Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

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By PhilE
#135937
I have to confess to the outright slaughter of a number of innocent puppies this morning. The unfortunate creatures were sacrificed by a low hours student pilot who has now learned that being responsible for the safe conduct of a flight means being responsible for it from the moment you first walk up to the aircraft with the intention of commiting an act of aviation, to the moment you secure the doors and walk away again.

After returning from my lesson at Shoreham this morning, we did a left base join and I gamely tried to return the aircraft safely to terra firma. I didn't think that I'd done too badly, considering it was my first attempt, etc, and as I was taxying back to parking, I was already thinking about what I should try to do better next time. We vacated the taxiway at the proper place and swung right to park next to one of the club Warriors. With the nose wheel in the proper place, the parking brake was applied, I moved the throttle to idle, the mixture to ICO and waited 2 or 3 seconds for the engine to stop.

At this point, I became aware that Adrian (my long suffering FI) was sitting quietly, looking across at me. At first, I couldn't figure out why. Then with a sudden sinking feeling, I glanced down at the panel and caught sight of the checklist on my kneeboard, in particular the section of the page marked 'shutdown'...

Adrian looked at me for another couple of seconds, then said, "You didn't fancy the shutdown checks today, then?". Oh f**k. Oh s**t. Oh b******s. I'd only gone and stopped an aircraft engine as though it was a Ford Sierra pulling into a parking space at the local supermarket. As I squirmed in the left hand seat with embarrasment, Adrian pointed out the possible consequences of not shutting down in accordance with the checklist.

In this particular instance, we were on the ground already and it was nothing more than a lapse of concentration, but we all know how many times does that excuse ends up as someones obituary in an AAIB report.

The casualties this morning were the puppies, but what if I'd been flying on my own and forgot to put the carb heat on before landing due to a similar lack of concentration? What if I'd been bimbling
around and done same with the kids in the back seats of one of the club aircraft? The potential consequences really don't bear thinking about.

This goes down as my first "I learned about flying from that" incident...
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By Adrian
#135959
Don't overdo it! Turning the engine off really isn't a lot different from a Ford Sierra. You're not going to fall out of the sky next time just because you didn't turn the radios off before pulling the mixture today. Honest!
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By PhilE
#135962
not going to fall out of the sky next time


I'm sure I'm not, but that's not really the point, is it? I allowed myself to become distracted, probably because we'd landed and my subconcious had decided we were now in the 'non-critical' phase of the flight.

What I did today was not a major cock-up. It was, however, sloppy airmanship and I was suprised at how easily it came to me. :oops:

Sorry if everyone thinks I'm being a bit anal, but I'm a real believer in either doing a job properly or not doing it at all. I feel I've learned an important CRM lesson today, and just wanted a little of that cathartic 'It happened to me...' kind of feeling. :-)

Edit: But thanks for the encouragement all the same, it is appreciated!
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By AndyR
#135971
Ah so it was you holding me up at B1 :wink:

Don't turn your hair too grey over this one l2kphil. There were far more puppies slaughtered today at Shoreham than bears thinking about. The process of learning does mean that these minor errors are dealt with one by one and as long as you take pride in ensuring your airmanship improves lesson by lesson you will be fine by the time your PPL has matured to full captaincy status.
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By Neil MacG
#135982
As some of the more senior members here have told me in the past, analysing your mistakes and understanding them is an important and requied part of the learning process.

But I also know we are human, and there IS always a risk that I may forget a key activity at some point in the future. I think the only way for someone like me who is naturally forgetful, is constant review both by myself and by inviting an instructor or a trusted and experienced pilot to check how I do things.

Some of what I do now has been consigned in my mind to those semi-automatic activities - that's great because it means I can keep the rest of what I'm doing ahead of the aircraft and cope with the unusual. But what worries me is that over time the correctness of those semi-automatic processes may become erroded. That's where I think I will need someone else to keep an occasional eye on what I do.

Neil
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By Steve Morley
#136022
I know what you mean Phil. When I was training, I taxied to the pumps after a flight and shut down according to the checklist.

After refuelling I jumped in to park it and thought I didn't need to use the list.

About halfway to the parking place the engine stopped. I hadn't turned on the fuel!

Even though it was to park and there was no danger I shuddered to think what would have happened if I had decided to do a couple of circuits.
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By Steve Morley
#136083
It's the old story about the two bags.

You start off with a full bag of luck and an empty one of experience.

The trick is to fill the experience one before you empty the other! :D
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By PhilE
#136105
Ah so it was you holding me up at B1


Were you behind me, then? I got a bit flustered at the taxying speed of the bright yellow cub that was in front of me.

I'm not one for taxying too fast anyway, but I think he would have got lined up quicker if he'd jumped out and pushed the damn thing....
#136115
l2kphil wrote:This goes down as my first "I learned about flying from that" incident...


Don't worry too much about it! We all make little mistakes. One of my most memorable cockups was was when on one occasion I was doing the pre-takeoff mags check at high power and accidentally switched the ignition one click too many to the left!!! :cry: Suffice to say I haven't done it since!!!!
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By Iainr
#136119
Adrian wrote:You're not going to fall out of the sky next time just because you didn't turn the radios off before pulling the mixture today.


One of the instructors at my school recommends leaving the radios on until after the engine is stopped so you can get onto the tower pronto if the engine bursts into flames when you shut down.
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By David Williams
#136131
Moby wrote:One of the instructors at my school recommends leaving the radios on until after the engine is stopped so you can get onto the tower pronto if the engine bursts into flames when you shut down.

Interesting point, although from my recent experience I would say it's more important during startup.

I'd like to know whether anyone has actually suffered damage to a radio as a result of leaving it on during startup or shutdown. Perhaps the advantage of being able to make a quick mayday call outweighs the small risk of radio damage?
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By George
#136134
Jesus, this happens to us all, but as long as you learn from it, it's fine in the end. Just two weeks ago rejoining the circuit from an unfamiliar entrypoint, I was looking absently at the a/c taking off in front of me as I attempted (before the instructor took control) to cross over the centeline. What left hand circuit? I had only done r/h until then! But should have known there was no overhaed join!! Stupid stupid boy and still have the horrors about what could have happened. But I really did learn from it that day and will never make that mistake again.

So don't beat yourself up. Well, only a little bit. Then stop!
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By leiafee
#136345
Urggh. I've done that too. And taken off with the carb heat still on. And had to be reminded about the fuel pump in spite of the fact it's underlined with a big star scribbled next to it on my checklist.

You won't do it again if your post is anything to go by!