An anonymous forum to allow you to share those moments in flying that caused you concern. You can post without registering a username, registered users can log out to post
By Anon
:oops: :oops: :oops:
After 15 years and 750 hours of pretty uneventful and thoroughly enjoyable flying, I made probably one of the stupidest and potentially disaserous mistakes on my last flight.
Yes, believe me when I say I feel a right dickhead, but I departed with two 60lb water/aggregate barrels hanging from my wings. Aaaaaghhh!
Surprisingly I didn't notice anything during the flight and fortunately they were both still attached when I landed a short flight away. I can't help pondering what could have happened had one or both detached during the flight.
How did it happen?, well it has to be poor pre-flight checks, but why? Can I blame Covid lockdown syndrome? was it just rust after a long break? or am I just getting too old for this?
I will continue to beat myself up over this and try to adopt a proceedure which will prevent it happening again, but I can't help wondering if this is just one error too far.
Sensible advise please!
Yes, you shouldn't use water barrels. Those things are absolutely useless at holding the aircraft down in a strong wind.

Use something like this instead.

Joking apart, analyse carefully what happened to distract you from the pre-flight. There will be something.

I stunned myself in much the same way a few years ago with something that, while not as spectacular as this, gave me much pause for thought and changed the way I go about my pre-flight.
T6Harvard liked this
Anon wrote::oops: :oops: :oops: After 15 years and 750 hours of pretty uneventful and thoroughly enjoyable flying...

IMO that's the real source of your angst. The fact you have had 750 hours without incident exacerbates this particular occurrence.

I suggest you celebrate the 15yrs and 750hrs incident free, shrug your shoulders, learn from it and carry on flying and telling the story in the clubhouse/bar as often as you can. :thumright:

You're only human. Here's to another 750hrs incident free. :cheers: :D
Add--final walkround to your checklist.
You made a mistake-could have been more serious--but you survived and i"m pretty sure you won"t do it again.
Everyone makes mistakes-most small with the occasional one more serious.
Age is irrelevant. --if you pass your medical and your flying checkup--carry on. I"m sure your friends will let you know if you"re losing it-( I know mine will ).
Covid has put a strain on most of us--in different ways.
Continue flying--take your time with checks---aim for your first 1000 hours.
T6Harvard liked this
I did similar during my training. Full walk round and jumped in. My instructor asked if we were ready to go. I said yes. He pointed out of the window and said “What about the tie down!”. Acutely embarrassed I got out and removed it.

These days I get the aircraft ready for flight (tie downs, locks, covers etc removed) and then do the walk around. Can’t say that it’s necessarily removed the issue but it makes me feel as if it’s improved the chances of getting it right.
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:Have a chat with an instructor/AME/GP before you go flying again.

If there was concern about some kind of actual cognitive impairment, then obviously a trip to someone medical is a good idea.

But assuming that can be discounted, what would you expect an instructor to be able to teach him on this topic that he isn't capable of figuring out himself?
Don't know; but that may be because I cannot distill what happened, why, and what for, from a 7 line post on an internet forum.

I have my limitations, and I know that.

No doubt others are more skilled and knowledgeable, both in medical and instructional skills than I am.

Feel free to step up to the plate.
TopCat wrote:But assuming that can be discounted, what would you expect an instructor to be able to teach him on this topic that he isn't capable of figuring out himself?

Maybe it's so the instructor can assure the OP it's okay to be human through sharing stories of his/her own fallibility, well within 15yrs and 750hrs? :wink:
Flyin'Dutch' liked this

Mate! (Because that’s what we are here!)

Humans are hard wired to make mistakes. The magnitude of the consequence of those mis-steps often has no bearing to the omission itself!

So. Congratulations. You’ve just proved you are human.

So to answer your question, “should I hang up my headset?”

Well that depends.

If you are enjoying your flying, then no. You absolutely should not! Just learn, as we all do. Every day’s a school day!

But if you aren’t enjoying your flying, then Jack it in.

This is not a difficult choice.

You knew the answer before you asked the question.

I hope you crack on and share your experience with others who could very easily make far worse mistakes!

Hold your head up. You are one of us!

Far, far worse are those that know the rules, but choose to break them!! Personally I will never consider them one of us!
We are indeed all human and we all make mistakes.

I thank everyone on this forum who writes about mistakes because, firstly it is a brave thing to do, and secondly, from a selfish POV, it helps me avoid them by being aware of a real incident.

So, on to your query... if I may speak frankly -

I guess you are more anxious about this incident, not because you simply forgot something, but that the forgotten thing was (I assume) pretty difficult to miss? I would have thought that any standard pre-flight procedure would have included a check that would reveal the items (I am a low hours student so I may be wrong). I don't say this to be rude in anyway, but merely to put it into context. As I say, I may be wrong.

My questions, if the situation happened to a friend would be -

Did you set out that day to be extra careful, being aware of 'rust' from the lay off? Did you think you had been extra careful?
Did you use written checklists (for walk round or just in-cockpit?)?
Did you check systematically or may there have been a little complacency or over-confidence, or even over-excitement clouding your judgement?
Do you think you were in any way distracted, by your own mental state or by the presence of other people or events?
Have you had any other recent incidents with your flying that worry you?

Now the grit -

Have you made other errors, away from the airfield, that you need to re-examine to put this incident into perspective?

Is there someone close to you who you would trust to be absolutely honest, who could give you their perspective on your ability?
Don't ask them about your fitness to fly (they'll know that's too emotive and may not feel they can be brutally honest), ask them about your fitness to, say, drive long distances or drive when feeling under the weather (ie, ask about something not as major as giving up your driver's licence, so they can speak more freely without fear of upsetting you).

After examining all the above, and probably more, you may conclude that it was a one-off, a story for the hangar in years to come, in which case get back in the air and enjoy your next amazing flight!

If you have realistic concerns that a similar thing could happen again then our esteemed forumite FlyingDutch has a good point about getting checked out by a medic.

My guess is that you will fly again, but when you do you will need to make sure you are 'in the moment' and not thinking soley about this incident when you rock up at the airfield, during the flight and while doing the necessary post-flight actions.

Very best wishes. I am looking forward to reading a positive update!
Last edited by T6Harvard on Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Always wondered why people tie weights under the wings when they park their aircraft. 120lbs is about 15 gallons of fuel, would you expect the aircraft not to blow over with full tanks but blow over with empty tanks?
If you would expect the aircraft to lift off at max t/o weight at say 50-60 knots that's the gust of wind that will almost definitely get it airborne unless tied down to a properly fixed ground anchor.
As an aside you aren't the first and certainly won't be the last to get airborne with weights tied under the wings but I guarantee you will never do that again, put it down to experience and carry on.
I am surprised that your post lock-down vigilance didn't pick up such a glaring error. Maybe distraction played its nasty part (as it is wont to do) but you're right to chastise yourself for such a cock-up..................and learn from it :thumright:

On the other hand you won't ever do it again and it will make you far more vigilant that you were previously. No point beating yourself up about it; learn and move on.

If you did do the same thing again, however, get your headset on eBay.
No, don't give up flying.

Yes, think hard about your walkaround.

You aren't the first or last to do this, or try to taxi with tie-downs still in at least. Learn from it, make sure your personal habits are improved so at the very least next time you make an entirely new and original mistake.

And then put it out of your mind, beyond a gentle reminder, as if you let it prey on you, that *will* impair your flying.

If it really worries you, then create a fail safe routine. In this case you could , for instance, keep your aircraft keys in a small bag and a clothes peg on each of the tie down ropes. Then you have a rule that says you never take the keys out of the bag unless the pegs are in there, and vice versa.

But whatever you do, don’t give up flying because you made a stupid mistake. We’ve all made them, sometimes a number of different ones, but by using each one as an opportunity to think ‘how could I do things better’ you’ll be a safer pilot for it.

I once got halfway to my destination with one of the fuel caps left on the departure runway. Since then checking that they are both in place is embedded in my pre-take off visual check mantra ‘... Flaps up, Fuel Caps on ...’
JAFO liked this