So how do you handle a situation like this?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by write-stuff, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Here's our hypothetical situation. For whatever reason, you have lost power due to fuel starvation. You maneuver down and safely land on a fairly busy road. Not a scratch on you or the airplane. The local constabulary won't allow you to put gas in it and fly it off.

    You're in an unfamiliar area and don't have a clue where the closest aircraft recovery service is, and the Sheriff isn't even aware that such services exists. After a few hours of snarled traffic, he want's Bubba's wrecker service to take over, and you expect needless and substantial damage to result. (And yes, the insurance company would pay for such damage.)

    I presented this scenario to my insurance agent and he said to call the carrier - they have a 24-hour 800 number to assist in such situations. We'll I looked. They don't.

    So what would you do?
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would have filled it with fuel, then create a diversion in one direction while quickly taking off in the other direction. "hey, what's that over there....??!!??"

    but actually other than calling my insurance company, not really sure what I'd do.
     
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  3. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Tell the sheriff he's responsible for any damage, which will run in the 10s of 1000's or let you get a few gallons of 100LL so you can fly it off without any damage. I'll gladly pay a fine for landing on the road, if he pays for the damage he's going to cause to the plane, which by the way is a federal offense.

    Call the bluff.
     
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  4. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Start singing loudly,

    "I shot the sheriff,
    But I did not shoot the deputy."
     
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  5. neilki

    neilki Pre-Flight

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    I’m gonna go with a big red (709) no.
    Your scenario; in which filling it up and flying off into the sunset demonstrates not fuel starvation but fuel exhaustion.
    either it’s a leak (which can happen... ) or you messed up.
    If the former; you need the leak fixed and signed off.
    If the latter; I’m not sure your insurer would be very happy with you; and likely any liability coverage would be cancelled as you flew off again..
    Best to avoid running out of gas. The local FSDO will want a chat...
     
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  6. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    I agree, best to avoid running out of gas. But that's not really germane to the question. Let's forget flying it off as an option. The question is really how do you get your airplane safely recovered with minimal damage?
     
  7. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    given the scenario presented there's nothing you can do. you're blocking traffic and the sheriff will simply call a hook and have the plane towed, assuming he can find a hook that will do it. we did that all the time with cars that were broken down on the road. in your case his first priority is to clear the roadway so pushing the plane to the shoulder or median to open at least one lane is a reasonable step. that allows you time to work through your options.
     
  8. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You're looking at wings off and trucked to a local airfield. Possible County cost recovery depending on jurisdiction policy and law.

    Plus quality time at the local FSDO, TV fame, and ridicule on the Mishaps forum of POA. Don't worry... the POA crowd is forgiving and understanding.

    NO ONE will let you fly off the road unless it's the middle of flat nowhere and you know someone. Once the press shows up, its by the book.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  9. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    My guess is they'll tow it to the nearest lot available then you'll call anyone you know trying to figure something out.

    Probably the endgame is you pay an A&P some ridiculous sum to come out and remove the wings so it can be strapped down to a trailer and towed to an airport for reassembly.
     
  10. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    And Bubba, in this case, is not an A&P. His solutions to wings off is a saws-all.
     
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  11. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    I'd use my smartphone to look for rigging companies, and see if they would come out and rig my airplane up for lifting off the road. Hopefully the insurance will pay that bill. Otherwise I'd have Bubba do his thing, and hope for the best.
     
  12. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Duane Cole told a story about landing on a highway. Whenever what it was had been fixed, the cop wouldn't let him take off. The pilot convinced the cop that it would be safer to taxi the aircraft to the next exit. The cop agreed, so once the engine was running and the road ahead clear...
     
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  13. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In post #1 you said the insurance co will pay any damages? Even damages from Saws All Bubba?

    If so, let them do what they have to do. Insurance pays you out, and if their lawyers can figure out who to subrogate against, that's their call.
     
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  14. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    And avoid visiting that county via air or road in the future. :D
     
  15. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    I would take a lot of photos. I had an engine failure once and landed on a county road. Every time the State Trooper put his hands on the plane, I took a photo. He was a little mad, but I explained to him that all it takes is for him to turn the fuel selector off and I might have to explain it was on when I landed. Take lots of photos!

    Years ago a lady landed on a brand new toll road that wasn't even opened yet. She suspected fuel starvation, we suspected she just landed because of an abundance of precaution. However, to be safe, we thought we should put some more fuel in it since it needed to go a little further than the original destination. And that's our story. The Sheriff that that was a good idea too!
     
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  16. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    i'd like to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, "...the rest of that story". including whether a warrant was issued or fine levied. gotta wonder what would've happened if something had gone wrong with the take off. oh, the liability and arrest.
     
  17. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    • Take lots and lots of pictures, get Bubba's name and phone number. And the local mayor or city manager. And the wrecking service called to destroy my cherokee.
    • If Bubba's considerate, he'll merely have the airplane moved nearby but off the road without doing much damage to the airplane.
    • If Bubba's a pilot, he'll put up roadblocks to protect the airplane and route traffic around it.
    • Then call numerous attorneys - the first, my little cousin who won't charge me a penny otherwise both mothers will rise up from the grave.
    • Second, call midlifeflyer but if I'm in Colorado (likely), I'd call Rick Durden and happily pay his retainer.
    • Then I'll call my insurance company and ask how much they're writing the check for, since the odds are it's going to be totaled.
    • Then I'll call hertz, avis, whatever to get a rental so I can get to wherever they're taking the airplane and continue taking pictures.
     
  18. Llk

    Llk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The FAA can usually be somewhat helpful here.

    The Sheriff is usually whiggy because "oh my gawd the feds." If you land in a field that doesn't want you to take off, private property, etc...the owner carries HUGE weight in terms of what the FAA will or won't agree to do. If they don't agree for you to take off, it's time for you to get a truck.

    In a public road or area,The Feds will usually point the finger at the sheriff and go..."it's fine with us, you just have to let it happen, Mister Sheriff."

    Then the city manager or the legal office will ask for the insurance policy to be updated to add the county or entity as a named insured. The carrier may or may not be helpful in terms of finding a recovery service or dealing with the property manager / owner,, but the badge carries lots of weight when it comes to things in the "interest of safety -" and moving your plane out of the way.

    Bubba can go pound sand.

    If you landed due to fuel starvation, and landed in a public road, I don't see how you don't eat a 709 check ride. Use the feds to your advantage.

    If this is figurative, it's one thing. If it's not, where is this airplane located?

    ....ask me how I know...my fuel starvation was caused by a problem after engine overhaul. Mechanic was there. Landed at a shut down airfield that had at first been donated to a city, then auctioned off to a developer, and there were two camps: the "i don't want an airport in my backyard" people, and the pro "this has always been an airfield and should remain one" people.

    The city people effectively became employees of the developer, who ended up never meeting their obligations on the auction. Gotta love when politicians become corrupt.

    The City manager refused to let me take off unless I jumped through 18 hoops. I jumped through all and then some. Much to their chagrin, I took off from their field, legally and permitted.

    I wouldn't give up if I were someone else in this situation. Screw someone trying to take my wings off.
     
  19. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    I wonder if the local constable would be open to letting you partially fuel it up and taxi it to a nearby location to clear the road. At least that is what I would ask first. A close 2nd would be asking for them to tow you to that same location. That would buy you the time to figure out the next step which would be to find a local (or your preferred) A&P to come and remove the wings and haul it away...but under their control. If there isn't a safe location relatively close and bubba has to handle it then document it. Maybe slip bubba an extra $500 to haul it away they way you want! Sounds like a insurance nightmare if the sheriff is pressed for time and/or he knows bubba!
     
  20. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Well, seeings as how insurance gonna cover it the first thing I do is decide what’s more valuable to me. The plane, or money
     
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  21. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Actually happened near me last year. Fortunately, the pilot was able to land on Highway 97 and with the help of the local neighbors were able to push the BONANZA off into a driveway thus unblocking the highway. He was able to get a local A&P to look at it and then next day, the Kootenai County Sheriff sent two units out, blocked the highway and he flew it out of there. I watched the take-off - pretty impressive. I think there are some YouTube videos around showing the take off. I think if they hadn’t been able to remove the airplane from the road, there might have been a work around since that is an area that contains a passing lane so it’s 3 lanes wide. But if not I think some of the locals would have fired up the chain saws and have at it.
     
  22. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Some years ago, someone plopped a Cessna on I-75 during rush hour not far from here (no damage to anyone or anything). Police called a flat bed, had it loaded up, and moved to DTW. Far as I know, Bubba didn't damage anything.
     
  23. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Well, I'd grab a socket and wrench set and pull the wings off. Might take an hour.

    It helps when you've built your plane...
     
  24. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    What authority does the sheriff have to prevent me from taking off?
     
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    At a minimum, he has the authority to prevent unlicensed motor vehicles from being operated on public roadways. Got a license plate on your airplane?
     
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  26. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    If the Sheriff or Bubba are that adamant about flatbedding it away or whatever, I of course will try to get them to do it carefully, but I'm not going to worry too much about it. After all, every time you take off, the insurance company bought the airplane from you. Every time you land (successfully, at an airport), you buy it back. On some public highway? Past my reasonable attempts to prevent further damage, it's the insurer's problem.
     
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  27. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    My airplane is properly licensed and registered and in compliance with all laws regarding operating aircraft on roadways.
     
  28. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    7A1FAD7D-BCC9-402D-B812-B335ADDDAE1F.jpeg No problem :cool:
     
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  29. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    I reviewed my policy and indeed you are expected to "protect" the aircraft, which is a euphemism for incur costs to extract and/or relocate the aircraft. I too found out the phone numbers listed by both the insurance broker and the underwriter are NOT 24 hour numbers. So initially it appears one would be personally on the hook for the billed costs of relocating that airplane back to an airport mx facility. If this occurs outside of banker's hours, there's really nobody on the other side to talk to, like is often the case with automotive claims.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  30. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If Bubba wants to push it he (or she) can demand you produce your pilot certificate then keep it. I'll have to find my FARs because one of them says we must present our certificate upon request by a LEO. Too tired to find it tonight so will do so tomorrow.
     
  31. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good luck with the search. 61.3(l) requires us to present our certificates for inspection. I am aware of no FAR which allows any LEO (or ASI for that matter) to confiscate a pilot certificate on demand.

    Some officer acting unlawfully outside the scope of authority, even criminally, is, of course, always a possibility.
     
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  32. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait

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  33. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    You should get out more.
     
  34. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I called my insurance company and they had someone contact me fairly quickly. There wasn't a big rush to recover my plane but they got it out pretty quickly.

    The amusing part was when they asked me for a precise location. I gave them lat/lon, but suggested they just go to Hurt, VA (tiny town) and ask anybody where the airplane was as the whole town turned out to see the results of the "great airplane crash."
     
  35. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    State statute that requires “permission from the landowner”?
     
  36. 40YearDream

    40YearDream Pre-Flight

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  37. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    What do you mean by that?
     
  38. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    He probably means it happens all the time. Saying NO ONE will let you do it is wrong. I had an engine out in a 172 once. Once the mechanic fixed it, they had a local cropduster pilot fly it off of the road while Sheriff's deputies blocked each end of the road. I've seen it three times now. I even have a news article and a photo of me from the news helicopter, so the press there and tried to interview me.
     
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  39. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    He won't let you fly it off. Fine. Next option would be let you taxi it to the nearest location where it can sit off the road, not impacting traffic and secure it there until arrangements can be made to pull the wings and truck it back to an airport. If he won't allow that either, then you're probably out of options and you'll be left with let him call whatever agency he wants and let them move it any way they see fit then let the insurance company sort the pieces and cut you a check.
     
  40. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    In 3/2019 a landing on I-81 close to KVJI, line crew confirmed to me the FAA involved was cool with refuel and takeoff from highway but the local constabulary nixed that, necessitating flat bedding plane to KVJI.
    Had a thread on that back then....don’t know how to post a link to it.