VansAirForceForums  
Home > VansAirForceForums

-POSTING RULES
-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.


Go Back   VAF Forums > Main > Safety
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-09-2021, 03:30 PM
Dan Langhout's Avatar
Dan Langhout Dan Langhout is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL USA
Posts: 615
Default Uncontrolled Field Ops - A Confession

They say confession is good for the soul - so I am going to try to do mine some good. A mistake (failure) on my part yesterday could have caused a serious, possibly fatal accident. Luckily, there was no incident.

Yesterday morning I flew to a nearby, uncontrolled airport to pick up a friend who had dropped off his C-170 for some avionics work. This was his first flight in an RV of any type, so we were chatting about all the expected stuff on the taxi out to the departure end of the runway. I pulled up my “Before Take Off” checklist on the Dynon, ran through it, took a look up at the final approach course, announced “RV 528DP DEPARTING 5” on the CTAF and pulled onto the runway - pushing up the throttle. I had no more pushed the throttle to full and raised the tail up when I heard “SKYHAWK 123XYZ GOING AROUND” on the CTAF. Shocked, I looked around and saw a Skyhawk well off to my right side and a couple of hundred feet above me! Clearly I had just screwed up royally. I continued the takeoff and turned out to the left. Shaken a bit, I apologized to the Skyhawk pilot on the radio and then flew back to Moontown.

After we got back, I sat down to really think about how bad this could have been and where I had become slack or come up short in my processes that would let me completely miss an approaching aircraft on a pretty short final.. I really think I have become a bit complacent in some areas - probably a result of flying a lot these days. Here’s what I came up with:


  • Expectation of other pilot’s pattern position announcements for traffic “Heads Up”.
    My passenger and I agreed that we did not hear any position announcements from the Skyhawk pilot in the pattern. Did he really not make any or did we just not hear him? Doesn't matter - he is not actually REQUIRED to make any. It’s my responsibility to make sure the coast is clear. In thinking back through all of this, I believe I have fallen into the (bad) habit of expecting some position announcements from pilots in the pattern. This leads to a bit of “Expectation Bias” that segues into the next point.
  • Cursory glance up at the final approach course rather than careful scrutiny.
    When I was working on my PPL back in the dark ages, my instructor taught me to completely clear the traffic pattern before taking the active runway. He would literally have me stand on the left brake while we slowly pivoted around 360 degrees scanning upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, and then final to get a clear picture of what might be in the pattern and where. Maybe that was a bit too much(?) - but it was a definite conscious act to really look for traffic. Admittedly, over the years, I have abandoned this thorough approach and now typically just look up the final approach course for traffic. Obviously sometimes that look isn’t as careful as it should be - particularly if I’m not expecting anything to be there.
  • Lack of Sterile Cockpit.
    Probably like most of you, the vast majority of my flying is solo - so a sterile cockpit at critical times isn’t normally a problem. In this instance, I had a passenger - and while we weren’t actually talking during the time in question, we had been and I didn’t go through the sort of mental gear shift into “sterile mode”.

Definitely going to fix these things. As a reminder, perhaps an addition to the “Before Takeoff” checklist to consciously scan each sector of the pattern?

Thanks for hearing my confession - flames accepted. I feel better now.
__________________
Dan Langhout
2022 =VAF= Dues PAID . . . . .
RV-7 N528DP slow build
First Flight July 26th, 2014
848 hours and counting . . . .
28 Pilots N Paws Flights
Now based at Moontown (3M5)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-09-2021, 03:56 PM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,673
Default

Part of my pre-takeoff checklist, at the hold-short point, is to say out loud and LOOK while doing it - "Runway is clear; Final is clear; Controls are free and clear" and then take the runway.

I had a similar incident to yours way back in my dark ages, that resulted in that being added to my procedures.
__________________
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2022 dues paid
N16GN flying 950 hrs and counting on 91E10; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-09-2021, 03:59 PM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is online now
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 425
Default

When the winds are light or calm expect someone going the other way. I was on final just over the numbers when I saw a big ole landing light on the other end of the runway.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-09-2021, 03:59 PM
rcsilvmac rcsilvmac is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: NorCal
Posts: 101
Default You are not the only one...

Not too long ago I was in a similar situation. I was chatting with a friend while doing my pre-takeoff checklist. I pulled up to the hold short line, did a cursory look at the runway (uncontrolled field) and started entering the runway while I announced my intentions. A Cessna was at the other end of the field starting their takeoff roll and they quickly asked me to hold. Luckily I was able to stop and they had plenty of room for their takeoff. I was sure I didn't hear any prior announcements, but to be fair I was chatting with my passenger. The Cessna was a dull grey color, making it hard to see, but the fault was clearly mine.

Your list is a great one, and I clearly didn't execute your list. I would add one more:
  • Pause a few seconds before entering the runway after your announcement

I now announce my intention to take the runway, then take one more long look to ensure final and runway are clear.

Thanks for the great reminders.
__________________
2021, 2022 Dues paid
RV-6 with training wheel
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-09-2021, 04:05 PM
rv8ch's Avatar
rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 4,405
Default

Thanks for sharing this, Dan. I always appreciate the reminders of things that can possibly go wrong, and it's great when there is no bent metal involved in learning a lesson.
__________________
Mickey Coggins
http://rv8.ch
"Hello, world!"
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-09-2021, 04:24 PM
odens_14 odens_14 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: West Central, MN
Posts: 354
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcsilvmac View Post
Your list is a great one, and I clearly didn't execute your list. I would add one more:
  • Pause a few seconds before entering the runway after your announcement
Second this. Similar to my driver's ed instructor's "look-signal-look" phrase about lane changes, I do a "look-announce-look" before taking the runway. more than once I've gotten a reply from someone in the pattern or another runway I wasn't aware of.

Another thing I like to do is announcing that I'm holding short when I know someone is on final. It offers them reassurance I'm not going to pull out in front of them.
__________________
Chris Odens
West Central, Minnesota
RV-7
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-09-2021, 04:35 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,833
Default Some of the blame...

Some of the blame likely is with the cessna pilot, as well. Although not REQUIRED to make those calls, it is a good idea to do so. I fly primarily from uncontrolled airports, and things run much better when people at least attempt to communicate.

The people who do not choose to communicate do serve a purpose, though. If I am instructing at the time, I use them as an example for the new students...not a good example...
__________________
Bob
Aerospace Engineer '88

RV-10
N464RL

Dues+ Paid 2021,...Thanks DR+
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-09-2021, 05:08 PM
coffeeguy coffeeguy is online now
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Lake in the Hills, IL
Posts: 220
Default

I always make it a habit when turning base to final to give a good look for straight in traffic to the right. It's part of my normal pattern scan now
__________________
Jeff Dingbaum
RV-14A empennage, wings, fuselage, finish
Cherokee 180
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-09-2021, 05:35 PM
N8DAV8R N8DAV8R is online now
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Salida, Ca
Posts: 110
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Langhout View Post
[indent]When I was working on my PPL back in the dark ages, my instructor taught me to completely clear the traffic pattern before taking the active runway. He would literally have me stand on the left brake while we slowly pivoted around 360 degrees scanning upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, and then final to get a clear picture of what might be in the pattern and where. Maybe that was a bit too much(?) - but it was a definite conscious act to really look for traffic.
I'm not sure if my instructor pushed this or not, but I know my dad taught me this before I took my first real lesson. We're based at an uncontrolled field. I don't think it's a bit too much, not at all.
__________________
Nate - Salida, Ca
RV-12is - Finish Kit!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-09-2021, 05:41 PM
Dad's RV-10 Dad's RV-10 is online now
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: FL Gulf Coast & NYC
Posts: 181
Default

Obviously not all traffic at non-towered fields will have com radios but it's a good habit to announce "Jones County traffic, Experimental 1234 taxiing to Runway X, departing to the northeast, any traffic please advise" or "Jones County traffic, Experimental 1234 holding short of Runway X, departing to the northeast, any traffic please advise."

Glad no metal got bent.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:13 AM.


The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.