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Must read: Incipient "Get-there-itus"

flying dog

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HI folks.



"The story you are about to read is true. Just the names and some details have been changed......." Well, you get it.








This discussion is obstensivly (spelling?) rhetorical. I am submitting it for the benefit of people's learning from it and NOT suffering the same; or worse fate.







It has been said that experience is the best teacher and this typifies this point.



This is written in two contexts. One is how someone may perceive it, and the other is how it happened.




First off: the trip there was not so much of a rush and so the “stress” level was not really there. Fuel stop and lunch were nice and relaxed-ish.





On a recent trip away, the weather was turning sour, so it was decided to get back earlier rather than wait and be possibly become stuck. This seems like a good idea but subsequent events developed and it nearly got nasty.




Departed too quickly after drinking water pre-flight. Thought I waited long enough - but didn't. 1 hour into the flight had to “drain the radiator” (number 1’s). Not too much of a problem in that, but the landing invoked a couple of go-rounds initially.



After emptying the bladder got back in the plane and started up. Realised that the plane wasn’t really in the best place and was pointing in the wrong way. There wasn’t enough room to turn, so had to shut down and turn the plane. Then taxiied to runway and started to turn around. Runway wasn’t wide enough so had to shut down again and turn plane manually. (Becoming annoyed.)



“Radar” got onto me warning me of encroaching airspace. Descended and avoided. No problem there, but it put a detour on the flight.



Listening to the airport’s frequency, it was BUSY. So it wasn’t going to be a good idea to go anywhere even near the place. This meant a bigger detour. Not too much of a worry, but the cloud base was low that clearing nearby mountain range wasn’t real fun. Checked with “Radar” and they were happy with me, so I know all was good in that department. The last thing anyone needs is a “please explain” about Controlled airspace violation.



Got around the airspace and descended to a less congested altitude. Those clouds were annoying.



Ok, all good, cruising along no worries.



Skipping to the important bit.



Landed for refuel, but wanted lunch first. Went and ate lunch first so that I have time to clear the system before I take off again – learnt from the first effort today that I am not waiting long enough. No problems but keeping an eye on the weather it is closing in. I can’t afford too much time on the ground.



Walked back to plane – SECURITY AIRPORT – and before going airside, approached the toilet. I need to go! Oh no! Door locked. AARRGGHH! Looked airside, and saw an open hanger. Went there.



Now, without going into details of what happened: There not being toilet paper doesn’t help. (No, I am not blaming the people in the hanger. I am mentioning this because it DOES have a bearing on the whole day’s events.)



That concluded: Refuelled the plane and this is slightly complicated by the fact that to fill each tank is a complete new task – that is: Most people could walk to the plane, open the tank, refuel and then do the other tank. Moving the ladder, etc would be a non-event for them. For me, it is two completely different swipes of the fuel card. I have to set up the ladder, open the fuel tank, then swipe the card, fill up, then “hang up” the pump. Close the tank, move the ladder, open the other tank and repeat. Though nothing much extra, it is an added problem/hassle which complicates the situation and made it “worse” for me at the time.






Fuel check. All good.



Got in, strapped in, etc, pre-flight. All good. Engine started.



Where’s my hat? Quick look around. Can’t see it.



Shut down, unstrapped, got out looked around. Ah! I’m wearing it.


(Annoyance level going up faster than I would like.)



Got back in, strapped in, sunnines on, etc, etc, preflight, all ok. Engine start. Taxi call, and taxi for active.



Get there and waiting for another plane landing. They “dordle” in, taxi back at a snail’s pace while I’m sitting there at the run up area. They get past, and I turn to taxi. Ok, my impression. It is being said as perceived only to demonstrate how the “get there-itus” is forming/affecting me.



JUST can’t quite turn fast enough and get stuck. Have to shut down and get out to turn the plane again. Again: annoyance level increased.




Ok, so as it is: I’ve already had to do this about 5 times today and I am really upset how “slack” this is and it is not a nice feeling. This together with the weather not being the best, it is clouding my judgement – excuse the pun.



Taxied out, took off and all is good in the world.



Tracking south and at about 4000 feet. Contact “Radar” checking if a RESTRICTED area is active or not. If inactive, it is a CTAF-R. If it is active, I have to go via a lane and it will not add too much time, but it will be another detour.



Guess what. It was ACTIVE!



So, while flying I have to divert to the lane. Not too much of a problem, but re-programming the “navigator” to help me was annoying. Also “Radar” are checking with me that I am not somewhere I am not and about to enter the RESTRICTED airspace. Luckily it wasn’t me. But it is another interruption/task with which I had to deal.



I also checked with “Radar” about weather down the lane – as the last thing I wanted to do was get into the lane and meet bad weather. “Storms to the west” was what they told me. Great, more things with which to contend! Stress level not too bad, but “annoyance” level is up there.



Get through the lane not too bad, but it was bumpy. Landed and dropped some stuff off quickly. No time now to waste as the clouds were down to 2,000 feet – scattered/broken.



I flew to the coast but it wasn’t looking nice. South was low cloud and it was between me and my destination. Two paths to take. Coastal or in-land.



Going inland looked nasty but I was over land. Coastal was over water and LOW. I heard other planes and they were operating coastal, so it couldn’t be that bad. Also going in-land I could get stuck as I ultimately wanted to be on the coast.



Coastal it is.



Only a couple of hours left. “I can see home.” As it were.





Now, stepping back for a second: I have had a pretty bad run of events with starting/stopping the plane with taxi problems and the toilet problem. All I wanted to do was get this “chapter” over. This is NOT a good mind set to be in. That is otherwise called “GET THEREITUS” - Or incipient at least - It can kill people if left to fully develop.



Ok, I didn’t have the full blown version but I was above all else keeping a very strong check on myself to NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP. There are no second chances with this.



So I am flying along, coastal, 500 feet with 1000 foot clouds and bumpy wind with nowhere to land. What could go wrong?



So ok, maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but understand I am explaining it in hind-sight and so am pointing out things in the WORST CASE SCENARIO way.











The worst is yet to come!













As part of my procedures, I do instrument scans. Airspeed, altitude, heading are important. VSI, well if the altitude isn’t moving, who cares. Turn indicator, well if I am not turning, again: who cares.


Next level of scans are engine T’s & P’s.



Did I mention the slight bumpiness from wind etc.



Fuel: good. RPM: good. Fuel flow: good. CHT: good. Oil temp: good. Oil pressure: HANG ON! Usually it is 3.3 Bar. It is showing 2.9.



Understand that where I am at that point there is little I could do. Slight back off of the RPM and monitored it.



2.8, 2.7, 2.6. Unless you have experienced this before there is no way you could know what thoughts go through your mind. 500 feet over water, windy, slight rain, cold outside temp and colder water.



Smooth air. 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.3. Huh?! Ah, MAYBE because of the turbulence…..



Ok, keep monitoring that with higher priority. Luckily nothing bad happened.


Temps were ok, and I landed without incident.










Or at worst: ADD OIL!



What I surmise happened:


I should have put oil in at the fuel stop. Because of other factors I didn’t and was “rushed” into departing to beat the weather.


This is not a good thing to allow yourself to have happen to you.



Knowing the oil use/hour and flying ‘x’ hours, you know you need to put in ‘y’ oil. Even if you can’t check the level, it is safer to add it and have it blow out than watch the oil pressure drop while flying.













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Great thrad for thought and reflection.


Isn't it peculiar how small things of themselves can add up to cause, or nearly cause a major incident. It's the mind that does it all for us and how we react to all this data coming in and actions we take because of the data. I've been in a similar situation although nowhere near as many small incidents to compound on me, where my reaction and perception started to change for the worse; heading towards panic but nowhere near it. Its a powerful emotion you have to be aware of and deal with - part of becoming a good airman. It's called Human Factors and is very relevant with what we aviators do. I make no comment however on HF training or exam in RAA syllabus - that is for another thread.


Good thread flying dog.





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