There I was, at 10,000 feet flat on my back...

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Divine Wind, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    ...and other aviation experiences that may or may not be completely correct in the telling. Please add a "what I learned" if applicable.

    Anyone who has flown for awhile has scared the crap out of themselves a time or twenty.

    One time I royally screwed up was on an IFR X-CTY with a student. I was a Navy T-34C instructor. It's a tandem seat aircraft. For IFR training the student is in the back under an IFR hood and the instructor sits up front, relaxed, looking for traffic, monitoring the radio and eating snacks.

    At that stage of training, the students were pretty self-operational except for the landing. We were in IFR from MOB to NPA and had successfully intercepted the PNS TACAN at TRADR. I was eating an apple watching the student fly the route when I spied a 20,000 foot+ build up directly on the airway. Traffic was heavy on our UHF frequency and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. Being both relatively inexperienced and not very bright, I followed the rules of "don't deviate from ATC instructions" and we penetrated the cell.

    It was the wildest 5 seconds I'd ever spent flying. This frickin' cell shook us like a rag doll and spit us out 90 degrees off course and inverted, about 130 degrees over. I was mainly an aerobatic instructor, and quickly recovered, but it was a memorable "WTF?" moment.

    The aircraft was equipped with a G-meter. Aircraft limitations were, IIRC, 3.5Gs for maneuvers, anything over 4.5 Gs was a write up and both cockpit meters were pegged at 6Gs. Ours were pegged which meant we were grounded as soon as we landed. I aborted the IFR mission and flew directly to NAS Whiting Field rather than be stuck at NAS Pensacola...since my car was at NAS Whiting Field. ;)

    Yes, I felt safe to fly which is why I continued but I felt stupid for getting into the situation in the first place. I never waited for ATC permission to deviate for weather again. EVER.

    Sometimes I've stated to ATC "request deviation", but that was always well ahead of time. A few times I've said something like "ATC, deviating 30 degrees right for weather" and been told "Standby" where upon I replied, "Sir, we're deviating 30 degrees right for weather." Sometimes I had to toss in something like "I can use the E-word if it helps, sir" but I did that as I was turning.

    They always cleared me.
     
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  2. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait

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    Those redneck rivera thunderstorms were epic. Many times approach would lose us on the GCA due to heavy rain. Never liked the 0500 VT-10/86 brief but it was better than getting CANX'ed for weather every afternoon in the summer.
     
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  3. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, been there, done that.

    I once “asked” for permission for weather, flying into Atlanta, the controller replied negative, blah blah blah... I immediately keyed the mic and laughed, and said “excuse me?” The capt was slack jawed... The controller immediately started accommodating.

    I reckon our first mistake in the industry was to call them “controllers”, when in actuality they are advisors! Necessary and skilled, but still...

    Tools
     
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  4. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Our PAR in Okinawa sucked in rain. Anything over light rain and it was unusable. It’s mostly a combo of lack of tweaking of the radar by the techs and lack of maintenance support. Our PAR in NBC could provide a workable target in even heavy rain.
     
  5. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Once on approach into ORD about 20nm out at 8000' the controller insisted on vectoring me into a thunderstorm. After three "unable weather" I finally lost it. "Sir the furthest you have to fall is 2' from your chair to the floor, I'm looking at 8000'. I am not turning left." Suddenly he had other options.
     
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  6. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Also kinda funny to hear people talk about the time they were on an airliner that flew through a thunderstorm... uh, you didn’t actually fly through a thunderstorm.

    I’ve never flown through a thunderstorm.

    I’ve met some who have, there’s a unique tone of voice that comes from a TRUE respect for the force of nature, that’s simply unmistakeable. Kind of like Kamakazi up there! (With a respectful chin nod and tip of a hat)

    Tools
     
  7. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    You know you've really messed up when the outside world turns a deep green, the rain is so loud you must turn the radio volume all the way to max and you stop flying a clearance and just try to stay at a steady attitude.
     
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  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Allow me to do a little editing with the back button.

    Necessary and skilled, but still Tools
     
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  9. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    One of the most interesting aspects of Florida flying were the severe but isolated thunderstorms allowing avoidance....except in August when the haze was so thick we were IMC.

    In Texas, hard lines of thunderstorms will blow through forcing waiting until it passes or running in front of it.
     
  10. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Exactly. Advisories with limits. Personally, I never had a problem with ATC getting upset by my desire to deviate from weather. As you pointed out, sometimes it's just a matter of proper phrasing. Either way, there was no way I was ever going to penetrate another frickin' cell again.
     
  11. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Most people who have never flow aerobatics don't really know the difference between light and moderate much less moderate and severe turbulence.

    Any guesses on what happened on most of those long airline flights that "suddenly" encountered "Clear Air Turbulence"?

    Flying through another aircraft's wake* usually gets the attention of all onboard, especially the pilots even though they knew what it was well before the passengers. Putting an airliner through a large cell is certainly going to make the news one way or another.

    *especially if it was "heavy-slow-clean". ;)
     
  12. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    LOL Exactly. Those who survive usually never do it again. Those who do repeat that type of mistake don't survive as pilots, one way or another.
     
  13. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Kadena or Futenma? I was there in the early 80s flying CH-46s.
     
  14. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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  15. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Futenma tower / GCA. 97-98.
     
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  16. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    HMM-164; Oct-Mar 81-82 and 83-84. We'd do Kernel Usher with ROK Marines each deployment.
     
  17. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Kadena Air Base '84-'89 jet engine mechanic, aero club student, rugby player (fly half), scuba diver, cab driver, golfer, softball player, Akuma regular.
     
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  18. texasag93

    texasag93 Line Up and Wait

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    Not the worst I have ever been in, and not nearly as bad as your stories.

    I was flying out of OSH in a 182. This was before ATC became almost was privatized. Right seat was a 79 YO Wright Flyer Award designee. I had about 400 hours.

    The clouds were columns. Lots of them. I asked to turn right 20 degrees to avoid the area. I was told to maintain current heading.

    Every minute or so, I would pop into a column and go up and down VSI was pegging out. ATC said very pointedly that I was not maintaining my assigned altitude. I requested again a vector 20 degrees to the right and was told to maintain current heading.

    I finally exercised my PIC authority and flew around them and stayed within the lateral requirements of IFR. My right seat said it was about damn time.

    ATC is on the ground. They cannot fall with the force and consequences we as pilots can.

    I find ATC is more accommodating now. I tell them I see build up and I am given the clearance to go around the build up very easily.
     
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  19. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We had one H-46 squadron on the East ramp next to the C-130s. Forget who they were.

    2B05E317-F027-4E9B-B99E-75B7CDA6AF6D.jpeg
     
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  20. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Nice picture! In the mid-80s someone got smart in HQMC and decided that the Marines at Pendleton should deploy with the Marine helos at MCAS Tustin rather than go to Okinawa. The Marine 46 squadrons at MCAS Kaneohe Bay began deploying "Rock to Rock" while all the Tustin squadrons went to the boat.
     
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  21. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Pattern Altitude

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    I did (as a passenger) coming into Reno in a 737 in the mid 1980s. It destroyed the radar dome - huge holes in it from the hail and dented the leading edges of the wings. It popped open most overhead bins. Inside it was a black as night and sounded like a machine gun. Very, very scary.
     
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  22. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Continuing with the thunderstorm theme - One day I was flying along near the top of a broken layer in a 182 at 9,000 feet. No forecast for t-storms, but we all know how reliable forecasts aren't so I was looking ahead during the breaks in the broken layer to make sure none of the clouds were growing vertically.

    Well, as I neared the shore of Lake Michigan, apparently the right recipe suddenly happened and the cloud I was in decided to become, uh, "upwardly mobile". As it wasn't a developed thunderstorm, it wasn't a rough ride at all, hardly even a bump and my VSI just did a backflip. A few seconds later I was at idle power, roughly Vno, pointing the nose down and my VSI was still pegged on the positive side and the altimeter winding up like a clock on crack.

    I squeaked out a quick call to ATC letting them know I was in an uncontrolled climb, and could they please vector me the hell out of whatever I just flew into - But they weren't painting anything. As I said, it was a develop*ing* storm, so no precip, so nothing on radar. But after a minute the cloud spit me out and I went on my merry way... And a minute later, ATC said they were now painting a cell behind me.

    In hindsight, it was a good lesson that even on-board radar can't keep you out of everything. Likely the first place any indication could have appeared was on a stormscope, if there was enough of an electrical response to all the moving air, but without actual lightning it might not have showed up there either.
     
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  23. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    At least your elevator was going up. Not long after my PPL checkride, I was out on a day I shouldn't have been and got caught in a downdraft. Full rental power, Vy, VSI showing 1000fpm down. Got on the elevator at 6500msl, got off at 4500msl. Glad I was fairly high when I hit that air...
     
  24. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Flew through embedded thunderstorms off the coast of western Florida, Alabama and Mississippi once. Once. C-210 flying cancelled checks.

    I was turned every way except inverted. ATC quit trying to vector me and just told me, "do whatever you need to do".

    Most scary 30 minutes or so of my life. All I could do was try to keep the wings level. The contents of my flight bag was flying around the cockpit. My keys came out and lodged on the ear piece of my sunglasses, banging on my head until my headset and sunglasses departed my head. The plane was making a weird howling noise that went up and down in pitch and volume. I was trying to stick my floating ID holder in my sock so I could be identified if found. The bumps were so hard I knew the wings would soon be departing.

    I finally came out the other side at about 50-60 miles offshore, wayyy out of gliding distance. My destination, Mobile, Alabama was almost due north. I quit that job several times that day, but the only problem was I needed to get home first.
     
  25. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    “ I was trying to stick my floating ID holder in my sock so I could be identified”

    WOW! Hmmm, not sure if that’d cross my mind! Yikes!
     
  26. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The crazy thing is that the best reaction to a downdraft like that it to point the nose DOWN so that you get out of it faster. I don't think that's something many people can bring themselves to do. But I was definitely glad my elevator went up. I wanted to climb higher over the water anyway!
     
  27. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I've been through a few rain clouds, but have managed to avoid getting into the "big" one fortunately. Always love when ATC asks, "How is your ride? No one else has gone through there yet today."

    My favorite was trying to race across the front of a frontal system. I was mostly VMC, but it was black as night off to the right. Center called, "Just wanted to make sure you are aware of the heavy to extreme precipitation at your 1 o'clock to 5 o'clock position. My response, "Believe me, I am WELL aware of precipitation, but thanks for asking!"

    19095403_10155235146131203_6336577670449860669_o.jpg
     
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  28. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    .

    I absolutely believe this is a true statement from my experiences, over the years, however, let me tell you what happened to me in the mid 1990’s. I was leaving Oshkosh and in IMC between OSH and Madison. The current conditions and forecast I got 30 minutes before departure were a few level ones and twos left over from overnight storms that had been falling apart, rain was probably not even hitting the ground anymore. No airmets or sigmets. Takeoff from OSH was uneventful. However, just before we got to Madison while in IMC we started hitting the occasional bump, nothing of great significance. Then all of the sudden, lightning nonstop striking almost at the exact time as the accompanying ear piercing thunder, pegged vsi one way for awhile, and then the other. I was hitting my head on the ceiling while buckled in tight one moment and then felt my stomach trying to exit my rear end the next. Not really something you want to experience in an aerobatic airplane, let alone in a Piper Cherokee. In all, it lasted maybe 5 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. When it was all over, after requesting leave of frequency to speak to flight service, I was informed that the storms had re-intensified to level 4’s and 5’s.

    I learned to never assume that you will get weather separation assistance when a zillion people are trying to leave the world’s busiest airport in late July.
     
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  29. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Great story!

    I've been hit by lightning 3 times: once as a passenger 2/3s of the way back in a 727 and twice in a E145 flying left seat. The first two were loud bangs, like cannon shots, and a bright flash. The last was just a flash. I didn't think we'd been hit, but there was a burn mark on the left elevator horn on post-flight. None endangered the flight, just grounded the airplanes after landing.
     
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  30. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    No doubt a few passengers needed a change of underwear after that. :)

    Pilots have been hit by hail, IIRC, up to five miles away from the cell if it's tossed out the top and caught by the wind.
     
  31. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    American?
     
  32. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Rather not say on an open frequency, but, yes, in the US.
     
  33. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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  34. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    Rollin' coal. Luv that phrase now
     
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  35. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Just don't let it get you violated for breaking sterile cockpit. ;)
     
  36. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    "Air traffic coordinators" would be most accurate, I think. They're doing more than just giving advice — they have a legal mandate to give us instructions to help us avoid crashing into each-other in crowded airspace and/or low viz — but the PIC remains in control of the plane.
     
  37. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Agreed. Air Traffic Controllers have advised people into mountains and each other. FAR 91.3 still applies.
     
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  38. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    I do as well. Since soon after the Roselawn ATR accident reports of Icing have generally been met with "what do you need?"
     
  39. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Agreed.

    A few years later, in January 1997, Comair 3272 crashed as a result of icing outside Detroit. That one wasn't ATC. The NTSB tagged the FAA with it.....also the pilots, of course.

    I worked on the Safety side of ALPA for over 20 years, mostly active for about 12 of them. Both ALPA and the NTSB dislike the Federal requirement to find a single probably cause of accidents since there were often a lot of things going on. Rarely is a major accident cut and dried.

    The Comair crash was unusual because the NTSB tagged the FAA with the probable cause and the pilots secondly. Usually it's almost always the pilot's fault because, like a game of hot potato, they're the last ones to be responsible.

    The Reason model (swiss cheese) of accident safety shows a bunch of discs. The last two discs are the copilot (2nd to last) and the Captain (last disc)


    https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR9804_body.pdf

    https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19970109-0
    PROBABLE CAUSE: The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the FAA's failure to establish adequate aircraft certification standards for flight in icing conditions, the FAA's failure to ensure that an FAA/CTA-approved procedure for the accident airplane's deice system operation was implemented by U.S.-based air carriers, and the FAA's failure to require the establishment of adequate minimum airspeeds for icing conditions, which led to the loss of control when the airplane accumulated a thin, rough accretion of ice on its lifting surfaces.

    Contributing to the accident were the flight crew's decision to operate in icing conditions near the lower margin of the operating airspeed envelope (with flaps retracted), and Comair's failure to establish and adequately disseminate unambiguous minimum airspeed values for flap configurations and for flight in icing conditions."



    [​IMG]
     
  40. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    LOL.

    At least they were looking. Not all do. I've had a few "WTF?" moments with both weather and traffic where Center came too late with an advisory.

    One joke passed around is asking ATC something like "What's the ride through that like?" and they come back "Well, a Cessna went through 20 minutes ago. No complaints!"