A Mix of Articles
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Ten days to Get License; Airsickness; Using Global Position System (GPS); LORAN; ...Elvis ...SpaceShipOne; ...Why the Indicated Airspeed has Dual Scales; ...North Bay Airports Before Your Time; ...
Feb 14, 2006 Incident in Alabama Pasture; ...How I got Started; ...
days to Get License (After all time and flight requirements
have been met.)
Well I just completed a most interesting eleven days. I learned a great deal about myself and about flight instructing. A student from Europe emailed me and made a proposal based on some of the material I had put on rec.aviation.student. He wanted me to take over from where other instructors had left off.
He had completed all the private pilot requirements but had not passed the Practical Test. Had a current medical and had passed the written within the last two years. He had a period of eleven days for me to get him through the flight test. I sent him my flying material on six disks via Federal Express for $30 postage. He had about a week to look at it before coming to the States.
I had arranged housing at $20 per day and aircraft rental at $45 for a C-152. My time was $25 for engine time only. All ground time and preparation for test was included in my engine time fee. My plan called for the use of two C-152s. One as primary and the other as a back up. The time gave no allowance for maintenance problems. So much for the best laid plans of mice and flight instructors.
We communicated and I laid out the program I hoped to follow. Heres the way it went.
Half day Saturday 5/3 C-152
Start on his arrival at 4 p.m. and make visit to airplane, and tower. Review airport diagram and radio procedures. Review parameters of four basics with emphasis on heading and altitudes within PTS standards. We do slow flight and simple stalls. Flight Time 1.1; Total 3 hours.
Sunday a.m. 5/4 C-152
Start at 9 a.m. Review precision turns, power-on stalls and minimum controllable in the morning. Dual 1.5 Total time 3 hours.
Sunday p.m. 5/4 C-152
Landings in the afternoon as well as procedures to nearby towered airport. Dual 1.5 Total time 3 hours
Monday a.m. 5/5 C-152
Ground time spent on reading sectional and radio procedures into local controlled and uncontrolled airports. Dual .8; Solo .9 Total time 3 hours.
Monday p.m. 5/5 C-152
Routes and radio procedures required for 5 local uncontrolled airports. Dual time 2.1 Total time 3 hours
Tuesday a.m. 5/6 C-152
Dual and Solo flight to Napa Dual 2.1; Total time 3 hours spent covering Practical Test Standards and Oral review.
Tuesday p.m. 5/6 C-152
Flight planning and dual covering enroute radio and radar procedures. Dual .9 Total time 3 hours
Wednesday a.m. 5/7 C-152
Student solo Concord to King City 115 nautical miles to pick up instructor who ferried C-1282 RG to San Luis Obispo. Student arrived on course and on time. Hood time with VOR tracking and soft field landings. 1.5 hours solo; 1.6 hours dual
Wednesday p.m. 5/7
Aircraft down for 100 hour will not be completed over weekend. No other aircraft available.
Thursday a.m. 5/8
Familiarization flight in C-150 that was only available for two hours. Review of four basics stalls and slow flight. Dual 1.2 Total time 3 hours
Thursday p.m. 5/8 C-172
Familiarization flight in C-172 Uncontrolled airport procedures with landings. Dual 1.6 Total 3 hours.
Found club that would make C-150 available on exclusive basis through the following Tuesday. $25 to join and $39 per hour with 10 hours paid in advance. Back in business.
Friday a.m. 5/9 C-150
Proficiency with emphasis on turns to headings and holding altitude. All landings, slips, emergency descents. Dual 1.4; Total time 3 hours. METAR and TAF reading.
Friday p.m. 5/9 C-150
Proficiency Dual 1.5; Total time 3 hours
Saturday p.m. 5/10 C-150
Review of precision landings. Study of material related to Oral. Dual 1.3 Total time 3 hours
Sunday a.m. 5/11 C-150
SVFR procedures. Lost procedures, Emergencies Dual 1.7; Total time 3 hours.
Sunday p.m. 5/11 C-150
Radar procedures, unfamiliar airport diversion PTS paper work. Proficiency. Dual 2.0 Total time 3 hours.
Monday a.m. 5/12 C-150
Phase check with another instructor as well as additional review of material related to oral. 4 hours.
Monday p.m. 5/12 C-150
Check ride. Failed slips and short field landings.
Tuesday a.m. 5/13 C-150
Dual review of all slips and short field landings. Dual 1.8 Total time 3 hours
Tuesday p.m. 5/13 C-150
On the way to Europe.
Ground Instruction 22.9
As you can see there were aircraft problems that occurred through no ones fault but through circumstance. The student, through no fault of his own, had been allowed to accumulate over 100 hours of time without mastering the basic skills of holding headings, turning to headings, and doing maneuvers while maintaining altitude. He had received some very poor instruction in the performance of the four basics. He did not and could not anticipate the use of the rudder. He moved and held the yoke as though it would jump out of the airplane if he let go. He was always behind with the trim. Good training teaches a student to anticipate even with trim movements. Every landing flare resulted in a 30-degree turn to the left. He tried to lift a stalled wing with the ailerons. He could not land either straight nor on the centerline.
His flying was instinctive, reactionary, and without accuracy or precision with regards to airspeed and control application. He flew as though he was steering a car. In one of his notes to me he indicated that there were some problems with his flying. How or why his first instructors did not take preventative or corrective measures I cannot understand. This student is a brilliant, educated man who took his flight instruction on faith. He had no way of knowing that he was being allowed to maneuver incorrectly and in an unsafe manner. What he did seemed natural.
Well, flying is not natural, much of what we do with the airplane and its controls must be done contrary to what our instincts indicate. I had to get the basic skills in line before he could make progress. There was not much to build on. I wasted four days trying to build on his prior training. No matter how I tried, even lacing a pencil between his fingers, he was unable to use the yoke with a light, one finger, touch. We did climbing, level, and descending turns at 30 degree of bank to headings over and over until he was able to combine the use of rudder and yoke to come out on headings. In the beginning he was usually off 20 to 30 degrees and using only the yoke to correct.
I learned that students seldom know what their problems might be. They will say landings when basic skills are at fault. I learned that a student will develop tunnel vision into one aspect of landing, such as pulling power off and fail to recognize that in flying, NEVER and ALWAYS have exceptions. A student is likely to become so focused on one aspect of a maneuver that he loses sight of the big picture. One general criticism of my instruction in the past has been that I do not do enough demonstration. This particular student was adamant in his resistance to any demonstrations by me. Practice does not make perfect. Practice of the right kind brings improvement.
Pilot called in early 2000 and asked that I take him through the IFR certificate. No IFR aircraft available to me. My flying club had limited membership so that he would have had a five year wait to join. No FBOs locally were interested in having me teach in their aircraft. Had to turn him down.
Global Position System (GPS)
The accuracy of GPS is unsurpassed. It is the programming of the system by the pilot that poses potential problems and dangers. The system software is relatively complex to program. This is especially true for the computer illiterate. GPS will replace all ground based navigational systems and LORAN. The latest improvement to GPS is a wide-area augmentation system (WAAS). IFR approaches will be possible to any airport with accuracy within seven meters.
The Navstar GPS is a constellation of orbiting satellites (24 + 2 reserve) providing navigational data to military and civilian users around the world. Provides 24-hour services. These include accurate three-dimensional (latitude, longitude, and altitude) velocity and precise time, passive all-weather operations; continuous real-time information; support to an unlimited number of users and areas; and support to civilian users at a slightly less accurate level. The signals are so accurate that time can be figured to within one-millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile per hour, and location to within a few feet.
GPS as used by civil aviation has a built in inaccuracy to prevent bad-guys from targeting the U. S. Civil limits are about 60 feet as compared to within one foot for the military. Military signals are accurate so that time can be computed within one-millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile. This variation of accuracy is called 'selective availability (SA). Groundspeed error in a hand-held GPS will be less than two knots. With SA off the error is less than one knot. The system has 24 satellites circling at 7500 knots at 10,898 nautical miles high. They complete an orbit every 12 hours while continuously transmitting their position. They are line of sight but each satellite can see 40% of the earth. When a GPS receiver locks on four satellites a multi-dimensional fix is possible. GPS satellites get new data every hour. Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) checks the minimum signals required for a fix.
The military has the capability of distorting the GPS signal to prevent use of the system against the U. S. When distorted, the signal would not be useable for navigation. The FAA has contracted for 35 ground based wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) to improve error detection, 7 meters accuracy and availability. By the year 2010 GPS will be the only aircraft navigation system.
GPS is going to change the way instrument navigation and approach are flown. Every runway can have a straight in approach. Alternate arrivals will be easily possible. There is no VOR cone of confusion or DME slant range errors. The course deviation indicator (CDI) can be programmed for scaled deviation according to use for navigation, non-precision, or precision use. GPS can be used to confirm information from heading indicator, altimeter, airspeed indicator, VOR, ADF or DME. During airport arrivals or approaches the GPS can even show the runways. You can fly a serpentine river with a properly programmed GPS.
In October of 1994, Stanford research showed that a small and inexpensive addition to the surface of any runway and to the aircraft could allow accurate landings at any airport and any runway. Accuracy was to within one inch of location and altitude. It was tested with 110 landings. A processor on the plane compares GPS signals to those of the runway transmitter to give relative runway position. Aircraft instrumentation remains the same in function and appearance. In 1995 Category 3 level instrument approaches have been flown using differential GPS systems. This requires a local ground-based GPS antenna that allows correction of GPS errors. The accuracy of the differential system is within one foot.
The moving map indication makes situational awareness less of a problem since the active waypoint, the track and next waypoint can be mapped as well as altitude minimums. How well any of this can be done depends on the installed database. We are well on the way to a paperless cockpit.
I recently flew from OAK to YUM non-stop. This is a straight line distance of 485 nautical miles. I had forecast 33Kt tail winds for the route at 9,500'. Under non-GPS conditions I have always stopped at BFL for fuel. This time I made BFL in 1.5 hours and my GPS said that I could make YUM with VFR reserves. For the remainder of the flight the GPS kept me advised of ETE so that I could manage my fuel in case tail winds did not continue.
I would recommend that a handheld GPS be considered in preference to Panel installed. In the event of total electrical system failure or emergency landing in an isolated area, the handheld GPS can become a very useful aid. A recent 1994 development allows the placement of a GPS transmitter on the runway surface that will allow precision landings regardless of aircraft type.
If your aircraft has GPS or LORAN you will be expected to
be able to use it for navigation and emergency purposes. You
should be able to get time, speed and distance information. The
student should be trained in programming, and storing flight
plans, waypoints and direct operations. Later skills in airport
information, nearest-airport, airspace, malfunction, and emergency
use should be covered. Additionally you will be expected to be
able to navigate without GPS by using other traditional aids.
This means a student must be competent in the use of the sectional,
VOR, E6B, and approximate headings as required by the Practical
Test Standards. Special emphasis should be make regarding pilotage,
since GPS and other aids tend to reduce skilled and practiced
usage of surface orientation.
The LOng RAnge Navigation system was developed during WWII by the Navy for ships. Because of vacuum tube size and power requirements ship LORAN was too large for aircraft. By 1943 an airborne LORAN the APN-4 was small enough to be used on large bombers and patrol aircraft. The APN-4 consisted of two units each about 1' x 2' by 2.5'. One unit was the power supply while the other contained the oscilloscope display tube and timing circuits and receiver. Together they weighed about 80 pounds. By 1945 the APN-9 came into use weighing 40 pounds. My present LORAN is cigar box size weight less than five pounds..
The oscilloscope screen was about four inches in diameter and would display a station master and associated slave signal from about 1500 miles over water and 600 miles over land. Once the two signals were received and aligned a timing circuit could be displayed to measure the micro-second difference between reception of the two signals. A LORAN chart of the area had numbered parabolic lines which mapped out the lines of position for each time difference between the two stations.
Once this was done the process had to be repeated using another pair of master/slave station signals. The Chart had different colored parabolas for each pair of stations. With practice a fix could be determined in about three minutes. The minimum error for navigating the 1400 miles to Japan from Tinian was about 28 miles. With two successive fixes ground speed, drift, and ETA could be determined. As more islands were made available a third pair of stations could be added to improve fix accuracy. The relative simplicity of LORAN and the fact that it could be used regardless of weather made it invaluable until landfall on Japan enabled airborne radar to make a better fix. Fuel savings made possible by LORAN probably saved more lives than did the capture of Iwo Jima.
For some unknown reason the Japanese either never tried or failed to jam any of the LORAN systems. Loran - A as this WWII system was called existed worldwide up until 1985. The military sets were over APN-35 and had been reduced in size to less than a shoebox and had completely automated locating the fix while including ground speed, distance traveled, distance remaining, and ETA.
In the late 1980s LORAN - A was being replaced by LORAN - C. Loran - C used a chain of stations and a Loran receiver that programmed the station components of the chain so that multiple LOPs (lines of position) could be simultaneously recreived and translated into longitude and latitude coordinates. Loran -C can compute from your departure point or your present position to a destination a direct bearing, distance, ground speed, and ETA.
The low frequency of Loran removes the VOR line-of-sight problem. The entire U.S. is covered by 23 stations that give an average accuracy of less than 1/8 mile. There are limitations depending on the data base used. If your data base does not have terrain elevations, Loran can fly you a direct route from CCR to Merced via Mt. Diablo. Class C and B airspace may not be included or kept up to date. Your Loran may die of a voltage spike to its power transistor. Use it and trust its accuracy but don't depend on its ability to always be available. Pilotage is the only navigational system that doesn't quit until you do.
On the West Coast we have the 9940 chain. The master is at Fallon Nevada with three slaves stations at George (Central Washington State), Searchlight (Death Valley, and Middleton ( Between Calastoga and Clear Lake). The 9940 designation has to do with the total number of microseconds (99400)it takes for a cycle of signals to go between the stations. At 99400 microseconds the data of the Loran receiver clock is updated about 15 times a second. Your Loran receiver uses the time difference of the signals received from the master and each of the three slaves to get three simultaneous LOPs (Lines of position). As you fly beyond one chain you are going to be in range of another. Just how the change will be made, manual or automatic, depends on the sophistication of your Loran.
One of the displays on the Loran is a Course Deviation Indicator or CDI. More expensive displays may have a moving map indicator. These displays will indicate which direction and how far off the straight line course original selected you have flown. Some displays will give you headings required to establish yourself back on course. Some data bases have about 30,000 waypoints so that you do not need to enter in longitude and latitude. Longitude and latitude does work. Over ten years ago I figured the longitude and latitude of Medford, Oregon and put it into a Loran when leaving Nut Tree. It read 1/2 mile when we were on short final. Loran - C is operated by the Coast Guard at a price of $25 million a year. With the advent of GPS it is not long for this world.
How do I know all this? I taught LORAN-A in India and on Tinian to replacement crews as they arrived from the States. I was assigned to the Wing Training School of the 58th Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force. (B-29s)
There is a whole new world of aerospace technologies waiting in the wings. My older son was project director for such a program called ELVIS (Enhanced Linked Virtual Information System) for the Military. A computer screen on the ground or in the air will be able to provide every pilot with an all seeing eye of any selected airspace or route in real time. Terrain and weather overlays in three dimensions with all or selected traffic will utilize GPS transmitted information from all aircraft much as does a transponder. You can expect to fly with a moving map showing on a heads-up display. Its coming soon.
The operational version runs on Unix servers at DoD commands and supports any Java-friendly or HTML-friendly client computer. Positional data is fed by a variety of sensors/sources, including GPS and radar surveillance, etc. ELVIS allows remote users to reach into tactical databases and pull time-critical data of interest.
ELVIS is currently installed at numerous
DoD shore-based facilities and afloat platforms. Many new capabilities
are completed (or in progress) which allow the tactical planners
to expand their access beyond positional data to unit schedules,
readiness, maintenance status, and planned activities.
Emailed to me but no credits given….Gene Whitt
I just had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Mike Melvill yesterday,
the pilot of SpaceShipOne's first two flights above the Karman line of 100
km.MSL, and with his wife. He gave a 45 minute presentation to the Aircraft
Owners and Pilots Association conference in Long Beach on Thursday, and got a
several-minute standing ovation. I was able to speak with him for a short
while after his talk.
Since he was speaking to pilots, he didn't have to translate for the "general public" or pull many punches. He spent almost half of his time going over the flight controls and the entire cockpit layout inside of Space Ship One, explaining how it is flown. I think this is the first time this has been explained publicly in such detail, and it was amazing.
There are actually four separate flight regimes, and each is flown differently. Just after launch, it flies like a Piper Cub, using a joystick and rudder pedals with mechanical linkages to the controls (no hydraulic assists). When it goes supersonic, the aerodynamic forces are too high to be able to move the stick, and the controls are subject to flutter. So they use an electrically powered trim system, flown using the "top hat" switch on the joystick and a couple of grips on the arm rest of the pilot's seat. (There are backup switches to the left of the instrument panel, which had to be used on one flight.) This moves the entire horizontal stabilizers, not just the elevons on the trailing edges. Eventually, they get high enough and the air gets thin enough that they can again use manual controls, although the response is totally different than lower down. But that goes away as they exit the atmosphere; the Reaction Control System nozzles are then used for maneuvering in space.
Coming back down, the pilot has to reverse the sequence. There is no
automated switchover of control systems; the pilot has to remember to move
from one system to the next at the right times. The rudder pedals are not
linked. Each controls one of the two vertical stabilizer rudders separately.
You can push both rudder pedals at the same time, and get a fairly effective
speed brake, with both rudders canted outward. Push both fully forward and
they engage the wheel brakes. But these are not very effective and are only
really useful for steering input during rollout. The real brake is on the nose
skid: a piece of maple wood, with the grain aligned down the centerline of the
airplane. He said it was the most effective braking material they could
find.Stephen, we talked about G forces on Tuesday, and I got some of it wrong.
He says that he gets hit with about 3Gs kicking him backwards as soon as he
lights the rocket motor. He's supersonic within about 9 seconds later. But he
immediately starts to pull up into an almost vertical climb. So he also gets
over 4.3Gs pushing him down into his seat just from that maneuver. The
combined force is "very stressful" and Mike says it's
"important not to black out" at that point. He's going 1880 knots
straight up within 70 seconds. On re-entry, the aircraft goes from being
absolutely silent while in space to generating a deafening roar as it hits the
atmosphere again. He's going about Mach 3.2 by that time, and has to survive
about 5.5Gs for over 30 seconds, and lesser G forces for longer than that, as
it slows back down. It sounds really intense, both as he explains it and on
A couple of interesting side notes: SpaceShipOne has a standard "N" registration number; but it is licensed as an experimental "glider". Apparently there was a huge bureaucratic hassle trying to license it as a rocket powered spacecraft, which they just sidestepped by calling it a glider. I asked him if it had a yaw string; he laughed and said that would have burned off. By the way, the registration number is N328KF, where 328K is the number of Feet in 100km. (White Knight is N318SL - Burt Rutan's 318th design.)
Mike says that the flight director system (called a TINU) was developed completely in-house by a couple of 28-year-old programmers, and is absolutely fantastic to fly. That's why they don't need a yaw string. But I had heard over the radio that Brian Binnie had re-booted the TINU just before the landing approach during the X2 flight, and it took quite a while for it to come back up. So I asked Mike what that was about. He says that during re-entry, the TINU loses its GPS lock. So it keeps trying to go back to catch up, re-interpolate and compensate for the missing data, and this keeps it a little behind in its actual position calculations.
The pilot has no straight-ahead vision at all, so they have a real issue
landing: they can't see the runway! The way they do it is to fly directly down
the runway at 9000 feet; then they do a (military style) break and fly a full
360 degree pattern right to the landing. The TINU gives the pilot a "blue
line" to follow and a target airspeed (which produces a given rate of
descent). If the pilot follows the blue line, right to the break point and
through the two 180 degree turns, it will put him right onto the runway at
what ever touchdown point he selects. But the TINU has to be absolutely
current when this is going on. So at something above 15,000 feet they reboot
the TINU and get it re-synched with the GPS satellites again before setting up
for the landing!
He also talked in detail about the rocket motor, and had photos of its insides after firing. The nozzle throat actually ablates as the motor burns, enlarging the interior throat diameter as the burn progresses. He described the problem they had on the June 21 flight: The rocket motor nozzle was skewed by about Ѕ degree to one side. This generated a surprisingly high lateral torque trying to turn the aircraft. If it had been up or down pitch rather than lateral, the controls could have handled it; but the lateral yawing forces were too great for Mike to compensate as the atmosphere thinned. The result was that he was pretty far off course. Mike says he reached apogee, rolled the spacecraft over, and was surprised to see the Palmdale VOR directly beneath him. That was 30 miles away from Mojave and a long glide home. He says its amazing how fast a relatively small deviation can produce large distances when you're going Mach 3!
For one of the static burn tests, they had fire and safety crews all standing a mile away, ready to duck if anything went wrong. In the middle of the test, Mike and Burt Rutan walked up to the front of the motor assembly and felt the pressure vessel that contains the N2O. Mike knew he was going to have this same thing strapped onto his back soon, anyway, and he wanted to know how much it vibrated, how hot it got, and how loud it was. It was deafening, literally. It turns out that, with the nozzles they use at high altitudes, it's actually not that noisy inside the spacecraft. But he still wears hearing protection.
Scaled Composites seem to have fabricated quite a bit of the rocket motor themselves, including the N2O tank (which is also the structural core of the spacecraft) and the nozzle casings. It would be interesting to hear from Michael's friend exactly what parts SpaceDev designed and what they manufactured.
Flying and life are behaviors taught with examples. It is the memory of examples from the past in all their complexity that makes clear to the student that in flying and life any maneuver does not have to happen as it did before.
The complexity of flying maneuvers and the blending of many skills required means that the end results can at any point go off in an unexpected direction. Flying is a collection of events as variable as life itself. It is unlikely that the young pilot or old new pilot can relate their flying to their past life. Flying behavior, like life behavior has consequences.
The FAA stands tall and can critique flying with perfect hindsight. Finding fault as to why a pilot did this or didn’t do that is easy for those not involved in the ‘present’. Our lives have been shaped by our interactions with others, the shaping of our flying is no different. Finding people to open windows, lend a hand, give direction and a sense of values is something that seems common place among the flying community.
Our flying lives are being shaped by the past pilots who have broken records, made mistakes, written, crashed, and lived to tell about it in one form or another. Every pilot, including the Wright brothers have been affected, changed, shaped, helped and hindered by the impact of others, both flyers and non-flyers. Your personal and flying character has been formed by instruction, example, spoken word, written work and visual presentation.
When we enter an airplane we must understand that only in the most exceptional situation have we entered into a perfect airplane with a perfect plan. Pilots must approach every flight with an attitude directed toward finding all the factors that will not make the flight go well and fixing them before they achieve success.
Your flying job is to find what is not right and fixing the situation before it makes a difference. The purpose of flight instruction is to take the student and using what he thinks he knows that’s correct, what he thinks he knows that’s incorrect, what he doesn’t know and what he shouldn’t know.
Example of what a pilot thinks he knows as correct is the aircraft Va, a speed that allows full abrupt control movement without damage. What he thinks he knows, that is incorrect, is that Va does not apply with the aircraft in a turn as in a thunderstorm. This is just one of governmental deceptions related to safety.
What a pilot doesn’t know is exactly how much fuel he has aboard and shouldn’t know just how accurate his fuel gauges are. There are numerous other examples of this. Flight instruction should train the pilot to go beyond minimums in terms of knowledge into areas of improvising how to find information that is not readily available.
Radio frequencies come to mind. the AFD, AIM and charts have the frequencies but locating them may require time that is not available at the moment. Short of using the emergency frequency a pilot must know where he desired frequency should be as well as how to contact someone able to give you the frequency.
Instruction should not be limited to a program where everything progresses as expected and planned Every flight should consist of numerous ‘what if ‘ add-ons that will require some improvisation. this is one area where an older more experienced instructor can be of value.
Flying the aircraft is pretty basic but knowing your options requires some ingenuity, situational awareness and system use. Aviation attitudes are not taught, they’re caught. The instructor who can create and function independently of a government textbook written by committee will far better inspire his students.
The student will be a better pilot because he will be a more thoughtful and understanding with a willingness to think and perform outside the limitations of convention. The teaching of flying in such a way that the emphasis is on finding and creating problems to stimulate the student to overcome situations that will make flying enjoyable to both parties involved.
Every addition to a flight that makes it different than planned should involve an account of a similar flight because doing so aids the student memory. By using stories in flight instruction we create empathy between student and instructor. The use of stories in instruction tends to encourage and develop students who can turn their flying experiences into instructional stories.
On the internet I frequent the news group rec.aviation.student because it contains accounts of pilots’ events in the every day use of flying. Each story is followed by several to many responses offering viewpoints, opinions and critiques. The group take the situation and minds are raised and animated. Hearts and opinions are engaged by the existence of qualities, competence, safety and fairness expressed .
I usually wait until late in the exchange so at to allow the minds opportunity to blend with the heart that is prevalent among those who fly. I wonder about myself, do I wait because I am conscious that I may possess more knowledge on flying than others? I like to think that I have had more opportunities in flying to see what can go right or wrong. I have had the where-with-all and opportunity to watch, read and learn about aviation as a, child, as a youth in WWII, and actually flying at age 42.
My only regret is that I did not start flying sooner so as to have done more with my opportunities. As a teacher I had some twelve years where I would take pupils for airplane rides after school and on weekends. It is only many years later I find that a good percentage turned my introduction to aviation into life time careers. I could have done so much more had I started sooner.
Why the Indicated
Airspeed has Dual Scales
It was changed in the mid-fifties, there was quite a bit of resistance to
the change. The issue was covered rather extensively in "Flying" magazine.
From the November 1950 issue,
"CAA facilities and services will adopt knots and nautical miles as a single military-civil standard of measurement for speed and distance in air navigation effective July 1, 1952. The Air Force and Navy standardized on the nautical mile in 1946. DME computers and similar instruments will be standardized on nautical miles as well."
From the January 1952 issue,:
"Looks like the standardization of distance and speed measurements in aviation, discussed in 1950, is shooting ahead. With the target date of July 1, 1952
The USAF and Navy adopted the nautical system in 1946. Therefore by the 1952 date there will be a common military-civil standard.
From the February 1952 issue
A whole new phonetic alphabet is about to be jammed down our throats. Winds aloft suddenly started blowing in knots; wind on the ground continued blowing in statute miles.
--- Air Defense Identification Zones.
--- proposed nation-wide minimums of 500 feet and one mile.
---Range-station weather broadcasts were drastically changed
---Testing continuous automatic voice-identification systems.
---Pilot identification cards.
---Sudden discontinuance of 111.1 mc, the one VHF frequency civil flyers had learned to rely on.
---A weird, balled-up on-again off-again system involving 122.2
---Proposal of a whole new set of standards for 'congested areas.'
---Pilot licenses--over 200,000 of them--becoming good for just two years,
---The rotating light beacons. Remember?
Greenwich time adopted as standard in communications stations, local time in their everyday work.
Proposed shutdown of the low-frequency ranges.
July 1, 1952
"The nautical mile becomes official for all civil aviation in the United States July 1, 1952.
After July 1, 1952, all civil pilots will be expected to use only the nautical mile as the official unit of measurement, and the knot as the unit of speed measurement. Plane owners also will be expected to convert their present airspeed indicators to a scale showing knots instead of statute miles.
CAA officials made these points:
1. The nautical mile has been used for years for long-range navigation.
2. Adoption of the nautical mile gives the CAA a single standard unit of measurement
AOPA's representative pointed out neither offered a remote inducement to
the average civil flyer.
The CAA's answer covers two points:
1. The Navy has already been using the nautical mile for years
2. The Air Force adopted it as standard in 1946.
ACC meeting in which unanimous official approval as given to the nautical mile probably went something like this:
(1) Only government agencies participated in the voting:
(2) CAA and CAB--the lone defenders of civil aviation 'wishing to remain
neutral in the matter,' even abstained from casting a vote.
May 1952 issue, "AOPA News" feature:
"AOPA is continuing its fight against the CAA's proposal to adopt the nautical mile as the standard unit of distance measurement by domestic civil aviation.
June 1952 issue, "AOPA News" feature:
AOPA before the Division of the Government's Committee, requesting the adoption of the nautical mile for the use of domestic civil aviation be reopened. In protesting the imposition of the nautical mile on civil aviation.
--the only Government agencies to whom civil aviation can turn for help in such matters--had sold civil aviation 'down the river,' despite the industry's protests.
July 1952 issue, "AOPA News" feature:
"While AOPA continues to fight the Government's arbitrary mandate forcing the nautical mile on all civil aviation as the sole unit of distance measurement effective July 1.
Also, from the present inches of mercury used in U. S. altimeters to millibars, a unit of measurement used in foreign countries. The next is Fahrenheit to Centigrade.
The Civil Aeronautics Board has denied the CAA the legal authority to force
the new units of measurement on civil aviation in the U.S The three CAB
members on the bench quickly handed down their decision. Democracy in civil
aviation was back in business."
Historical resume of the nautical-mile edict:
On March 16, 1949, the Air Navigation Development Board (ANDB pointed out that the military preferred the nautical mile and knot as the single standard to be used on the Federal airways. Under the ACC setup, none but Government agencies are permitted to vote, so those industry objections were ignored.
---When the CAB issued its official draft the AOPA got its first chance to make a protest that could not be rushed aside by the ACC.
--- The U. S. Weather Bureau made the change on the basis of the recommendation of the World Meteorological organization, to obtain international uniformity. Change to knots for reporting wind speeds aloft.
---The CAA simply feels that for safety and efficiency in the handling of IFR traffic, in our airways, that one common system of units is essential.
---In order to achieve uniformity, in order to achieve one common set of units for all United States navigation, the only change was the adoption of the nautical mile.
---Prototype aircraft developed since 1946, would use the nautical mile system. It is a purely military board. The military had decided the nautical was the standard and only system for use in all military aviation and therefore in 1949
---The increasing use of the nautical mile system in our IFR traffic and airways operations would be best using nautical miles.
--One standard set of units creates temporary problems, there are one-time costs, and the major cost comes to the scheduled airlines.
---CAA consulting with industry and other groups, the date of July 1, 1952, appeared to be a very satisfactory date, and we therefore notified ACC to that effect.
---The cost to the civil group, which is other than IFR, the VFR group, pilots are not required under VFR conditions to make any changes.
---The aeronautical charts that he uses, for example, principally the sectional, the local and world aeronautical charts, remain unchanged and will show both nautical and statute miles.
--- The Civil Air Regulations proposed will not require any change in instrumentation in either VFR or IFR aircraft
November 1952 issue, AOPA Pilot section:
"This is the last installment of the verbatim transcript taken at the public hearing before the Civil Aeronautics Board in May on the proposed adoption of the knot and nautical mile.
---Whether, at some future date with proper indoctrination, knots and nautical miles or some other units of speed and distance should be adopted, may be open to question.
---Commercial aviation operators advising you that as a practical matter the proposed rules at this time would create additional safety hazards and should be enough to prevent the adoption of these rules.
AOPA’s position is the changes proposed constitute, in our opinion, a dangerous and unacceptable compromise with safety
There is, too, the question as to just which nautical mile is supposed to be standard. There are, as you know, at least two different distance measurements known commonly as the nautical mile, and which are in use by different countries today.
March 1954 issue, "AOPA News" feature:
It was also disclosed in that hearing that the airlines had started converting at that time wholly without official approval of the CAB. The airlines had already spent money converting to the nautical mile, and had done so only on the verbal assurances of certain Government aviation officials that the new unit of measurement would be forced through.
'The general provisions:
1. All air carriers will use knots and nautical miles for all operations (except visibility) whether IFR or VFR.
2. All military aircraft will utilize knots and nautical miles for all operations (except visibility) whether IFR or VFR.
3. Private and business aircraft may use either nautical or statute units in its operations, but will be encouraged to use nautical units especially when operating IFR.
4. Federal Airways facilities will use knots and nautical miles for all internal operational purposes.
5. Federal Airways facilities will use knots and nautical miles for all normal ground-to-air transmissions (except visibility
Private and business aircraft pilots will have the option of requesting conversion to statute units.
6. No change will be made in the use of statute miles for measurements involving airway widths, definitions of control zones and control areas and other dimensions established by regulation.
---Visibility will continue to be observed and reported in statute miles. Distance information on aeronautical charts will continue to be presented in both statute and nautical miles.
---Numbering and coding of airway beacons and intermediate field sites and distance indications on air markers will remain in statute mile units . . .
Officials told AOPA
Air Force had told them that the adoption of the nautical system was absolutely essential, and for reasons that could not be discussed publicly.
End of articles in 1955
North Bay Airports Before
Off the end of Runway 1 is a reservoir and the other side of it once had a Texico airport in the field adjacent to the refinery that still exists.
The shoreline of the city of Martinez had an airport. Somewhere I have a
picture of a
group of children being shown a biplane and with the bridge across the straits between Martinez and Benicia in the background.(Donated to Hiller Museum.
There is an airport along the Benicia to Cordelia cutoff that still has an existing hangarI used the field as an emergency simulation airport for many years. Forest Service(?) but known as Garibaldi Airport.
I have actually used the airport at Clayton which is about six miles from current KCCR to the east. You had to takeoff under the power lines. It is now a row of houses.
In the 1920s an airline tried to operate off a field near the present BART yard of Concord. Route went from Concord to L.A. Plane crashed before completing first round trip. End of airline.
Airport existed in area near WWI Monument in Concord. Picture of runway in city offices. It was used as mail stop for first airmail routes to Bay Area. Oakland was often socked in with fog so mail planes would unload here and mail went by train to Oakland.
I have read of at least three airports having existed in the city of Hayward. Worth a follow up.
The city of Antioch had an airport until the early 1980s. I used it as a graduation airport for my students because of gradient and x-winds. It is now a street between rows of houses.
Immediately on the eastern boundary of KCCR is an abandoned Navy auxillary field at part of now closed Concord Ammunition Depot. One runway still visible but the other has several homes on it.
City of Cotati CA in Sonoma County had a Navy Auxillery Field used for simulated carrier landings during WWII. Was a part of Navy base west of Santa Rosa, CA
Has been a private field just west of highway 101 at the border of Marin and Sonoma Counties. Haven't seen active plane out of there in years.
Sixteenth Ave. of San Francisco Richmond District had an aircraft factory, airport and flight school operated by the Gonzales Brothers in 1916. Their aircraft is now a part of the Hiller Aircraft Museum in San Carlos, CA. I taught their great, great nephew to fly.
The city of Moraga had an operational airport used by Jeppesen et al as part of photographic operation in the S.F. Bay area in 1920s. Another runway was in use in the Rheem Valley part of Moraga in the mid 1950s. Bolinger Canyon of Moraga has had an airport in operation for years but more recently mostly ultralights. I live in Moraga.
I believe the city of Richmond, CA had an aircraft factory and runway where Henry Kaiser had an aircraft built and flown from just after the war. I have picture of plane somewhere. I was a long time friend of Kaiser's personal pilot.
In the Napa Valley the Rutherford Winery had an airport.
The American Aviation Historical Society of the Bay Area has an ongoing project of locating old airports within a set number of miles of the Golden Gate Bridge. I could put you in contact with them should you wish.
Feb 14, 2006 Incident in Alabama Pasture
Aircraft Accident (Picture and newspaper story
Rome, GA Feb.14, 2006
Early in 2006 I had agreed to fly as a passenger with a former instrument student of a few years previously. We were flying from Georgia to California. I have over 10,000 hours as CFI and my pilot has over 1400 hours. I have some 3000 hours is low wing aircraft but very few in the past ten years where I actually flew the plane. It was arranged that we would meet, take a familiarization flight together following his signoff for flight in a new LSA and the next morning we would depart for a three day two-night cross-country.
The weather and scheduling gods made it necessary that we forgo my familiarization flight. Instead, my pilot had to take his final checkout in the morning of our departure while I waited at the airport. The paper work after the checkout and the aircraft sale took somewhat longer than expected. This included having a checklist prepared for our flight in the plane,
Unknown by me, my pilot had never gone through the ‘full tank’ procedures
in his two day five hour checkout. His checklist and checkout had contained no
emergency procedures. The engine normal operation did not involve a mixture
control or carburetor heat. It does require use of a choke instead of a primer
for a cold start. My 29’ Chevy, did too. Most interesting was that the fuel
pump sent more fuel to the carburetor than the engine could use. The excess was
sent to the right tank. If the right tank was full, the excess would go
overboard out the overflow. Unlike most (all) single engine low-wing aircraft in
General Aviation each tank had its own on/off selector. There is no single
right-off-left or (both) fuel selector. ‘Changing tanks’ is not done BUT
reconfiguring is. The way you say it makes a big difference. This
training/experience deficiency made it possible for me to instigate an engine
At one point during my wait I was briefed that all operations were flown on both tanks from takeoff to landing. That is, except for full-tank-departure operations. Full-tank-departures required a special procedure, beginning at reaching a safe altitude. Then the right tank was turned off . For a period of time single (left) tank operation is required to avoid having the fuel pump send excess fuel overboard. After a while both tanks were used for the remainder of the leg. The selectors were by the knees between the right and left seats visible only by looking down.
We were at 4500 level and abeam an airport so I said, "Time to change tanks." Out of the corner of my eye I saw his hand go to the selectors. Ten miles and at least five minutes later the engine quit. We were in radar contact with Atlanta Center and the pilot advised that we had an engine failure. We were given directions and ten mile distance to the airport behind us and to another 15 miles ahead. I told him we would never make it and that we should select one of the fields a mile or so to our right. Most of the cattle were on the other side of the creek
We set up for a base entry while the pilot went through several re-start
sequences. none of which included ‘fuel selectors’ At one thousand indicated
I suggested that he level the propeller and plan a full flap landing. Only a day
later did I realize that had he removed flaps on touchdown he might have been
able to hold the nose higher and longer out of the soft terrain. At the end of
200 feet and several hard jolts on the nose wheel, it collapsed and the nose dug
into the ground,
As in slow motion the tail went up, my headset slid off my head, the plane settled back on the mains
nose down into the mud. We shut everything down and before we could get out of the cockpit, Roy Williams rode up on his tractor. I used the shoulder harness to tie the canopy open while we climbed out. The pilot rode with Roy across the stream and up the dirt road to the house. Once there he found that cell phones would no longer work. All contact with he FAA, insurance company, and the aircraft sales company had to be done on only one phone.
It was just as well that I stayed with the airplane. The hundred or so cows and their calves were overly curious and I had to constantly wave them away until they stopped getting closer. As the sun got lower it became colder and I got back in the cockpit and closed the canopy. Looking across the stream I could see occasional automobiles passing through the trees. I mentally gave the others an additional hour after which time I intended to wade the creek and walk up to the road.
The FAA took some time to determine just which office was responsible for making a study of what happened and just where it was. We arranged for the aircraft sales office to drive the some 70 miles that afternoon to see the situation. Later they drove us to Rome, Georgia the closest city where we could rent a car to get back to the plane for our meeting with the FAA inspector the next morning.
The next morning we drove back to the plane where we found the FAA had been inspecting the damage that was minor enough to be classified as an incident and not an accident.. The nose of the aircraft was propped up so that the propeller could turn clear of the ground. All of the wiring and hoses were checked. The engine was started and found to run nicely except for a damaged coolant line.
There were some weaknesses in the training that deserves to be covered. At
least two simulated full tank departures with all fuel reconfiguration changes
need to be taught. The engine-run time at 75% power after being deprived of fuel
needs to demonstrated along with ‘checklist’ restart procedure. The
engine out emergency landing procedure needs a checklist. The checklist should
include the caveate, "Undo the last thing you did".
The pre-crash process might do well to suggest bringing the flaps up immediately on touchdown. This will allow remaining elevator authority to keep the nose high longer. A C-clamp lock placed tight on the canopy rail to provide easy exit. Nose down the gravitational weight of the canopy makes it difficult to exit. Up-side down the canopy will require a proper tool and some time. The emergency escape might be better taught using a video or full size simulator. With an hatchet, where do you start?
If th is was a misuse of fuel the fine is $550.
The FAA investigator after making a very thorough study of the fuel system has come up with a probable cause. A digital fuel totalizer was installed along with the spinning propeller inside the fuel system. The installation was not done according to specifications both as to orientation to the fuel line and by the use of teflon-tape an item specifically prohibited.
How I got Started
I like Michael's thinking because I seems to fit. I taught children for the better part of 30 years. Toward the end I found it difficult to get up in the morning to teach where good teachers were not appreciated or paid any more than poor teachers. As a teacher I found that I could not support my family or have a home that I wanted. We built an apartment and then bought a home next door.
I cannot let ANY airplane fly overhead without looking for it. I had my first
ride in Kansas City about 1929 in a Curtiss Robin. I read every airplane book
and magazine I could find. I ruined my eyesight so I could not fly in the
military. But during WWII I did learn electronics and navigation.
At my age of 42 a pilot moved into my apartment building. Two weeks later I joined a club and two months later I had a license. I then went to an Adult Education ground school. After three weeks in the ground school the instructor offered to sell me his instructional material if I would take over the program. Done! A year later my ground school classes asked if I could also teach them flying. Done.
I left the public school system the day after I was 55, when my retirement money was going down faster than I was putting it in. It now barely pays my medical insurance with increases to keep my benefits above the poverty level. While I was teaching, after school I would, at my expense, take two/three children flying to local airports having museum facilities. Only many years later did I learn that a number of them are retiring from the airlines. Where I was reluctant to get up to teach school, I could always get up to go flying.
When I retired from teaching the system deducted from my retirement the money I was getting teaching Adult Education so I quit that and have been a free lance instructor ever since. At one point the local FBOs had the county arrest me for giving instruction and ground school at the airport without having FBO facilities. I was not charging for my ground school time and never have. A lawyer's son got free instruction but I won my case and it stands in California as a reason that free lance instruction is a protected right at airports getting federal funds.
Sometime around 1985 I began giving away floppies based upon the notes that my wife kept while she took part in my Adult Education ground school. Like, Topsey, it has grown into my web site and given me a bank full of new friends and a life style based upon flying. Given the choice between good or lucky, take lucky. I tried contacting AOPA regarding the requirements for becoming rated as a Master Instructor but I do not fit into their criteria as I slow down it is their loss not mine.
In the last two years I have taught two pilots who have voluntarily paid me
for ground instruction and for the first time in 36 years I have showed a
substantial profit. My wife of 58 years has made my flying life possible.
Thanks for listening
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