While surfing through the Pilots of America forum I stumbled on a great post. Ted D got this one started following a post about a PA32 crash near IRK.
discussion came up that, as pilots, we should talk more about experiences when
we broke the accident chain. I thought it would be best in the "Lessons Learned"
section since some people might be more comfortable posting
Too often, we read about NTSB reports and talk about what we
would have done differently. However, that's looking at a situation where the
worst has happened. The reality is, that could happen to any of us. While there
are varying causes, I suspect that part of it is a typical unwillingness by
pilots to deviate from a plan because we tend to want to stick to our plan.
After all, the chances are that it will be fine. This part is true. But we also
know that very few people in NTSB reports got into a plane with the intent of
crashing, which means they were in the same shoes we are. I think if we talk
more openly about how we have broken the accident chain, maybe that will keep it
more in everyone's minds. So I'll start with a couple of experiences,
interestingly on the same trip.
I added my "Break the Chain" experience to the forum post.
My flight was a quick turn and burn, Wilmington (KILG) to first flight (KFFA),
just under 500 miles round trip. I wanted some flight time and my friend who
will fly my plane on occasion wanted to meet up with family on vacation. The
plan was to fly down with him and then fly my plane home since he was driving
back with them. The flight down was uneventful. We did the intros then I saddled
up for home.
This was back in August 2011, when there were TFR's for the
fires south of Virginia Beach and north of Elizabeth City, NC. I had enough fuel
on board for the round trip and after picking up my clearance I was heading
north. This was one of those trips, riding along fat dumb and happy listening to
some tunes while working with approach. I even managed a PIREP for Center when
they asked about the smoke.
I was checking my times as I headed north
dealing with headwinds. I actually used my AP (wing leveler) and ran through my
calcs once again. I figured on 10-12 gallons on board when landing at ILG. I
would be landing just after sunset and if there were problems I wanted more of a
safety factor in the tanks. I used the 496 to look up Georgetown's (KGED) hours
and they would be closed for fuel so I advised approach I would be diverting to
Salisbury (KSBY)for fuel. Approach asked if it was a fuel emergency or minimum
fuel, I responded neither, just being safe. I landed, took on enough to bring me
to tabs each tank (30 gallons) and launched for home. I enjoyed a great sunset
and a nice landing at ILG.
The potential accident chain:
Getting into to my magic hour of fuel.
2) Headwinds greater than planned.
3) My go-to fuel stop was closed.
4) Deciding to roll the dice and just
get home (get-there-it is).
5) Potential for fuel exhaustion and turning 08R into a glider at
I made the decision with 40 minutes left to get home to break the
chain at 4 and divert for fuel. Tempting maybe for some to continue since the
preferred fuel stop was closed but that little voice in my head didn't want to
be a statistic. (First Flight and Home)
What's your break the chain experience??