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Proposed safety publication

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Paul Middleton and I want to produce a print publication for distribution to all RA-Aus members. If I tell you we have a tongue-in-cheek title of "The top ten ways to top yourself in an aeroplane" you will get some idea of its purpose, the proposed content and the emphasis.


The chapters may be:


1. Fly real fast


2. Stall and spin from a low-level turn


3. Disregard inertia, wind gradients and shear [may be combined with 2]


4. Turn back following efato [may include departure / go-around stall]


5. Ignore w&b limitations


6. Don't calculate todr, ldr, obstacle/terrain clearance and forget powerlines


7. Demonstrate to the landborne what a hot-shot pilot can do


8. Poor preflight planning = piss-poor performance


9. Don't check the fuel


10. Press on in deteriorating conditions


I have drafted the first two chapters and placed them on the RA-Aus server at:






The second chapter has yet to have relevant accident investigation reports added.The prime target of the proposed publication will be experienced pilots rather than students - the former seem more at risk.


I am requesting RA_Aus members [and others who are willing] to read through the two documents and perhaps discuss your opinions and suggestions regarding:


The breadth and depth of the content material?


The style of presentation and its readability?


Its understandability [for an experienced aviator rather than a student]?


And does it get the message across to the old and bold?


John Brandon



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Guest pelorus32

Hi John,


This is a good thing that you are doing. Please take my comments as supportive and constructive. I started with the stall one - favourite subject. My comments in random order are:


  1. What is the specific intent and audience? If you are aiming to get people's attention, alert them to the KEY issues and therefore stop our mates and ourselves from dying in such accidents then that's one intent. If you want to deepen theoretical knowledge in order that we can achieve the same outcome then that's another intent. The intended outcome is the same but the path to the outcome is different. My guess is that the first route is going to be more successful than the second given your audience. It's the "crash mag" approach - short attention span, hit them with key issues. The material as written holds more closely to the second approach;
  2. The next issue for me is along the same track - two paths to the same outcome. In your description of stalls at more than 1g you focus on alpha increasing for airspeed. This is particularly so in the two paras after the bank angle table. I don't think that this is the clearest way of describing the issue. Another way might be to say that for any given wing we have two major contributors to lift - V and alpha. When we load a wing up by increasing angle of bank and therefore g we proportionately increase the demand for lift.
    At 60 degress angle of bank we require twice the lift that we do in straight and level flight. This extra lift can come from increasing the alpha and/or by increasing airspeed. In order to maintain the turn and to not lose altitude we must deliver the required lift. Because the lift is generated as a function of the square of V the speed at which we get to critical alpha increases as a function of the square root of the lift requirement. So at 60 degrees bank (2g loading) we arrive at the critical alpha at (Vs (1g) multiplied by the square root of 2). I feel that it's a slightly different way of saying the same thing but it places things in a clearer order. Sorry it's not edited rather stream of consciousness.
  3. I reckon the reversal height and ground reference stuff (section 5) is interesting but you could cut to the chase much sooner. The clear message is that these are visual illusions and the proper visual cues are not ground reference but....x, y and z. I think that section takes too long to get there.
  4. The last subsection on changes in alpha and windshear needs a diagram or two. In my small experience people find it quite hard to visualise the change in alpha that occurs in these circumstances and just why.


What however is your take home message for this module? What are you trying to say to experienced pilots? What is the summary and what am I as a pilot supposed to do? Those elements, as a punchy message, are missing. What are the core things that you want me to focus on in the cockpit to ensure that (a) I don't get into strife and (b) I recover if there is the faintest possibility that I have room to recover? You have just a few bullet points to leave with me - they are the only things that will matter in the end - the rest is just why. What are your bullet points?


Kind regards





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I love it!


Ive just finished watching an old safety training vid entitled "17 ways to fall out of the sky"...


The use of humour goes a long way in cementing training and safety awareness. Some examples I use and freely thank the guys and gal from CASA who orgainised the Shepparton conference late last year are;




Where VMC into Instrument conditions equals Certain Death.


for fuel management, various ones on fuel contamination... such as the fuel tanks became contaminated with 100% air, Fuel/air mix to full air and the like.


But my favourite; For 30% of the population who suffer a heart attack, the first symptom is sudden death.





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I thoroughly commend you guys for what you are doing.


I was in the process of a lengthy reply when The one from Mike popped up in the postings and I must say that I agree with all his comments.


Perhaps a topping yourself for dummies intro with all the highlighted areas, and then they become the chapters.


Good work guys





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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi John,


Firstly, let me trumpet your praises for the fantastic job you have done with the RA-Aus website training modules. The end result is SUPERB. Thank you.


Likewise is the content of your two chapters developed thus far...


In respect of your 'How to stay alive in Reaceational Flying' publication proposed for RA-Aus members, the 10 chapter headings IMPLY impactful light reading with salient points reinforcing much of which we already know.....or at least should know. Alas, the opportunity to effectively market your very important message, that is KING HIT us who at times do silly things, may well be lost in the volume of technical facts contained in the chapters thus far developed.


So perhaps, the promise of the fun approach to the 10 deadly serious chapter headings needs to be followed by key points which can be easily read ,and which if not followed, could prohibit the aviator/reader from enjoying the few remaining summers of flying he/she may have left.


As a techinical peice, the chapters are great reading and might well be submitted say a chapter (or two) at a time in the RA-Aus mag. in the coming months for those of us who want to take time to digest. As suggested above by Mike, some drawings might add impact for those who learn other than by words.


On another matter,is the proposed No 8 Chapter heading your contribution, or that of another ?!!!


Keep up the terrific work, we are absolutely owing to you.


Kind Regards


John Leddy


P.S. Paul is a great bloke ...he must be, he flies a drifter !



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Guest TOSGcentral

I am much in agreement with the views expressed so well by Pelours32 above but I will couch my own feedback in a slightly different way.



Firstly though, John knows the high esteem in which I hold himself and his work as we have bounced web site content ideas around between us for several years (In fact I still owe him a lengthly chunk on structures that I must finish). So this response is to meet John’s request for feedback and most definitely is not a criticism.



CONCEPT. Anything to further flight safety/technical knowledge and awareness has to be a plus and a stand alone safety document of this concept nature can only do good. This is the first time it has happened in RAAus and we should therefore get the maximum value from it.



Taking a slightly cynical/quasi humorous stance via the main and sub section titling is a good intent medium to attract an audience.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS. I was a bit baffled from the outset. The titling, plus John’s intent comments on the forums appeared to have stopped short at the titling and there was a rapid launch into some quite technical stuff – lots of it!



The accident reports so far included helped but there seemed to be a lack of ‘intent flow’ (stated as the intent) across the documents.



This may be because John is using a template that is compatible with the web site to enable previews, but I had the distinct impression this was more educational material in line with John’s normal web site style.



John requested feedback in four stated areas. I will go through them in turn:



1. BREADTH AND DEPTH. The coverage is excellent in terms of technical areas and physics. Regarding depth, the subject matter goes far too deep, too quickly, to impact the audience who most need the convincing. A balancing is required that will reinforce the intended purpose.



  • STYLE & READABILITY. In reverse order – John’s technical writing is very clear and logical. However, it presupposes a level of ability to comprehend the content. While John stressed that this area should be judged on how an experienced pilot would comprehend it, we have to see that in the realistic terms of our actual environment.



Our movement, from it’s inception was geared to the absolute lowest common denominator of person who could aspire to become a command pilot in a recreational environment. We have to accept that the training system we have was geared to extremely simple aircraft that regulation then further inhibited the use of. We need to remember that our theoretical support training went the same way. Instead of the GA APEX examination we have a very rudimentary 50 question ‘Vote for Joe’ paper.



People brought up from scratch in this system may become experienced in terms of hours and years active, but may have no interest in, or even ability to, nor see the need to, go any further with their flying education from that base – it is working for them so what is the problem? This can very easily extend to instructors and therefore the situation is perpetuated.



With this flight safety project the situation is not really one of ‘readability’ it is very much one of both ability and motivation to comprehend by the target audience.



Style is the biggest failing that I see. But that is more a case of balance. As this is a stand alone document, intended to be kept for reference, then it should have immediate impact that will motivate the reader to read it, keep it and refer to it as needed.



I am in agreement with comments of other respondents to this thread. It needs some of the shock technique employed by the ‘crash comics’ and it needs the technical depth supplied by John. But it also needs the encouragement, and to instill the motivation to learn more, in order to bridge the gap between basic training and the expositions John is portraying. That needs expressing in real terms that the reader may directly relate to and therefore feel the need to learn from.



  • UNDERSTANDABILITY. Hmmmm! This is a difficult one. Understandable to whom in terms that they can use the information validly as a flight safety enhancement relevant to what they do in the air? Perhaps Relevance may be a better term.



To save boring readers with my personal philosophies try an example. I was a big fan of Prof Julius Sumner Miller and his TV series ‘Why is it So?’. This was hugely popular and attracted millions of viewers. He dealt with what lay under both the banal and the esoteric. His knack was that he could make pure physics very understandable in everyday language to the average, or low, educated viewer. He made the physics relevant in terms that the audience could relate to and enjoy so doing.



4. MESSAGE TRANSFER. From what is available to read, I do not think this is going to work to anything like the extent hoped for, or aimed at.



What I do believe should happen is that the original stated intent should be adhered to and John’s excellent work introduced in technically supporting sections that the reader can see the true relevance of – but within a context of where the wheel does come off and things happen – ie that is what happens, why does it happen?



As an example. When Mike Valentine, in GFA, got stuck into low height, low speed loss of control situations, he used ‘shedding of Lateral Damping’ as the technical base. This was built easily, and not requiring much technical knowledge, upon Stability which in turn was a mandatory part of the flying training syllabus – therefore was an easy extension of what pilots already knew. It also led directly to more fully understanding impossible to recover from low level incipient spins and spiral dives. The progress to those, and why, could be easily comprehended.



However there was a vast difference between understanding what happened and what it was like to experience it! Mike launched the new training by, within 12 months, flying with every gliding CFI in the country. Many were shaken rigid!



The problem was that the method of teaching spinning was actually non relevant via the mode required. This could not replicate inadvertent entries that solo pilots seemed to have no problem in doing with an hour’s solo and multiple thousand hour instructors (myself included) could not do! A lot of our trainers seemed very difficult to get to spin and certainly it was difficult to ‘surprise’ or even talk a student into one



In the test flying that was done a lot of video footage was taken. This showed very benign trainers abruptly departing into spin entries with their nose well below the horizon, slip balls and yaw strings in the middle – sometimes appearing to nearly go onto their backs at entry. It came as a very great ‘cultural’ shock to a lot of instructors. Yet it was the key to so many fatal accidents! It is valid for any fixed wing aircraft – not just gliders!



A BRIEF SUGGESTION. Too easy to sit back and throw rocks (as some would have it) but here are some suggestions on how it may work better. This primarily concerns structural layout of the proposed document.



Document Overall.



  • Kick off with a clear, plain language, statement of intent and why (current situation acknowledgement – that is anyway not peculiar to ultralights). This should be the standard writing ‘hook’ technique.
  • Add a few pithy and short examples (not full accident reports, just a few words on some of the subjects to be covered) that illustrate the range of the challenge being addressed.
  • At the conclusion of the document round it off with a summary that reinforces the message and encourages pilot’s to self develop their knowledge.



Document Departments.



  • Introduce each with a typical example accident (either written as typically generic or an actual one) to focus interest (you could be there).
  • Put the subject in context that the reader is able to relate to (it could happen to me).
  • Put in John’s ‘why it is so’ theory, but possibly soften this with very brief comments here and there to keep it ‘real world’ relevant to the readership base.
  • Summarise each department to reinforce the message being conveyed.









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Thank you to those who provided feedback. I must say the extremely small


response [ about 1% of forum membership] and the number of people who viewed


this safety thread is disappointing. I hope I am not wasting my currently available [but potentially diminishing] productive time with this safety project. The level of safety consciousness within both the RA-Aus membership and recreational aviation generally really does need to be heightened. About 12 sports aviation people [plus 3 parachutists] die each year together with 40 GA people. On top of that there are many life-changing injuries and we also have to consider all those lucky 'could've beens' who escaped crippling injury though their aircraft was a write-off.


Anyhow the opinion of the respondents seems to be that the material I indicated to you is not really suitable for the proposed print publication because - in a nutshell:


- the style is that of a manual rather than something with harder impact,


- and though the extent of coverage is OK


- the depth of detail goes too far.


Which is not surprising because I have been a little bit naughty - the two documents for which I provided links are not documents intended for a print publication but are slightly modified copies of modules 13 and 14 of the web Flight Theory Guide [see


http://www.raa.asn.au/groundschool/flutter.html and


http://www.raa.asn.au/groundschool/turn_speed.html .


Which is no doubt why Tony was scratching his head but I did want to check with the RA-Aus membership concerning the format and felt this was the best way to go about it.


As Tony said, my skills are in technical rather than inspirational writing so my current intent with the proposed print publication is that I will provide a manual style chapter document from which some other specialist, with presentation skills and imaging and print experience, will produce the condensed print document . The latter is expected to be along the lines indicated in your responses. Whether my documents are included as appendices to the print publication or just referenced to a web location is up to RA-Aus, who will no doubt consider the costs involved.


The material on which the other 8 chapters of the proposed print publication would be based are currently also contained within the various web service guides. Most of them are linked within the "airmanship and safety tour' but all require additional detail added.


By the way the British Civil Aviation Authority have requested permission to include my definition of airmanship in a forthcoming safety publication of theirs relating to violation of controlled airspace which is an indication of international approval of the material published by RA-Aus. Maybe we can go further if more members got involved particularly with this proposed safety document.


What about starting with the layout of the "Stall and spin from a low-level turn" document?







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Guest TOSGcentral

Sorry John, I am not at all in agreement with your response to feedback!



I cannot fault your logic and expression (as usual) but I am a little bitter about the sadness within your expression’!



I understand your sentiments only too well, but that is the way the situation has been for overlong, and has been so endorsed! It should not detract from the huge contribution you have virtually single handedly made to Ultralight technical competence – you leave the rest for dead mate!



Be easy my friend because you have rolled a snowball. Hopefully it will grow, but it has to start somewhere!



You are doing more than well John, but may I enquire where your co-author’s contribution is that we may also have a preview of?









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Please don't be discouraged by the lack of comments or feedback


A lot of forum members will see no need to add a comment as their thoughts have already been penned in the existing comments.


Also do not take too much notice of the number of views of your post as I would think that that a good majority of the forum members will have read the thread in the email notifications and have no need to actually log on to the thread to read it.


Keep up the momentum. What you are doing is very good for our movement.





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I'd have to agree with Peter and Tony.


I applaud your efforts to improve safety. I haven't replied personally because I'm such a newbie and proven idiot. I'm exactly the type of person who has a lot to gain from your travail and I thank you for your time and intention.





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I too applaud your efforts


and do apologize for not responding to your invitation,


mostly because when faced with your skill and knowledge


I feel inadequately equipped to make a worth while criticism.


As a general concept I believe that we can never have too much


information, and that the easier it is to understand the better.


Even if, perchance to the purist, scientific accuracy is compromised


in the name of making the broad concepts, and basic principles


accessible to us average pilots.





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Tony wrote "You are doing more than well John, but may I enquire where your co-author’s contribution is that we may also have a preview of?"


Well currently there is no co-author thus no contribution to preview. RA-Aus needs to find one I guess.







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Hello John Brandon,


John, as a person who prefers to study workshop and spare parts manuals than to read novels, I find your presentations very informative and stimulating.


Your 'proposed safety publication' gets to the nitty-gritty of the subject without flamboyant emotion. Each section can be studied in isolation, which I prefer.


With my limited knowledge of some of the technicalities of aerodynamics I enjoy studying and analysing the details in each section of your presentations.


Keep up your good work John....please!




P.S. Did you get a copy of 'Aeroplane' with the article on Seafires?





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Thanks for the comments Bruce, and yes I did obtain a copy of the Aeroplane's Seafire F17 issue thank you. It was quite heartwarming to read about the aircraft's restoration and to see such a good aircraft type again flying in the UK after a 45 year gap since the last flight. There is still life in the old piston engined Naval fighters!







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Hi John


You have captured the logical art of making safety training interesting to the reader by getting their attention first up and prolonging the attention span with humour with this concept. Stick to it as it will be a most valuable training and education aid to compliment the excellent RA-Aus website resource we currently have. Meanwhile do not be dispondent about the seemingly small response from this post. I am certain that it is at least partly due to individuals like myself being lean on time and it took a while to get to it. Meanwhile it must be said that your contribution like others, to our cause is enormous and much appreciated. Thank you and keep it up. PLEASE!


Best Regards





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  • 3 months later...
Guest Andys@coffs



I have just read the articles and personally I enjoyed them and understood the principles that where discussed in them.


I understood the comments that others made on complexity, yet from my own perspective I wouldn't want them much simpler. I think the difference in approach can probably be traced back to peoples individual drivers.


My drivers are engineering ones and as such I need to understand the what, why and how. People who have more creative drivers will be satisfied with the what, the how and why will bore them, yet to me, not providing the why or how will mean that I consider the job only 1/3rd done... and poorly at that. We are all correct, and as such I think that the ideal writings will clearly delineate the what from the why and how and allow those that don't need it to skip over it, and those that do to delve into more detail.


For anyone that is interested, there is an interesting test called Myer Briggs Type indicator, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator for those that need the why and how ) that allows an individual to identify themselves as to which of 16 different categories they fit within. Understanding what category they (or a student) is in will allow much more effective training to occur because an instructor can understand what drives the student and as such what stimuli they will respond to (provided by Myer Briggs) . As with all psychological test for every proponent there is an equally vocal opponent so as they say, your mileage may vary





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Guest pelorus32

Hi Andy,


I think that there are in fact 17 MB Types. The seventeenth is the Nike type - JFDI.024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif







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Guest Andys@coffs
Hi Andy,I think that there are in fact 17 MB Types. The seventeenth is the Nike type - JFDI.024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif







when the I is understood and is right then apply all the JFD you need.


Until it is well understood and agreed, JFDI in most cases becomes JFDS (S=something) . and for those that are totaly confused as to what we are nattering about J=Just, D=do, I=it, f=what ever you need it to be 025_blush.gif.9304aaf8465a2b6ab5171f41c5565775.gif





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