Page 6.52 ( 8517)
Second Hundred Quickie Lessons
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100. On cross country flight going toward area of several cloud layers. Student became very concerned about the approaching clouds. Seemed paralyzed and unable to accept that he controlled the proximity and approach speed of the clouds. Same flight with large mountain peak along our route. Student knew that at ONE point the mountain would be off our wing tip to show we were on course. Student kept the mountain on our wing tip long enough to turn 90 degrees off course. He kept expecting it to jump at him but it didn't.

101. Had student who was good in every respect except that he would not practice stalls alone. Concern was the possibility of a spin. He knew that a spin was preceded by a stall. Took student through spin and recovery series. Solo stall practice no problem afterwards.

102. Heard about the instructor who wouldn't teach go-arounds because they were too dangerous? Suggest that first landings only consist of just go-arounds. Applies to educational truism that we react in an emergency the way we were first taught. Takes a great deal of pressure off the student. Use both left and right pattern if possible. Initiate first one at 200 feet, then 100, 50, 25, at approach speed. Full throttle then carb heat. Initially reduce flaps to 20 degrees and the rest off when climb speed is reached. The go-around in the flare to touch down requires a different technique. At low speeds the aircraft must be held level. Use ground effect. The flaps must be milked off until climb speed is attained. Failure to use arm to lock the yoke with the nose level is a common fault. Surprising how many students put in carb heat before throttle.

103. Surprising how few weekend type pilots know how to correctly arrive at tower airport when the tower is closed. With the tower closed the right runway may be in use and require left traffic. The last used winds and runway may be obtained from approach control. The CTAF will be the tower frequency. If you know ahead of time of a late night arrival it pays to make a phone call for recommended procedures. Arrival consists of over flying at twice pattern altitude to determine runway and wind sock. Exit so enter on 45 to runway at pattern altitude in left traffic unless contra indicated. Use radio to advise other traffic when 10 miles out and intentions, when overhead and intentions, on 45, downwind, base, final and clear of runway.

104. Do your students ever have difficulty making the correct entry to airports. Where there may not be good visual references, the heading indicator provides the only reference needed for 45's and base arrivals. For a left 45 entry the runway heading will be at the left-rear position with the end of the runway over the nose. The runway number for the right 5 entry is to the right rear. It is well to point this out while using a visual point of entry at a known airport. With practice the technique can be easily used at any in-sight runway.

105. Do you know how to get and perform the D.F. steer. With radar becoming omnipresent the D.F. is a less common emergency procedure. If your student plans to fly in the hinterlands away from VOR and radar review the D.F. steer. The FSS personnel must practice the procedure on a regular basis if it is part of their equipment. Just avoid busy periods or days and they will be happy to oblige.
With the near universal coverage in many areas, DF steers have become obsolete.

106. Have you ever flown off the edge of a sectional? Before the days of general aviation Loran, I was on a long cross country (CCR to SLC) just for the ride. Midway on the 600 mile desert flight the pilot told me that we would be flying about 70 miles across the corner of a sectional that he did not have. As the fates would have it the next VOR was out of service. Everything running well, plenty of fuel but absolutely no way to check or confirm our location. Not really an emergency but definitely illegal and needing only one more straw to make an emergency.

107. Are you flying from an airport near the edge of the sectional. Even if you're not you might consider have your student make a plate sized sectional centered on your home field. Cut a cardboard backing and glue the sectional to it. Slip a rubber band through the center hole and fasten the ends on the back of the cardboard with a paper clip. On the circumference you could mark the magnetic courses from a VOR rose or just to and from local airports. This will not substitute legally for a current sectional but it sure is handy for the beginner. On the back side I have printed pie-shaped information as to appropriate checkpoints and arrivals to all runways.

108. The presence of clouds, the absence of a well defined horizon, wind and turbulence have a debilitating effect on the thought and performance processes. The air work that has been in the past satisfactory becomes less so. Both the student and instructor will react with frustration at this deterioration unless the proximate cause can be identified. It is not enough to just discuss this weather effect prior to the flight but it must be pointed out for every maneuver. The change of visual reference needed under low visibility with greater dependence on the cockpit instruments is a new experience. This is a golden opportunity to illustrate the advantage of having indexed the power settings, trim positions. and sounds of the aircraft.

110. Recently went on a cross-country with just rated private pilot. Found that the pilot had been trained to slow aircraft down to low cruise on nearing the airport. His basics instructor felt that this arrival gave student better intellectual and emotional control over the landing procedure. I do not accept this rationale. Training aircraft are slow enough to permit a cruise arrival. This slow arrival then will carry over into high performance aircraft and result in very inefficient flight practices. I choose to teach in trainer aircraft techniques and skills which will transfer directly into higher performance aircraft. I urge instructors to teach arrivals at speeds commensurate with the aircraft performance. Flying is expensive enough as it is.

110a. Student referred to me one week after having failed private pilot checkride. Met student at airport. First question was to point to North. Unable. Student could not point correctly to any major city or airport. 75 hours of flight instruction. Spent flight time teaching student how to look outside aircraft and identify significant geographical points in area. Flying O.K. Worked on how to use heading indicator and checkpoints to make airport arrival. Initially student would first make referral to sectional before looking outside aircraft. How were prior instructors teaching pilotage? You cannot conduct proper radio procedures without knowing where you are. There does not seem to be an adequate FAA system to eliminate incompetent instructors.

111. Approach control indicated that our course would take us across the instrument approach corridor and proceeded to vector us across the airport to clear. We were then told to resume own navigation. Numerous small towns and novice pilot proceeded to misidentify them through failure to use supporting checkpoint factors such as bodies of water and railroads. Improved weather allowed climb to seek foothill airport. Airport easily visible at 20 miles because of surrounding GREEN terrain. In the California summer when everything turns to brown the same airport would be difficult to locate. In summer many airports must be located by means of identifiable reference points such as dams, roads, or hill configuration.  Departed on course that would take us through Alert Area. Contacted approach and gave pertinent information. Ceiling restricted ability to climb above Alert Area. Novice pilot happy as a clam under radar control and proceeding unaware of potential hazard. I suggested that he inquire as to potential problem. Controller immediately asked for 70 degree heading change for next ten miles before proceeding to destination. Observed two very heavy military aircraft that could have been in direct conflict.

112. Departed small airport toward 3-4000 foot hills with cloud cover. Very windy. Pilot having difficulty making choice of over/under clouds. Turbulence vs. aircraft performance. Decision to climb resulted in slower but smooth flight. Pilot expressed concern about hemispheric rule for flight. Rule does not apply while climbing or descending. Found sucker hole on other side of hills. Slowed aircraft and applied full flaps. Tight spiral through hole and dumped flaps at base of clouds.

113. Proceeded toward Class C airspace, established contact with approach but stayed clear or Class C airspace. Advised to remain clear of Class D airspace along route. Cloud bases and hills provided marginal route around Class C footprint. Suggested to pilot that crossing hill line into next valley be tried. Pilot declined suggestion and for next ten miles sighted numerous aircraft skirting hills and clouds. Other valley would have been better. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

114. Spent few minutes reviewing first x-country with student who had just flown with relatively new instructor. Student had no idea of what lesson was to be until arrival at airport. Student's major area of difficulty is the radio. New instructor did radio work with both towers and approach control. Did touch and go at distant airport and departed straight-out. Student's tape recorder did not work. Lessons: Student should have asked for and/or instructor should have given full review of radio procedures and expected student to handle radio after practicing prior to call-ups. Landing should have been a full stop with taxi back or at least some familiarization with the taxiways. The student had very little recollection of what the radio procedures were and without the tape recording the lesson lost most of its value.

115. While working on my commercial rating the instructor took me out to practice 60 degree steep turns of 720 degrees. We did steep turns for two solid hours. He would demonstrate about every fifth turn but my efforts did not show much improvement. The next day I had hemroids. First and only time of my life. Teachers fail more often than students.

116. Instructor taught me to level plane by using bottom of wingtip and horizon and then swinging eyes to lock nose and horizon. Good and quick method for beginners. Same Instructor taught me to recognize straight nose during crosswind landing approach by keeping parallel nose rivet line and runway center line. Works!

117. Very early morning x-country. Dark. Preflight with flashlight. Note flag of pitot cover on cockpit floor. Takeoff and rotate at 60 knots. Airspeed never gets above 60 knots. Flashlight shows hood of pitot cover is still on pitot. Make uneventful landing and remove pitot cover for next departure. Lesson: "From the lack of a nail..." Also, it helps to know your aircraft well enough to fly without an airspeed indicator.

117a. The way you are first taught will set habits for the rest of your flying career, # 101. Watched pilot with two years experience preflight C-150. Noted pilot did not roll aircraft to check tires. Discussed necessity of checking tires as part of preflight. Did not discuss how rolling helps insure that aircraft is unchained prior to taxi. Pilot claimed that no previous instructor had ever had him roll aircraft as part of preflight. Couple of weeks later pilot has preflight interrupted and fails to roll aircraft. Taxis off and pulls tiedown out of wing. $50 lesson learned. Behind every little technique I teach, suggest, recommend etc. there are reasons and reasons.

118. Flying across Nevada desert and heading toward Restricted area. Will require either accurate pilotage to follow VFR corridor or radar contact and clearance. Due to passenger discomfort, choose to climb over clouds to avoid turbulence. Last good checkpoint behind about 15 minutes. ETA to Restricted area about 20 minutes. Initiate contact with Approach and told to stand by. On top now with solid under-cast. Wait a while and call Approach. Told again to standby. Controller quite busy but after 10 minutes feel that he may have forgotten me and my ETA is giving me the VV's (Violation Vibrations) Controller makes contact just before I start doing 360's. Gives squawk. I give estimate of position and lack of navigational reference. I am told to hold present heading. Within a couple of minutes major corridor reference point shows through hole in clouds. Advise Approach and am told, belatedly, that we are going to be vectored through Restricted Area. Lessons: 1. Sometimes the discomfort of turbulence is the better choice. 2. Dead reckoning works if you combine it with luck. 3. Make your radio contacts early-on to allow for delays.

119. Murder She Wrote II: Solve before reading entire paragraph. Had occasion to fly to neighboring uncontrolled airport to pick up C-150 which had oil change and encoder installed. During preflight found one tank less than half full but other tank was full. Clue # 1 Checked oil and pulled fuel strainer. Clue # 2. Got into aircraft and fired up with immediate roll to run up area about 100 feet away. Engine died just as I reached run up area. Clue # 3. Restarted engine only to have it die again. Last clue. Momentary mental attack on mechanics who can't fix airplanes. Find fuel selector in OFF position. Restart and depart no problem. Lesson: first clue is discrepancy in fuel tank levels, second element is pulling strainer without looking for fuel flow under aircraft. No fuel flow with fuel selector OFF. (I have often used this technique to check students.) Aircraft was parked on slight slope so mechanics had used fuel valve to prevent fuel loss through overflow tube.

120. Student referred just after having failed private check ride. Four previous instructors. Next checkride to occur in 7 days. Met student at aircraft and initiated what I think should be the very first preflight instruction, Student had 75 hours instruction in local area. Asked student to point to North. Unable. Student had just driven to airport from Oakland. Asked to point to Oakland. Unable. In 75 hours of instruction student had been taught no pilotage by reference to just outside the aircraft. All pilotage was done with Sectional and then outside reference. Ask the student were he was; he would first refer to the sectional. Commenced to teach flying by outside visual references. Student's other flight skills superior. It is almost impossible to arrive at an airport without the ability to position the aircraft near a particular point and at an altitude for which you have prepared a specific radio communication. This one weakness, although not detected by the examiner, so negated his other flying skills that the initial failure was a blessing in disguise. After four instructional flights which emphasized recognition of landmarks student was able to pass flight test without difficulty.

121. Older pilots who fly at higher altitudes lose mental acuity. Simple errors of heading, frequency, OBS setting, and anticipation will show up long before physical errors of flying. Have noted same in myself the last couple of years. I'll bet smokers have the same problems regardless of age and even at lower altitudes. FAA ought to revoke licenses of smokers because of reduced capability.

122. How to overcome fear and anxiety in students. These are more emotional than intellectual. I have tried gradual exposure to such as turbulence, weather, mountains. It helps but seems to depend on chance exposures rather than planned lessons. Personal anxiety over water beyond gliding distance to land. Need to study/find technique. Open to suggestions. The absence of prior experience makes emotions rule over intellect. Fearless realists and faint-hearted pessimists alike are unable relate the present situation intellectually to any other. As in a bad dream the emotions create a scenario of catastrophe or high achievement both possible and unlikely.

132. Took student on flight between CCR and APC, preparatory for student to make flight immediately after on student solo. Student got ATIS. Student practiced call up. During this interval the tower changed runways from 18 to 24. Student made good adjustment. But when told to acknowledge "Viking" in sight, mistakenly acknowledged a Cessna. Tower sorted out problem but student too close to Cessna because of cutting corner from base. On return to CCR student gets ATIS and finds 32 in use. Practices call up for 32R from Benicia and Instructor started to correct. At this time CCR tower makes runway change to 19. Student makes good adjustment and asks for right base entry. When reporting two mile base, tower assigns runway 19L because of conflicting traffic but controller makes mistake and clears landing for 32R. Student confused and makes right turn toward airport. Instructor sorts out and sets up approach to 19L. A good lesson to student as to why you must know how to approach every runway at an airport. Student makes solo flight with excellent procedures and confidence.

124. Former student of 20 years ago, now 68. Overcame tremendous language handicap in learning to fly. Called me and wanted to fly. Planned local flight to nearby airport to which we would plan a series of arrivals and departures from different checkpoints. Rehearsed each callup and radio procedures several times before actual use of radio. Difficulty saying words but nothing I could put my finger on. As we made our last landing and planned departure home student unable to make tower understand his words or request. We had not rehearsed this last call. On our arrival home student said that his family had noticed that he was leaving off the last syllables of words.  Now 83 and problem still exists.  I am only three years behind.

Talked to medical practitioner who is an instrument student. Mentioned speech problem and queried as to whether a medical problem might be involved. Affirmative. Checked with another doctor, problem can be result of stroke. Contacted members of pilots family and poised the situation and problem. Tried to be kept out of it but no way. Pilot agreed to get checkup. Unable to find FAR to cover situation.

125. Had pilot pick me up at uncontrolled airport. Saw aircraft enter upwind and make pattern which resulted in downwind landing with 12 kt tailwind. Pilot had flown into 700 foot transition area at 1000' with generally less than 3 mile visibility. On starting for departure pilot turned pump on and off and commenced to start after pressure had dropped. Taxied out to correct runway, did runup but just before taking runway pilot changed fuel tanks. Pilot then proceeded to call for downwind departure which would have been over town and contrary to established pattern. Then pilot said he planned to fly the river as he had arrived. I suggested that we climb on top for better visibility. Pilot expressed desire to see ground. Not a problem ground just as visible at 3000 as at 1000 but flight visibility unlimited. Pilot tuned in VOR and proceeded to fly direct. I suggested that flying to a VOR used for instrument approaches was not a good option during marginal weather. I suggested flight direction to make base entry to 32 at CCR. Pilot got ATIS and contacted tower and gave position as West Pittsburg at which time we were at least 3 miles to the east. Tower advised departing traffic toward the northeast. Pilot turned as though to intercept departing traffic. I took command and proceeded for base entry and landing. Pilot contended that he never has any problems when flying by himself or with his usual instructor. I hope!

126. Was giving final checkout ride to pilot in new type aircraft. Pilot uncertain as how to request touch and go's. Pilot uncertain as to size of Class D airspace both on arrival and departure. Uncertain of how to enter 45 degree entry on downwind and was unaware than when not otherwise requested the 45 degree entry is mandatory. Pilot apparently unaware that winds tend to decrease with altitude. Unaware that the dangerous decelerating approach is usually preceded by adding power without increasing forward yoke pressure to maintain airspeed.

127. Working on ANNUAL with 300 hr pilot. Flying generally good and local area knowledge satisfactory. Have student plan cross country to nearby airport. Did not check figures but once en route it is obvious that something is wrong. Heading is off over 30 degrees. At lunch we find that student added variation because we are in the West. Instead, he should have subtracted variation as East from isogonic lines on sectional.

128. Had pilot that I had taught call me regarding a flight into the eastern side of the Sierras in far Northern California. I decided to go with him because of the potential for problems. While on the flight I discovered that the pilot was unaware that the different colors of tan etc.on the sectional could be used to determine approximate altitude through reference to the legend.

129. Had student pilot with 18 hours decide to take me on as an instructor. Student had 7 hours at uncontrolled airport in Oregon and 10 hours at CCR from local FBO. One flight from CCR had been in a different direction to a local airport. Student had minimal knowledge of airport checkpoints. Student taught that flaps could not be applied except in 10 degree increments. Student had been told that 30 degree banks could not be made with flaps. Weird!

130. Student near solo. Met for landing practice. First winds in a month. Student having great difficulty compensating for winds. Turbulence (light) causing mental lapses and problems. Good lesson for student and good lesson for instructor. Winds squirrelly. We tried four different runway directions and found tail winds every time.

131. Commercial student contacted tower for T/O clearance and was told to taxi into position and hold. Student stopped at hold bars. Did not know difference between ATC's , Taxi closer and hold" vs. "Taxi into position and hold. We don't know what we don't know, again.

133. Evening flight. Night introduction from sunset to dark. Left and right landings O.K. While taxiing in instructor decides to show difficulties of taxiing with only navigational lights to show taxiway. Instructor taxis into mud with nose wheel.

134. Preparing student for solo Palo Alto to Livermore. During preflight discussion of desirable en route altitudes, student selects 2500. Instructor demurs and suggests 2000' even though it will be close to hills. During flight over and back numerous aircraft and radio communications indicate aircraft at 2500 and others at 3000 and none at 2000'. Good lesson on traffic avoidance.

135. Student had been forced to cancel several cross countries scheduled on Saturdays in 85K or 07U. Had made repeated changes in date and aircraft for solo cross country endorsement. Instructor believed next flight was to be on a Saturday in 85K. Instead student had scheduled 07U on Sunday. On Saturday, instructor checked with FSS regarding progress of flight. No flight plan but a Flight Watch contact out of SAC. Instructor called Columbia, no contact. Instructor contacted Rancho FSS and SCK FSS, no contact. Scheduling unable to read record of pilot or phone number. Instructor unable to establish contact with CCR tower due to phone number change on weekend. Instructor calls Navajo and has friend go to tower and get weekend number and ask about 85K. Call tower and establish that 85K had departed at 9:30. Considerable delays in establishing contact with OAK FSS due to increased operations. Instructor unable to make contact with student's home. Instructor drives to airport and finds 85K gone but student's car not there. Calls OAK FSS via tower direct line and cancels Search and Rescue just before initiated by FSS. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

136. Had trained student in flight operations in both 150 and C-172. Student indicated that getting prepared for flight test was confusing because of differing numbers. Occasion was flight in C-172 because C-150 was down for several weeks for new engine installation. He was the only student able to continue his flight training.

137. Student returned from X-country but found that his flight plan was closed before he actually closed it himself. Instructor found that student had screwed up information related to how long FSS will hold a flight plan (one hour) after its expected time off, and the one-half hour after ETA before FSS begins radio search. A big difference and a real life application of Murphy's Law.

138. Preflight instruction includes procedures for the draining of the engine sump and checking engine oil. I have, for years, shown students that wiping the oil dip stick with the left hand makes it possible to pull the engine sump with the right hand and reach under the cowling with the left to wash off the oil. Watched student preflight without pulling engine sump. Inquired as to reason. Was told no need to pull sump since his hands were clean. Will instructors ever learn?

139. Simulated emergency over uncontrolled airport from altitude. Student sees aircraft in pattern making left traffic. Instructor insists that student use segmented circle to determine traffic pattern at airport. Student unable to reconcile aircraft operation to segmented circle. Found that student did not understand interpretation of segmented circle. Neither did pilot of other aircraft.

140. Pilot had just obtained license at Rio Vista. Had been to CCR twice and FAT once for extent of controlled airport experience. Wanted checkout in C-172. Found that pilot had never used carburetor heat, trim, clearing procedures, S-turns prior to takeoff, copied ATIS, any checklist other than manual. Gave two weeks to review manual and prepare flight CCR to OAK. Unable. Recommended to take money owed me and get flying lessons.

142. At dusk student was reviewing full flap slow-flight when the flaps failed to retract. No ampere reading. X-mitter relay would not cycle. Reduced electric load to minimum and squawked 7600. Barely heard tower advise other traffic of a NORDO aircraft that seemed inbound. Landed without incident on green light. Broken alternator wire. Moral: The x-ponder takes very little power to be a big help.

143. Student has great difficulty in flare. Always seemed to be too low in round-out. Demonstrated use of yoke and power to ease aircraft to landing. Student made two excellent landings. After flight discussed problem and found that student has construed my suggestions that flare be made between hip and shoulder level as applying to something other than the proximate level of the wheels during the flare. Another example of, " If what you mean and say can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, it will." I don't believe I ever made clear to any of my past students that I was talking about the height of the wheels.

144. The only aircraft available for this short 100 pound student was a fine old C-172. Instruction proceeded normally up to solo. The solo was less than auspicious. Landings were flat, every time, indicative that the student was not getting the yoke back and up. Solution: A 60 pound bag of concrete in the luggage compartment. 20 years later the same problem arises as shimmy problems because of 6" extension of C-172 wing. Same solution? I suspect that new wing is causing same problem on C-1407U. Solution: always land with partial power of 1200+ RPM. You might notice that C-172 always lands better with rear seat passenger.

145. Student making VFR arrival to CCR. Have ATIS and 32 in use. Student makes call-up and gives position as Lafayette Reservoir. Tower clears for Left base entry 32 L. It is not efficient to make a left base entry from this position. The effect of such a radio position report is to give ATC control authority instead of the pilot. Much more effective for pilot to select call-up position (Briones) from which base entry is efficient. Other option would have been to request straight in and proceed from Lafayette over to vicinity of Bart yard for reporting two mile final. It is poor arrival planning to make a call-up that does not keep the pilot in charge.

146. Took 220 hour pilot up in C-150. Pilot had never set trim for an airspeed and used arms forward and back to judge sensitivity and accuracy of trim set to control airspeed. Pilot had never been taught the C-150 relationship of the trim best rate of climb speed to the trimmed level cruise speed. Pilot had never done trimmed 30 degree banks to show hands-off stability in such a bank. Pilot had never been shown the 1 to 1 relationship a C-150 has between a full turn of trim and every 10 degrees of flap at approach power (1500 rpm). Pilot had never been shown that C-150 can be landed with power remaining at 1500 through touchdown. A potentially good pilot doing all the work and not using the engineered aircraft properties to make things easier.

147. Have started flying with student who has 50 hours of instructional time and two solo flights. Student very weak in many areas. Learning and instruction weak as far as runway and geographic orientation. L/I not evident as trim flaps and airspeed control. Student has no parameters for trim movement effects on airspeed. Airspeeds given as 10 knot ranges of acceptability. Student has been twice to local airports. Never made a course reversal. Very poor understanding of ground reference. Unable steep turns, level turns. All banks at 20 degrees or less. Student has been terrified into fears that have little relationship to reality. Unable to detect carburetor ice. Unable to hold yoke correctly when taxiing. Unable to make go-around in safe manner. Unable to safely correct being low/high on final. Afraid of the ground. On and on and on. Pupils do not fail; teachers do.

148. Getting ready to solo student. Ready for takeoff. Make clearing turn of runway and apply takeoff power. Slapping noise on student's side of aircraft. I pull power and abort takeoff while contacting tower. We cross holding bars and I have student open door to check outside of aircraft. Nothing. We taxi back to runup area and I get out and make exterior check of everything behind the engine. I point out to student that the end of his seat belt is long enough to hang out the door and make the noise. We agree that the seat belt might have been out and went inside the first time he opened the door. I get back in and we once again takeoff. This time a more metallic noise is on my side of the aircraft. Once again we abort and return to the runup area. As I open the door I note that my shoulder harness is not attached to my seatbelt. It is hanging out my door. For the third time we depart, successfully.

149. Am taking student on short flight CCR to OAK as prelude to her making the flight solo. Visibility excellent as far as Orinda. Haze makes Oakland airport barely visible as we reach Grizzly Peak. Without her being aware she makes 15 degree left turn. I ask if she can still see the peninsula by OAK. She can't. I point out her 15 degree turn and have her come back to 180. Now she sees the airport through the haze. Again, very slowly she starts a turn to the right. Again she loses the airport in the haze. I put her back on 180 and the airport reappears. Lesson: In low visibility conditions your heading may be more important than checkpoints.

150. Student to solo CCR to Rio Vista. I had made flight with student previous late afternoon and had not soloed him because of approaching darkness. I had reviewed with him light requirements and light switch positions as well as need for flash lights at dusk. Flight takes .8 hour per round trip. Flew with student to Rio Vista with no problem and returned to base of tower 1/2 hour before sunset. Got out of plane but forgot to have student turn on nav lights. Student is very deliberate in use of checklists and flight preparation so sits at base of tower for several minutes before taxi. For some reason taxis to 19R for takeoff. After delay requests left turn on course Rio Vista. I'm in tower and controller queries me as to left turn requirement. Controller is experienced but relatively new at CCR. .8 hours later 07U calls up for left base to right runway. Left runway is closed because of shorted-out lighting. One aircraft on VOR approach, 3 aircraft in right traffic touch-and-go patterns, one aircraft making left downwind arrival. ATC busy.

My student reports 2 mile base but not in sight of ATC and told to report 1 mile base. Sighted by me and ATC and told to widen to the right to follow traffic on final. IFR traffic told to overfly left runway at 1500'. This aircraft has very large and bright landing light. 07U does not widen to right. ATC again advises 07U to turn right to follow and asked if traffic is in sight. 07U does not widen to the right. (Student concerned about IFR traffic because a right turn would be directly toward that aircraft. Student unaware of significance of altitude restriction and route to this aircraft by ATC.) Student again told to widen to right but fails to comply so ATC gives command to make climbing left turn to proceed eastbound.

Aircraft on right downwind given 360 for spacing. 07U proceeds east out past abandoned airport. Is turned on wide downwind and wide base by ATC. Meanwhile, IFR aircraft executes missed, one or two aircraft do touch-and-gos and the inbound to left downwind circles abandoned airport. ATC confuses numbers of two aircraft and gives contradictory instructions only to catch error and apologize. Unidentified apparently NORDO aircraft appears over approach end of 14L and makes climbing left turn. Very confused situation finally gets sorted out and 07U makes long final approach to 19R and good landing. It's dark. Enough blame for everyone. ATC admitted failure to advise and clarify to student of IFR aircraft restrictions. Student at fault not following ATC instructions and not advising ATC of why he was failing to comply. Instructor at fault not allowing enough extra time for student to proceed at deliberate comfort pace for making flight in daylight. In hindsight, there are several ways the problem could have been more easily resolved if student had properly communicated his concerns.

151. Second student solo at CCR. Student departs 19R for right traffic. On his departure tower begins changing all arrivals and local pattern traffic into 32 R-L traffic. Student proceeds right downwind on 19R and is advised to make right turn across airport for downwind 32R. No response from student who continues on downwind. Student again advised to make right turn for downwind on 32R. No response. Several attempts to contact student by ATC without success. About two miles from airport student turns downwind for 32. When abeam 32 numbers student is cleared for the option and student responds and makes two touch-and gos and a full stop.

Instructor is in tower during all of the preceding and is as bewildered as ATC. Departs tower and meets student on ramp. Listens to tape of student and verifies that no ATC communications were coming through the radio as were none of the student's efforts to request clearance until abeam numbers on 32R. Takes tape up to tower and plays both to tower chief and controller involved. Remarkable student flight under such conditions.

S. F. Chronicle, Wednesday, October 28, 1992 (Picture caption)
152. A single-engine Cessna airplane on the way from Livermore to Hayward ran out of fuel and landed safely on Interstate 580 near the Center Street Overpass in Castro Valley yesterday afternoon. The plane touched down in the westbound landed and came to rest in the center divider about 3:20 p.m. The California Highway Patrol initially cleared the pilot, 66 year-old Burl Burris of San Leandro, to gas up and fly off, but the Federal Aviation Administration rejected the idea, a CHP spokesman said. Instead the plane was pushed to a nearby commuter parking lot, from where it will have to trucked away.

153. Observed pilot making right downwind to Rio Vista for 25 when 12 kt wind favored runway 7. Advised from ground but pilot proceeded anyway with no apparent problem. We departed Rio Vista in Piper 9665K. Using checklist for start pilot tuned boost pump on and immediately off. I questioned his turning it off and not checking pressure. He said that he had visually checked pressure and that I was making him nervous.

We started engine with pump on. Pilot did not lean after start or while taxiing. Instructor did. At runup instructor had to enrich mixture. Just prior to taking runway pilot switched tanks. Instructor suggested remaining on present tank because of takeoff/landing hazards associated with tank changes on takeoff and pattern altitudes. Departed runway 7 and pilot initiated right downwind turn until advised that the pattern was to the left.

155. Pilot had flown from CCR at 1000' "so he could see ground" but had complained about the limited visibility. On departing Rio Vista, Instructor suggested 1500' and then 3000' for return. Pilot apparently unaware of VFR visibility FARs in a practical application. At 3000' Mt. Diablo became clearly visible as was the ground. Pilot chose to fly direct to CCR VOR until advised that this, under marginal weather conditions, was like playing in the middle of an IFR freeway. Pilot then chose to report over West Pittsburg although we were at least 3 miles east of that position. ATC advised of traffic NE bound. Pilot made turn toward Willow Pass which would have put us directly in the path of the outbound traffic. Instructor took over aircraft. Instructor proceeded west bound to CCR ammo dump thence to abandoned airport and base entry to 32.

156. A month or so prior to this flight I observed this pilot pushing 56K by the spinner. I tried to correct his procedure by recommending pushing on the propeller close to the hub. He indicated that he had been instructed never to touch the propeller. Conclusion: A very inadequate PA 28 checkout is being given or, the pilot is essentially incompetent but lucky to have survived. Gene Whitt is picky. 11-18-03 I gave another pilot a required club 6-month checkride,  Took
1.5 hours during the preflight to fill in all the knowledge blanks he had in preflighting PA-28.  

157. On an overcast day, I was trying to find a safe area to do the airwork required for an aircraft checkout. I contacted Napa and they gave me clearance to do the work in the upper 1000' of their Class D airspace. We were the only legal aircraft in a space 1000' by 8 miles in diameter. By monitoring Napa's frequency we would know of any legal aircraft. It was like having your own private sand box.

158. A typical example of a need for situational awareness occurred when a student and I made our call-up to CCR from Clayton requesting a right base to 32R. Immediately afterwards another aircraft called in from the W. Pittsburg area also requesting a base entry. I suggested that the student change our request to a straight-in entry. This would not affect our time of flight but would provide a more safe arrival. Draw it out so you can see several reasons why this is so.

159. Student late so instructor pre-flighted C-150. Found right fuel tank cap cross-threaded so that rear was tilted up 1/4 inch. Had already called for fuel because right tank was reading empty and left was less than 1/4 full. Plane has flown 1.2 hours. Notes problem to line crew chief and club maintenance.

160. After nine continuous days of rain had scheduled flight with student. His preflight showed red fuel in right tank. Fuel looked funny but no distinctive line to indicate water/gas mix. Poured on to dry part of ramp. Water! Red algae had formed. At first looked like 80/87 gas. Checked fuel cap. (Same aircraft as previous item (159) Right cap again cross-threaded only the front is cocked up. Over one gallon of water.

161. Radar advisories for over-flight of military air base with all heavy transports.(Travis) Level at 3500' southbound headed mid field. Several heavies in pattern. KC-10 does go-around and climbs in left traffic. ATC asks if we see KC-10. We admit visual contact. ATC gives no further mention of KC-10 as it turns crosswind and then downwind at 4000' in front of us. Advise ATC that we were making 360 for wake turbulence avoidance. On resuming original course hit residue of KC-10 wake turbulence. No problem! That weekend visited RAPCON and talked to supervisor. Advised that 'book' placed all responsibility on VFR pilots to see and avoid. Suspect that many pilots might not realize the full implications of establishing visual contact when VFR and getting radar advisories.
Some of the time it may be better not to 'see' traffic.

162. Many concerns are unspoken. The unspoken fear of every passenger is what do I do if something happens to the pilot. The pilot who fails to warn passengers of changes in sound, thumps and bumps before they happen is creating needless tension. Warn passengers that crosswind landings are done on one wheel. Flight operations where the ground and speed of the plane are apparent bothers some far more than does flight at higher altitudes. Flight in or near clouds give similar effects. The sensations that create pleasure in the pilot can worry the passenger.

163. While giving experienced pilots refresher training I will, without their knowing, put the fuel shut-off valve in the "off" position prior to pre-flight. I was quite surprised recently when the "off" position did not work and the pilot proceeded to the runup area. It may be a good idea to confirm the correct operation of this valve when you fly by checking it on the ground.

164. At what point is a G.A. tire not airworthy? Operations with low tire pressures do seen and unseen damage. You will not be held accountable until something happens.

165. Took pilot of 25 years experience up in 172. Unable to meet private pilot standards in any maneuver. Contended that he has never had problems holding airspeed in climbing turns, altitude in level turns, going to slow flight and performing turns etc. before. Very tense when nose rises to obstruct view over nose. Must be the instructor. Makes only short approaches to landings. Stays close to runway. Lands in three-point contact of wheels. Never does it when by himself, he says. Has habit of changing hands during maneuvers. Unusual twisted grips on yoke. Unusual? Tense!

166. Night flight last night was quite an experience...we preflight and discover the panel lights are out. (Check circuit breaker, look for loose connection, etc.) Go, no-go...I've got two red flashlights, one with a popsicle stick taped to it for a bite--a trick from my sailing days--so we decide to go--good exercise for cockpit crisis management we decide. After getting over my anxieties of the first couple of t&g's with no instrument lights I start to grease 'em--well, close anyway, so off we head for BLI 30nm away.

No problems, except nuisance of not having an instrument lit when I need a jaw was getting tired of holding the mini-light, so my instructor was wanding the panel with it. Get clearance to land 16, but immediately hear a commuter announce on visual for 34, about 3 miles behind us. So I bear off for a little more room to set up downwind, but when we are about at midfield report, ask tower to verify clearance for 16. Confirmed, we are looking back to try and find the commuter behind us, inbound straight. We announce base turn 16 and then see the commuter on short final 34. It clears active as we are about short final and all is well again. But--my question:

Is this a common occurrence to have an IFR approaching OPPOSITE when on final approach? Of course, the Horizon Air was much faster and did clear active before we were over the threshold but it was unsettling and I was planning a 360 just in case. What if commuter had to go-around? Does one trust the tower in a case like this? (We HAD confirmed clearance). My instructor said it was the closest opposed separation she has experienced.

So we do a few circuits at BLI, then off to a small airport in the San Juan Islands. Circle field (can't land due to noise abatement restriction) and head for home. Enter 45 for home field and try to activate runway response. Just now the little maglight goes dim, reach for spare and find that my flight bag has slid aft during the power-on-stall practice and can't be reached. So, here we are in the pattern, no panel lights and no runway lights! I ask her to call (squinting at the panel in the dark) altitude and airspeed as I set up to overfly with landing light on to determine threshold/centerline location for a go-around. Thank goodness I've paid attention to keypoint ref's for turns during daylight practice. Good old local knowledge. We are able to find runway, memorize ref's off ramp lights and go around for a landing. We come around a second time with her calling performance off the gauges she can barely see, and we manage to pick up the centerline and I make the best TD of the night--the gear just sighs onto the runway.

My instructor: "Doug, you've become a pilot! Did you know that? Do you feel like it? I see a lot of confidence here. You stayed cool and made good decisions. We could have diverted back to Anacortes if we had to, so we had options here...I just want to sleep." Well, needless to say, my confidence has gone up a notch or two. I now know I can still think when the situation is tight and appreciate your words on never reducing your options to one.
Gene says, "This flight should never have started and the worst thing possible happened. They got away with it."

167. Did all preflight planning with student. Got into C-150, started and taxied to runup area. Student did runup and when she pulled carburetor heat the engine died. I asked if she had done anything except pull C.H. I re-started the engine and pulled the C. H. only to have the engine almost die again. We taxied back to the ramp tiedown and I again killed the engine by only pulling C.H. She tied down while I went into maintenance. Preliminary opinion was that the flex hose from the heater muff to carburetor had collapsed. Next day I called maintenance only to find that the flex hose had a low area that had filled with water. Every time we pulled C.H. the water was sucked into the carburetor. Normally when the flex-hose is installed a small hole is made at the low point to remove any water that may be ingested through the C.H. cup in the nose cowling. For the lack of a hole the engine was lost.

Had a 'close encounter of the unpleasant kind' with a military KC-10 Friday. Actually it was two encounters with the same plane within 2-3 minutes. I was doing L/R 90s with student at southern edge of an Alert Area. Climbing KC-10 appeared to our right, lower, and in a right turn. I broke left in a 180 so never saw how close we came but it was close. Did a few more turns all the time looking for jet. Figured he was long-gone. Suddenly he was passing in front of us at our level. Close again. Horsed 172 into another 2-300 feet to clear wake turbulence. I figure the KC-10 made a large 360 on the first encounter and came back to see if I was still available. Sent in an ASRS report.

Had a student who had more than usual problem with Dutch rolls and use of the rudder. On one flight after about 30 hours of total time, the student entered some turbulence and indicated that he was going to let go of the yoke and use just the rudders. Helped student reduce turbulence. Student then indicated that he was using both feet on the rudders for the first time. Prior to this he had kept his feet off the rudders until he felt a need for rudder. I think if the instructor used a flashlight on the student's feet he might be able to detect such a situation sooner.

Went for a short flight with a CFI recently. Noticed some things about the flying that the CFI was doing without being aware. The yoke was gripped tightly in a twisted grip even when keying the yoke mike button. Before making the turn to crosswind I urged the pilot to let go of the yoke and use the rudder for the turn. Unwilling to let go and even then wanted to keep hand by the yoke. Being able to fly the trimmed plane hands-off is an important confidence maneuver for every pilot.  Last point of area was that every turn was preceded by considerable ducking and dodging of the head prior to the turn and even during the turn. This passed on to a student is going to make airspeed control difficult and can induce vertigo. Much better to lift a wing, take a look, say clear right/left and turn. What an instructor does unconsciously is passed on to the student.

Just yesterday I found a pilot who had been flying for 25 years who was uncertain as to how to determine his 45-downwind entry to a strange airport. He always flew around until he could ask for a straight in. He is finally willing to ask for help

Day before I found a pilot who did not understand the meaning of 'abeam'. For over 20 years he had heard the tower request him to report 'abeam' without understanding its meaning. Even more embarrassing is the fact that I taught him to fly.

Last week flew with still another long time pilot who after his call-up was told to report the 'civic-center'. He acknowledged that he would report the 'civic-center'. I asked him about the location and he said he had no idea. He was ashamed to let ATC know. Funny, I have found the more experienced a pilot, the more willing he is to admit what he doesn't know.

174. Observed pilot removing cover from aircraft and allowing it to lay on the ground. By the time I got there the pilot had straightened it out, and was proceeding to fold it very neatly on the ground. Pilot unaware that the
$300 cover was picking up grit and oil from asphalt. Inadequate checkout. Same checkout instructor-pilot has cost flying club thousands of dollars via inadequate checkouts.

175  01-17-04
Had a new Instructor learning experience the other day. Was working a student toward solo. On final landing I told him to ask for a short approach. Landing went well but the engine quit during roll-out. Student had gone to post-landing checklist too soon. He had pulled the mixture to lean on touchdown but had brought it all the way out.

I took over and let the aircraft roll clear of the runway. I advised tower that I would restart and contact ground.I once thought that I would fly long enough to have everything happen to me, seems not.

176 2-28-04
Had a pre solo student who on landings always seemed to have difficulty controlling the aircraft on the ground.  I kept advising him to keep the aircraft straight.  What I did not realize was that his impression of being straight consisted of being on the center line.  A brief discussion straightened out the problem.  What we has was a failure on the part of the instructor to communicate.

177 2-29-04
Same pre-solo student was having maintaining airspeed when making the recommended full-power corrections for being low on the approach.  His airspeed would vary wildly during the power application.  Stopped the landing practice session and departed the airport for an at-altitude session.

Instructor configured the aircraft in descent at approach speed in the full  range of flap configurations.  Beginning with no flaps student was told to add full power while maintaining approach speed.  It took several tries before he held it within my standard of + two knots.  Then we went to 10-degrees of flap and did the same procedure.  It went better sooner.  Then with 20 and 30 degrees of flap.  Each time the process improved more quickly.  It soon became apparent that less pitch change was required the more flaps applied.  Problem solved.

178 Air Show Arrivals
Last year (2003) was sequenced in a PA28-181 behind a Maul at Auburn, CA air show.. Think Maul was trying to prove a point. I had to S-turn for half a mile behind him to match his ground speed. We both made the same first exit. I got a "good job" comment from controller.

179 Gear-up on Purpose
Had CFI applicant on last ride before taking his checkride when Cessna single gear refused to lock but did cycle back and forth for a foot in the near locked condition. Tower gave us a 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision. No help from Cessna FBO as condition considered rare to unknown. Gear down but unlocked.
I knew that gear would lock and remain locked with weight of aircraft applied. We shut down electrical and I made the landing in an exceptionally nose high while applicant used pump to hold gear in position.

180 Stop the Prop?
Mooney handbooks have always indicated that a 20% improvement in glide could be derived by stopping the propeller. The wind-milling propeller causes flat-plate drag that the stopped propeller does not. I have always taught the benefits of stopping the propeller during at altitude engine failures regardless of type aircraft. A non-battery start of a C-150 can be achieved if you dive to 120 mph.

181 The Other Partial Panel
Been there, done that. Little known item is that ATC cannot legally inform you of an airport with unreported weather or so I have been told. Years ago a series of circumstances resulted in two fatalities when ATC could not or would not tell pilot of VFR airport within twenty miles on a mountain top above the clouds. Crash occurred near Travis AFB, CA. Airport was Angwin, CA. I teach all my students how to find and use Angwin.

182 Too Low to Go
I teach and have flown zero-zero takeoffs. However, I question Pat Veillette’s use of the turn coordinator to maintain runway and climb headings. I have always found the heading indicator which has its final setting when lined up on the runway center line to be a preferable choice. My reasoning is based upon instrument location, primary instruments always have the numbers, sensitivity and interpretation

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