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Jacobs Well incident 5th April 2020


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Firstly, sincere condolences to family and friends and, to echo Alan's sentiments, hoping for a speedy recovery to the injured. Whenever something like this happens, I take the time to reflect that it can happen to any of us and remind myself to try harder not to let bad habits form and not take any shortcuts.

 

From the comfort of an armchair it is easy to cast judgement - why did the pilot fly into cloud? Why did the pilot not take the road, why did the pilot try aileron against the spin, etc etc. But I never do... because I wasn't in the cockpit and have no idea of the circumstances that led to the problem or decision.

 

A personal observation is that as we age, and let's face it, recreational and GA private flying is made of of a disproportionately high number of older people, our capacity to handle stress diminishes. And that's when things start going awry. Losing an engine, inadvertently flying into cloud when you haven't practiced it ever or since you did you GA practical let alone rated for the stuff can all rapidly bring on immense stress. One tends to narrow their focus and quickly lose their hearing (or processing of sounds) in this case. I am NOT saying this is what happened in this case.. this is a general statement.

 

As an example, I moved to the UK when I was 30. Apart form the odd joy flight with an instructor - maybe once every coupld of years if that, I did no flying for 15 years. I decided I was going to get back into it. I thought I would effectivley be starting again so decided to do the whole European PPL rather than convert my Aussie one. The CAA assesed my log book and said do the theory and with the hours I had, when the CFI was happy, do the practical tests and if I passed, I would get the licence (i.e. no min hours to do). I thought I would take 15 hours or so... It took seven hours; four of those were teh dual and solo cross country qualifier flights. I found things came back faily quickly - PFLs, stalls, EFATOs, etc.

 

Fast forward about 8 years and thanks to various factors, I have not flown for a year. A share comes up in a TB20; I buy it. I need to do a sengle engine revalidation and because it was more than 2 years since the last, it had to be a proper assessment of skills by an examiner. I was all over the place - I could not get the PFL nearly even right.. I was out of practice and having aged, things were taking longer to come back.. much longer.

 

However, if I was more practiced where muscle memory had a chance to develop, it may mean that I can cope better with the increased stress. Outside BFRs, how often do we practice our emergency procedures and checklists to ensure we are absolutely current? How many of us are flying knowing if the donk dies, there's already a suitable field picked out to lessen the load and focus on getting the thing down safely, etc etc.

 

[EDIT} The above is a general statement in response to human factors - and not speculation of what happened in this accident[/EDIT]

 

@turboplanner - I can't say I agree with your analogy with the speedway, except for organised events. Even though we may congregate in similar numbers and concentrate our location, our original locations and destinations are somewhat random compaed to that of a speedway. In the UK, clubs and schools will supervise their PPL "hirers/members" - but what does that mean? It means they have to have a check flight inorder to be able to rent, and then they ensure they have flown at least once in the last typicall 30 or 90 days otherwise a check flight is required.. And of course, they track medical and licencing expirations. This does not equate to supervision in your sense. But, say I was to fly from Mooraabin to Tocumwal and bounce down the Tocumwal runway, but manage not to destroy anything.. Are you suggesting someone at Tocumwal (where there is no manned tower - well at least when I last flew there) should ground me?

 

On our work flight to Le Touquet, the pilot of the plane I was in hit the runway pretty hard at Le Touqet - I was bracing myself.. One of the other pilots, on being issued a direction to join left down wind, joined right down wind. My pilot landed back at home smooth as silk; the other pilot usuallyonly flew in the US due to cost - so flew 2 weeks every year. Lots of pilots from UK congregated there that day - how would we handle their situation?

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I did a few circuits there just after work an instructor (doing my RPC check), and we thought it was a car accident because all the vehicles along that road. I'm glad because I may not have managed to

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jerry, I know Tocumwal fairly well these days and agree with your comments. In particular, I can confirm that nobody would report it if you bounced. Be my guest.

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@turboplanner - I can't say I agree with your analogy with the speedway, except for organised events. Even though we may congregate in similar numbers and concentrate our location, our original locations and destinations are somewhat random compaed to that of a speedway. In the UK, clubs and schools will supervise their PPL "hirers/members" - but what does that mean? It means they have to have a check flight inorder to be able to rent, and then they ensure they have flown at least once in the last typicall 30 or 90 days otherwise a check flight is required.. And of course, they track medical and licencing expirations. This does not equate to supervision in your sense. But, say I was to fly from Mooraabin to Tocumwal and bounce down the Tocumwal runway, but manage not to destroy anything.. Are you suggesting someone at Tocumwal (where there is no manned tower - well at least when I last flew there) should ground me?

 

On our work flight to Le Touquet, the pilot of the plane I was in hit the runway pretty hard at Le Touqet - I was bracing myself.. One of the other pilots, on being issued a direction to join left down wind, joined right down wind. My pilot landed back at home smooth as silk; the other pilot usuallyonly flew in the US due to cost - so flew 2 weeks every year. Lots of pilots from UK congregated there that day - how would we handle their situation?

I was very careful to use the term Behavioural "segment" - a factor in the whole.

 

If you look at Speedway worldwide as a distinct study group, the reason Victoria has had zero fatalities of drivers in over 50 years compared to other states in Australia and the USA, is its historic and ongoing addressing of behaviour, so that removes any stench of not being able to control flying because they fly away from any control.

 

In that respect, I was careful to talk about "touchpoints", where in many sports and recreations there would be a volunteer ready to take appropriate action, which might be to suggest some more training, or study etc. All of those sports and recreations have theior own unique character, like flying.

 

I was a Tribunal Chairman for one association with over 20 classes at 30 tracks, and it was my job to hear appeals against sanctions issued, and with most of the appeals I dissmissed, behaviour was the cause of the problem and there were repeat offences, and a pattern of risk taking.

 

I was originally just responding to NT5224 in post #161 who posed a succinct question, and I gave him a succinct answer. There is a missing link in recreational aviation in Australia, and we could reduce the annual death toll by addressing it.

 

You couldn't cover Behaviour in a thread on social media, so I'm not going to, but just to give you some thought, many fatals started before the time the pilot took off, and in may cases that pilot was known for his habits, so in those cases you could do something which is airfield or club based to improve the situation. Secondly it can be obvious on arrival that something is not right, so that's another area to work on. If you look at flying into cloud in Australia, you can't control unforecast weather which blows up mid flight, but you certainly can administer intent to fly in unsafe conditions, such as forecast turbulence, which would have seen us reduce recreational fatalities by 10% in a couple of recent years.

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Most of us have recognised bad habits in ourselves or other pilots. Even with the knowledge that such behaviours may lead to a serious accident, there is a natural reluctance to challenge the person concerned.

Presumably if a club lacks an instructor with some authority, it needs to appoint a safety officer.

How many pilots would queue up for that gig?

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Most of us have recognised bad habits in ourselves or other pilots. Even with the knowledge that such behaviours may lead to a serious accident,

You've identified with one of the elements which goes to make up the subject of behaviour.

 

there is a natural reluctance to challenge the person concerned.

The "tap on the shoulder" sometimes works, and sometimes is ignored and the ineviatble occurs.

That "reluctance" can lead to a very obvious character getting away with all the exploits bar his or her last, when often a passenger is taken with them

There is also a body of people who consider compliance and enforcement is not their job, despite the fact that no one is doing that jon.

 

Presumably if a club lacks an instructor with some authority, it needs to appoint a safety officer.

How many pilots would queue up for that gig?

Surprisingly enough do step forward, usually non-participants, which makes them more objective, but they need a structure that both goves them authority and is accepted by pilots and repairers, and has a natural justice element where they can appeal.

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Cope is the word when conditions are not so good.

I have been in bad conditions a few times and luckily I have coped, but I have looked back at them and thought, why on earth did I do or not do something or other.

When conditions are bad we revert to handling one thing at a time and other things get left out.

A couple of times I have looked back and realised that I completely ignored radio procedures and it could have been dangerous. I am not talking about weather caused conditions necessarily, you can be stressed in perfect VFR weather.

 

I can relate to that Yenn.

 

About 7 years ago, I was en route Tennant to the Alice when engine began to run roughly. I called Melb Centre to let them know and decided to track along the highway instead of taking the direct line.

 

I was convinced it was a plug and fiddled around until I found it ran best at 2550 and full rich. Mistake under pressure 1. I then got distracted watching the stream of school holiday traffic and contemplating where I’d land if the noise stopped. Thoughts of answering the regulator’s questions, the questions from the police and the TV reporters was front of mind. I DIDN’T do a mag check which, in hindsight would have given me a nudge to run on one bank...at lower revs, but smoother. Mistake under pressure 2.

 

i made it to Alice with lots of encouragement from Centre and Tower. Followed instructions to taxi to the maintenance shop and left the Auster with them. They discovered a top plug with a broken insulator. Good call, Kaz.

 

BUT, when I got back in and taxied to the bowser, it stopped all by itself. Out of fuel! The LAME had ground run it for a total of 23 minutes.

 

it wasn’t until I thought about it that the high revs, full rich and longer route really hit home. I had been managing the moment to the exclusion of everything else. Lesson learned.

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Good human factors example( I'm not trying to be smart) . For all to consider. Good on you for posting it,

Don't focus on one aspect. It IS a good idea to be near a road in the outback especially if you think you might have to land "off field' .

You run a lycoming don't you Kaz, as otherwise you'd need to be in a dive to get those revs. (Just in case other readers might want their Auster "Hotted up" and think you have a Gypsy.) The other thing I've had reinforced always land WITH power if it's likely you might lose it. You are an experienced pilot and can handle that plane. You could put it on a place not much bigger than a tennis court. Landing on roads sounds like good idea till you really think about it, I know what you mean about not really wanting to make the headlines..It does come into it but shouldn't be the prime consideration. Did the TWR mention the gliding strip north of Alice? There's much benefit from doing a personal debrief of many of our flights. An honest "warts and all" appraisal if you are up to it. Nev

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Good human factors example( I'm not trying to be smart) . For all to consider. Good on you for posting it,

Don't focus on one aspect. It IS a good idea to be near a road in the outback especially if you think you might have to land "off field' .

You run a lycoming don't you Kaz, as otherwise you'd need to be in a dive to get those revs. (Just in case other readers might want their Auster "Hotted up" and think you have a Gypsy.) The other thing I've had reinforced always land WITH power if it's likely you might lose it. You are an experienced pilot and can handle that plane. You could put it on a place not much bigger than a tennis court. Landing on roads sounds like good idea till you really think about it, I know what you mean about not really wanting to make the headlines..It does come into it but shouldn't be the prime consideration. Did the TWR mention the gliding strip north of Alice? There's much benefit from doing a personal debrief of many of our flights. An honest "warts and all" appraisal if you are up to it. Nev

Yes Nev. 0-320 160 hp.

 

i maintained 7000‘ so I had something in hand and the Twr gave me an extra 1000’ into the Alice as a precaution so I stayed in C all the way from the Sixteen Mile. They also were very kind allowing me to choose the runway. Old aeroplanes always arouse extra interest ? They invited me up to the tower later on and we had a good chat about life there and things aviation.

 

I actually know the area reasonably well as I worked up there in the late 80’s and was grateful for the clearance rather than Bond Springs. And have been back a few times since with different dramas (turbulence and ridiculous cross-winds).

 

kaz

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  • 4 weeks later...

I did a few circuits there just after work an instructor (doing my RPC check), and we thought it was a car accident because all the vehicles along that road. I'm glad because I may not have managed to pass.

 

Reminded me how critical the "in event of engine failure" pre thinking is. Be expecting something to go wrong and have a plan - my dad said the same teaching me to ride a motorbike. I found

really excellent.
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I don't think it's been reported here yet, and I haven't been on the boards much to see if it has been mentioned elsewhere - but sadly the second occupant of the flight that is the subject of this thread, succumbed to his injuries.

 

An extract from the club newsletter -

 

 

Loss

 

As most of you will know, in April 2020 we sadly lost former President Ross Scholes and fellow member Steve Chew in a tragic accident at Heck Field.

 

Both were founding members of the JWSFC and great friends of us all. We will remember them with a plaque and photograph on the wall of the Clubhouse.

 

 

 

RIP Ross and Steve - and condolences to family and friends of both.

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I don't think it's been reported here yet, and I haven't been on the boards much to see if it has been mentioned elsewhere - but sadly the second occupant of the flight that is the subject of this thread, succumbed to his injuries.

 

 

So sorry to hear this news but it is a lovely gesture by the Club to put up a plaque in their honor at the Clubhouse.

 

RIP Ross and Steve. and condolences to the families and friends of these pilots.

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Alan my view from some personal experince is that some people just do not take notice. As an example in a past life as a diver we recovered a teens body from fast flowing water and before we had our dive equipment packed up some were back into the water. Therefore my opinion considering other similar situations is that education and even first hand, being there education does not work for some people.

Mike: This is amply backed up in our current situation vis a vis the pandemic, where people are deliberately flouting guidelines and rules that are intended to help a)control the outbreak and b)keep us safe and healthy. Witness the number of people wanting to get on TV to rail against the lockdowns, and see what happens when these idiots are allowed free rein as in the US.

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  • 2 months later...

This one came up in conversation today in the context of forced landings at Jacobs Well and having re-read the thread in its entirety, there seems to be more finger wagging and instructing people on what to think and say, than factual information.

 

A pity really, these threads have often been a  valuable learning exercise in the past, whether the eventual cause matches the theories advanced or not. Now we have a situation where only a tiny portion of the group benefit from any knowledge gained and the rest have to shrug and carry on as before, thanks to a creeping PC ninnyism.

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