A strictly Anonymous Forum designed to allow you to share those moments in flying that caused you concern. No names, no pack drill. You can post without registering a username. Existing registered users can log out to post if they wish
There is a time and a place for everything and pushing the envelope a bit when flying around with a passenger in the confines of airspace around Panshanger on a day with cr@p vis is not a good plan.
Other points for consideration:
Most pilots are task focused and want to deliver; sometimes it is better to admit defeat and come back another day.
When you are lost in an area such as that ask for help there and then!
Listen out on the LTN or STN frequency when bimbling about and use the ModeC code
Get a GPS.
Orbits are a surefire way to get more lost. Squares or triangles are better as you can orientate yourself; the DI and Compass show something useful and you can look out rather than just into the turn. Triangles also make it clear to a controller that you are lost if you hadn't told them yet.
But no need to go in the stocks! No puppies hurt and a huge amount of experience learned.
Stevenage is on the Luton rwy extended centreline, inside the Luton CTR. If you thought you were here then it should be an immediate call to Luton, not when you finally identify where you are.
Please use your transponder with mode C. Big aeroplanes with TCAS can then avoid you. Better still, get someone to explain what 0013 is all about. Read Irv's Fly on Track site especially the radar replays.
This example simply opens a wider debate for me. Why are we allowing people to complete their PPL without the basic skills to execute a local flight from their home airfield without ending up penetrating controlled airspace. Or, why are these people not being armed with the skills to make a judgment call during the planning or early stages of such a flight which allow them to abandon a flight in inappropriate conditions?
I stood in front of some of the great and the good of the East Anglian GA community at Duxford last weekend and the majority of them assured me (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) that THEY do not infringe CAS. However me and my colleagues together with the enlightened audience at Duxford are extremely concerned that approximately 120 people did infringe the Stansted CTR/CTA last year and many of them operating from local airfields.
So NeilA's incident happened without anyone dying (no, I am not being melodramatic IMHO) and he did at least initiate some belated action to try and resolve the situation. But unless we tackle this issue at source, the infringement statistics will continue to rise, service providers will seek increasingly draconian measures until we have a mid-air collision at which point all bets are off as to free access to airspace over southern England, that we all cherish.
We need to take action now to understand why these incidents are happening and prevent them. I suspect we need to go right back to source and look very carefully at syllabus, training and standards.
I don't think there is anything wrong with the syllabus, it's post-qualifying that gives problems, and that is down to cost. Keeping current and in practice is difficult when you are looking at even a short flight costing £200 when everything is taken in to account., especially if you are not in a group and relying on hiring a club aircraft.
That also adds to press-on-it-is, if you have got a 3 hour slot, after 3 cancellations due to weather, unserviceabilty etc, the threshold for scrubbing it is higher.
Their is also a need to review the amount of CAS that exists, small regional airports with few flights and military airfields in effective mothballs come to mind. Flying the north-south axis almost anywhere in the UK is needle-threading by any other name.
NeilA wrote:Most of the time during lessons I was told to have it on standby 7000 and Mode C just if requested by ATC. However most of the time when flying I stick it on Mode C.
That seems wrong.
I used 7000 and ALT during all lessons and since until told otherwise by ATC. I wonder if that was a local arrangement to avoid clutter on local ATC screens? Though it seems the more ATC know about you the happier they are normally.
Jim Jones wrote: I wonder if that was a local arrangement to avoid clutter on local ATC screens? Though it seems the more ATC know about you the happier they are normally.
It is not a local agreement and has been emphasised many times here, on other forums and I thought via many mediums to the whole GA community, that the operation of a transponder is the ONLY way many of the safety nets and tools to prevent and mitigate infringements can function.
The message is obviously still not getting through in some quarters although I am particularly disappointed that this appears to be true at Panshanger, given it's proximity to Luton and Stansted.
Check the weather. A low sun in hazy conditions will play a significant part.
Don't be afraid to eat humble pie and go home early.
Maintain situational awareness.
Use the transponder - always.
When in doubt, get help early. Luton, D&D, Stansted - it doesn't matter
When tracking a radial, stop the needle moving. Don't chase the needle.
Don't buy a GPS until you are happy you can cope with a similar scenario without GPS. Otherwise you may allow your 'buzz' to cloud your judgement. The weather was crap, GPS or not.
NeilA wrote:Andy, the transponder was on Standby before I spoke to Luton.
I think that was a very brave answer. You didn't have to be honest but have been and are prepared to take the inevitable stick that goes with it.
I too am concerned that anything other than full Mode C use of the transponder should not have been tattooed onto your conscious mind when flying from anywhere, but in particular from somewhere like Panshanger. I am not so much having a go at you, rather the establishment you learned at. With all the cries for more and more controlled airspace and mandatory transponder zones, this is just more ammunition.
I have watched ATCO's put commercial jets straight over the top of such a non transponding aeroplane as yours in the Luton zone and I found it rather chilling that they had the faith to do so. No wonder they nag at us all to use the transponder with mode C!
I would hope you take this as constructive criticism and I do realise that you are new to the world of aviation. As said above your honesty is also to be commended. Do try and make use of Mode C standard procedure from now on. It may just save your life one day. Fly safe and have fun!
Imagine what you might try if you thought you could not fail...