Page 14 - Nov/Dec 18 MMOPA
P. 14

 Figure 3
I had an opportunity to work as an expert witness on a fatal accident trial that focused on pilot negligence. One of the plaintiff’s arguments centered on pilot negligence because the aircraft was about 10 pounds over the maximum landing weight at the time of the accident. Although not causal, it bears out the importance of respecting the POH limits.
The LODC on landing is normally a low-power, lighter- weight scenario and is understandably less lethal. The single fatality involved an expedited return combined with a stall/spin. The remaining 35 instances resulted in few injuries but lots of damage (read insurance). Your MMOPA Safety Committee introduced “Operational Practices”
at the convention in the hopes of reducing the variances we see in day-to-day operations. One of the standout
areas involves the “stabilized approach.” This somewhat mysterious maneuver involves approaching a runway at the correct speed without large or rapid changes in pitch, power or airspeed. Those who arrive unstabilized, too fast and at or near the crosswind limits are destined to join the less fortunate.
Pilot Distraction & High-Stress Flights
Most of you cannot fathom a situation where a pilot
was SO distracted he or she forgot to lower the gear. It happens more often than you think, and YOU are not immune. Family issues, primary emergencies and in-flight distractions can overwhelm the best of us. My research
shows several cases where a primary system issue (engine/gear/ electrical) or weather triggered the oversight. Electrical leads the way, backed up by the fear of a fire. The emergency gear extension would have worked in most
of these situations. Problem is, folks were
so distracted (and we can understand) that they either didn’t try or didn’t slow down enough and the nose gear didn’t lock. Jonathan Sisk, your MMOPA Ombudsman, manufactured some reminder stickers
that can be stuck on
the emergency gear extension knob as a last
chance reminder. If you’d like one, let Executive Director Dianne White know.
Gear-up landings and gear failures are not counted
as accidents unless they result in injury or aircraft structural damage. The redesigned engine mounts for the Mirage and Matrix have reduced the number of mount failures but they have not totally eliminated the problem, especially for aircraft that still have the old-style mounts or pilots who have not recognized the value of a stabilized approach (see above). Not solved: Towing issues. Try to supervise whenever possible.
Our monthly accident rate overview changed a bit, and it seems to be leveling. We still see a boost over
the summer/winter holidays when we use our fabulous machines for travel. These trips tend to be high stress as we strive to impress our relatives with the wonderfulness of GA. Of course, the weather during the holidays is usually hostile, which adds to the stress. Have your mechanic tune up your cold-weather systems and your instructor tune up your piloting skills.
Mechanical/Fuel Issues
The debate over engine reliability continues. We experience about one turbine issue per year; generally, a roll-back of some sort related to fuel control unit settings, low NG or temperature issues with the fuel/oil heat exchanger.

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