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What are some dumb things you've done as a pilot?

ScottAmes

New member
What are some dumb things you've done as a pilot?

I'll start: As a student pilot I landed on a runway with a little hill at the end, in the winter, and the hill was covered in snow. This was a Cessna 172 and I left two very nice tracks on the hill in the snow as I came over it to land. I dragged the mains though the snow. I didn't think much about it, and thought it was kind of funny, until the instructor told me that I could have slowed the aircraft down enough to have caused a stall and crash right there at the end of the runway. Talk about touching down before the numbers. Never did that again.
 

Zeede

Active member
Too many to count. In no particular order:

I've forgotten to remove the chocks or untie the tail on more than one occasion. God bless checklists!
Left the carb heat on after runup, and took off with carb heat on, wondering why I wasn't climbing as well as usual.
Driven home to find the control lock and pitot tube cover in my car, so I turned around and drove back to the airport to put them on the airplane. (Good thing I only live 10 minutes from the airport)
Got confused about which side of the airport the traffic pattern was, the first time at this new airport. I started sketching the runway diagram on my kneeboard to visualize it better. (I sketched it from the direction I was coming from, so "up" on my drawing was the direction I was flying to the airport, not North like most diagrams are.
 

Happy_cfi

Member
I forgot to remove the chocks on my instrument ride. Didn't realize it until after I started the engine and tried to move. I just looked at the DPE and said, "Strike one." He just busted out laughing and the proceeded to get out of the plane to remove my chocks for me.

After a long dual XC at night I was tired and couldn't find the correct wording of "stop and go" when ATC asked what my intentions were. I panicked and started to describe how I wanted to land and then take off again. My instructor looked at me like I was the biggest buffoon he'd ever flown with, then jumped in to safe me by requesting the stop and go.

On my first solo xc, I was so excited to get back in the air that I accidentally crossed the hold short lines to the uncontrolled runway and got halfway through my run up before I realized where I was. I learned from that mistake.
 

JJohnston015

New member
Considered only the wind direction instead of all the factors (or more factors) in choosing my takeoff direction at Price, Utah. Took off uphill, toward rising terrain, toward hills with turbulence. Should have accepted a 5 knot tailwind and had the downhill runway and terrain instead.

All the usual, too. Forgot to remove chocks. Left flaps down after a go-around. Left seat belt end hanging out the door ("What's that thumping?"). Forgot to close a flight plan.
 

Waterbird27

New member
Got airsick during my instrument checkride.

Put my phone in my DPE's flightbag (which looked identical to mine) after calling for IFR clearance, then couldn't find it after the flight. Assumed it fell out when the door came open mid flight. Figured it was lost forever, then had it returned to me two months later when the DPE finally cleaned out his flight bag. (entertaining conversation with the cell phone insurance agent)

Sat in the right seat with a pilot who wouldn't adhere to his own minimums.

Checked only surface winds for a local flight in mountainous terrain, instead of checking winds at multiple altitudes.

But I have never, ever descended for a water landing with my gear down. Which is why I'm still alive to write this post. I intend to maintain my perfect record.
 

GreatArcticWolf

New member
I'm STILL only a learner, and this is my first post - so be nice :) I have about 3 hrs solo so far, and I'm still flying circuits. Verging on last light, I performed a full stop on the active runway at a CTAF. As I was taxiing for the cross runway to backtrack for the hangars, another aircraft made their base call for the non-active runway that I was about to enter and backtrack. I didn't like the idea of stopping in the middle of the active runway (but in hindsight, no one could have landed while the other aircraft was landing on the cross rwy anyway) but I didn't want to just stop and wait in the middle of the active runway. So I taxiied over the the grass on the side of the runway. Most of my early training was done in a Cessna 172, however I now fly the Sling 2. I found out very quickly the difference between the 2 aircraft and how much uneven terrain is not a great place for a Sling 2.

All turned out OK and I didn't prop strike, but I will never venture off-road again in a Sling 2!
 

Zeede

Active member
I'm STILL only a learner, and this is my first post - so be nice :) I have about 3 hrs solo so far, and I'm still flying circuits. Verging on last light, I performed a full stop on the active runway at a CTAF. As I was taxiing for the cross runway to backtrack for the hangars, another aircraft made their base call for the non-active runway that I was about to enter and backtrack. I didn't like the idea of stopping in the middle of the active runway (but in hindsight, no one could have landed while the other aircraft was landing on the cross rwy anyway) but I didn't want to just stop and wait in the middle of the active runway. So I taxiied over the the grass on the side of the runway. Most of my early training was done in a Cessna 172, however I now fly the Sling 2. I found out very quickly the difference between the 2 aircraft and how much uneven terrain is not a great place for a Sling 2.

All turned out OK and I didn't prop strike, but I will never venture off-road again in a Sling 2!
A few random questions and comments:
* CTAF stands for Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. I think you meant an un-towered airport, but remember that the control tower at towered airports are not always attended 24/7, so when the tower is closed, the airport becomes an un-towered one, and now position calls are expected on the CTAF.
* Did you announce how you were expecting to taxi to the hangars?
* Is there a taxiway you could take instead? As a general rule, taxing on any runway, unless specifically instructed to by ATC, is something I try and avoid.
* Did the guy landing on the cross runway not say anything? Did you say anything to him?
* "Active runway" doesn't actually mean anything at un-towered airports, as this guy proved all too well. Good job paying attention, although it puzzles me that the guy had the presence of mind to make their base call, but not enough to pay attention to what you were doing!
 

GreatArcticWolf

New member
Hey mate, yes, I mean an un-towered airport - Caloundra in Australia. There is no taxiway - and by "active" what I really meant was the one that everyone else was using and the one with the most favorable wind conditions. I was on 12, he came in on 23.

There was no need to announce how I was expecting to taxi to the hangars, there is only 1 option. I had heard his inbound call, but don't recall him specifying a runway, the first I knew he was planning for 23 was when he called turning base, which occurred just after I had landed on 12. I may have missed another call - but I don't think I did.

When he radioed that he was turning Base, I advised that I would hold short of 23 on 12, it was at that point my brain sort of said - hey, what if someone else is planning an approach on 12 - it's last light, you don't want to be hogging the runway, then the "What if's" .. what if there's someone who needs to land on 12 who I missed the radio call, what if someone lands without making a call (there are a few cowboys around that area, as well as students) - what if there's another student that REALLY needs to land before it gets dark etc etc. So I decided I didn't want to be sitting on the center line - I moved as far over to the side (probably a little bit too far) as I thought I could.

Long story short all was well that ended well, but I always try to learn from everything that happens - only thing I would change in future is not taxiing off the black stuff.
 

Plague

Active member
So I decided I didn't want to be sitting on the center line - I moved as far over to the side (probably a little bit too far) as I thought I could.
If the tarmac is wide enough it might be an idea to swing the plane round a bit as you stop so you can 'see behind'. Then if someone does bear down on you you can see them, light permitting, make calls and if all else fails gun the engine and take to the grass/dirt.
 

JJohnston015

New member
Just remember that while you're landing, you own that runway and anything that may conflict with it*. It might have been an option to say something like, "Aircraft on base for 23, I'm rolling out on 12 about to cross 23." Then just cross 23, but without delay.

*That's not to say you should insist on the right of way to the point of a collision, but if you, say, are far enough along that you can clear 23 before the other traffic lands, just go ahead.

And just for the record, I've been on short final and had traffic pull out onto the runway in front of me to take off. This naturally infuriates me, but what else can you do but go around?
 

Zeede

Active member
Hey mate, yes, I mean an un-towered airport - Caloundra in Australia. There is no taxiway - and by "active" what I really meant was the one that everyone else was using and the one with the most favorable wind conditions. I was on 12, he came in on 23.
Right, I know what you mean, and maybe it's different in Australia, but in the US the term "active runway" is superfluous, especially since people usually say "active runway" instead of the runway number they mean (which is more useful).

For example, if I just switched to the CTAF and I hear someone say "taking off from the active runway" then I haven't a clue where they're headed.

When he radioed that he was turning Base, I advised that I would hold short of 23 on 12...
Ah, I see. Well, it was nice of you to hold short for him, but you have the right of way since you're landing first. Don't worry about what anyone else may or may not do, your safety and not damaging your airplane are tantamount.

Remember, you are pilot in COMMAND, and in the US at least, you have the authority to break almost any rule you want if the safety of the flight needs it. If you're flying headlong into a pop-up thunderstorm and ATC won't help you or won't respond fast enough, you just do what you need to do to stay safe and ATC can gripe about it later.

Also, congrats on your recent solo! I remember my first few solo flights!
 

GreatArcticWolf

New member
The only question I have regarding the comments above (and thankyou everyone for your contributions) - is when does the landing finish? In MY example, I'm in a Sling 2 (LSA) and more than able to pull up and stop well before the junction of 12 & 23 - does my "Landing" finish when I have stopped, or slowed to the point of being able to stop, or does my landing complete when I depart the runway. If the only option for departing the runway (aside from going around) is making a turn onto 23, and 23 is in use by another aircraft - then does my vacating of 12 give me priority over his landing?

Now I still believe (aside from the off-road part) I did the right thing AIRMANSHIP wise - it was perfectly safe for me to hold short of 23 and allow him to land - and as far as I knew (which was accurate) there were no other aircraft in the circuit. Allowing the other aircraft to complete his landing on 23 before following him in, meant 2 aircraft safely on the ground before dark - had I have pushed the issue (which I wasn't confident about) - it could have led to either an incident (worst case) or at the very least, him having to go around.

I don't know his circumstances, but I feel his airmanship was a little poor as he could quite easily have joined mid downwind for 12 and followed me in (12 Operates RH Circuits)

I did consider gunning it to the other side of 23 (on 12) but there really was no point, I would just then have to backtrack 12 to get back to 23.

I've attached the FAC for the airstrip if anyone is curious.
 

Attachments

Zeede

Active member
The only question I have regarding the comments above (and thankyou everyone for your contributions) - is when does the landing finish?
In the US, the runway is not clear until the airplane is completely over the hold short line. In your case, once you taxi off of the runway. Old curmudgeons might get pissy about how long it took you to get off the runway, but that's not your problem, especially as a low time student.

I think you have the right idea, but you could have just as easily had a prop strike and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. If you had had to slam on the brakes to hold short of the cross runway you might have blown a tire.

Definitely the other pilot was being extremely inconsiderate and lazy. He should have either gone around, slowed way down to allow you ample time to cross or gotten his head out of his arse. IMO it was extremely hazardous to land on a cross runway at an un-towered airport like he did. The airport I learned at also had crossing runways, but people always gave each other ample room, communicated a lot, and whoever was using the different runway always tried to accommodate the other traffic.

One time I was flying back home and ended up on a very long straight in final (like 20 miles) for runway 36. The wind was 330@12 and I switched to the CTAF and made my first call at 12 miles. Since a straight in long final is unusual, I kept making position and intention calls at 9 and 6 miles out. After my call at 6 miles out I hear somebody tell me that they're 8 miles to the NW and inbound for 18. I figured he had just switched to our frequency and missed me other calls. At about 3 miles I made yet another position call (south of the field) when I heard the same guy say that he was 5 miles to the NW and making right traffic to land on 18 (18 is left traffic). I again made a call at a mile out and heard him ask me if was hearing his calls and why was I landing on 36. I simply replied, "Well for starters, the wind is coming from 330, so I figured you weren't going to land with a 12 kt tailwind." He seemed surprised at this and said that he was going to enter a left downwind for 36.

At this point I was too tired and couldn't be bothered to correct him that 36 is right pattern), or point out that I was closer than he was (and had the right-of-way) or that he should have checked the winds (poor approach-to-an-airport skills). He didn't seem like a jerk, just a bit scatter-brained.

There's nothing wrong with being courteous and trying to accommodate other pilots, but not during landings. In the US, student pilots are forbidden from accepting Land And Hold Short Operations (LAHSO) requests, and even though this is an un-towered airport, I would treat it the same way.

Edit: The airport information is in a different format than I'm used to, but am I reading correctly that the runways are both only 795 meters long? If so, that is really, really short for any kind of LAHSO. Even if you were more experienced I wouldn't want to put that much strain on the tires and brakes just so that some lazy jerk can land on the crossing runway!
 

Flight ATC

New member
Being handed of to departure, and not switching frequencies, and saying my entire idiotic "Hello Departure, with you off of runway 04, climbing through 400 for 2500, VFR to the south."

All while the SUPER BUSY tower controller is trying to give his clearances.
 

GreatArcticWolf

New member
In the US, the runway is not clear until the airplane is completely over the hold short line. In your case, once you taxi off of the runway. Old curmudgeons might get pissy about how long it took you to get off the runway, but that's not your problem, especially as a low time student.

I think you have the right idea, but you could have just as easily had a prop strike and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. If you had had to slam on the brakes to hold short of the cross runway you might have blown a tire.

Definitely the other pilot was being extremely inconsiderate and lazy. He should have either gone around, slowed way down to allow you ample time to cross or gotten his head out of his arse. IMO it was extremely hazardous to land on a cross runway at an un-towered airport like he did. The airport I learned at also had crossing runways, but people always gave each other ample room, communicated a lot, and whoever was using the different runway always tried to accommodate the other traffic.

One time I was flying back home and ended up on a very long straight in final (like 20 miles) for runway 36. The wind was 330@12 and I switched to the CTAF and made my first call at 12 miles. Since a straight in long final is unusual, I kept making position and intention calls at 9 and 6 miles out. After my call at 6 miles out I hear somebody tell me that they're 8 miles to the NW and inbound for 18. I figured he had just switched to our frequency and missed me other calls. At about 3 miles I made yet another position call (south of the field) when I heard the same guy say that he was 5 miles to the NW and making right traffic to land on 18 (18 is left traffic). I again made a call at a mile out and heard him ask me if was hearing his calls and why was I landing on 36. I simply replied, "Well for starters, the wind is coming from 330, so I figured you weren't going to land with a 12 kt tailwind." He seemed surprised at this and said that he was going to enter a left downwind for 36.

At this point I was too tired and couldn't be bothered to correct him that 36 is right pattern), or point out that I was closer than he was (and had the right-of-way) or that he should have checked the winds (poor approach-to-an-airport skills). He didn't seem like a jerk, just a bit scatter-brained.

There's nothing wrong with being courteous and trying to accommodate other pilots, but not during landings. In the US, student pilots are forbidden from accepting Land And Hold Short Operations (LAHSO) requests, and even though this is an un-towered airport, I would treat it the same way.

Edit: The airport information is in a different format than I'm used to, but am I reading correctly that the runways are both only 795 meters long? If so, that is really, really short for any kind of LAHSO. Even if you were more experienced I wouldn't want to put that much strain on the tires and brakes just so that some lazy jerk can land on the crossing runway!
With regard to the edit & being a short runway - yes, it is short, and if it were a heavier aircraft - absolutely - however The Sling 2 is a very light aircraft and you end up actually having to put power in to taxi up to turn left onto 23 after landing on 12! Tricycle undercarriage - while I guess if you tried hard enough you might prop strike - it really wasn't uncomfortable at all as far as stopping well before 23.

From the specs of the Sling 2:

Landing Distance - Braked295 ft/90 m

So I had a little to spare!
 
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