All posts tagged 'NASA'

How to Handle Lost Comms in Controlled Airspace

Well well well....another week of instructing has not only added more time to my logbook but more learning experiences to teach from. Aka, this week did not go smoothly by any means!

I've always been taught about lost comms procedures in controlled airspace and yet have never had to use them. One of my fellow coworkers had to a few months ago...but my time finally came and it happened at the worst possible timing. But I'm still here writing this post so that's a good sign ;)

So, first, let's do a review of what happened to my coworker, and then I'll tell my story. Because honestly, mine is a lot cooler - and more valuable to learn from (which I guess is more important).


Pictured above is the DA 60 at KEFD - similar to the DA 62 featured on our sale page

Here's a cool picture above of what my view is while I write this post! 

So the first incident, which both of these happened in the same plane about 2 months apart, my coworker and his student were practicing landings in the pattern and on the go tried to call tower for requested left closed. They got no response, so-called again.....still no response. The Garmin 430 showed the "tx" when he pressed the button indicating he was transmitting, but there was just silence on the other line. So as another resort he held the PTT and let the tower know he was transmitting blind, would be keeping left closed traffic, and come in for a full stop (no one else was in the pattern at the time). Almost immediately after they got the light gun signal from tower steady green, showing they were cleared to land. There wasn't even a need to squawk 7600. So they landed, plane went down for maintenance and that was the end of it.

THEN my day came a few days ago. My student and I took off and were cleared for right closed traffic and instructed to call on downwind for the option. In the pattern above us were two Air Force T38's, behind us two cessna's, and on a 8 mile final the NASA WB-57. Quite literally the busiest day I have ever experienced in the pattern as all of us except the high altitude plane was staying in the pattern to practice landings. 

So, the student is flying the plane and starts her landing procedures while I go to call on downwind....nothing. I can't hear myself talk and I can't hear a response from the tower. I look over to my student and start talking and she can't hear me either, so all comms were lost. I hurry and switch to our second comm and get the same result. So now it's time to turn base....time to implement some aeronautical decision making. Do I continue the landing? Turn around and leave the airspace? Try and diagnose the situation? All of these things ran through my head within a matter of .2 seconds. 

I decided to continue my turn to final because that was my last clearance: to maintain closed traffic. The issue was the T38's were right above me and we were both coming in at the same time. I was likely cleared to either extend downwind or do a 360 but because I couldn't hear anything I decided the best thing to do was turn to final and look for my light gun signal.

Nothing. So because I wasn't cleared to land I executed a go around and started heading to leave the airspace to a nearby uncontrolled field. On upwind the T38's came up beside me (coincidentally also having to execute a go around because of me) and leveled off for a second before they broke off to the right. So imagine this: no comms, executing a go around after about not even 20 seconds of losing complete communication with everyone and then seeing military jets right next to you watching you. Fantastic.

As I broke left and continued to leave the airspace I immediately remembered I had tower's number in my cell phone, so I stuck my phone in my headset and talked to them and let them know what happened while I continued to fly the plane. They cleared me to come back and land on a different runway and went ahead and gave me a taxi clearance with instructions to call back after I park.

So, after we parked I called and the controllers were just wanting to make sure I was okay. I asked if I did everything like I should've or if there was something I could've done better. Tower told me everything I did was safe and I made the right decisions! The only thing I forgot to do/didn't have time to - SQUAWK 7600. My student and I had just briefed transponder codes a few days before and what do ya know we had the perfect opportunity to use them and didn't!

The moral of the story here is I have 3 pieces of advice:

1) Don't forget your squawk codes, if I would've done this when I first lost comms on downwind I likely would have gotten a light gun signal. 

2) Save the tower phone number in your cell phone if you're out of a controlled field! It comes in handy in all types of situations.

3) APPRECIATE YOUR CONTROLLERS. The fact they wanted me to call back just to make sure I was okay and thanked me for making safe decisions made my day. They keep us safe and deserve so much recognition. 

Any questions or comments?! Maybe you've also had lost comms before? Let us know what happened below! We're all here to learn from each other's experiences.

 

Buzz Aldrin Remembers Neil Armstrong

Dr. Aldrin Issues Statement In memory Of Fellow Moon-Walker
Article by: www.aero-news.net
FMI: buzzaldrin.com

Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon -- just scant minutes after Neil Armstrong took the historic first step, has issued a statement in memory of his friend and fellow Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong...

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 Mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.

Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.

I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing, as we also anticipated the continued expansion of humanity into space, that our small mission helped make possible. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.

On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.

May he Rest in Peace, and may his vision for our human destiny in space be his legacy."

(Image Credit: www.nasa.gov)

What’s Next for NASA? 10 Wild Newly Funded Projects

Supersonic Bi-Directional Flying Wing
Article By: Keith Wagstaff
Brought to you by: www.techland.time.com

If you live near an airport, you’re probably glad that supersonic commercial jets aren’t the norm. The problem is that what’s aerodynamic for subsonic flight isn’t necessarily aerodynamic for supersonic flight, which is why you end up with such loud sonic booms. Gecheng Zha of the University of Miami found a potential solution: create a subsonic aircraft that can rotate 90 degrees during flight to turn into a supersonic one, ensuring that it’s always as quiet and efficient as possible.



Click Here to view the remaining 9 newly funded projects for NASA.

Morning Rundown: more EBACE, more volcano, Gulfstream news and new NOTAM system

The aviation world's spotlight continued to shine on Europe Wednesday, despite the layers of ash in the upper atmosphere.

David Learmount of Flight Global echoed the recurring theme reported most everywhere from EBACE this week -- that recovery in the industry will come at a slow pace. It focuses on comments from Richard Aboulafia, chief analyst of the Teal Group, and says return to robust activity in aircraft sales may not arrive in full until 2012. 

Jeremy Cox of Jetbrokers, Inc., reports directly from EBACE on his blog. He says a lobby bar during the first night was packed with people eager to make deals.

Cox also mentions that the Gulfstream G650 gained the title of world's fastest business jet. Flying at Mach 0.925 on Sunday, it strips the ranking from Cessna's Citation X.

Gulfstream chief Joe Lombardo spoke at EBACE on how European growth has helped solidify the business jet market and, in what has become a secondary theme at the convention, he looked forward to growth in developing nations. A decade ago, there were only 27 Gulfstream aircraft in Asia. That number stands at more than 100 today. 

The other emerging story in Europe was the return of the volcanic ash that shut down air travel throughout the continent last month. This time, though, the effects have been more localized.

Ryanair canceled its flight between Malta and Edinburgh on Wednesday. Airports in Ireland and Scotland reopened this morning as the ash moved west.

While most of the news in aviation took place across the Atlantic, there were a couple developments of interest announced in the U.S.

The FAA announced a digital NOTAM system going live in Atlantic City. The link in the prior sentence includes details on the system. Other airports to join the program in the next round are Washington Dulles, Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington International, Richmond, Norfolk, Denver, Chicago O’Hare and Midway, Memphis, Fairbanks, Alaska and Ft. Wayne, Ind.

In a final note, NASA tested an astronaut escape rocket for its Orion spacecraft in New Mexico this morning. It was a success that "went like clockwork," even as the future-of-space-travel program itself is being restructured. 

 

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