Discuss the problems and solutions to all of the situations that Pilot X finds himself in.
By flyer
#855738
The shark has pretty teeth

Nick Lambert takes Pilot X and his friend to Florida where
sun, fun and fishing shouldn’t have involved airframe icing, cross-runway winds and an unfamiliar aircraft


Even the Weather Channel reporting the first ever occurrence of snow on Daytona Beach failed to dampen Pilot X’s spirits. While their fellow students were attempting to hour-build in the gloom of a British winter, he and George were going to do the same, while touring the Bahamas and enjoying a spot of fishing! If his calculations proved correct, they would also be spending less cash than the suckers back home.

This feeling of self-satisfaction continued as they arrived at Orlando Executive to be checked out on a Cessna 182. The aircraft had fewer hours on the Hobbs meter than the Piper Warriors he was used to would rack up in a month.

Even though he looked younger, Pilot X judged Mike, their instructor, to be about their age. He certainly seemed to know what he was doing and the speed with which his fingers flashed around the Cessna’s glass cockpit left both Pilot X and George in awe. Mike gave them a thorough checkout; they were both current and he didn’t have to ask them to do anything twice.

Being only seven miles from Orlando International, Pilot X was keen for the instructor to check his meticulously planned route, and to confirm to whom he should be talking, and when. Pilot X was particularly keen to avoid practising interception procedures when crossing the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Mike, on the other hand, was far more interested in taking his new buddies out to
Hooters for a few beers. Despite this, he carefully checked their plan, pronounced it fit for purpose and had a quiet chuckle to himself at the Brits’ meticulous preparations.

Entombed in ice

Next day, there was an icy wind as Pilot X and George carefully checked out the Cessna, discovering that there were no life-jackets. Their friend Mike was nowhere to be seen, so they couldn’t seek his assistance. Pilot X and George were annoyed when they were told they’d have to buy life-jackets – and there was no prospect of a refund once the jackets had been removed from their packaging, which they obviously had to be if they were going to wear them. All of this contrived to make them rush in order to make the departure time on the flight plan. The weather received only a cursory glance, although as Walker’s Cay was only 40 minutes away, Pilot X wasn’t too concerned.

The first few minutes of the flight were really hard work. Initially, they were kept below 1,600ft to keep clear of Orlando’s Terminal Control Area (TCA). The Cessna’s big moving maps really came into their own, helping them maintain some semblance of situational awareness. George, the non-handling pilot, was having some finger trouble, due to the pace of the frequency changes and the unfamiliar equipment. By the time they had opened their flight plan and got the all-important squawk for the ADIZ crossing, they were both completely frazzled. A few minutes later they reached their cruising altitude of 9,500ft. Perhaps sensing an overloaded crew, Miami Center offered them a direct routing to Walker’s. However, after a brief discussion they elected to stick with the planned route.

Abeam Freeport, Pilot X could see that they were heading for a bank of cloud. This wasn’t part of the plan. Although both he and George had some time ‘under the hood’, neither had their Instrument Rating yet. They exchanged worried glances as pilot reports of icing at 7,000ft started coming over the radio. Pilot X asked for a descent to 5,000ft, which he estimated to be below cloudbase. Miami was only able to clear them down to 7,000ft due to traffic. So that’s where they found themselves, enveloped by cloud, with Pilot X concentrating hard on the instruments. He didn’t dare look up but George informed him they were picking up ice at an alarming rate. When he did finally glance up, Pilot X, who had never seen anything other than light icing before, was shocked at how quickly they had become entombed in ice.

As soon as common sense prevailed, they informed Miami of their problem and were immediately cleared down to cloudbase. Due to the high ambient temperature, the ice soon began to disappear and after a couple of minutes they were relieved to be visual with the 69-acre Walker’s Cay island. From 5,000ft the island looked tiny but at least the 2,500ft runway looked substantial.
Pilot X thanked Miami for their help and closed the flight plan while George selected the Unicom frequency. They were unable to raise anyone on the radio as they descended overhead. Now at 1,000ft the windsock was clearly visible, a strong northerly keeping it horizontal and at right-angles to the runway.

Predictably, they were blown straight through the centreline as they made the turn from base to final. The foaming sea crashed menacingly against the rocks below. Pilot X wrestled with the controls. He’d had just about enough of this flight and was determined to get the aircraft on the ground. He had been taught the wing-down technique, but as they descended it was apparent that even with the rudder on the floor, the controls did not have sufficient authority to keep the Cessna lined up with the runway.

The aircraft lurched, barely climbing, as he initiated the go-around and made the transition from crossed controls to balanced flight. This had never happened before and Pilot X was scared witless. He begged George to take over and have a go. George declined but offered that a flapless, higher speed approach might be a better idea. Pilot X’s leg was now shaking as he pushed the rudder to the stops. Initially things looked better but as they neared the runway, and began to slow, it became obvious that things weren’t going to work out. Reluctantly he made the decision to go around.

The National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) investigators never found the bodies, but Walker’s is famous for its shark encounters, and the severed 300ft mast on the south-east corner of the island meant it wasn’t too difficult to work out what had happened. ■

Questions
1. What went wrong?
2. What could Pilot X have done to avoid the accident?
By r_w_walker
#856778
1. Perhaps they were going too slow, with no flaps stall speed is higher, climb performance affected, and with the strong cross wind possibly lost control. There may also still been some ice present affecting performance.
2. After the first attempt a diversion to an airfield with a more favourable wind may have prevented the accident. In the prevailing conditions a diversion before the first attempt may have been advisable.
Looking forward to other views.
User avatar
By Lindsayp
#856833
1. I'd suggest a stall, due to low airspeed as a result of the crosswind, wing-down technique and crossed controls.
2. Diversion is the wisest course of action, as in RTB I think - the weather didn't sound great for the Bahamas anyway. If determined to land, then the crabbing approach would have maintained airspeed better to prevent stalling.
User avatar
By Katamarino
#856837
To those who suggest stalling, is the "severed 300ft mast" not a simpler explanation? They lost situational awareness, and flew into it, perhaps assisted by the strong North wind blowing them south.
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By Jim Jones
#856838
Accepting the clearance into IMC when not qualified was the start of all this coupled with lack of currency with the avionics fit. Windshear when low slow and out of balance may have affected the climb out from a go around. Was the mast a new structure for which their database was not aware?
By AttorneyAtLaw
#856878
Assuming a flapless higher speed approach, then on a decision to go around there may have been an initial slow rate of climb when recovering from a high sink rate produced by the speed being pulled back too much on short final, coupled with the lack of flaps. As a result the aircraft did not outclimb the mast, towards which it was pushed by the very strong cross wind. Perhaps a crabbed approach would have worked better by enabling the pilot to maintain a slower rate of descent and the centreline by compensating for the wind on long final (to the extent that he lacked rudder authority to compensate fully for the cross wind), i.e. he should have allowed the wind to drift him onto the centre line.
By johnm
#856904
Wasn't there a suggestion of poor climb performance? Given the capability of a 182 shouldn't there be some thought of residual intake icing??? Perhaps alt air would have kept them away from the mast.
User avatar
By Lindsayp
#856968
Katamarino wrote:To those who suggest stalling, is the "severed 300ft mast" not a simpler explanation? They lost situational awareness, and flew into it, perhaps assisted by the strong North wind blowing them south.


Fair comment, forgot about that.
By AttorneyAtLaw
#856987
Perhaps alt air would have kept them away from the mast.


Do you have alt air with fuel injected engines? excuse my ignorance - I never get to fly anything that new :cry:
By johnm
#856993
Do you have alt air with fuel injected engines? excuse my ignorance - I never get to fly anything that new


Alt air source is what you have on fuel injected engine instead of carb heat
By jayeff
#857000
As well as the mechanics of the crash, there's also the human side to consider. P1 was phased after the icing, only to be confronted directly afterwards by the strong crosswind. He was that uncomfortable after the first go-around he asked P2 to take over; P2 didn't want to know, so you end up with two pilots neither of which wanted to fly the aircraft. Not a good position from which to expect good decision making?
User avatar
By Roy
#857017
Even the Weather Channel reporting the first ever occurrence of snow on Daytona Beach failed to dampen Pilot X’s spirits


The answer seems to be in the opening sentence, I believe you're able to call up and speak to a forecaster FOC in the USA...........I think it would have been worth making the call :?
By iwslater
#857074
It would have been a good idea not to accept a clearance to descend to 7000 ft when they requested 5000 ft. Result, still in cloud and no IR. Surely time to declare an emergency?
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By KNT754G
#857088
With crossed controls the aircraft is side slipping, hence stall speed is significantly higher than when flying in balance as on a crabbed approach.

Narrative doesn't say whether they were approaching on a west facing or east facing runway (northerly wind at right angles). This would make a difference to whether the severed mast was in the approach sector or the go around sector.

Full power for a go around, slow airspeed (as they neared the runway, and began to slow) crossed controls (aircraft out of balance) sounds like a recipe for a stall/spin.

As for what could he have done, well not gone in view of the (presumably) forecast wind at destination.
Called a mayday to avoid going IMC/Icing
Diverted to somewhere with an into wind runway.

If fully crossed controls are insufficient to maintain the runway centreline with the aircraft on the runway heading then the crosswind is clearly too much for the combination of pilot and aircraft.

Despite the comment that they were fully checked out it sounds as if there was insufficient time on the G1000 for them to be fully conversant with it.
By AttorneyAtLaw
#857093
Full power for a go around, slow airspeed (as they neared the runway, and began to slow) crossed controls (aircraft out of balance) sounds like a recipe for a stall/spin.


Back of the drag curve ....