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Author Topic: We don't need any Air Traffic Controllers!  (Read 24790 times)
inigo88
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« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2008, 05:11:34 PM »

You guys are great!!! Cheesy

This accident was at "Schellville" Sonoma Valley Airport (0Q3), and happened on new years day, during a small fly-in there. I was there, but got there later in the day so I missed the incident, but saw the aftermath on N8037W and the poor owner on the cellphone with the FAA/NTSB. There were a lot of cases of impromptu amateur aerobatics going on in the vicinity of airport, as well as a couple high speed low approaches (I missed a P-51 but caught a descent flyby by a Nanchang CJ-6 on camera). In other words, unofficial fly-in at an uncontrolled airport = An environment conducive to attracting stupid pilots and witnessing stupid things.

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Runway 7 was the active runway (more commonly runway 25 is, forcing departures to back taxi the full length to the end). Most arrivals were just turning off and taxiing back on the grass, or making a 180 on the pavement and back taxiing to the ramp.

Run-ups were taking place in the ramp area immediately north and west of the grass area containing the segmented circle and wind indicator (this grass area is bordered to the north and south by two taxiways with hold short lines to the restricted runway 17-35 immediately east... the southern taxiway leading through the restricted runway and directly to the runway 7 threshold). INTELLIGENT pilots were also using the runup area of the ramp to perform 360 degree clearing turns, to observe the pattern and any traffic on final. Then, they would taxi via the southern taxiway or the northern taxiway and rwy 17-35 to the runway 7 threshold before starting their takeoff roll.

I can't account for the following firsthand, but heard it from a friend who's a flight instructor and former regional airline pilot so I trust his account.

The warrior flew the published right traffic pattern to runway 7 and announced his position when appropriate on the CTAF frequency 122.9 Mhz. On final, since the runway threshold is displaced (though not by any official markings) eastward along the taxiway to the other side of runway 17-35 from the ramp, the ramp drops out of view below the nose on final but the threshold itself always remains in view almost the whole time.

Apparently, at the precise moment while the warrior was on a fairly short final (short enough to reasonably expect the ramp area to no longer be in view), the Glastair pilot decided to...

a.) NOT CLEAR THE AREA FOR TRAFFIC -and-
b.) START HIS TAKEOFF ROLL FROM THE RAMP WEST OF THE NORTH-SOUTH RWY 17-35.

So many things are wrong with both those decisions I won't even start... but the Glastair then proceeded to rapidly accelerate down the taxiway towards the runway threshold BEHIND the warrior, caught up to his speed PRIOR to the runway threshold and passed him whilst rotating the airplane at exactly the right height for the right trailing edge of the warrior's wing to contact the vertical stabilizer of the Glastair as he rotated. You can just make out the yellow arrows on the runway that mark the runway 7 threshold in the last few photos (compare with the google map link), which agrees with my friend's account that the Glastair rotated PRIOR to the beginning of the runway!!! Thanks to the photos, I can also see the warrior was somewhat low on final, but it clearly wasn't a huge contributing factor to the accident.

I believe following the collision the Warrior executed a go around and returned to land with no flaps. I am certain however that the Glastair made no attempt to return to land, and continued to Napa (KAPC) despite the fact that the top of the rudder was hanging off the vertical stabilizer of his airplane. This was either an admission of guilt and attempt at fleeing the scene of the crime, or a show of complete incompetence in not recognizing the fact that he was just involved in a mid-air. In either case, it reflects extremely badly on the individual flying the Glastair.

To sum it up NTSB style:

The accident was caused by Glastair pilot's lack of performing adequate clearing turns or monitoring the CTAF, and decision to begin his takeoff roll from a ramp area while a Piper PA-28 was on short final - causing the Glastair to reach rotation speed prior to the beginning of the runway and touchdown zone of the other aircraft. Contributing factors to the collision were the location of each aircraft's blind spots, and the configuration of the airport creating an inability for traffic on short final to keep the ramp area in sight.

I've flown into Schellville myself several times, and ALMOST did that day, and I'm very thankful I didn't. The circumstances of this incident make my stomach turn...

Just my $.02. Wink

Inigo
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2008, 05:17:52 PM »

Apparently, at the precise moment while the warrior was on a fairly short final (short enough to reasonably expect the ramp area to no longer be in view), the Glastair pilot decided to...

a.) NOT CLEAR THE AREA FOR TRAFFIC -and-
b.) START HIS TAKEOFF ROLL FROM THE RAMP WEST OF THE NORTH-SOUTH RWY 17-35.

So, if this is indeed true this may explain in more ways than one why the Glastair pilot continued his journey to another airport, rather than coming back around to land.  I thought it strange that the pilot opted to fly to another airport with so much damage to the control surface.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
inigo88
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« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2008, 05:46:17 PM »

Indeed, here are a couple of my own photos from that day. Two of the damaged PA-28, one of the CJ-6 low approach I was talking about (to show you the parking area... and it's just cool), and I just whipped up this panorama of the ramp area adjacent to the north-south runway and runway 7. The photo is looking southeast, and you can see an airplane in position on the runway 7 threshold for departure, and the segmented circle between the two taxiways.





* N8037W damage 2.jpg (160.13 KB, 778x583 - viewed 87 times.)

* N8037W damage 1.jpg (261.84 KB, 972x729 - viewed 88 times.)

* Nanchang CJ6 Low Approach.jpg (186.8 KB, 1151x641 - viewed 91 times.)

* Septic Tank Hill Panorama.jpg (310.71 KB, 1710x627 - viewed 89 times.)
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2008, 06:01:36 PM »

Indeed, here are a couple of my own photos from that day.

Nice photos.  I especially like the panorama.

In looking at the Google Maps link, I now see exactly what you are describing:



The area I circled is, at least in my experience, a very...um... unique airport configuration that seems to be begging for more of these types of accidents.  Like the very tragic ComAir runway overrun accident at the Lexington, Kentucky, airport last year, it seems that this airport layout significantly increases the chances of a pilot mistake. 

Have there been others like this?  I would imagine there are more close calls here than other, more traditionally designed airports.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
aviator_06
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« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2008, 08:12:02 PM »

Good thing they at least used the CTAF freq.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2008, 08:33:54 PM »

Good thing they at least used the CTAF freq.

From the description of the accident it appears that at least one pilot didn't.   And let's not forget the Nordo aircraft that frequent these smaller airports. 
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
inigo88
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« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2008, 02:30:12 AM »

Schellville is also a privately owned but PUBLIC USE airport, I believe owned by the same people who run a company on field that offers vintage bi-plane rides over the Sonoma and Napa Wine Country (charging exorbitant amounts of money for rides in Stearmans and a T-6. I still love the company though and would love a ride.  tongue).

Whether or not they own the airport, they have exclusive rights to use the north-south restricted runway 17-35, and operate their aircraft NORDO.

So with this particular place, see and avoid really comes with the territory.

And as far as I heard, the Glastair pilot did NOT use the radio.

Inigo
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