Safety Brief March 2010 Topics: Flight in Low Visibility Lost Communications in Flight Water Landing The Sentinel FAA Wings Program
Flight in low visibility • Get an Instrument Rating – it’s your best insurance when flying in low visibility, intentionally OR inadvertently • A study of Cessna 172/182 accidents between 1994 and 1999 found “IFR-rated pilots enjoy a 50% reduction in the Stall/Spin/Loss of Control category under both VMC and IMC conditions when compared with their VFR-rated counterparts.” • TRAINING is your friend.
Flight in low visibility • Hawaii has great VFR weather, but the islands themselves create IMC hazards • Showery weather with cumulus clouds forming and dissipating plus mountainous terrain = potential danger • Always be aware of the weather situation around you, and have an escape route • Don’t become complacent, just because it’s usually clear in a given location doesn’t mean it is today.
Flight in low visibility • Don’t “scud run” • Don’t HOPE that it’ll clear up in “just another mile” • If you fly VFR into IMC, remember the Four C’s: Climb, Communicate, Confess, and Comply • Take the AOPA ASF course, Weather Wise: Ceiling and Visibility, http://www.aopa.org/asf/online_courses/ • No one has ever died from canceling a flight due to weather.
Lost Communications in Flight • Take a hand-held aviation radio as a backup (prevention is always better than a cure) • FLY THE PLANE FIRST • Know your aircraft systems (you may be able to restore comms in flight) • CRM: use your scanner/observer as a resource. Use the CAP radio. Use your cell phone (program numbers for local ATC facilities into it in advance). • Know the regs (91.185 for IFR pilots). Know the light gun signals.
Lost Communications in Flight • FLY THE PLANE FIRST. Deal with comms second. • If you’re VFR and can maintain VFR, consider going to an uncontrolled airport to land • Don’t do anything unexpected • Be alert for other traffic and light gun signals • Request light gun signals from the tower sometime so you can see what they look like in a non-urgent situation. • Did I mention FLY THE PLANE FIRST.
Water Landing Checklist • Don life jacket if time permits (in CAP Hawaii we should already be wearing them); • Reduce the airplane's weight to a minimum if you have time and if practicable. This will reduce the stalling speed and therefore your planned impact speed; • Ensure landing gear is up and the associated circuit breaker pulled; • Dispose of, or restrain, any loose articles in the cabin which could create a hazard during impact; • Consider possible airframe distortion on impact and arrange to have an escape door or hatch open before impact so that you can vacate the airplane; • Make every effort to precisely control airspeed and rate of descent, both should be as low as possible, consistent with maintaining full control of the airplane. If you are conducting a glide approach you must consider approaching at a higher speed which will provide the lift energy necessary for the larger than usual round-out to reduce the rate of descent at impact to one which is appropriate;
Water Landing Checklist • Ditch into wind if possible otherwise ditch along the swell • Use flaps set to a medium position to ensure the slowest speed on impact; flaps also usually induce a lower angle of incidence and therefore lower pitch angle when approaching stalling speed thus providing for a better airplane attitude on impact; • If possible make the approach using power. If the ditching has to occur because of impending fuel exhaustion make the approach before all the fuel is expended. A powered approach provides for the greatest potential to execute a successful round-out and hold off enabling the airplane to have almost no descent rate at impact; • Be prepared for a violent impact, there will probably be two or more impacts, the tail end of the airplane followed by the entire fuselage. Attach your safety gear to your body. • Get out WITH your safety gear (EPIRB, flares, etc.)
The Sentinel • Please READ & HEED the CAP’s Safety publication, The Sentinel, March 2010 Edition available at: http://members.gocivilairpatrol.com/safety/the_sentinel_newsletter.cfm
FAA Wings Program • Every CAP pilot should participate in the FAA Wings Safety Program • It’s easy, go online to set up an account at: https://www.faasafety.gov/WINGS/pppinfo/ • If you’ve done a Form 5 ride you’ve done almost everything you need for the Wings Basic Level award. • Keeping current in Wings keeps you current with your required flight review! See the next slide for details.
FAA Wings Program • Pilots participating in the WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program to at least the Basic Phase need not accomplish the flight review requirements of 14 CFR part 61, if since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, he or she has satisfactorily completed or currently holds the Basic or higher WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program phase in an aircraft (reference 61.56(e)). • Pilots who participate in the program throughout each year so as to maintain at least the Basic phase will always have a current flight review as the date for your Basic phase and corresponding flight review will move as you continue your safety education by participation in accredited FAASTeam activities and courses. All WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program activity and dates are conveniently tracked on FAASafety.gov.
March Safety Brief Questions/Re-attacks? Contact Your HIWG/SE: Capt. Tom Moss firstname.lastname@example.org