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Author Topic: Lancair crash at KPDX. One dead.  (Read 23230 times)
Hollis
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2008, 08:40:12 PM »

I had deleted the expletive after 'Richard'.. in my transcription, but if no one is offended, he says..
...'Goddammit'...
That pretty well sums it up.

But on a personal note, I have heard worse. Not pleasant.
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Panop
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2008, 10:42:34 PM »

I hope it didn't look like I was preempting the investigation as, of course, there could be other factors involved and I am sure the FAA investigators will do their usual thorough job.

I do understand the issues involving RVRs going up and down, being a tad unreliable, visibility changing by the minute and varying from one part of the runway to another (especially in shallow or patchy fog) but it would have taken a very big and sudden improvement to get from 600 feet to something more reasonable.  I am not a pilot but would not like the idea of descending towards a runway I have little chance of seeing.  Without wanting to be specific about this accident, that is what holding fuel and alternates are for.

I also can see the arguments about personal freedom of GA pilots but I am not sure I agree with them in conditions which do not seem even marginal.  If the runway was temporarily blocked by an object such as an aircraft or a vehicle then Tower would not give landing clearance.  If the runway is effectively blocked by an opaque fluid such as fog that is not even close to minima then I believe that as a matter of public safety (not just the pilot's), the Tower, as a responsible authority should have the same power as they do in some other countries to ban approaches below minima.

A hold or diversion may be inconvenient or expensive but compared to the alternative that is nothing.  There are plenty of restrictions on 'personal freedom' when flying - one more in the name of safety may be a small price to pay.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2008, 11:28:43 PM »

Haha ok, never flown around the Portland area and dont know too much of the weather patterns there but its highly unlikely the weather would change so rapidly that he could prove he had the required vis to land because before and after the accident RVR values were still not near what was required.    While listening to the archive, there was a plane that landed and couldnt even see a taxiway to exit.  Never flown or seen this type of situation but if you cant see a taxiway while your on the runway, sounds pretty bad.

How did the airplane that successfully landed get in?  Was it CAT II or CAT III equipped?  Or was it CAT I and the visibility improved momentarily?  I didn't listen to the archive so I don't know.

Regarding your comment about the weather changing rapidly, in my experience it is not so much of a rapid change but rather a gentle fluctuation in visibility and ceiling that could make or break the approach.  Consider this:

On my first flight down to White Plains, NY, two Tuesdays ago the weather at HPN was technically below minimums due to fog and low ceilings, but aircraft were getting in when I was vectored to the ILS.   How can that be, you ask?  Recall that on the ILS if a pilot spots the approach lights right at minimums s/he is allowed another 100 feet descent and that is what was happening on this day.  It should be noted that the aircraft getting in were two-pilot, multi-engine aircraft with excellent autopilots, no doubt.

On my first attempt I was hand flying the Bonanza down the ILS and managed to track both glideslope and localizer pretty much right on for the first part of the approach.  However, as I got to within 500 feet above the DH, I started to drift a bit high.  This was most likely caused by my distraction of now splitting my time between the gauges and looking out the window.  The winds were also a stiff right crosswind so the aircraft was in a 15 degree crab, meaning that the runway would not be straight out the windshield but rather off to the left.  When I hit the DH I could not see either the approach lights or the runway so I executed a missed.

My alternate airport, a 20 minute flight south of HPN, was reporting a 1,000 foot ceiling and 3 mile vis, so getting in on their ILS would not be an issue.  Remaining fuel was 2.5 hours with another hour of reserve.   Considering that I was a tad high on my first approach and distracted by the constant swap between inside gauges and looking for the runway I realized it was not the perfectly flown ILS needed for the conditions.  Taking into account the PIREPS of the last two aircraft that got in by first spotting the approach lights right at minimums, I opted to try one more approach.  If this attempt were not successful it would be off to the alternate.

To stack the deck in my favor on this second attempt I let the autopilot fly the approach while I spent more time monitoring the altimeter and looking outside for the approach lights.  Of course the AP flew a perfect ILS and this time, within 50 feet of the DH I spotted the approach lights.  At that point I disengaged the AP and hand flew the descent another 80 or so feet down when the runway came into view.  Landing at that point was assured.

The point of this anecdote is to demonstrate that a number of variables goes into the decision of making a second approach attempt and that the pilot is really the only one able to make that decision.  I will certainly concede that the weather in this story was not as low as the weather of the METARS posted here, but if a pilot is proficient and fuel plentiful an ILS to a missed should be a non-event assuming the approach is flown as charted.



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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
Panop
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2008, 11:52:06 PM »

I just want to correct an earlier observation I made.   

On looking more closely at the original news report, the road that the crash occurred on was almost parallel to but offset from the threshold of runway 03, not 10R that the aircraft was on approach to. 

That location is a good way adrift from the centreline of 10R that one would expect the aircraft to be following (unless some turn instructions had been given that are not in the original clip).
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2008, 11:57:44 PM »

I do understand the issues involving RVRs going up and down, being a tad unreliable, visibility changing by the minute and varying from one part of the runway to another (especially in shallow or patchy fog) but it would have taken a very big and sudden improvement to get from 600 feet to something more reasonable.

In the METARs posted above you can clearly see an improvement in RVR from 800 to 2000 inside of 20 minutes.  I have personally flown in weather that went from an RVR of 1000 to an RVR of 3000 inside of three minutes (and visa versa - I once was taxiing to the runway at my airport as fog formed in a five minute time frame to 1/4 mile visibility) so FWIW I can attest to this phenomenon.

I am not a pilot but would not like the idea of descending towards a runway I have little chance of seeing.  Without wanting to be specific about this accident, that is what holding fuel and alternates are for.

Not at all meaning to be a slam, but might I suggest that therein is the difference between our points of view.  Not being a pilot means not knowing what is really involved in flying on instruments in IMC to a runway that you have little/some/any chance of seeing.   All pilots are taught to fly to minimums and many times to a missed totally on instruments throughout their IFR training, so reaching the MAP/DH and having to go missed should not be an issue.  It is a lack of proficiency or dipping below minimums that gets pilots into trouble.

If the runway is effectively blocked by an opaque fluid such as fog that is not even close to minima then I believe that as a matter of public safety (not just the pilot's), the Tower, as a responsible authority should have the same power as they do in some other countries to ban approaches below minima.

I disagree and fortunately I fly in a country that does not legislate every single action and decision I make as a pilot.  The same argument you are making about restricting approaches to below minimums could be made about driving an automobile in poor weather.  Do you think there should be a law preventing people from driving an automobile if visibility is below some set value?



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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
moto400ex
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2008, 12:11:25 AM »

Its hard to argue about weather.  But if im still very convinced that by the way the pilot impacted the ground, he was trying to divide his attention between the inside and outside. 

On a side note, what kind of Bonanza do you have, love those planes.  Got to ride in one when Beechcraft gave a demo at my school.
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cessna157
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2008, 04:04:49 AM »

I'm not going to speculate on this either, but I did take the liberty to enhance his audio msg by adding a little echo and looping it. To me, it sounds like:

"...alright,,,?hit Richard...you're gonna craaash!"


After listening to both clips a couple times, I interpret it to be a little different.  Here's my take on the situation:
Controller gave missed approach instructions after aircraft had already inpacted the ground.  It sounds like he may have been in pretty bad shape when he responded:
"I can't turn <expletive> you've gotta crash!"

Anyone else hearing it this way?
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CRJ7/CRJ9 F/O, Travel Agent
Jason
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2008, 07:31:29 AM »

I have to agree with Peter on this one, he's pretty much bang on in his description of instrument flying and the variables involved.

If the runway is effectively blocked by an opaque fluid such as fog that is not even close to minima then I believe that as a matter of public safety (not just the pilot's), the Tower, as a responsible authority should have the same power as they do in some other countries to ban approaches below minima.

Part 135 operators (and I think part 121 as well) are not permitted to initiate the approach if weather is below minimums at the airport the aircraft is destined to.  If the weather changes and goes below minimums while the aircraft is inside the FAF, they can still continue the approach.  Part 91 operators are not restricted by these regs, however.  I think a pilot or flight crew of any operation (part 91/135/121) should be competent enough to complete the approach if weather is at or very close to minimums.  One of the fundamentals behind instrument flying is sound aeronautical decision making, and the go/no-go decision is one of the most important calls a pilot can make.  That pilot or flight crew should have the experience and knowledge to make a well founded decision he/she will not regret.  Granted there are a lot of variables involved, but look at how many IFR aircraft in the system are equipped with good avionics and well trained pilots that successfully conquer these approaches day in and day out.  The FlightSafety motto is one of my all time favorites: "The best safety device in any aircraft is a well trained pilot" and it's really true.

You do bring up an interesting point about the regulations regarding the initiation of IAPs with respect to weather in other countries.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 07:36:32 AM by Jason » Logged
moto400ex
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2008, 10:13:40 AM »

I agree with what peter is talking about in regards to the weather changing from the first approach to the time you do the second.  The point I have been trying to make is that while you are inbound on the approach and RVR values are reported way below mins, that would be hard to argue.   Im not sure of the exact time frame this clip was recorded in and how much was cut out but assuming he was inbound and established on the glideslope for for about three minutes, highly unlikley weather would improve that much in that period of time.  Then again although we forecast and try to predict weather, it still very unpredictable.   
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Panop
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2008, 10:51:11 AM »

In the METARs posted above you can clearly see an improvement in RVR from 800 to 2000 inside of 20 minutes.  I have personally flown in weather that went from an RVR of 1000 to an RVR of 3000 inside of three minutes (and visa versa - I once was taxiing to the runway at my airport as fog formed in a five minute time frame to 1/4 mile visibility) so FWIW I can attest to this phenomenon.
Sure, point taken. I lived many years in London. Fog can do that!

Not at all meaning to be a slam, but might I suggest that therein is the difference between our points of view.  Not being a pilot means not knowing what is really involved in flying on instruments in IMC to a runway that you have little/some/any chance of seeing.   All pilots are taught to fly to minimums and many times to a missed totally on instruments throughout their IFR training, so reaching the MAP/DH and having to go missed should not be an issue.  It is a lack of proficiency or dipping below minimums that gets pilots into trouble.
No slam taken and I agree on the different viewpoint.  I also agree totally that a properly executed instrument approach and go around at DH is no more or less safe than any other piece of flying and, in theory, should be quite acceptable.  The trouble lies in the fact that humans can sometimes let their enthusiasm or optimism get the better of their judgment and, when already right on the limits there is no room for error.  My point was whether that is a good position to put oneself in and whether, given the frailties of us humans we should be allowed to do that.  The answer is probably as much philosophical as aeronautical I suppose and I hope no pilots took my post as a criticism of their usually very sound judgment in such matters.

I disagree and fortunately I fly in a country that does not legislate every single action and decision I make as a pilot.  The same argument you are making about restricting approaches to below minimums could be made about driving an automobile in poor weather.  Do you think there should be a law preventing people from driving an automobile if visibility is below some set value?

Part 135 operators (and I think part 121 as well) are not permitted to initiate the approach if weather is below minimums at the airport the aircraft is destined to.  If the weather changes and goes below minimums while the aircraft is inside the FAF, they can still continue the approach.  Part 91 operators are not restricted by these regs, however.  I think a pilot or flight crew of any operation (part 91/135/121) should be competent enough to complete the approach if weather is at or very close to minimums. 

I guess my point is to raise a discussion as to why in the USA Part 135 operators are restricted in their ability to commence an approach while Part 91 operators are not.  At the risk of stirring a hornet's nest I would have thought that, on average, a part 135 pilot would be better trained and more experienced that a part 91 pilot (I emphasise there 'on average' as I know there will be many exceptions) and, if it is a matter of public safety, the issues should be the same.

From the posts above I guess the response will be that the part 135s should be allowed the same freedom as the part 91s and again I suppose that is a philosophical position (and one I respect even if I don't necessarily agree with it).

If ALL pilots were equally well trained, always level headed and under no pressure (direct,  implied or self induced) to 'get in' then I would have no argument.  I just don't  think that we are in that position and the consequences of a bad decision can be very bad indeed.

I certainly mean no offence to all the excellent pros (and amateurs) out there who make excellent calls and keep it safe for everyone.  Long may you do so!
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moto400ex
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2008, 02:10:50 PM »

Anyone with flight simulator, try flying this approach with the listed weather.  Just did and it gives youa pretty good idea of what this pilot would have seen.  My flight simulator session did not go too well, with the weather conditions plugged in, I didnt break out but I decided to fly it straight down and came very close to planting the nose right into the ground just like he did while I was looking for the runway and looking at my instruments. 
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aviator_06
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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2008, 11:22:56 PM »

Wow, that was hard to listen to.
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gfw123
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2008, 06:02:06 PM »

QUOTE: "I guess my point is to raise a discussion as to why in the USA Part 135 operators are restricted in their ability to commence an approach while Part 91 operators are not.  At the risk of stirring a hornet's nest I would have thought that, on average, a part 135 pilot would be better trained and more experienced that a part 91 pilot (I emphasise there 'on average' as I know there will be many exceptions) and, if it is a matter of public safety, the issues should be the same. "

Just a guess (I am no pilot and don't work for the airlines), but....

If the Part 135 pilots are the commercial airlines then they are probably carrying many more passengers compared to GA aircraft. Also, the pilots of air carriers owe their lively hood to airlines whose bottom line is money. That is not a good combination when it comes to decide if you try to make the airport or divert and lose your employer money.

For GA pilots, it isn't about making money (which is illegal, I believe, for those without a commercial license). So, perhaps they won't push it so hard for any reason outside of the cockpit and ego. Also, America has a long history of individualism and I think the pilot regulations for GA stem from that. When the FAA introduced the current system of regulations and airspace they did when they could to leave GA pilots alone. Heck, GA planes don't even need radios to fly legally (certain airspace's excluded of course). They don't even have to land at runways if they don't want to. They current regs were put in place to protect the safety of the commercial flights and keep those cowboy GA pilots separated from them (I use the term cowboy in a good way). Other then that they left GA pilots pretty much alone.

I like it this way.

Again, not a pilot or expert, just my 2 cents.

thanks for thoughtful discussion.

--greg.

[EDIT by me. I just saw my icon on the post which may make you think I am a pilot, smiley So, I will say that I did take lessons several years ago (pic is from first solo) but I never got my ticket before running out of money sad ]

« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 06:11:00 PM by gfw123 » Logged
moto400ex
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2008, 07:21:36 PM »

Just uploading the audio for someone.
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mk
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« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2008, 11:15:09 AM »

Even if he made it in, he would have some explaining to do.  It would be hard to explain how he saw the required flight vis with the weather reports and RVR values.  According to FAA Airman certificate search, he held a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

i totally disagree...no one would care...approach would be grateful that they wouldn't have to sequence him again...we controllers are not FAR cops.  Now if there were a bored FSDO fella at the airport and you happened to cruise onto the ramp with 600 rvr, questions may be asked.  But a controller is not gonna tattle-tell to the FAA about an approach below mins.
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