Aviation Safety - Page 5 Aviation Articles

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.

 

How to Counteract an Engine Failure in Flight

First, let me start out by saying that this article is for single engine flying. I'll write another one on multi engine plane engine failures in the future.

I had this talk recently with a fellow CFI I work with on the biggest issues we see in student training. Engine failures aren't taken seriously because they don't happen too often. It's also because in your typical general aviation planes you have a good glide ratio, so rather than being quick people take their time running checklists and securing the plane in simulated engine outs. 

I GUARANTEE you during an ACTUAL engine failure you won't be taking your time, but instead immediately going through how you trained it. Did you train it nonchalantly and running checklist super slow? I hope not. So let's talk about what to do:

The acronym you want to memorize for engine failures is ABC. Kinda comical how simple it is, but it could save your life one day!

A is for airspeed. The VERY SECOND your engine fails, pitch for glide speed. Glide speed is published by the manufacturer to be at the maximum lift/drag ratio to give the pilot the greatest gliding distance available. At this point, you're not gaining any altitude. But giving yourself the most horizontal distance available to find a good spot to land is key.

B is for best place to land. As soon as you start bringing the nose up or down for glide speed and trimming for it, take a look outside and see where you're going to land. If you're struggling to find an airport, glance at your GPS if you have a screen onboard. You might be right on top of an airport without knowing it. If not, then keep looking outside. Anything like a field, road, coastline etc. can be a good spot. Some tips on what to watch out for is if you can help it don't pick a field full of trees, a marshy area, watch out for power lines over the road, and of course the obvious always avoid buildings/structures. 

C is checklist. Yes, now that the plane is secured lets see why we lost that engine! Commit your checklist to memory and do it from memory first and then check yourself on paper after doing one run through. This way you aren't stuck reading one item at a time and wasting time as you're losing altitude. Commit your checklists and run them like a machine: no time is wasted that doesn't need to be.

The same CFI I talked with about this experienced a real engine failure once. He told me "wow, no one prepared me for how absolutely quiet it gets when that engine stops." And I guess that's something I never thought about before. What will it be like when it actually happens? A CFI won't be there next to you with their favorite "you just lost an engine" grin.....no, just you and some dead pistons. He immediately did ABC and once he switched fuel tanks and restarted the plane it refired. Turns out there was a clog in the fuel lines on one tank, and switching to another fixed the issue. He was able to do this from memory and pretty much had no need for the paper checklist, although he still went through after to verify everything was secured as called for. 

He stuck to his training, and it saved his life.

So to end this post I ask, how do you train for an engine failure? Do you think it would save your life the method you're using? Have fun with flight training, but also take it seriously and make sure you learn something valuable each time you go up!



Don't forget our Globalair.com Scholarship is accepting applications through August, we hope to see you apply!

Obtaining an SIC Type Rating

Happy November everyone!

If you're like me lately, life has been super busy yet fun. And part of that busy-ness includes obtaining an SIC type rating for the first time. What needs to happen? What do you have to have? How does it differ from a regular add-on rating to your certificate?

Let's talk about it.

First things first, there is no check ride for an SIC type rating (and what a beautiful thing that is). It's a matter of meeting the training requirements and having an extra 20 minutes one day to meet with the FSDO/a DPE to do paperwork

1. Training Requirements

According to FAR Part 61.55 you have to have:

-At least a private pilot certificate with the appropriate category and class rating

-An instrument rating or privilege that applies to the aircraft being flown if the flight is under IFR

-At least a pilot type rating for the aircraft being flown unless the flight will be conducted as domestic flight operations within US airspace.

-No person may serve as a SIC of an aircraft type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or in operations requiring a second-in-command unless that person has within the previous 12 calendar months:

"Become familiar with the following information for the specific type aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested -

(i) Operational procedures applicable to the powerplant, equipment, and systems.

(ii) Performance specifications and limitations.

(iii) Normal, abnormal, and emergency operating procedures.

(iv) Flight manual.

(v) Placards and markings.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, performed and logged pilot time in the type of aircraft or in a flight simulator that represents the type of aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested, which includes -

(i) Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop as the sole manipulator of the flight controls;

(ii) Engine-out procedures and maneuvering with an engine out while executing the duties of pilot-in-command; and

(iii) Crew resource management training."

That sounds like a lot, but it can be done pretty quickly.

I recently had to go through this for a CE-525 rating so I could start doing some contract flights. 99% of my flights lately have been in a CJ3 like this one listed on GlobalAir.com.

After going through this training over the course of about 2 months/4 flights, I called my local FSDO to set up an appointment to have the paperwork done.

They directed me from there to contact a DPE, whom I met with days later and had my SIC rating in hand within 20 minutes. No fee, no headache, and NO CHECK RIDE. 

Did I mention there was no check ride?!?! Best. feeling. ever.

There's also some more requirements that have to be met for the type rating, such as who can conduct the SIC training, listed in Part 61.55 as well. Make sure to read and understand them all before going up for a flight in order to avoid any issues.

2. Use of an SIC Type Rating

Before going through the training process, especially if you're paying for that flight time, ensure that the type rating will be put to use. For what purpose do you want to log SIC time? Just to build time? Meeting the requirements of a company you're flying for?

I'm sure the answer is straightforward, but it's always best to ask yourself these types of questions before jumping into something.

Other than this, SIC type ratings are pretty simple. Make sure when going through training you pay attention to the above listed items that you need to know, the more you know the safer you are!

Have any other tips for an SIC type rating you'd like to add? Feel free to comment below.

Happy Landings,

-Addi

Understanding Spins and How to Properly Recover From Them

So, as promised, I did spin training within the last 2 weeks and got my endorsement. October 3rd to be precise, and it was an absolute blast.

Pictured above is my instructor and I in the Decathlon (excuse my chipmunk cheeks, courtesy of my DC headset pushing on them).

I learned a lot more once I actually went through the ground and flight training with him than I had thought I would. So, let's talk about some concepts that can be overlooked but are still important:

1) In the last post about spin training I wrote about PARE; 

Power idle

Ailerons neutral

Rudder full opposite the direction of the turn

Elevator briskly down

That's pretty much the general knowledge that everyone knows, not much else. Well, what about after the spin is broken? Do you just keep holding in those controls? No.

After applying rudder, you hold it in the opposite direction of the turn. This is what breaks the spin itself. Taking away power and ailerons is only to stay away from aggravating the spin, but those steps won't break it. After breaking the spin, meaning you've stop the turn in that direction, neutralize the rudder. If you don't you'll start a spin in the other direction. Because remember, you're still stalled

As you see the plane breaking out of the spin, then apply your elevator down. Most people think you do all 4 steps at once, but there's a precise time to do each one. Applying the elevator down will then break the stall (if you remember basic stall characteristics, this is reducing the angle of attack). Now smoothly apply your power back in to gain altitude (as you lose it very quickly in a spin) and smoothly bring the nose back up just above to horizon to start climbing.

So, to recap:

After inducing a spin you-

Power idle

Ailerons neutral

Rudder full opposite and hold it until the spin breaks

Elevator down as the spin breaks to then break the stall

Neutralize rudder after breaking spin to stop turn in other direction

Smoothly apply power and bring the nose back up to just above the horizon and start a gentle climb.

Remember that in a real situation to stay calm and remember these procedures, don't panic and try to turn the ailerons or yank the nose up. Follow these steps then be smooth in your recovery so you don't stress out the plane too much. Flying with structural damage would be a whole different ballgame. 

2) Entry into a spin. I feel like that needs to be talked about more! What are the signs you're about to enter a spin? Does it immediately start spiraling to the ground?

To help show what it looks like here's the video I took: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3LQjLpgazG/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link 

I hate to include a link to Instagram but it's the easiest way to share a video!

If you watch it, you'll notice it actually takes some work to induce a spin. First, both wings of the plane have to be stalled. In most spin training flights instructors us a cross-control stall to induce this because it's an easy way to bring it the lack of coordination.

So, you bring the nose up and exceed the critical angle of attack. In a demonstration, you're keeping this coordinated until you're about to induce the actual stall. Then you step on rudder in either direction (the direction you want to spin in) and keep it uncoordinated (ball out of center on your turn coordinator) until the plane buffets and a wing drops. Now, after the wing drops the plane does not immediately enter a crazy death-defying spin to the ground. It's actually a somewhat slow process.

Here, you still have time to react. There are 4 phases of a spin: entry, incipient, developed and recovery. Right here you're in the incipient phase. You've already induced a stall and applied too little/too much rudder. Now as the wing falls it has to have 2-3 turns before it's a fully developed spin. These are somewhat slow turns, when you're in the plane these feel slower than the ones when the plane is in stabilized autorotation. This can also be noted in the video.

These are all some concepts that should be noted for spin training and spin avoidance/recovery. Even if you're not going for a CFI certificate, I recommend to everyone taking at least one spin training course. We, as pilots, make errors. We're not perfect, but we can learn how to counteract our mistakes. 

Not to mention, it's super fun. 

While you may not go do spin training this weekend, you should go do something fun. Check out our calendar and see if there's any fun events going on near you, as I know this weekend we'll be having Wings Over Houston with us at Ellington! 

Happy Landings from all of us at Globalair.com,

-Addi

 

How to Give Passengers a Proper Safety Brief

So here you are, a pilot rated to carry passengers, and it's time to start taxiing the aircraft. Your passengers are excited to go fly, maybe a little nervous-so it makes you nervous. You're ready to get off the ground and up in the air for the fun to begin. But wait, you can't go up just yet! You need to give the passengers a quick safety briefing for, of course, their safety. So here's a good method to help you develop a good flow for one:

Use the acronym SAFETY to make sure you cover each item you need to as outlined in 14 CFR 91.519

is for seatbelts (including shoulder harnesses) and smoking. Show them how to buckle and unbuckle their seatbelts, and ensure if there are shoulder harnesses that they're being worn and tightened properly.

As for smoking, discuss as to when, where, and under what conditions smoking is not allowed. 

After all, this isn't the "Golden Age of Travel" anymore so regulations are more strict!

is for air vents/oxygen. Especially if you're in something like a small Cessna 172 then you want to show where the air vents are for fresh air and how to adjust them. This is more for comfort but can also help if they feel sick or uneasy. If you're on a high altitude plane, like a citation, then show where the oxygen equipment is and how to use it in an emergency. The regulation here simply states "normal and emergency use of oxygen equipment installed on the airplane."

F is fire, where a fire extinguisher is located on board as well as other survival equipment. This includes if you're flying over water where the flotation equipment is and how to exit in an emergency, bringing you to the next item on the list. 

is exiting during emergencies. You've showed them how to fasten and unfasten seatbelts, now demonstrate how to exit the plane if you're unable to help them in an emergency (ex. you're unconscious). 

T=Traffic. This one is more commonly used in small planes, like back to the Cessna 172. Simply tell the passengers that if you see traffic (another aircraft) nearby and you don't think the pilot has eyes on it yet, to point out where it is using clock terms like 12 or 1 o'clock. 

Y is "your questions." Ask the passengers if they have any questions pertaining to the flight. Maybe they didn't fully understand how to open the door/canopy in an emergency. This is their chance to ask and will make both them and you feel more comfortable. After all, flying is supposed to be fun, but it can't be done if someone feels uneasy the entire time. 

Remember, safety is always the goal of every flight! Brief your passengers, stick to the checklists, and go have some fun in the air. For any other help in making sure your flight is safe and well-planned be sure to head over to Globalair.com and check out the airport resources & aviation directory. 

Have any tips to add for a proper safety briefing? Be sure to comment below and stay tuned for more blog posts!

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