Well, here is an interesting crash that happened at Big Bear, Cessna 172, last week. Young couple on board, he was an Army Chopper pilot. They had just gotten engaged.
t looks almost certainly as if DA, (Density Altitude), was to blame. He took off at dusk, temperatures in the high seventies, and for planning purposes, DA, near 10,000’. There are neon signs at the ends of the runways at Big Bear, which gives the DA. By all accounts, very diligent, Forces pilot, planned well, apparently ticked all the boxes, except……..the POH of the 172 will tell you that at that DA, a 172 will not/barely climb.
He flew straight into the treeline. Both died. Tragic, but he took off, with a zero chance of actually flying out of there. Perhaps a classic case of being so diligent, so well trained, that the very basic was missed
it’s not supposed to be, therefore it cannot be kicks in, leads to a state of denial and prevents from thinking outside the box (or plan, as it were)
Perhaps a classic case of being so diligent
Tragic? Yes, I agree. But “diligent”, I don’t get that. Not doing your performance calculations and/or not leaning on a high DA takeoff proves to me that someone was being negligent here. I mean, it’s not a mechanical failure, the plane behaved like it should, it was no in-flight emergency… if that is not the definition of negligence? And Big Bear is really well known far beyond the local area for its high density altitudes.
Perhaps a classic case of being so diligent, so well trained, that the very basic was missed
No sadly just a serious mistake which cost their lives.
W&B and performance calculations are treated somewhat casually by many pilots including very experienced ones. Now you can get away with that in cool sea level areas like much of Europe.
In Santa Fe I had a takeoff with just me and half fuel on a 8366ft runway that was marginal due to density altitude. Now normally at MTOW and ISA I need 3200 balanced field. It would have been easy to not worry about the calculation because I “know” I am OK. I was but only just when I ran the numbers a few degrees warmer and I would not have been able to depart.
Interesting topic, glad it is so openly discussed.
I’m curious if there is a larger percentage of fatal incidents in mountainous terrain vs flatlands (or not).
Seems that there would be a higher propensity and risk.
Having done more mountain flying recently, I’d say it is at least 2x riskier than flying over flat terrain.
Riding a motorcycle, it was pretty clear for me early on, that the best stance for me to take in traffic was an aggressive one…
Passing cars and making myself active in all situations, I believe made me a lot more visible for other drivers. I’ve experienced almost hitting a biker because I didn’t see them, mainly because they sat in one spot in the lane and expected everyone to treat them like a car… (waiting to get hit).
I’m not old enough or experienced enough to make any comments on the safety of flying, but given all other experiences I’ve had in life, I think a lot of these things occur b/c people are not connected to the task they’re undertaking in the moment.
Kind of like using a knife in the kitchen. Any normal human knows there’s a good chance of being cut, so hey elevate their focus. However, after some time, it can become normal to drop one’s guard, and that’s the moment we get cut. Which then elevates our awareness again.
It sure would be good to have cockpit recordings and be able to listen to exactly what was going on in there with these guys.
It is valuable to learn from.
Also, it has been great taking up some student pilots with me recently. They asked questions that I’d been brushing off, and their questions sparked me to look deeper into my routines, and I’ve changed/added a few more things (MODIS Satellite imagery is one) which really help my situational awareness and flight planning routines.
I think the traditional way of training people is great, but technology sure has brought a lot more to the table, and I wonder if we’re doing all we can to harness and share it.
Thanks for the thought-provoking posts.