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Whats your worst mistake..?


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Ok guys..Ive got a serious question for you all..I reckon one of the most valuable aspects of this forum is the potential forus all to learn from others mistakes, but, looking around i don't see many post's about things we've done wrong..So, i'll ask you...I want juicy details... Don't fear retrabution or scawn, no-one on here will lay it on you...sooo


1. What was your mistake? (Whilst flying i mean, not woman mistakes)006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif


2. What did you learn from it?


3. What steps could you recomend to avoid doing it again?


I reckon all you regulars should have a story or 2, so lets hear it..;);)



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OK, I will get the ball rolling.


Last year while at a field away from home during my pre-flight walk around, some guys came over and started asking questions about the Skylark. After about 15 mins of chat I finished the walk around, jumped in, taxied out and took off with the pitot cover still on. :;)1::confused:


The penny dropped just after lift off with the ASI still showing ZERO. :ah_oh:088_censored.gif.2b71e8da9d295ba8f94b998d0f2420b4.gif I did notice the ASI before lift off, but before I had worked out what was going on I reckon I must have been up to about 60kts already and the Skylark just flew off.


I thought about how to handle a circuit without flight instruments ( done it before in training ), but then realised that I still had 1500m of tarmac in front of me ( thanks to the short take-off of the Skylark and a bloody long strip!!!! ).


I pulled the power, put the Skylark back down and then did the "Taxi of Shame" back to the apron to remove the cover.


Lesson - Don't allow yourself to be distracted during a walk around.


I do not blame the guys that came and spoke to me, it was my fault for allowing the distraction.


Prevention - It's pretty rude to tell someone to bugger off while I do my pre-flight ( especially when I'm selling aircraft, anyone could be a potential customer! ).


The only option, no matter if I am in a hurry, is after the distraction is gone start the walk around all over again from the beggining and do it right.


I hope that others can learn from this :).



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Exellent post... good job on the quick thinking to get her down on ya upwind leg...


See, its working already, ive learned a trick from the first post, don't allow yourself to be distracted during a walkaround...


Thanks Mick, great stuff;);)



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Wow...what an exellent group of flyers we have here, out of 61 reads only 1 guy has ever made a mistake, you blokes should be flying qantas heavy's, ...


Is it that you don't want to tell people about your error's?? or have you just never made any??...caawwwnnn, don't be scared... You have a chance to pass on experiance here...


looking foward to your replies..;)



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Exellent story Ian.. I especially liked the second one explaining how we should all tell our story's to help others never make those mistakes we make..


What a harrowing situation with your wife.. Absolutley unbelievable neglegance i can't commend you high enough on the way you dealt with it post incident..If more people handled these situations that way mabye we wouldn't live in this litigation age...


Anyway, back on topic, thanks for linking to the flight into near darkness story.. Its something ive often thought about, how would one judge a flare without a clear view of the ground... I read somewhere that floatplane pilots dread landing on glassy clear water because of its feature less suface causeing judgment problems..


Anyway, thanks again ...good job;);)



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Taxiing across a bridge on the highway with a sign on the side of the road closer than the length of the left wing.


Stepping into my Sapphire after starting the engine, catching the throttle in the leg of my trousers. Half in and out, I grabbed the handbrake, thinking that would stop it. The plane just put its nose down and ploughed forward in the gravel. In retrospect, I should have switched off the ignition.


Underestimating fight duration due to the headwind, and landing in close proximity to sunset.


Seeing fifty wallabies on the strip, looking back after I had landed !


I have learned to explain to enthusiastic questioners that I have to do my navigation preparation and then preflight checks alone. The onlookers have always accepted this without any problems, but it still seems to leave me rattled a bit. I also like to take a last leak before I get into the aircraft.


But I am becoming more experienced.



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I was taking a group of rellies for a flight in a PA-28 cherokee. They were a bit nervous and during the run up, my auntie closed the hatch. Not wanting to seem rude, I didn't check it, but turned the lock and assumed it wouldn't lock if not properly shut.


At about 50kts on take off roll, the hatch blew open, frightening her half to death. I aborted the take off, went back and did the run up and checks all over again.


Never trust someone else to do your checks.



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This involves my partner...... and a Tecnam.


Just as the mains touched the tarmac, I got hit by a sudden hard gust from the right, and started to head for the weeds, even with right stick and nosewheel about to touch.


I should have gone around, but I did'nt.


Now I cop it regularly about my landings..... 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif





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Doing touch and goes at Grovedale in Vic, in a 150 Cessna as a student pilot.


I had started my go around and the plane didn't want to accelerate. No matter how much I pushed the nose down it wouldn't pick up speed and I was low, so low I think I was looking up at the chimney pots on the houses. Very worried that I couldn't work out what what was wrong I looked out and backwards and couldn't see much. The 45 deg of flap was restricting my view.


My troubles didn't end with my easing the flaps up. Next day in the mess hut before work one of my "mates" read out of the paper that the police were looking for the person who had been low flying. He really took me in!



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More serious than the above. I took my son in law for a flight at Old Station, where I used to keep the Thruster.


We had a hangar with several hundred feet of taxiway to a gate giving access to the strip. After flying around and showing Bill the sights I decided to land on the taxiway, rather than on the strip and have to negotiate the gate. I had done it many times before, but Bill is on the large size. Lined up on final and then about flare height and I decide I will not stop in time to miss the fence, so make an instant decision to jump the fence, turn 30 or so degrees and land on the strip.


Stupid decision, I should have gone around and done a proper circuit. What happened is that jumping the fence even with a fair bit of power on, left me with a high sink rate and I hit a mound of dirt hidden in the long grass at the edge of the strip, before landing safely.


Result. Bent landing gear and damaged ego. But I now know not to make snap decisions, but to assess the consequences.


Since then I have had a cockpit full of smoke and took the time to assess what was happening, worked out that it was probably oil leaking onto a hot exhaust and rather than an emergency 180 deg return to the strip I did a full circuit and the smoke quickly cleared. I now seem to have a reputation locally as being unflappable in the air.



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Yenn.. wo, good stories... old station can be a bit tricky with that road crossing the strip to.. i flew in there years ago with Greg and there was a 4wd arrriving at the same time as us...but captain cool just powered her up and went around...


So the smoke cleared before ya had to land??



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M.. yea, i think most new pilots have to make that fuel mistake before it sinks in..i have heard of a few (myself included) who takeoff thinkin theres enough in the tank and then on downwind checks or post landing glance at the tanks and see she's a lot lower then ya' expected...I always take it up to near MTOW now for xcountry's..Unless its a short one and the only thought is about the next flight which could be 2heavy blokes and dont wanna put them over the weight...





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My ops was an eye opener.


We used to fly from Devonport(Tas) to the East coast every few weekends and a farmer we got friendly with allowed us to hanger the C172 in his machine shed with strict instructions to "shut the bloody gate". We had spent a great weekend and was about to leave so i did the pre flight powered up and headed for the strip. Then the penny dropped, I killed the engine and stood on the brakes, you guest it "OPEN THE BLOODY GATE". In those days i resembled a bean pole and i could not fit between the prop and the gate, no damage except the pride.:confused:



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Not sure if a mistake or an incident, Taking of from paddock, down hill, heavily loaded, massive quartering tailwind gust, not quite clearing fence at end of paddock.


The full story available at Echuca next weekend!


See you there!


Just Lovin It!


Cheers Guy



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I learnt to not be compacent with X winds recently. The TAF at the country strip 2 hours before take off was 6 knots X wind. Overflying I could see that the flag indicated the same direction as the TAF. On final I realised that the flag was nearly horizontal, I was crabbing a fair bit to keep lined up, speed was OK and all went well until I kicked the rudder and flaired a bit too soon, I skimmed sideways for a while before contact with the bitumen, my shouler tried to open the door when the wheels grabbed.


Two things came to mind after this experience.


1. I should have done a cross contol landing?


2. I should have aborted and found another field that was more appropriate.


3. I could have used the recently gained knowlede of the "60" knot rule. For every degree of offset you are at the line up, the wind is blowing at one knot assuming 60 knot approach speed. i.e 25 degree offset approach = 25 knot X wind. No damage done to undercarriege surprisingly.



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