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The following is a near accident i had a few years back when i was on attempt number 2 to get my licence..


I was doing curcuits with my instructor (who shall remain nameless) at thangool in qld. I had only just signed up with this guy who operated a thruster in a sort of travelling school..


The curcuits taught by this guy were quite un othadox to say the least, we would fly upwind untill 1000 feet before turning crosswind..Needless to say this made our curcuits quite long and could only manage about 3 in an hour...


Whislt taxing to the strip an RFDS kingair was loading in a sick passenger and prepairing to get underway.. We ligned up and took off..when we reached about 400 ft the RFDS kingair radioed and politely asked us to move out of the way so he could blast off..to which my instructor replied "i teach my students not to be pressured by aircraft in the curcuit to do anything." i s#$ t you not. I couldn'r believe my ears, i reminded him that the kingy was an RFDS plane, he said " doesn't matter whats painted on the side, they all have to follow traffic procedure". Shocked i continued my upwind leg ..it was on base leg of the very same curcuit that the 'incident' happend..We were experiancing quite a bit of lift from a thermal coming from a black soil paddock underneath us..I commented "its hard to get these ultralights to come down sometimes isn't it?"..The instructor then said, no its not and snapped the power off and nosed over in a steep dive..The airspeed climbed nearly to the red line and then the 582 stopped dead..i was in shock, i couldnt believe what was happening, in an apparent attempt to prove the student wrong, the instructor had just freaked the engine out and pulled a huge neggy..He became quite flusterd and started swearing over the intercom and turning to the right apparently to line up with the paddock below us, which mind you was full of trees and barbed wire fences..His flying became irratic and as he pulled bak to get a glide speed we nearly stalled.. at no time did he attempt to retart the engine ..he just kept fiddling with his harness, and ignored me..when were were at abpout 200 agl i had had enuff of this caper, the spot he'd apparently chosen to land was full of big trees and was downwind..without asking i reached over rammed the throttle foward and hit the engine start button, the 582 roared into life and and the thruster bucked nose up..luckily he caught the attitude b4 we stalled.. we climbed in a turn and lined up for an uneventfull landing ...when we stopped he got fair up me for touching the controls while he was in control and said that he was goung to attempt a restart once he got the sink under control..


well..the argument that insued was to rich in four letter words to post here, but lets just say that i was more then annoyed at his arrogance, and that was b4 the engine failed.. I asked why he chose to turn away from the strip, which he replied the tailwind gave us more distance over the ground...i asked him why he nosed the thing over in the first p[lace? to teach you a lesson he said..


Well, i dont know what the lesson was?? And i am 100% sure that he had no intention of trying a restart..He didnt even ask me if i was sacyre in my harness or anything, he was tottaly freaking out..


Anyway...i never flew with him again..I was sure these huge curcuits were just time soaking exercise..He ended up bing charged by police a few years later for missuse of an aeroplane by diving it at the house his astranged wife was staying...


Be carefull guys..choose your instructor wisely..



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interesting to note, the B737 POH states a circuit should be half a mile! or so ive been told..


where does it say anywhere what height you have to be before turning cross or downwind? some aircraft i have flown wont reach circuit height till mid downwind, and some while still over the strip! i like my circuits tight and can get 10 in in an hour but average 8 or 9 in a jabiru.


a circuit should always be close enough to keep the airfield within gliding distance.



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Guest David C

Under the procedures effective from 24th November 2005 , the "Operations at Non Towered Aerodromes " document issued by DOTARS states that "pilots should climb to within 300' of circuit height before turning crosswind" , so for a 1000' standard circuit that means 700' crosswind turn . Thats what I do anyway .



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Yes, well it makes sence to keep all legs of the curcuit in glide range, but for the thruster to to reach 1000ft agl there wasnt a hope of gliding back from crosswind or downwind leg, this guy was taking us a good mile, ,mile 1/2 away from the field..in the jab i turn crosswind at 500ft agl, that puts the feild in reach from crosswind, and the turn onto downwind is made promptly after. Id rather be landing with a tailwind on the strip then landing headwind into a tree..thats just my opinion but ....



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I believe the 700' crosswind turn was introduced with the "mid field crosswind join" in an attempt to reduce confliction / increase separation over the crosswind threshold area where aircraft on upwind and aircraft joining crosswind can be in the same space at the same time.







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It all depends what you are flying.I own a 582 Thruster but also have access to a 912s Foxbat.The Foxbat can reach 1000'agl before the end of the runway.Even if you turn onto crosswind leg at 500'agl in the Thruster,you probably won't make it back to the strip from there if the engine stops(climb to 500'agl will take about 1 minute,if my engine stopped there,I would expect to be on the ground in about 20-25 seconds,thats with no turns just jamming that stick forward to keep 50knots).After early downwind leg you will be OK for the remainder of the circuit as long as it is flown close enough to the field.So like I said at the start,it depends what you're sitting in.



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Glide range of strip.


Motzartmerv, Your instructor seems to have a giant ego problem at least. You are well rid of him. A comment on the gliding distance consideration. Very few aircraft should be considered capable of turning and landing on the field on initial climb-out. (We could write a book on this). the first occasion that you should be able to achieve this is a little after turning downwind. If you make your circuit to always be able to land after that point, then you will be doing a glide approach( by definition) I don't do these in gusty conditions myself, as I feel you are denying yourself the extra control that a bit of power, and variable power provides. The concept of being able to reach the field at all times should be measured against the engine reliability, generally and the possibility of the idling engine stopping on approach, or not being warm enough to be counted on to respond to full throttle , should a go-round be required. Nev..



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Ok..thanx for the input guys..One point..in the pre takeoff brieff, which i religeously relate to passengers and to myself if solo, it says..In the very unlikely event of an engine failure on takeoff we will immediatly lower the nose to maintain airspeed and asses the situation..if sufficient room remains in front to land on the strip we will do so useing flap as required..if there isn't sufficent room we will land straight ahead or within 30 deg either side of the aircraft useing flap as required...WE WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO TURN BAK TO THE STRIP UNLESS WE HAVE 500 FT ( 800 INDICATED AT YSCN) AND ARE ON CROSSWIND LEG.. Now, im not sure if this was published with the poh of the jab, i think it was composed by a 767 check and training officer whom the school has dealings, but relates only to the jab..the partnavia and senecca2 have differnt takeoff brieffs..



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Yep, Matt and Co are right, it's now 700ft before you can turn onto crosswing legally unless you are in a 55 knot machine. Whether or not you'd be penalised by authorities for not reaching 700ft remains to be seen, but those are the rules!


I don't think the 700ft rule has been accepted into the flying community all that often. Not sure why as it was well publicised at the time.



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Guest Graham Lea

I can't understand it. Even a CFI I know said that you turn left at 500' recently. I thought the rules must have changed again without my knowing and felt a bit silly so didn't say anything.I thought the idea was to miss any choppers at 500' on downwind or something like that when it came in and was very comfortable with it ..


So why is everyone still using 500'? Is it due to the engine failure on take off thing?


This is very weird and I have been wanting someone to clear it up with me for a while now - also, I thought there was a change to joining crosswind - joining at 45degs rather than 90 degrees...


Sorry to sound so silly but I dunno if it me or the system...



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Joining crosswind is done as before, except that you fly across the strip (the crosswind leg) between the midpoint of the strip and the end of the strip, not directly over the end of the strip as we used to do.


The recommended method to join downwind is at 45 degrees, joining at mid downwind point.


Have a look here for all the info. http://www.dotars.gov.au/aviation/airspace_reform/nasys/training.aspx





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I spent 3 days languishing in Rockhampton, paid for by the public prosecutor, waiting to go into court to tell them that my Thruster was locked up in the hangar and I was in NSW on the day that your CFI was buzzing hi wife's house. 3 days wait, 1 minute in the court and the only redeeming feature was that he was convicted.


He was an absolute pain in the butt!



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Yenn..r u serious??...was he trying to say it wasn't him??..did you hear his testimony?? what was the caper...i only heard through the vines..did the RAA take his licence off him...a pain in the butt is quite an understatement..i reckon he was plane crazzy..



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I didn't hear his testimony. but why I was there was because I had a similar Thruster and I assume he was hoping I couldn't prove it was not me doing the buzzing.


I believe he did lose his certificate but some time later.


Back to the circuit, if you join downwind at less than the correct height you run the risk of being hit by a faster aircraft above as you climb to circuit height. The old way was to turn crosswind as soon a you hit 500' and then you were at 1000' as you got to downwind location.



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I know this turkey, three years ago he ripped me off something considerable and was working toward what was supposed to be a full rebuild on my T300 Thruster. There were lots of highlights, the most spectacular of which was that he put the elevator cables sawing into the main fuel cock.



Other 'minor' details were undersized pistons in a totally rebuilt engine that had to be rebuilt again; defective lift strut to spar brackets and a page full of other things despite him having given RAA a glowing UACR.


I was so appalled at what he was doing, and telling me at the same time he would be teaching me to fly on the machine when he finished it, that I withdrew the aircraft from him. I could see he was a disaster waiting to happen. I believe I saved myself from his promising 'crash course' in ultralights!


Things have eventually worked out for me although it has taken a long time. I was referred to Tony Hayes and he taught me airframe and mechanical and together we rebuilt the machine properly and I am now enjoying flying it.



The aircraft is however, destined for interesting things, and will become the prototype of the Thruster Swift.



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Guest pelorus32

Not Quite


Yep, Matt and Co are right, it's now 700ft before you can turn onto crosswing legally unless you are in a 55 knot machine. Whether or not you'd be penalised by authorities for not reaching 700ft remains to be seen, but those are the rules!I don't think the 700ft rule has been accepted into the flying community all that often. Not sure why as it was well publicised at the time.

NAS2C would like you to wait to 700 feet to turn crosswind. They want this in order that most aircraft can be at circuit height before turning downwind. This is not however mandatory.


What is mandatory is that you may not turn crosswind unless you are 500ft above the terrain.


CAR166 (2) (h) refers.


That's when CASA may ping you. They can't ping you for turning crosswind at 500ft AGL or above.







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Guest High Plains Drifter

I've been flying off my home strips for near 20 years. Most times as soon as I rotate, I turn to the direction I am going. Have I been doing it wrong ?





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I think CASA would have an extremely difficult time legally, trying to ping you for most things while you are flying low over your own private property, and that as the land owner you can set the circuit rules and decide who can or cannot fly below CASA prescribed minimum heights.



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High plains drifter..Have you seen this video??https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErgpJzcAS6s..i havn't seen ur home strip, but if theres runway left , turning wouldnt be my choice untill i had time to recover from an episode such as in the video..Far be it for me to offer advice however..i have only had my licence for 5 months..


Jaylo..Holy cow man..i knew he was a ratbag..but to do all those things you said..man, he's crazzed..im glad to hear ya plane is going well now..keep us posted about the prototype...



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yea i've seen this guy in action were i used to work, his ex wife was my boss for a while, one of the best i've ever worked with. no wonder he had a mobile setup. he had to just keep moving on. i flew with him once and only once.



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the guy certainly has a reputation...i never liked his plane...it felt "wonky" to me... alot of stick needed to keep her straight and level...sore arm when ya hop out sorta thing...but i do believe that if id let him continue the landing in the paddock, one or both of us wouldnt be around to talk about it today...too many big trees and to much of a tailwind..He reckoned he was gunna attempt a restart...but i KNOW he wasn't...he was settin up to go in...I reckon we woul;d have made the strip...or atleast got it into the paddock b4 the threshold..



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Hello there all,


I have been looking at circuit height stuff and if you look into AIP ENR 1.1 PARA 57 it explains circuit conduct for non controlled aerodromes.


Points are: 300 ft below circuit height before turning cross wind


1/2 to 3/4 NM from runway as recommended distance for piston aircraft


500 feet agl circuit height for a/c with max 55 kts speed.


For 500' circuit you must fly straight until you get to 500'. (Car 166)


and you must descend straight for at least 500m before the threshold on


final (CAR 166)


drifter/ thruster jockeys should be flying a closer 500' circuit. This enables us to keep out of the way of faster aircraft who may not be able to see us below nose cowls and remain in safe gliding distance to strip. I always notify other aircraft when in the circuit that I am conducting a 500' circuit so they know where to look.


This is especially important at a busy aerodrome where RPT and RFDS etc operate.


A typical call would be Black Stump traffic, Drifter 999 turning base 12, full stop, 500' circuit, Black Stump


Safe flying



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Guest TOSGcentral

OK – this will be a long post. As Jaylo has brought my name into the subject I will enlarge more – as I do know a considerable amount about the situation.


But, I wish to put my points at another side of Flight Safety – and that is the control of people given ratings and let loose in the field by a controlling authority – and especially one that then chooses not to control them.


In the case Moztart originally brought up, the individual is quite clear. He goes back to the very early days of AUF and is/was a CFI/Pilot Examiner/L2/instructor training, – he also owned a mobile flying training school. You simply do not get more freedom than that! Such a person can influence hundreds of students with his own brand/interpretation of standards and they take their understanding and attitudes on with them down their flying careers – knowing no better and having to trust the ratings that the authorities have granted to the individual.


So we can pontificate as much as we like about airmanship and what should happen in the cockpit but ultimately we are all a product of our training and the person that provides that training and instils in us the “first habits learntâ€Â! They in turn become our fundamental beliefs in what is right or wrong.


Equally, there is a serious responsibility on the part of the Powers that Be to monitor and control anyone they have given ratings to. There is no question that AUF/RAAus did not know about what was going on with this person. They professed to be “after him†but ever lacked the guts and control integrity to act.


Possibly a main reason is that this individual appears to be seldom out of court and seems constantly eager to return there. I tend to believe that our system did not have the nerve to risk the members’ money on a court case because they knew our control system was too weak to do it!


I had first hand experience of this when AUF cocked up an Ops Manual re-write with a system change. This guy slipped through the net like an oyster going down a cormorant’s gullet! It would have been suicide for AUF to take him to court. I sorted that one out myself, got the guy compliant with the system but recommended removal of his instructor training rating – that happened, so some progress was made – but it had to be done for the Controller!


So later on, Jaylo came my way. She was influenced by his manipulation, but knew little at the time about aviation and just trusted that massive array of ratings that the guy had/has,then started finding out the hard way! The aircraft was a mess and I drew an entire page of faults with it – some criminally serious, and yet a glowing (and false) UACR. I did my own report and forwarded this to RAAus along with a plea from Jaylo that went in parallel.


All she wanted was a statement from RAAus as to if this guy still had his ratings – because he had been jailed by then for criminal misuse of an ultralight. She needed to know this so she could mount her own court case to try and get at least some of her money back.


She was given the run-around. Several letters later it devolved down to “that is a Board decision†v’s the Board intimating that it was “A Manager’s decisionâ€Â! This not history sportsfans – 2.5 years later we are still waiting for a firm reply and the situation is still very current! Meantime Jaylo has been saving up and it has taken that time to rebuild this aircraft yet again! Real good member support eh? But what of the flight safety aspect?


I was really ticked off with the Jaylo situation because it came amidst a run of complaints on similar vein:


  • A brand new Thruster that had gone almost instantly into a deceased estate after I sold it – and into this guys care. When I was contracted to pick it up the zero hour engine (the aircraft still had not flown other than the brief test flying and engine run in that I did) was given to me as a mess of totally dissembled and broken bits in a wheelbarrow. The brand new Brolga prop was also missing. $10,000 to fix all that and the beneficiaries could not afford to sue. I got them a good price for the aircraft though.




  • A guy (a simple young farmer type) had been sold a TST by this guy and “taught to flyâ€Â. Well some of the latter did work, because he (as a very new pilot) was left with the machine and the engine failed very soon – putting him in a paddock.


He complained and the engine was mechanically rebuilt at vast expense (when it was obviously a minor electrical fault as subsequently turned out to be the case). The aircraft put him in a paddock again – but this time it broke it’s back plus other damage!


A very expensive exercise for he and his young family – and it was fortunate there were no injuries.


  • Then there was a very serious and go-gettem individual who wanted to instruct and do something worthwhile out West. So he bought the mobile flying training school. The deal was seriously flawed under business terms and he wound up with a very large trailer that he cannot use, a derelict aircraft and a firm refusal from RAAus to allow him to re-register the mobile school.


Interesting this one – because AUF/RAAus had failed or backed down so often with the former owner, who would probably have sued them – they contravened their own stated requirements in the Ops Manual and so denied to country folk some solid standards training on their doorstep from time to time.


So another heap of brass and broken dreams go down the toilet from nonsense decisions from those in an office in Canberra who will block what does not suit them yet leave an entire aviation group virtually unsupervised nor controlled by standards that are followed up even after repeated complaint!


I had more to do with this one as well. Because I was contracted to fly the aircraft out of Chinchilla to Watts prior to the business sale. The aircraft was failed on 9 major airworthiness points amongst which was a fractured boom where the engine was moving 1†on light hand pressure and the cause of this had not been found. Yet that aircraft had been working with a paying customer in a school only days previously! It was left where it was – complete with its flat tyres!


I could go on – that is only a fraction of what I deplore about this sham that has been created and once was becoming a sound movement


For Jaylo and the rest of them (and there are many, many more) in my opinion this movement espouses one thing but in fact does (from time to time) exactly the opposite when it suits.


For those of you who I have given cause to become offended with my “knocking†then believe that I have good cause to do so.


Flight Safety is a sham in our movement! Flight safety is about sensible Ops and they depend on sensible control and getting the original “Iron Cross†holders analysed for their effect and standards – not how long they have been around - plus some guts and a standards base that is enforced! But the latter does not go well with recruiting does it?


Flight Safety is Airworthiness and I will not have a bar of taking responsibility in a movement that hands out carte blanche authority to totally rebuild an aircraft, without any demonstrated competence on airworthiness! Because that is what we have.


That may have worked on just simple things like Thrusters, Drifters, Javelins etc – but not what has been invited in since to swell our member ranks because our organisation was only interested i swelling the member base and leaning back on that profound comfort of “it is the member’s responsibilityâ€Â. Because that is ultimately where it is!







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