SAFA Skysailor Magazine

23 September | October 2020 SKY SAILOR An IFR/Night rated commercial pilot was on approach after an early morning hour-long solo training flight early this year. At approximately 20ft agl, the pilot applied a slight correction to keep the aircraft centred, but this was applied in the wrong direction. Another correction was made under some stress, but this was also incorrectly applied. As a result, the aircraft landed outside the main runway cones, bounced into an outer marker cone and then into an embankment, causing it to flip and roll. The aircraft was destroyed while the pilot thankfully only suffering some minor lacerations and bruising. The pilot had not slept well the night before and was somewhat fatigued. In the higher stress moment when the initial correction was made, muscle memory reverted to the input required to make that movement in a conventional three-axis control aircraft, which is the reverse of that re- quired through the control bar of the WM. This was repeated during the second correction. This is analogous to steering a yacht or runabout with a tiller rather than a wheel – inputs to change heading are reversed. The message here is pretty clear: If fatigued, you are not ready to fly and the wrong muscle memory may take over. We continue the powered reports with a Nano-light bingle in AIRS #1237. The pilot was on a training flight, coming in to land at Shellharbour Airport (Wollongong, NSW) on runway 08, flying his own Aeros Ant with a Fox16T wing. The approach was good with no sign of turbulence. PIC said he experienced some turbulence and a wind gradient on landing. At the last 20ft, the pilot applied power and found it did not make much difference to the descent. To the instructor, it appeared that PIC appeared to level off, then drop about one metre, landing heavily on three wheels. It looked like a heavy landing and the leading edges folded back around the base and the nanolight rolled onto the right leading edge at walking speed. The reviewing AIRS Manager raised several points on this report: The runway in use is known locally as having a very strong wind gradient and student was briefed of this. The ANT has several wing options and the Fox16T is the biggest sail area, softest, slowest most basic of them. It is very easy to fly, but has the least energy retention of any of the trike wings available. As such it is of upmost importance to approach with good speed (bar-in, nose down) on final approach and carry energy all the way into ground-effect before commencing the hold-off and landing. This is particularly necessary with any type of noticeable wind gradient as was the case in this accident. Difference in energy retention between the faster, heavier two-seat training trike he had flown earlier, and the ANT/Fox is considerable. For an experienced hang glider pilot, the ANT/ Fox should be easy to fly, however, it still requires dedicated time and effort to learn new take-off and landing skills that are different to those used in hang gliding. Still on the powered aircraft theme, the PPG pilot in AIRS #1249 was flying at Separation Point Beachlands (WA). The pilot had taken off in a 4-8kt westerly and climbed to 300ft asl without difficulty. The winds aloft were 8-10kt, but northerly. After a short while, the pilot started experiencing some light turbulence and decided to land. With the motor in idle, and before the pilot could turn, a 40 knot wind shear hit the pilot and the wing stalled. A stall recovery was unsuccessful, and the wing entered a locked spiral. The pilot deployed his reserve at about 200ft asl, but it did not fully inflate by the time the pilot made a safe water landing four metres from the beach without injury and minimal equipment damage. Extreme caution should be exercised if there is known potential for wind shear. After speaking with the experienced commercial pilot, the pilot explained that a flight three hours prior had occured in a nice sea-breeze. The pilot then waited for some time before going for the second flight as something strange was happening with the wind: Checking the weather observations from the port showing a coastal flow, and those from the airport which showed a northerly flow. The pilot waited to see how the situation evolved, but in the end decided to go for the flight. In future, the pilot decided not fly this site if there is a conflict between the two sets of observations, or if the airport shows NE-E, and will take more time assessing the weather conditions and not simply give in to the urge to fly. More generally, SIV training is recommended for education in recovery from stalls, spins, and collapses. In addition, if flying over water, it is worth considering flying with a flotation device. Human Factors Air (the environment) -Man (I’m safe) -Ship (the aircraft) I’M SAFE Illness? Do I have an illness or any symptoms of an illness or disorder? Medication and other drugs? Have I been taking or mixing prescription, over-the-counter or recreational drugs? Stress? Am I under psychological pressure from my job or personal circumstances? Am I worried about financial matters, health problems or family matter? Alcohol? Have I been consuming alcohol within the previous eight hours? Is my blood alcohol level less than 0.02? Would my average alcohol consumption be greater than ‘very low risk’? Fatigue? Am I tired or inadequately rested? Eating and Drinking? Am I adequately nourished and hydrated?