a secure area when I went through there, you could fuel up, and depart without going thru customs as long you stayed in the secure area.

    Sad thing this accident might have been avoided if the pilot would have made a few phone calls to get current information. CANPASS would be a good staring point not to mention calling the airports direct.
     
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  20. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I make POA this firm promise. If I'm low on fuel I'll land somewhere. I don't care if they confiscate my aircraft. I don't care if they throw me in the joint. I will land the aircraft, beats taking a chance on crashing in the drink or hostile terrain. The calculation is simple. I might get in trouble if I land. I will likely die if I run out of gas over something other than an airport. I wish this fellow had made that calculation. Better to land in Canada and get in trouble than die in the drink.
     
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  21. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I make the same promise, and no one is going to get you in trouble in Canada for landing for fuel.
     
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  22. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    When was the last time someone on this forum got into "trouble" with Canadian Border Services Agency after landing their airplane there? I think that has to be a pretty rare circumstance.
    Prior to COVID arriving, I've only had the Canadian customs folks actually show up to look at my plane on arrival a grand total of once; that's in 24 years of flying my personal airplanes back and forth.
     
  23. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've seen that one a couple of times and wondered why he just didn't land the thing. If it's an emergency I'm landing the plane. I'll answer questions, fill out forms, pay fines, sit in the pokey, and give you my certificate if needed, but any of that seems a bit better than DEAD! "Come on man! Here's the deal!"

    EDIT: I see others have already made this point. But it's the truth!
     
  24. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    "My goal is to live long enough to attend the hearing."
     
  25. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's needs to be on a T-shirt & sold at fly-ins! :dunno:
     
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  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It's an old saying (i.e., one that I first saw over twenty years ago).
     
  27. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    I use to travel into Canada a few times a year. The only time I had customs show up was when we brought our 8 year old son with us. Customs talked to him and asked him if he was traveling with us under his own free will. Sure glad Matt was not mad at us for dragging him on a weekend vacation....:rolleyes:
     
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  28. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I think all of us would choose to land the plane rather than die. Assuming we perceived death as a certainty. And there's the rub. "I can probably make it." "I might make it." are not "This means certain death."

    I think this is a case where pre-made decisions can really help. "I will not fly further if the tanks are to X level." (Or clock which is how I track fuel.)
     
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  29. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I'm always going by the clock, and I flight plan based on highest fuel flows even when at altitudes where it is essentially impossible to burn that fuel. I also plan to land with an hour of fuel, plus any necessary reserves. I also have a totalizer with accurate fuel flow and my gauges, but the clock really is the best way.
     
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  30. skyking3286

    skyking3286 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Even with calm winds, the flight planning wasn't allowing much error and certainly not the required extra gas. That night was interesting here in the Pacific Northwest. The SE Alaska to Washington had headwinds according to the pilot's texts to his mother. Locally in Puget Sound, we were getting very strong pushes through the passes from high pressure to the east funneling through the passes. You can see that clearly in the cloud patterns, along the coast especially through some of the river inlets, with clouds and ceilings. It has the appearance of a strong low pressure center just off the coast, with clouds wrapping around a center. If you follow the arms of the east side of the low, you can see where the headwinds started to pick up over north Vancouver Island. Ketchikan is just to the north of the screenshot. About a third of the way into the flight, weather started to be an issue. The ditching site is the upper part of the F in GIF. Not a good day to be flying VFR and especially not a XC that you could put off for a day or two.

    Screenshot_2021-02-24 Facebook Groups(2).png
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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  31. optionizerSS

    optionizerSS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let me start by saying I completely understand flying an airplane is completely different than piloting a boat but in the boating world we have a rule of thumb...use 1/3 tank to get there, 1/3 to get back, and 1/3 in reserves. I also understand refueling a plane is a little more involved than refueling a boat but I would think I'd be on the ultra safe side when calculating fuel in a plane
     
  32. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Logically who wouldn't be?

    But we (the light GA pilot cohort) keep repeating this same thing over and over and over again.
    So what is it about human nature or behavior patterns that gives rise to this? And just how good are the rest of us, truly, of avoiding being drawn into this same trap - given we are all human?

    And, finally, I am curious if there is any relationship between "hoping the fuel is enough to reach destination" and the equally common "hoping the deteriorating VMC improves enough to reach destination"? Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  33. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    There's no logic to decisions that dead pilots have made. Do a NTSB search on continued VFR flight into IMC fatal accidents, and prepare to be astounded.
     
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  34. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Actually I think those are starting to become a little more uncommon. Problem with IMC is it creeps up on you. But with the penetration of real time weather in cockpits you can see what's ahead of you and think strategically.
     
  35. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I'd like to think that would be the case, and hope in time we see something in the statistics that shows that.
    Certainly the frequency of incidents of people flying into serious convective or storms should decline.
    But I have this nagging suspicion that pilots that are predisposed to continued flight into gradually lowering ceilings and scud running are unlikely to be discouraged by the weather information on a panel screen or iPad. Just my feeling about it.
     
  36. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    it's called - gethomeitis.
     
  37. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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  38. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I would agree that your gut feeling is correct. Seems like the more we know the closer we think we can get to the edge without falling off .. until we do. Human nature!
     
  39. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    There are many contemporary accident reports which analyze the use of cockpit weather radar products. It's common to find incidents where pilots had depended on those products, leading up to the accident.

    But more importantly, even now, after years of media exposure and reporting on the subject, many pilots are unaware the radar images displayed in the cockpit are not real time images. Depending on the product being used, there are delays of up to fifteen minutes between real time and cockpit displays. Those delays result in pilots flying into areas that appear to be clear on the cockpit devices, but have subsequently closed up.

    Examining the larger picture of these accidents is troubling. Yes, pilots and passengers die because cockpit radar displays provide delayed images. But what I find even more disturbing is that pilots are intentionally flying into dangerous convective weather, and relying on radar products to provide pathways through that weather. Instead of avoiding forecast thunderstorm systems, these pilots are depending on technology to allow them to thread the needle between individual cells.

    That is madness. A line of Cb activity is a mass of unstable air and moisture, and capable of generating turbulence and precipitation that can quickly overwhelm almost any aircraft, regardless of size. Trying to maneuver between cells by using radar images uplinked to the cockpit from ground sources ignores the fact those images are not presented in real time.

    Delays of up to fifteen minutes are common, and in that amount of time, a fast moving storm front can easily move five to ten miles. Areas that appeared to be clear on the cockpit display will have disappeared long before the uplink refreshes to a more current image, and even then it's not an accurate depiction of actual conditions. Even a five minute delay can be deadly, because a storm front with a forward velocity of 30 MPH will move 2½ miles in that amount of time. Pilots that believe they can maneuver between thunderstorm cells based on cockpit radar are frankly delusional.

    Depending on those images to play a very dangerous game has killed many people, and will continue to kill as long as pilots believe they can outsmart the boiling masses in the sky. Deliberately flying into an active storm front is a pas de deux with death.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  40. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Some research on the attitudes involved with low fuel. A study of attitudes and demographic variables and how they correlate with willingness to continue a flight searching for a missing parachutist with low fuel on board found that

    “It appears from this research that the recognition and perception of immediate high risks in aviation are related to behaviours that attempt to minimise risk to the low-est possible level. Of the pilots that undertook the flight, and there-by undertaking a higher level of risk, it appears that older pilots are more willing to engage in risky behaviours, and those with higher levels of self-confidence more likely to attempt to minimise the risk/s in a hazardous situation.”

    Source: doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2010.07.001 . Is available on sci-hub and the publishers website and likely your local academic library.
     
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