Per advice from well meaning advisors, this entry is entirely fictitious. It involves flying the sheriff out to the island, and turning right around and flying a distraught victim off the island. It is an airplane story only on the basis of center of gravity and freedom of control movement issues.
The control and CG issues were due their only being two seats in the airplane – one for me and one for the passenger. (This was common on freight runs or in a medevac flight when the aircraft was configured into “no seats” mode with all of the seats, except the pilot and co-pilot’s, removed.) But the meat of this story is around all the events that led to the fastest island extraction I’ve ever done.
The drama took place on an island that had a funky upslope runway. You would “land up” from the sea (pointing south) and “take off down towards it” (to the north) typically. It sounds heroic, but is pretty easy and casual when you get used to it. If the wind was really blowing hard from the north, you could bravely land downhill (into the wind) since your actual ground speed could be as little as 10 or 20 mph if you had 40 or 30 mph on the nose.
We’ll call this island Crustaceanicus. There are many such runways off the coast of Maine, but most are unknown, unpublished or no longer used. This one, however, saw use at least three times per day, weather permitting.
I’m near certain that umpteen zillion posts have written about this subject. Nevertheless, here I go with my addition to the pile.
How do you teach students to land safely, who didn’t know how to fly a mere 10 hours ago?
The answer, to me, is 100% about feel, energy management (à la glider teaching), looking, sensing and adjusting as necessary. A trap that I, and many of my colleagues, have fallen into is thinking that landing is something a student will embrace if they are given firm numbers, power settings, checkpoints etc. Any type of recipe that emphasizes standardization exclusively does two big disservices to the student:
For those pilots out there this post will cause you to wonder “why is he writing that?” followed by: “I know about that.”
I know you do – this isn’t for you. It’s for everyone else. With the high profile accident at Bedford, MA (KBED) this past weekend with a Gulfstream G-IV N121JM running off the departure end of its runway, it at least warranted a post. While the cause of the accident is yet to be determined, a lot of our non-flying followers and members queried us about what happened. While we can’t answer, we thought it at least appropriate to have a balanced field length or BFL explanation since when everything works as advertised, balanced field length is what makes every departure, or aborted take off go smoothly.
The good news is that BFL is all about safety. And while a non-pilot will never have to compute it, knowing what it is will at least make you feel better about those hot and heavy take offs on days when you think that the airplane is working extra hard. Continue reading BFL and why it matters
Revolution is tough without that disruptive nugget. Not having that nugget has led Surfair to retreat into the conventional operation of what could have been a novel membership based system. I’ve followed them since their birth since I’m no stranger to the concept of moving Pilatus PC-12s around with people in them whilst attempting to make money. What was great about Surfair, is that they validated our own Grabajet aspirations that I had designed with my business partner.
One of the curses of private aviation start ups (the great air taxi revolution!) is the obvious – not enough utilization, not enough income and giant killer overhead. The dynamic between revenue and utilization is the simple reality that when both go up the fixed costs are less per flight, per hour, per passenger, etc. While this may be airplane economics 101 the landscape is littered with brave and smart people with vision who, in the words of someone in 2005, wanted to “darken the skies” with Eclipses. As we know, that didn’t happen, in large part because Dayjet, despite having the best minds and resources, didn’t happen. Continue reading Rethinking Revenue