Tuesday 18 June 2013 21:09 UTC
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Flying back from Compton Abbas to Gloucestershire airport.
Had basic service from Bristol (thank you chaps), about 17 miles from Gloucestershire airport told Bristol I would change to on route freq, and squawk 7000. Right ho and cheerio !
Set 7000 on the mode C......
Changed freq to get the Gloucestershire ATIS....
Set Gloucestershire approach freq.....
Oh dear....transponder and radio are one above the other, and now screaming at me was that I had set 7700 on the transponder.. So for what - 20-30 seconds - I must have lit up the D&D and Bristols world...
As I had not yet spoken to Gloucester, back on to Bristol - who of course asked me straight away if I was ok... no I'm a plonker.. really sorry.. They were kind to me. Thank you chaps - sorry I provided some unwarranted excitement.
Left them and went back to Gloucester approach, who also asked if I was ok and "squawking normally now".
So, sorry to those in Bristol, D&D and Gloucester for any additional workload, it was not deliberate ! But also - I now know for SURE that the wonderful system of 7x00 codes works very well. I have no doubt that if I really had had a problem I'd have have been in good hands..
And I'll check twice...
For most of your flying life, that may be true, but then suddenly it can matter. Bit like locking the emergency exits on a building and giving a complicated way of obtaining the key, purely because the emergency exits are not usually required!
There are two tiny almost effortless things that could possibly save your life in an engine failure that take less than a second to do, but both are ignored by many PPLs in practices so I assume they will forget in real life. One of these tiny little effortless things is to get the 2nd digit on the transponder changed with one click or one press from 7000 to 7700 as soon as you know you're not going to fix the issue.
The studies we did on stall/spin fatalities showed one problem is losing control after a different problem eg: stall/spin after an engine failure. After an engine failure I don't want to be messing around with the transponder other than a one-click solution, and once I've got that 7700 easily, the need to distract myself with making a radio call goes a bit further down the priority list.
I haven't been counting, but I feel that the 'practice maydays' I've heard over the intercom during PFLs have more inaccurate position reports than accurate ones, meaning the chances of being found quickly if injured are not great - eg: "8 miles west of Popham" when we are about 10 miles north, or huge problems on 'distances' even if general direction correct. The 7700 is easy from 7000, and no-one argues about the position of the aircraft.
Reducing, yes it must be, but not to the point where it's worth spoiling controllers' only excitement of the day.
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