Pilot Safety News
A Safety Journal for General Aviation
March, 2006 

 
by Max Trescott, Master CFI & FAA Aviation Safety Counselor
www.sjflight.com  (650)-224-7124

Index to Pilot Safety News
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Welcome!
Some newsletter bring a small amount of response and others bring lots. Last month brought lots. It looks to me like people really enjoyed reading about the Columbia 400. Which proves the old adage that sex sells, as it is a very sexy aircraft. Even the Columbia Aircraft people asked to reprint the article on their website. Fortunately, we'll be flying another great new aircraft soon--so stay tuned. We've posted some of the reader comments at the end of this newsletter.

If you haven't heard, Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook is finally off the press and now available. If you're interested in flying glass--and someday almost all pilots will--the book is a great place to start. If you're already flying glass, the book is a comprehensive reference which helps you understand all of the nuances. We were lucky enough to catch the author for a couple of minutes (which, as many of you know, has been difficult of late) and he tells us in this issue about the benefits of glass and why you'll enjoy flying these modern airplanes.

Other things you'll find in this issue are details on a Cirrus crash resulting from trying to turn back to the runway after takeoff, a recent near miss at LAX that applies to all general aviation pilots, and the need to watch your AROW prior to a ramp check. We also have an update on the bizarre incident where the Visalia, CA FD failed to respond to a fatal plane crash

Our Favorite Aviation Agency (FAA) is eliminating the "Position and Hold" instruction starting March 20. After that, planes can hold short, but then need to wait until the runway is clear before they can be cleared for takeoff. Many airports are scrambling to get a waiver, and the FAA will probably grant many of these, and hopefully not just at big airports. The Palo Alto, CA airport is an excellent example of where it's needed. Around 200,000 operations a year feed a single runway with simultaneous left and right traffic patterns. The pros that run the tower have gone over 2 million ops without an error. A lot of smart people think this will dramatically slow the number of ops per hour and increase risk. Stay tuned.

Just a quick plug for the 99's organization of flying ladies. If you're in the San Jose area, come to their Pasta Dinner on March 30, which is a fund raiser for the San Jose State University Precision Flying Team. You'll find details below in our events calendar.

My friend Bob Miller puts out an excellent newsletter from the Buffalo, NY area. We met at Oshkosh last summer at the NAFI tent, which is my home-away-from-home at Oshkosh. He's an incredibly productive newsletter writer so I'm sure you'll find some gems you can benefit from in his newsletter. You'll find the latest issue at www.rjma.com/flight/airwaves/vol3-05t.htm

I'm starting to get busy giving seminars again, including one in Florida. Here are few coming up:
Mar 22, 2006   Flying G1000 Glass Cockpit aircraft   7PM West Valley Flying, Hayward airport
April 9, 2006   Flying the G1000  11AM   Sun-N-Fun   Lakeland, Florida
April 19, 2006  Flying G1000 Glass Cockpit aircraft   7PM West Valley Flying, San Carlos airport

Feel free to forward this newsletter to your flying friends and encourage them to subscribe.   If you're on the distribution list, you'll receive an email each month highlighting the information contained in the online version of the newsletter. Submissions and feedback are always welcome!   

Have fun and fly safely!
best regards,
Max Trescott, Master CFI
650-224-7124


Controller 0; Pilot Won!
Big OOPS at LAX when 3 airplanes cleared to same runway
Early on in pilot training, I try to make a point to clients that before taking a runway, they need to check the final approach to make sure that someone else isn't planning to use the same runway. This could occur at a controlled field if a controller accidentally clears two aircraft for the same runway, or at a non-towered airport. It's one of those things that's easy to occasionally forget to do. But it could save your life. 

I like to pay lots of attention to potential threats that are "low probability, high consequence." These are the ones that almost never occur, but if they do could have disastrous consequences. It's easy to become immune to these threats since they almost never occur. Yet sometimes they do. A case in Los Angeles last months shows why no pilot can afford to be complacent about checking the final before going onto the runway. 

On February 17 a little before midnight, a Southwest Airlines jet was given permission to land on a runway and then told to use a parallel runway instead. Shortly thereafter, a regional SkyWest plane was cleared onto the same runway for takeoff. If that wasn't bad enough, the controller then told an Air Canada jet it could cross the other end of the same runway!

Fortunately, the alert pilot of the SkyWest plane noticed the inbound Southwest jet and stopped short of the runway onto which he was cleared. According to FAA officials, the Southwest jet flew about 50 feet above and 275 feet away from the SkyWest plane. It landed safely, exiting the runway approximately a mile before where the Air Canada plane was crossing the runway. 

The incident bears an eerie similarity to a crash that occurred at LAX a few years ago when two planes were cleared to the same runway. One aircraft was told to "position and hold," and was still on the runway when the other jet landed on top of it. That incident also occurred at night and led to a changed in operating procedures for the use of strobe lights. Previously, aircraft were encouraged to keep their strobes off when on the ground to prevent blinding other pilots. Now pilots are encourage to have their strobes on at night whenever they're on a runway to make them more visible to landing aircraft. 

The moral (if there is one) of both incidents is that pilots need to remain alert to their surroundings. They need to continuously monitor the radio and build a mental picture of other aircraft, where they are and what they're doing. And pilots need to check the final before taking a runway so that they are completely sure that no other aircraft is headed for the same runway.

This is not always easy to do with high wing aircraft, since they can easily block the view of the final approach corridor. Routinely, pilots pull up to the hold short line so the airplane makes a perfect 90 angle with the runway. In doing so in high wing aircraft, they block their view of the final. I always recommend to clients that they stop at the hold short line at an angle so that they have a clear view of the approach corridor. That makes it easy to verify that they won't be doing the tango with another airplane on the runway. 

Checking the final is one thing you should build into your routine so that you always do it. While the probability of there being a conflict is small, history shows that there are high consequences when it happens. It's an easy thing to do if you just remember. Do it every time and you may prevent an "OOPS."  


The Impossible Turn
Recent Fatal Accident Proves that it's Still Impossible
Long time pilots may recognize "The Impossible Turn" as the name of one of the yellow FAA Accident Prevention Brochures that were passed out by the tens of thousands at FAA safety seminars around the country. These brochures are slowing falling victim to the government budget problems, but you can find this one on another of my websites where you can see a full list of safety brochures. Scroll down that page, or just click P-8740-44 Impossible Turn to see that particular brochure.  

In general aviation, we used to put a lot of emphasis on telling pilots that if they have an engine failure after takeoff, they should NOT try to turn back toward the runway (hence the name "Impossible Turn"), but should instead land straight ahead--or within about 30 left or right of your heading. I don't think I read about this as much anymore, but it's still just as important, as a recent training accident in southern California highlights. 

The opening line of the report is: 

"On January 9, 2006, at 1343 Pacific standard time, a Cirrus SR20, N526CD, impacted terrain while attempting to return to the runway following a simulated engine failure at General William J. Fox Airfield (WJF), Lancaster, California."

Great. This was a training flight. The instructor was working with the student to make "an impossible turn." Which is not to say that it's always impossible (given sufficient altitude AND a very long runway, it's possible to sometimes make it back to the departure end of the runway---you'll never make it back to a short runway).  But this is a maneuver--if you insist on teaching it--which should be simulated at altitude and is best not practiced in the traffic pattern.  The report continues:

"The controllers reported that the Cirrus reported inbound to WJF from the south and requested to do multiple touch-and-go landings. The Cirrus was cleared into the pattern and advised to use runway 6. After the Cirrus had completed a number of touch-and-go landings, the pilot requested to make a low approach to runway 6, and on climb out, simulate an engine failure, execute a teardrop maneuver, and land using runway 24. The tower advised that the winds were 060 degrees and 9 knots gusting to 15. The pilot acknowledged the wind report, and was cleared for the requested maneuver.

"The controllers observed the Cirrus make the low approach to runway 6. At the departure end of the runway, the Cirrus made a slight right turn, followed by a sweeping left turn. The controllers said the Cirrus lost a significant amount of altitude before aborting the landing. The pilot then executed a go-around and the airplane flew north of the runway and parallel. The pilot requested to "try that again" and the tower controller advised the Cirrus that the winds were 060 degrees and 10 knots.

"The controller observed the Cirrus make the low approach to runway 6; on the upwind leg, the airplane made a slight right turn followed by a sweeping left turn. The controller did not see the airplane impact the ground as a pillar in the control tower momentarily blocked the controller's view of the airplane.

"Witnesses on the ground, just south of the accident site, observed the airplane make a left turn and then "spin into the ground."

The accident was fatal killing both the instructor pilot and the pilot flying.

Why the Turn is Impossible
For full details, read P-8740-44 Impossible Turn. Here are some of the problems with turning back to the runway. First, there's a large increase in stall speed as you increase bank angle in a turn. Here are the numbers for the SR20 in this accident at 3000 pound full gross weight and 0% flaps at the most forward C.G.

Bank Angle  Stall Speed  Increase (%)  
0 deg.               65 knots       0%
15 deg.             66 knots       2%
30 deg.             70 knots       8%
45 deg.             78 knots     20%
60 deg.             92 knots     42%

I never want to see more than 30 banks in the traffic pattern (ask any of my clients!). Occasionally, I'll see someone get close to 45 and you can see that stall speed takes a big jump up. If the accident aircraft pilot was at 45 in his turn, it's easy to imagine that he dipped below 78 knots when the power was off. 

Here's another problem, as described in "Impossible Turn:"  
"In addition, it is often forgotten that turns require room and the faster you fly the bigger the turn will be. Even at the modest, 70-knot gliding speed of a little tiddler, radius of a standard-rate turn is an astonishing 2240 feet. By the time direction has been reversed, you and your favorite wonderplane are 4480 feet to one side of the runway-that makes a nasty hole in a mile! The drawing shows that the turn must be continued for another 45 degrees before the aircraft is pointing in the general direction of the airfield, so total turning entails changing direction through 180 degrees plus 45 degrees for a total of 225 degrees.
 

"One of the reasons why some folks get uptight when they are told to land ahead if the engine quits after takeoff is because they feel denied the right to exercise their judgment. I would be the first to agree. To demand that the landing must be straight ahead would be pointless and potentially dangerous. Ahead may lie the biggest and densest housing development of all time. 10 degrees to one side could be an open field the size of JFK."

Aftermath
One month after this accident, Cirrus issued a Pilot Training Bulletin to all Cirrus Standardized Instructors stating that: 
"...to successfully complete and execute a return to the airfield maneuver after takeoff is a dangerous maneuver to practice at low altitudes and therefore is not authorized during training. If you deem it necessary to demonstrate the amount of altitude loss to successfully complete this maneuver it should be accomplished at a safe altitude with a minimum recovery altitude of 1500' AGL."

In our opinion, Cirrus is to be commended for taking fast action to clarify what should have already been obvious to most instructors. Their recommendation is a good practice to follow in all general aviation aircraft.  Apparently some instructors are demonstrating the "Impossible Turn," and, as this case show, still proving that it's impossible, sometimes with fatal results. If you feel that you have to prove this to yourself, do so with LOTS of altitude.


 

 


New -- Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook
Now it's a little easier to fly glass cockpit aircraft
You've probably figured out that someday nearly everyone will be flying glass cockpit aircraft. What you may not have realized is that you can be doing it now and that it's probably not as hard as you think. The future is here now, and you can choose to embrace it or stand on the sidelines and ignore it. If you do the latter, you'll be missing out on a lot of fun AND forgoing the potential for increased safety that glass cockpit aircraft offer. 

Over a year ago, I started getting more heavily involved in Garmin G1000-equipped glass cockpit aircraft and soon after with Avidyne Entegra equipped Cirrus aircraft. Soon, I was at Cessna getting factory training and flying home with a client in his new Cessna T206. While the factory training is great, few rental pilots get to take it. As I looked at the training process, I realized that there was a huge gap. The factory manuals were not as user friendly as they could be, and cost more that $100. Everything could be learned through one-on-one ground training, but in many cases, CFIs in the field didn't know much more than the students. Hence the book was born. And yes, please order a copy now. Call 800-247-6553, or order online through www.glasscockpitbooks.com.  

Why Glass?
When I first read about glass cockpits, the advantage wasn't apparent. After all, why did you need a TV screen to replace perfectly good gauges? The answer became apparent to me after my first few flights. And it's this.

For a short daytime, VFR hop to go get $200 (with inflation factored in) hamburgers, there's not a huge advantage, other than the ability to see other aircraft displayed on a moving map--which in high density areas is worth it. Where you'll really see the advantages are for longer cross country flights, night flight, and IFR flights. And the advantages in these areas are very significant. 

For long cross country flights, the workload drops tremendously. A recent 151 nm flight from San Luis Obispo to Palo Alto in a G1000-equipped Cessna 182 illustrates this. I was squeezed for time to make my next appointment, so while I normally fly a route that follows a road and avoids an MOA, for this flight I plugged in a direct flight plan. I knew I faced a headwind, so rather than climb to 6500 feet as I normally would, I stayed at 4,500 feet. However, I didn't know if that altitude would clear the terrain for the entire route. So once in the air, I turned to the Terrain Proximity page and used the map pointer to pan ahead and examine my entire route. This clearly showed that while there would be higher terrain (in red) and close terrain (in yellow) to my left and right along the trip, the direct route just happened to provide over 1,000 feet of terrain clearance for the entire route. Proper use of this page at night is a must, particularly when descending down to your destination. No longer is there a need to guess where the rocks are if you can't see them clearly.

Had I wanted to explore the winds aloft at various altitudes, it would have been easy. The wind vector continuously shows the direction and strengths of the wind, and so it's a simple matter to climb or descent and quickly determine the winds. Or, I could have used the XM satellite weather data to find out the same thing. Unlike the winds aloft data from the National Weather Service, the G1000 winds aloft data is updated hourly by forecasters at WxWorx. They are presented in 3,000 feet increments up into into the flight levels, so you don't really need to climb to determine the winds. 

But the greatest reduction in workload comes from the autopilot. If you rarely fly in an airplane with an autopilot that actually works or you've never gotten much instruction about the autopilot from a CFI, you're probably in the majority of pilots. Older aircraft have notoriously poor autopilots, and CFIs are never tested on their ability to instruct in the use of the autopilot. But the autopilots in new glass cockpit aircraft do work--most of the time--and they work well. Most FITS trained CFIs teach their clients to engage the autopilot soon after takeoff and use it throughout the trip. This frees you up for the really important stuff--which is the decision making associated with the safety of the trip. You'll have a lot more time to continuously weigh alternative courses of action if you're not spending most of your brain cycles keeping the plane straight and level.  

Flying in IMC with a glass panel is almost relaxing by comparison with flying in a traditional aircraft. Instead of using a two inch wide miniature airplane to keep the wings level, you have a 10-inch wide line that separates the blue upper half of the screen from the brown lower half of the screen. Even when I'm in the back seats, I can easily tell if the airplane has banked a few degrees. And the pilot's eyes never have to leave the instruments. Why? Because in G1000 aircraft (such as Beechcraft, Cessna, Columbia, Diamond, Mooney and Tiger), the flight plan and radios can be accessed from the same 10-inch screen that displays the instruments! So now it's easy to keep the airplane straight and level while tuning the radios (even easier if you use the autopilot!). 

Glass also improves overall situational awareness. With a large moving map on the right side display, you can instantly orient yourself to the surrounding terrain or to an instrument approach. No longer is interpretation of two VOR needles required to determine whether you passed an intersection . Want to read more about the benefits of flying glass? You can read the first 19 pages of the book on line at www.g1000book.com

Traffic and Weather on the 8's--or whenever you want
If I had to give up everything else and keep just one thing, it would be the traffic display. Why? Because it's the one thing that can still get you even if you've carefully planned your trip and are vigilant. Most G1000-equipped aircraft ship with Traffic Information Service (TIS), which is the mode-S transponder capability that displays nearby traffic. It's the cheapest traffic solution (assuming you already have a map display in the plane), but it only works up to 55 nm away from an appropriately equipped approach radar site. So you'll see traffic in the major metro areas, but there are huge areas--even in heavily populated California--that don't have traffic service. What are some good alternatives to TIS? You can find out in Chapter 7.

Weather when you need it. Virtually all of the weather services that you are used to getting over the internet are available in the air if you have a subscription to XM Weather, which will cost you either $30 or $50/month depending upon the level of service. Both services include NEXRAD radar, which is the one you'll probably want most. There's a lot more to NEXRAD radar than you might think. Like how old the data is when it shows up in your aircraft and which colors suggest convective activity (otherwise known as thunderstorms). 

Lightning data is also available in these aircraft. Many aircraft come equipped with a Stormscope that detects nearby lightning strikes. The higher level weather service also provides lightning data from a ground based network of lightning sensors. But what are the differences between these sources of lightning data? Which types of lightning are shown or not shown by each? Which is more likely to pick up the lightning associated with the earliest stages of a storm and can help you steer around the storm before it becomes fully developed? Chapter 7 and 8 of course.

Flight Planning with the G1000 GPS
Most pilots can probably figure out how to use the Direct-to key and that is generally sufficient for shorter VFR hops. But what about longer hops where you might need to fly a non-straight line to avoid restricted areas or locally high terrain? You'll need to get familiar with entering flight plans with the FPL key. While you can muddle along VFR only using the Direct-to key, using flight plans proficiently is essential if you fly IFR. 

One of the best ways to get good at programming the Garmin G1000 is use the simulator software available through Garmin. You can find more information about the simulators and how to get them at www.g1000book.com.

The Future is Here Now
When I first started reading about the Garmin G1000, I thought sure, maybe I'll get to fly one in ten years. But the conversion to glass happened quickly, and the planes are rapidly becoming available for rent. So even if you don't buy one of these gorgeous planes (which of course should be your first choice!), you can find them for rent at more than 150 flight schools in the U.S, and many more schools will be getting them over the next six months. 

So you can fly the ideal airplane now--no need to wait. If you have trouble finding a place that rents G1000 aircraft, email me with your location and I'll let you know where you can find a rental location. And get started on learning how to fly these airplanes now. And please support your Pilot Safety News editor by calling 800-247-6553 or order online at www.glasscockpitbooks.com.


Aircraft Documentation
We all need to pay more attention!
In the interest of promoting safety, Pilot Safety News often talks about recent aircraft accidents. So long time readers will probably find it amusing that we bring up a mundane topic like aircraft documentation. What's the connection with safety? Read on.

I'm the first to admit that aircraft documentation has been one of my lower priorities when I get into an airplane. After all, I'm most concerned about things that might lead to a crash, and I don't recall any NTSB reports that cited improper documentation as the probable cause! Also, to the best of my recollection, of the many CFI's that I've used over the last 30+ years, not a single one has ever inspected the aircraft documentation when they flew with me. So why my sudden interest in the aircraft paperwork? Nothing like a chat with the FAA to awaken you to the new realities.

What's changed? First the TSA is getting more heavily involved in general aviation. They've recently stated that aircraft with improper registration might not be able to use the airspace system. That means if you've moved since your registration was issued, you better send in a change of address form now! 

Also, the interest of the local FAA FSDO office has been piqued by the results of ramp checks that show a rather cavalier attitude toward aircraft documentation. I learned this when an FAA inspector came to a recent CFI meeting at one of the several local flight schools at which I teach. First a quick review of what's required.

ARROW is now AROW
Long time pilots learned the acronym ARROW for what documents are required on an airplane. Recent pilots have wondered why CFIs cannot spell and insist upon spelling AROW incorrectly. ARROW stood for:
Airworthiness Certificate
Registration
Radio License
Operating Limitations
Weight & Balance

A few years ago, the radio license requirement was removed when you're flying within the U.S. (it's still required when flying internationally), hence the change to AROW. The Airworthiness Certificate is issued by the aircraft manufacturer at the time the plane is built, and certifies that the plane was built in accordance with the type certificate, issued by the FAA, for the design of that particular airplane. It's good forever. 

The Registration is like your car registration. It says who owns the airplane. More on this in a moment.

The requirement for Operating Limitations can be met in two ways. Either you can have the aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) in the plane, or you can have placards in the aircraft which document all of the aircraft's limitations. For example, one placard might list VA, the aircraft's maneuvering speed.

The Weight & Balance is the document that tells you the empty weight, center of gravity and useful load for a particular airplane. This is not the generic weight and balance information that you find in the POH which is more or less the same for every plane of a particular model. Each airplane has a different weight and it changes over time due to painting, the addition and subtraction of avionics, etc. So you need the latest version of the weight and balance for the airplane you're flying.

Ramp Check -- We're from the FAA and we're here to help!
So what happens if you are ramp checked? After identifying themselves, the FAA inspector(s) will ask to see your pilot documents (pilot's license, medical and photo ID) and the airplane documents--AROW. Years ago, I used to keep my medical in my logbook which was usually in the car. In recent years I've folded it and placed it in my wallet. I've never been ramp checked but at least now I'm prepared if I am.

At the CFI meeting, the inspector results of a recent check of a club airplane. I don't recall whether it was ramp check per se. As I recall the inspector and his boss were at the club and they were looking inside the airplane and decided to check the documents. What they found made them none too happy.

The airplane was flying on a "pink slip," which is the temporary registration that's issued when an aircraft changes hands until the permanent registration arrives from Oklahoma City. No problem yet (unless you were flying outside the U.S., where you must have the permanent registration). However, a temporary registration, like the name implies, isn't good forever--just 90 days in fact. You probably see where this is going.

The pink slip in this airplane had expired some number of weeks before and the plane had flown on 22 separate occasions since the expiration. Worse yet, a total of 3 different CFI's had flown in the airplane and not noticed the problem with the documentation. Needless to say, the FAA manager who was along for the visit was none too impressed, and made sure that each of the CFI's involved had a discussion with the FAA. I wasn't involved in any of those discussions, so I don't know what they were like. But, I'm sure paying a lot more attention to aircraft documentation when I climb into an airplane these days. So word to the wise: Check your documentation before you go flying!  


Track IFR Flight Operations for Free
If only it were so easy to track our children!
There's a great new service which allows you to monitor the progress of most IFR flights. And best of all, it's free. I was surprised when I first tried the service at www.flightaware.com to see just how robust the service is. 

You can get flight information in several ways. You can enter a tail number, a airline flight number, or an airport code.
If you enter an airport code, you can see lists of all IFR arrivals, departures, scheduled departures and planes currently en route to the airport. 

For example, I just typed in KLVK for Livermore, CA, and I see details on 8 aircraft that arrived IFR today and 9 that have departed. Two aircraft are en route to Livermore and a third, a Gulfstream V, scheduled to leave from Long Beach is "delayed." Two other flights are scheduled for departure later today, including the G5, which is going to Aspen next (hope they get there before dark). 

Best of all, you can actually get a map that shows the ground track for individual flights. In January, I knew a friend would be flying in a Cirrus from KLVK to the Las Vegas area. It was fairly easy to find his flight going to the Henderson, NV airport. We'd talked about whether to take the direct route (over Mt. Whitney) or to take the longer, lower altitude route that curves around Edwards AFB. It was easy to see that he chose the latter route (which is my preferred way to go). 

You can also find lots of other maps and graphs on the site. A fun one shows a movie of all aircraft activity across the U.S. in a 24 hour period. It's easy to see that most air traffic is concentrated in the east. During the night, most activity is gone except for a few red eye and cargo flights, and in the morning activity picks up again starting in the East. This is a fun site, and I recommend that you try it.


Epilogue: Visalia, CA Fire Department
Report Release; Firemen disciplined--didn't investigate plane crash report.
"With little more than a glance down a darkened runway, two Visalia firefighters ignored a citizen's report that he saw a small plane crash at Visalia Municipal Airport, a report prepared by an independent investigator, and released by the City of Visalia late Thursday, says."  This March 3 report in the Visalia Delta Times brings to an end a bizarre saga we first reported last month. What was even more bizarre was the city's contention that they wouldn't reveal the results of an internal investigation, calling it a "personnel matter." To their credit, the city did release the report after a series of blistering editorials and letters to the editor. The Visalia Delta Times released information from the report and again we quote from their article:

"The report says the fire department captain in charge of the airport fire station on Jan. 13, John Wafford, showed a "lapse in judgment and failure to act consistent with his training."

"At no point, the report said, did Wafford or either of the other two firefighters on duty venture onto the runway or take a vehicle to look for the plane. Wafford, 52, a 27-year veteran, announced his retirement Monday, avoiding disciplinary action.

"The report also criticized the No. 2 officer on duty, Engineer Shane Yoder.

"It was Yoder who answered Station 3's door at about 6:30 p.m. when Geoff Ludlow, a distributor of Christian movies who was on his way home from work, rang the bell to report that he had minutes before witnessed a small plane crash.

"The report says Yoder dismissed Ludlow's report, believing he might be "under the influence of some intoxicating substance" and gave contradicting descriptions about Ludlow's speech patterns. The report quoted Yoder as saying he told Wafford that "Ludlow might be intoxicated or under the influence" and that what he saw "might have been nothing more than a reflection of lights off his windshield."

"In an interview with the city's investigator, Yoder gave this description of how he looked at the runway to see if he could see a crashed plane:

"Yoder said he looked toward the middle of the runway where [Ludlow] was gesturing and observed nothing out of the ordinary. He recalled that it was a dark, cloudy night, but that there was 'still some light in the sky' which enabled him to differentiate between the clouds, the sky and the horizon. Regardless, Yoder said he was not able to see anything that looked in any way unusual."

"Afterward, the report says, Yoder barbecued steaks, and the fire crew ate dinner.

"Yoder was busted to fireman and suspended without pay for six days. A third firefighter on duty, Thomas Jimenez, was suspended without pay for three days.

"At 10:30 p.m., the wreckage of the plane, a Piper Twin Commanche, was found by Airport Manager Mario Cifuentez at the south end of the runway after relatives of those aboard raised alarms that it was overdue.

"An autopsy report said [the passengers] died on impact and that a prompt response by the fire crew would not have saved them. But the incident shocked residents and quickly became a major public safety issue, exacerbated by the city's refusal, until Thursday, to explain what happened."

Hopefully this is the end of this saga. Case closed (we hope).


Upcoming Events

March 18-19, 2006    California Capitol Airshow featuring Blue Angels, Sacramento Mather field

March 30, 2006    Ninety Nines Pasta Dinner, Santa Clara Elks Lodge, Santa Clara CA
    Fundraiser for SJ State University Precision Flying Team.  
    6 PM Raffle Preview & Hangar Flying - Raffle Tickets 6 for $15
    7 PM Dinner - $15

April 4-10, 2006    Sun-n-Fun Convention/Airshow, Lakeland, FL 

May 6, 2006  Flying Companions Seminar 8:30-5:30 PM. RHV Airport Terminal Bldg Conf. Room


On the Air
This one occurred a few days ago, and was relayed to me by a friend who heard the exchange.

PAO Tower: Mary, this is Elizabeth, are you up there.

Airplane: Yes, I am.

PAO Tower: John asked me to ask you if you would marry him.

<Long Pause>

Airplane: Yes

Many other congratulations were then heard from other airplanes.
Apparently, John and Mary were sitting side-by-side in the plane when the tower pass along John's proposal.


We had a lot of reader response to last month's issue. Keep those cards and letters coming!

Hello Mr. MAX
We enjoyed your seminar last night both me and my grandfather. We think your are the best. Thank you.
    --AMIR B.

This is a great newsletter!  Thanks!   --Steven

Thanks Max!   So much info and so little time. I  really appreciate the content of your news letter. It has the right mix of local info, national coverage, new toys, and informative safety info. I scan several placations, and read selected articles as time allows, but seem to read yours start to finish. Keep up the good work!   -- Gary V.

Thank you Max. I always enjoy reading your months Safety News writings. And yes, I will forward to my friends too. And I should see you this evening at Palo Alto for your night flying talk!  best wishes,  -- Heather

Thanks again Max. I don't get the chance to fly as much as I used to ( once or twice a month if I am lucky). But I do try to keep my head in the clouds by reading and surfing the net. Yours is one of the tools I look forward to each month because it is always great information that applies to me and it gets me to think. Thanks again and keep them coming!  --Bill C.

This is the first time I read your article... I was very impressed. Thank you for putting it together. --Dan M.

Max, Hi.  I'm a private pilot in the Bay Area with almost 250 total hours and nearing my IFR checkride. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for your newsletter.  I'm sure that I can speak for other too when I say I really enjoy reading it and learning from it each month. Thanks again! --Jordan R.

Max:  thanks for getting back to me.  I really enjoy your newsletter, so much so in fact that I start checking the first of the month to see if it is up yet.  Keep up the good work. --Curtis

Hi, Max: Just a line to thank you for sending me your newsletter.  It was great reading and I shared it with my friends.  Please keep up the good work, I'm sure it will pay dividends in the future. Regards, Lt. Jerry L.

Thanks very much Max, I appreciate being included on your mailing list and enjoyed the talk Wednesday. --Don W.

Thanks for a great safety service to the GA community. --Michael B


Pilot Safety News
2006 by Max Trescott
Master CFI & FAA Aviation Safety Counselor
Please contact me with your feedback or if I can be of service to you.
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