Tuesday, April 27, 2010

While on a Flight Review (BFR) who is in charge in an emergency?

As part of your flight review I always establish who is in charge should a real emergency happen as part of our preflight briefing. Most of the time the pilot is PIC, he has scheduled his flight review before it expires and has a valid medical and flies often. When that is not the case than we may decide that I am.

At the time it seems unnecessary but who knows, you have to expect the unexpected, be two steps ahead of the plane, yada yada all those time honored aviation sayings have endured for some reason and I was about to find out why. As part of the review you often do the soft and short field landings. Today  the pilot I was flying with  is part owner in a lovely ranch, just east of Mt Hamilton with an unpublished airport.  I was excited to go! The pilot sent me a picture of short final, a passenger had taken, to show me what to expect.

Short flight out there from E16 and a great day for flying, in fact amazing day to go flying! He flew over the airport, checked out the winds. The runway is really a one-way runway but checking out the winds can help you prepare to land. All is good on downwind, base and then...a little adjustment on the throttle and ....it doesn't respond. He shows me, throttle forward, throttle aft no change in RPM no change in sound - nothing. It catches at some point for a mere moment for some extra power but seems to be stuck at 1200 RPMs - more than we need to land on this 2000' strip. On landing we are a bit faster than we need to be but no worries, the grass, upslope and brakes on the last third of the grass strip allow us to stop with no problems. You can create your own problems (as in life and flying), that was not the case, he flew the plane as if all was normal approach. Mixture to cut-off and time to see what happened.

Thankfully, th pilot had tools in the plane so he took the cowling off and we found the  outer cable housing of the Bowden cable ( inner throttle control)  had come loose from its connection. No flying back and thankfully a car to drive the 3 hours back.

Training and calm confidence will allow you to can control the airplane in both normal and non-normal circumstances. When there are two pilots in the plane each person's role should be defined flight review or not, things happen and often at a time where there is no room for confusion. Flying is not the sort of thing you can just get-by with the minimal effort  and planning.

and back at the ranch................
sign says "up, up and away"

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