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#1741876
In the interests of being honest and offering lessons from which people can learn.
Here's my tale of how get-home-itis and stress piling up can ruin a day.
I took a passenger up to a medium-sized international airport about 40 minutes away from where our club's C172 is based.
We were marshalled in, and they even gave us a lift back to the security building - through which you exit the airport, if you didn't arrive by airliner. All was perfect.
Trouble began on the way back.
I knew I had to be on the ground at our home base by 1600. Two reasons: the plane was booked by somebody else from 1600 to 1800 for some night training. And sunset was at 1625. I'm not night-rated, so, by law the latest I could fly was 1655 - but I thought that would be unwise.
So we walked up to the airfield gate at 1445, with an hour and a quarter to spare.
The lovely man at security checked my licence and photo id and then turned to my passenger: "Can I see your photo ID, please, Sir?"
Now, for the Americans on here. By law, nobody in England is required to have an ID. This requirement for a photo ID to go through the airport gate as a passenger is not in any of the flght guides for that particular airport. And I had certainly never encountered this before in all my flying.
"The only thing I have on me is my driving licence", my passenger said.
"Oh, that's more than enough", answered the security man, then looked at the document - and his expression suddenly became very stern.
"Do you know, Sir, that it's out of date by just over a week? I'm afraid I can't let you through", he said.
My options at this stage were: to either leave the passenger where we were, expecting him to make his own way back to our field where his car was parked (two trains and a bus ride), or to nag. I chose to nag.
The nagging - and the resulting frantic calls from security to management and back to security - took well over an hour.
By the time the issue was resolved ("You can go, but we'll have to escort you to the plane an watch you leave"), it was 1555.
As I said, the next booking for the plane was 1600, the sunset was 1625, and I had a 40 minute flight to get back.
So I rushed through pre-take off checks ("nothing's fallen off, we've got enough fuel and oil, all surfaces move"), rushed through departure (rolling takeoff, steep turn on course immediately after noise abatement), rushed through everything imaginable, and flew the poor 172 at 120 knots all the way.
I was so stressed and goal-oriented that I actually had a brain freeze when ATC asked me to turn to a heading before leaving their area - I sat there and tried to figure out whether I should be turning left or right!
In hindsight, I broke a number of rules which I vouched never to break:
No get-home-itis,
Always pre-flight the aeroplane properly,
Do not fly if stressed
By the time we got back, it was still OK in terms of light, and I was still very, very legal, with at least 20 minutes to spare.

But ATC at my field threw me another curveball and asked for an approach which would be "tight and as quick as you can, please". Which was fine, but looking back at the video my passenger shot, I can see I was lower than I should have been, in an ideal world, and landed somewhat to the left of the centerline. This is not normally my style, - more signs of stress and task saturation?
What would you have done? And what do you think the lessons from this should be?
Last edited by agfoxx on Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
#1741904
For those with night ratings (i know you haven't), I have always thought the 90 day passenger rule encouraged bad practice.... gotta rush home and land before night as I haven't t done 1 to&l at night recently.
Of course, depending who the passenger was, i might have let air out of the tyre on the walk around.... :wink:
#1741953
Rallye wrote:I would have taken a room in an hotel and phoned to the club what's happen.
No risk.


In my very limited experience and personal opinion, I think anyone (and the flying club especially) would say:

Human life first
Aircraft re-usability second
Back at base so someone can use the aircraft third
On time and back at base fourth

The words of Paul Dewhurst always play on my mind: if in doubt - don't ... it's far better to have a delay/wait than anything worse.

Also I'm sure the flying club would rather have the inconvenience of a cancelled slot than (potentially) informing next of kin and an AAIB! Human life should always be the number one consideration - because everything else can be replaced!
T67M liked this
#1741972
agfoxx wrote:By the time we got back, it was still OK in terms of light, and I was still very, very legal, with at least 20 minutes to spare.

I'm not going to comment on 'what would I have done', in that precise situation, as I simply don't know. I'd like to think that I'd have flown back on my own, and paid for my passenger's train ticket, but you know, glass houses, stones and all that.

It might be worth making a few general observation that might help the risk evaluation process, however, in future situations like this.

Arriving 10 minutes after sunset on a cloudless day is one thing, and actually preferable to landing into sun just before sunset.

10 minutes later it would have been much, much darker, and if there had been any significant cloud, it would have been pretty dark indeed. I discovered this for myself the hard way over 20 years ago when my dark vision was still extremely good, and it was quite a revelation.

Flying at 120 knots instead of 100 saved 7 minutes on a 40 minute journey, so probably made a substantial difference to the amount of light available on arrival.

You didn't say whether your home field has more than one runway, but if it had only one runway, then if it had been blocked on arrival then the additional delay could quite easily have left you airborne in the dark looking for a diversion.

I think your decision to post this is commendable, and it would be worth tarting it up a bit and submitting it as a CHIRP report. That might also provoke a conversation between CHIRP (who would have a lot more clout than one individual) and the airfield management in question. Both yourself and the airfields in question will be anonymised in the published report, so you don't need to worry about your name appearing in print for all to see.
MachFlyer liked this
#1741973
Miscellaneous wrote:As a side note can anyone say why a driving licence a week out of date does not suffice as proof as identity?

I can accept it is not valid for driving, however as ID sufficient to walk to an aeroplane? :roll:


One step further - can anyone say why ID is necessary anyway to get back into one's jalopy?

Unless the 'official' is checking the ID against a database what the heck are they going to do with the information?

Mind you - why would one carry an out of date ID?
#1741975
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:Unless the 'official' is checking the ID against a database what the heck are they going to do with the information?

I thought exactly that on Saturday at Inverness as a visitor had to be signed in despite being accompanied by two of us with passes. Said visitor had to wear his passport around his neck in a plastic wallet. The only reason I could come up with was being aware of who was airside.

Flyin'Dutch' wrote:Mind you - why would one carry an out of date ID?

At a week I guess he had no idea it was out of date. How many of us could say when our licence expires without looking, Many don't know a driving licence has a shelf life. :D
#1742002
TopCat wrote:
agfoxx wrote:By the time we got back, it was still OK in terms of light, and I was still very, very legal, with at least 20 minutes to spare.

I'm not going to comment on 'what would I have done', in that precise situation, as I simply don't know. I'd like to think that I'd have flown back on my own, and paid for my passenger's train ticket, but you know, glass houses, stones and all that.

It might be worth making a few general observation that might help the risk evaluation process, however, in future situations like this.

Arriving 10 minutes after sunset on a cloudless day is one thing, and actually preferable to landing into sun just before sunset.

10 minutes later it would have been much, much darker, and if there had been any significant cloud, it would have been pretty dark indeed. I discovered this for myself the hard way over 20 years ago when my dark vision was still extremely good, and it was quite a revelation.

Flying at 120 knots instead of 100 saved 7 minutes on a 40 minute journey, so probably made a substantial difference to the amount of light available on arrival.

You didn't say whether your home field has more than one runway, but if it had only one runway, then if it had been blocked on arrival then the additional delay could quite easily have left you airborne in the dark looking for a diversion.

I think your decision to post this is commendable, and it would be worth tarting it up a bit and submitting it as a CHIRP report. That might also provoke a conversation between CHIRP (who would have a lot more clout than one individual) and the airfield management in question. Both yourself and the airfields in question will be anonymised in the published report, so you don't need to worry about your name appearing in print for all to see.




Thank you so much, this is all incredibly useful. Much appreciated! Really!