Sunday 19 May 2013 09:00 UTC
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
I had read several stories about pilots feeling the pressure to fly and ending up in bad weather and other problems some of who never make it out the other end.
But I had always looked at it from the outside thinking I was never going to put myself into such a situation and that it would be so easy to cancel a flight and fly another day.
Or so I thought. Then the real day of testing came.
Our planned holiday involved going to somewhere abroad for a few nights. It would be a 300 nm journey involving a sea crossing.
My three passengers and I firstly needed to book time off work which we finally got.
As the day of the trip approached, I noted that the forecast was okay, clear VMC but winds would be strong and would continue to pick up even more during the day.
I decided that if we were all disciplined, arrived at the airport on time and took off on time then all would be fine.
So the day before the flight I filed the FPL and GAR forms. They went through OK.
On the day of the flight I checked the weather observiations again and I decided we would go but should get there before midday. We booked and put a deposit down for the hotel and car hire. My passengers spent over an hour getting to my home airport and were all looking really excited. At this stage we had effectively committed ourselves on this trip and now felt that we really needed to take off on time and get there before the winds end up becoming too strong.
Pre-flight of the aircraft was good and we had it refuelled. We loaded the plane and I briefed the passengers and they got on board.
What could stop us now?
Just as I was about to get into the plane my mobile phone rang. It was a call from the Tower:
"Your flight plan is invalid"
"What? My computer gave me the green light and said my plan was okay."
"You mentioned you had a dinghy but did not specify its colour. My computer will not let me activate the flight plan for you after you takeoff."
"Can you help amend the plan for me?"
"Not easily and quickly I'm afraid. It would be quicker for you to re-file."
"So there's absolutely nothing quick you can do at your end?"
"I'm afraid not."
("Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr....", I thought to myself)
After hanging up the phone, I was now feeling the pressure to take off and get those wheels off the ground as the winds at our destination were going to pick up more throughout the day.
I left the plane, ran back to the aero club, sat in front of the computer, refiled the plan and spoke again to the Tower who were now happy. This took up some 45 minutes of my time considering the size of my home airport.
Finally we took off and arrived within the vicinity of our destination airport. The winds had really picked up by now. The approach and landing turned out to be one of the trickiest I had attempted. My airspeed was all over the place on short final. We touched down eventually, I breathed a sigh of relief and taxied to the aero club. The following plane that landed after us was a passenger-carrying jet whose wheels touched down so hard we could see black smoke all over the runway.
The rest of our holiday went by without a hitch but it was certainly one of these trips where I suddenly really felt the pressure to get there, perhaps caused by all the work done with flight planning, hotel, car hire, booking time off work, holiday itinerary planning, and wanting to keep the passengers (including two lovely ladies) happy....
And it may only be that one thing, whatever that might be, that could delay or cancel the whole trip.
If I'm taking people on a holiday somewhere in the shareoplane, I always make sure at the very start to outline (and even exaggerate) the possibility of cancellation, mostly because I don't want them to be too disappointed, but with hindsight I suppose to remove as much of that pressure as possible from myself.
If Timothy had his way, you would know me as Daniel.
Had that same issue at Kemble on a recent flyout. Both aircraft had used SkyDemon to file flightplans. The first aircraft to call for taxi instructions hadn't included the dingy colour/contact information, but the tower refiled it while they waited (took about 5 minutes). I was expecting the same issue, but was pleased to hear "no problems" with mine when I called up because I had included that.
There seems to be a minor issue with SkyDemon which "forgets" these fields and you have to re-enter them every time.
I wouldn't expect AFIS/ATC to be able to refile plans if they were busy, so we were lucky this time.
Newbie PPL/Night/IMC flying rented PA28
Diary of a recently qualified PPL
Idiot's Guide to how EASA licensing affects UK JAR-PPL pilots
I also used to read with vigilance AAIB/NTSB/ATSB reports of accidents caused by press-on-itis and would always think - why? It will never happen to me.. But, to cut a long story short, I had an exceedingly frustrating wait for my solo XCQ flight.. and on the penultimate attempt, almost darted into heavy IMC to get it done. What's worse - I turned back because I didn't want the a/c to be unavailable to the next student rather than because I may end up in the graveyard spin/spiral dive! Two days later I completed the challenge in perfect flying conditions.
Anything to diffuse Press-on-itis should be deployed....
It sounds like best approach in those cases is not to book anything in advance. I know some people don't like that, but if it is a matter of life and death (and in this case might be) - seems to be the best approach !
<-- (yet another) ppl blog.
Prob75 this msg was sent from iPad, not any toy.
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