Av Hazard publicizes safety and operational concerns to help prevent accidents but it works only if we hear from you. Use the postage-free Av Hazard card to describe the hazard and return it to Pro Pilot. To obtain an official FAA review send NASA an ASRS form. For immediate action, call the airport, FBO, ATC, FSDO or the 24-hr FAA Safety Hotline at 800-255-1111. Note: Telephone numbers for all US Towers and ARTCCs are published in Ac-U-Kwik and Pilots Express Airport/Heliport/FBO directories. To report safety concerns outside the US, contact ICAO HQ at 514-954-8219 or via fax at 514-954-6077. ICAO has worldwide telephone and fax numbers to expedite Av Hazard reports to civil aviation authorities.
With the worry of sounding like a critic, while being an avid reader of your publication, I take issue with the Oct 2009 Av Hazard incident “Ag aircraft near miss” report and your response. The Av Hazard reporter states that they “passed only a few hundred feet over” while on departure from an uncontrolled airfield after making radio calls “from the time we taxied from the FBO to the time we left the pattern.” I don’t know where these pilots normally fly—although it’s obviously not at uncontrolled airports—but to expect a cropduster to have a radio, let alone a transponder, is in itself funny.
I can only imagine the ag pilot’s surprise, while on final, at seeing this Hawker 800A, piloted by an ATP, taxi on to the runway and take off without the pilot ever looking out the window and seeing me—and not only that, but depart and fly directly over me without taking any evasive action. Wow! As if that’s not crazy enough, there’s your response of “All aircraft, including ag planes, must communicate over the CTAF when operating around uncontrolled airports.” Seriously, you can’t believe that to be true. If it is, I challenge you to quote the FAR requiring aircraft to have a radio in and around uncontrolled airports—because if there is one I need to fill out reams of NASA forms.
As a pilot/owner of several NORDO aircraft and an 18,000-hr-plus ATP, it would be my recommendation to all pilots to look out the window while making radio calls from the time you start taxiing to the time you set the brake. I did enjoy your “More position and hold” comments and I agree with you.
__ATP. MD11, Boeing 727, Lockheed L18
- Point well taken that all the talking in the world on the aircraft radios or relying on the TCAS won’t replace the see-and-avoid procedure of looking out the window. It is also understood that pilots of aircraft without radios installed cannot talk on the radio—nor do the FARs require radios at all uncontrolled airports. The point I was trying to make was that pilots with radios (if installed) should use them. We’ve all observed pilots with radio equipment installed who have chosen not to use it and raised blood pressure in at least one other cockpit. Uncontrolled airport operations are higher risk than tower controlled airports (most of the time) and demand better radio discipline but paramount is a sharp eye outside the cockpit.
Cleaning crew caution
Our aircraft was coming out of light maintenance after 2 days. I performed a normal preflight and all trim tabs checked out. I taxied out and on rotation at takeoff the aircraft went full pitch up, even to the stick shaker. I used all the force I could to lower the nose. Immediately, I was running nose-down trim. After a 3000-ft climb I recovered. The aircraft was very light and had little fuel on board. After the event, we determined that, while they were cleaning the cockpit, the cleaning crew had caused the trim indicator to jump the track indicating nose-down, so maintenance ran it aft to the takeoff position. This was the 3rd time the same cleaning crew had done this.
An aircraft coming out of maintenance should always be given an extra thorough preflight. One way to prevent this in the future is to preflight the cockpit area first and zero all the trims. During the exterior portion of the preflight, all the trim tabs or stabilizer positions should be noted to ensure that they match the settings inside the cockpit.
Northwest/Delta identity confusion
With the recent merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines there’s a disturbing situation—at least to me. A closed runway at MSP (Intl, Minneapolis–St Paul MN) has made operations complicated and, while holding for takeoff, I was told to expect departure, number 2 behind the Northwest DC9. The airplane in question had been repainted in Delta Airlines’ new colors. Or how about “Follow the Northwest Airbus” which now looks like a Delta aircraft. I’m based at MSP, but what about those pilots who are unfamiliar with the situation?
- This certainly can cause confusion to flightcrews at any airport, especially considering the heightened emphasis on runway incursions and the effort to reduce them. According to the Av Hazard report card, the pilot did not notify ATC or the FAA Hotline. Remember, safety items like these need to be shared not only with other professional pilots but also with ATC and FAA. This comment was passed on anonymously to the FAA Hotline.