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Lessons Learned / your most scary flight

I personally have never understood the UK habit of switching between QNH and QFE...seems to be just asking for the type of screw up you describe...

Indeed. And the fuss you can sometimes get when you want QNH from a field which likes its QFE is quite astonishing.

EGTK Oxford

A couple of lessons that actually affected my "personal SOPs":

Seeing a solid undercast on the way to my home base, diverting to my favourite alternate 50 nm away, then, once under the clouds, happily rediverting back home. Landing uneventfully, taxiing to the hangar, opening the active tank and finding it dry. Opening the other one and finding 15 minutes' worth of fuel.

Taking a short bimble near Prague without contacting Prague Info, failing to notice the GPS being in the low-detail mode, and busting a corner of class D - then busting it once again on a return flight! I have mode S, so the ATC knew who did it; had I been on the radio with them, they would have warned me at the very first moment. An absolution was obtained by calling their office on the phone and extending profuse apologies.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

failing to notice the GPS being in the low-detail mode

Is it a GNS430 by chance? One insidious feature being that each time you press CLR the level of detail decreases incrementally - eventually losing the airspace depiction....keep pressing and it cycles back to full detail....this has almost caught me out as well...

EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

Awqward, it's the one. I'd say it's generally ill-suited for VFR; now I use a 5-inch automotive GPS with Oziexplorer to supplement it - works quite well.

Oh yes, another bitter lesson: starting the engine with a tow bar attached. Fortunately, the prop strike was very minor, with no speed drop, and was easily dressed out (hence, in accordance with Lycoming's and Sensenich's bulletins, no prop disassembly or engine shock load inspection was required).

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Oh yes, another bitter lesson: starting the engine with a tow bar attached. Fortunately, the prop strike was very minor, with no speed drop, and was easily dressed out (hence, in accordance with Lycoming's and Sensenich's bulletins, no prop disassembly or engine shock load inspection was required).

OK, while everybody is in such honest confession mode I cannot but join in.

Cirrus has some clever engineers.. On the SR20, you can leave the tow bar attached and the running prop will not hit it! You can even taxi out with it. Which is what yours truly did... And of course on one of these rare occasions where my wife was on board. 'Gee darling, you are right about this airfield being a nice community, they all wave at you. But that guy waives and points towards the front of the plane, is he trying to point something out maybe?'

This was 7 years ago or so and you may imagine what my wife sometimes still tells me when I go out flying. Hah, but I was liberated from these comments recently! Got myself a RoboTow device. If I ever taxi out with that device still attached, well, time to hand in my license. Expensive piece of kit but very handy if you are no longer 30 years old and have to push a DA42 around btw.

OK then, a few more. Hope Peter does not kick me off this forum.. These are 20 years old, the beginning of my flying, so that should take the sharp edges off a bit:

Taxying out in a C152 with a friend, announcing on the radio but getting no reply. Ahh well, these military here are always asleep on the job, let's just go and they'll respond later. Taxying and chatting with my friend forgot all about it. Calling ready for take-off, ready to line up. Big car stops in front of us, navy guy comes out. 'Something wrong with radio, sir?' Whoops, wrong frequency.. My friend sometimes still rubs it in. When he had the courage to go fly with me again he grabbed and read the checklist, just to be sure. When he was ready, he exclaimed 'this list is incomplete!' There is no item 'check no cars on runway'!! After that day I only asked him to go fly if he shared the cost.

Landing on a grass strip with the C152 I noticed I used little landing distance and of course immediately suspected brakes were on. Looked left, no wheel, looked right no wheel! Both nicely covered in tall grass... The Radio: 'Hey Aart, welcome back! Some advice for next time, runway's 30 yards to the left' Amazing to see how inexperience/nerves creates tunnel vision..

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

the prop strike was very minor, with no speed drop, and was easily dressed out (hence, in accordance with Lycoming's and Sensenich's bulletins, no prop disassembly or engine shock load inspection was required).

That is certainly an "interesting" viewpoint, but I will not argue with the "legality" of that interpretation

When I had a prop strike (pothole) in 2002, which bent the last 10-15mm of every one of the 3 blades, a CAA L.A.M.E. declared that the prop can be repaired, and no shock load inspection is needed because the engine never stopped running, by chopping the ends of the blades off, and he offered to do it. I knew zilch about the subject back then but luckily somebody else decided this was not a good idea (particularly on a 1 hour old plane) and we got it done properly. But even I could see that if you shorten the blades by about 20mm, the prop must then run with a coarser pitch in order to absorb the engine torque. Especially as most of the thrust is done by the outermost part of the blade(s).

starting the engine with a tow bar attached

Now that you mention that....

I very nearly did that. I was sitting in the cockpit and talking to a friend, who then drove off home, and since I had nothing else to do, I closed the door and was about to start up. He saw me close the door as he was driving off and came back to tell me the towbar was still in!

And like on yours, the prop will miss the towbar so one could potentially take off with it...

Hope Peter does not kick me off this forum

Why should I do that?

This discussion is very good.

On another occassion, I was at an airfield with A/G radio. There was no response on the radio, which didn't seem unusual. I made blind calls, taxied out, and while I was at the holding point I saw people in another plane giving me weird looks. I took off, and then discovered the volume on the radio was turned all the way back

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The golden rule of tow-bars, as put to me by an old engineer (who had got sick of dealing with the aftermath of customers attempting to take off with their tow-bars attached) is that when the tow bar is attached to the aircraft, it must also be attached to your hand. Conversely, before you let go of the tow-bar, you must detach it from the aircraft.

On another occassion, I was at an airfield with A/G radio. There was no response on the radio, which didn't seem unusual. I made blind calls, taxied out, and while I was at the holding point I saw people in another plane giving me weird looks. I took off, and then discovered the volume on the radio was turned all the way back

In Australia they generally have Beep back systems at unmanned CTAFs...the system (ARFU) will respond with bleeps in response to a transmission if there has been radio silence for some time....so if nobody replies, or you get no Beeps you better check your radio

EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

FWIW. I've not used QFE in GB for over 25 years.

It's not compulsory, the charts give a/field elevation so I readily do the circuit with that number, plus circuit height - usually a round number, 800, 1000, 1500 or 2000 ft. Saves fiddling with the altimeter & gazing at the panel instead of out of the window when look out is paramount. Later on when airborne again it saves worrying what the QNH was 'cos you forgot or waiting till later when you can get hold of someone on the wireless to check the regional pressure.

mike hallam

I'm afraid altering the subscale did not seem to be the problem, I had a look in the dead instrument all the gearing etc seemed in good free moving shape, I suspect there was a leak in the bellows.

Interestingly I was taught to use QFE many years ago when training and have normaly set it as given in the airfield information, if I'm given QNH I use it but my default has always been to set to QFE. In view of the overwelming opinion on here I may well reconsider, thanks

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