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NTSB: USAF included?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 10th 03, 07:02 AM
Larry Dighera
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Default NTSB: USAF included?

On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 01:20:47 GMT, Dave Hyde wrote in
Message-Id: :

Larry Dighera wrote:

the NTSB report fails to find that the military pilot contributed
to the cause of this mishap despite his failure to see-and-avoid.
That is a glaring error of omission, IMNSHO.


And you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Still, in
this case, according to the evidence, the system on the A-7's
side worked as planned. What was unplanned was the glider pilot's
presence on a known (by 'the system') hot MTR.


In joint use airspace (and VMC), a military pilot in command must
always be aware of the possibility of conflicting traffic. By
regulation, a powered airplane does not have the right-of-way over a
glider.

The AIM points out the reduction in 'see-and-avoid' potential on MTR's,
and provides appropriate procedures for dealing with it.


I can readily understand the physics involved in such a "reduction" in
pilot ability so spot the frontal area of an inconspicuous (lights
out) fighter airplane traveling at ~500 knots. While the pilot of the
slow glider needs to scan for traffic throughout his field of view
(and beyond), the pilot moving at high-speed need only scan 10 degrees
in front of him to see potentially conflicting aircraft.

The glider pilot either willfully or ignorantly disregarded
these procedures.


Yes. The NTSB pointed that out in their accident report.

Is this the part of the Aeronautical Information Manual to which you
are referring?:

http://www1.faa.gov/ATPubs/AIM/Chap3/aim0305.html#3-5-2

3-5-2. Military Training Routes

f. Nonparticipating aircraft are not prohibited from flying within
an MTR; however, extreme vigilance should be exercised when
conducting flight through or near these routes. Pilots should
contact FSS's within 100 NM of a particular MTR to obtain current
information or route usage in their vicinity. Information
available includes times of scheduled activity, altitudes in use
on each route segment, and actual route width. Route width varies
for each MTR and can extend several miles on either side of the
charted MTR centerline. Route width information for IR and VR
MTR's is also available in the FLIP AP/1B along with additional
MTR (slow routes/air refueling routes) information. When
requesting MTR information, pilots should give the FSS their
position, route of flight, and destination in order to reduce
frequency congestion and permit the FSS specialist to identify the
MTR which could be a factor.


A quote from an article written by the
glider pilot and publised in the Naval Aviation safety
magazine, "Approach" (also listed as published in "Soaring
and Motorgliding", but I can't personally confirm that):
"In retrospect, the best thing I could have done when I saw the
A-7 would have been to immediately bank away. [...] An even
better thing would have been to avoid the low-level route."


Even better, would have been for the fighter pilot to give way to the
aircraft that had the right-of-way by virtue of the regulations both
pilots were duty bound to follow. One wonders why the A-7 radar
wasn't used to spot the glider in advance of the impact?

Also, "If the Navy A-7 pilot hadn't been flying heads-up, I don't
think I would have been writing this story."

And finally, "I no longer ignore the little grey [sic] lines
on my Sectionals."


I haven't read the account to which you refer, but it seems that Mr.
Garner failed to appreciate the regulations governing the situation.

The A-7 was where he was supposed to be,


Probably. But, I wouldn't characterize his (probable) speed as being
safe below 10,000'.


Safety is relative. Low-levels can be safe, but all of the players need
to cooperate to maximize safety. At what speed would an A-7 be safe?


Any action the military might take to make their aircraft operating on
MTRs more conspicuous would enhance safety. The use of radar aboard
the A-7 for collision avoidance seems obvious.

I have no idea if the system worked better in the year this mishap
occurred, but I doubt it; likely it was worse.


The system was working for the A-7 pilot, he activated the training
route through FSS. As far as I can tell, the glider pilot never
even attempted to ascertain the status of the MTR he was flying in.


That would appear negligent if it weren't for the fact that Mr. Garner
was flying a glider. That's an aircraft of a different category with
right-of-way over powered airplanes.

Don't get me wrong. A PIC needs to check all available information
before each flight to comply with regulations. But I fail to
understand how Mr. Garner's checking to see if the MTR was hot made
him responsible for the military pilot's failure to give way to, and
see and avoid the glider. And the NTSB's failure to mention the
military pilot's culpability on those two points tarnishes any
semblance of NTSB objectivity or professionalism.

Are you referring to the accounts in the NTSB report, or additional
published accounts? If the latter, can you provide copies of the
published accounts which you have summarized?


Hutcheson, LT K. C., "The Hop was Perfect...Except for the Midair",
'Approach, The Naval Aviation Safety Review', March 1988, pp10-11.


Unfortunately, that issue isn't available on-line. Approach Magazine
Online Issues (1999 to present):
http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/med...es/default.htm

Garner, Chip, "Perspective: An Unfortunate Way to Start the Season."
ibid(*), pp11-13.

(*) Listed as 'reprinted from Soaring and Motorgliding'


I wasn't able to find that on-line either.

I won't post the entire articles here, but I'd be happy to snail-mail
you copies. E-mail me with an address and I'll get them to you.


I'd be most interested in the information contained in those articles.
Here's my address:

Larry Dighera
PO Box 26768
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6768

Thank you very much for your kind offer.

If you have the full NTSB report we'll trade.


I don't, but it is available he

http://www.general-microfilm.com/
General Microfilm Inc.
P.O. BOX 2360
11141 Georgia Ave. Suite B-6 Silver Spring, Maryland 20902
Phone: (301) 929-8888
Fax: (301) 933-8676

http://www.ntsb.gov/Info/SOURCES.HTM


My only contentions are that the NTSB failed to fault the military
pilot for his failure to see-and-avoid and grant the glider
right-of-way as is required of all military pilots operating on MTR
routes in VMC.


My contention and the glider pilot's own admission is that the
glider pilot screwed away whatever chance he had of avoiding the
A-7 in the first place.


The responsibility to see-and-avoid is _each_ pilot's responsibility,
not just the civil pilot's. Why do you make it sound like it was
solely Mr. Garner's responsibility to avoid the military jet?

What's interesting but unstated by the NTSB is that the glider pilot
tried to recover damages from the Navy based exactly on the reason
you state. The Navy paid 1/2 of what the pilot requested. No reason
given, as well as no admission of a see-and-avoid error.


Would the Navy have paid damages if they were not at fault? I wonder
why the NTSB investigators failed to not the military's culpability.

No mention is made of action taken against the A-7 pilot.


As I understand it, the FAA is supposed to be made aware of the action
taken by the military in such cases. Perhaps that information is
available via a FOIA request.

The regs you posted were certainly interesting, but well known.


Perhaps you will address the right-of-way issue in this case.

The AIM descriptions of MTRs are certainly just as relevant


Not true. The Aviation Information Manual is not a regulatory
document, thus it is not "just as relevant" as FARs. The AIM is just
a summation of pertinent FAA orders and information for the
convenience of airmen. Enforcement action cannot be brought directly
from violating AIM sections, only regulations.

and probably worth a review.


I cited the only MTR reference I saw in the AIM. If the AIM contains
more MTR related information, I'd be interested in reviewing it.

Dave 'MARSA' Hyde


Thanks again for the information you contributed.

Ads
  #2  
Old July 10th 03, 09:11 PM
Dave Hyde
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Larry Dighera wrote:

I'd be most interested in the information contained in those articles.


They're on their way. I'll address your post in a day or so as well.

Dave 'Daytimer' Hyde

  #3  
Old July 12th 03, 01:27 AM
Dave Hyde
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Larry Dighera wrote:

I can readily understand the physics involved in such a "reduction" in
pilot ability so spot the frontal area of an inconspicuous (lights
out) fighter airplane traveling at ~500 knots.


In the example we are discussing, which airplane was flying with
no lights? Which one was flying at 500 knots? While an A-7 might push
500 on some legs of a low level it's not likely he was that fast
masking in the mountains. The glider pilot reported (how he knew
is not stated) that the A-7 was at 360 KIAS. Fast, but not that fast.
Back in the timeframe of this accident it's unlikely that you'd find
an A-7 on a low-level (intentionally) without lights, as well, day or
night. I hear that the Romulan cloaking device was inop too.

Even better, would have been for the fighter pilot to give way to the
aircraft that had the right-of-way by virtue of the regulations both
pilots were duty bound to follow.


You should read the supplemental info. *BOTH* pilots were _trying_ to
give way. You'll see that *neither* pilot was reported for failure
to see and avoid, but that the glider pilot was written up for his
decision(s) to loiter in the published, active, and reported active
MTR.

(and I think I'm duty-bound by the charter of the newsgroup to
report that an A-7E is not a "fighter" :-)

One wonders why the A-7 radar
wasn't used to spot the glider in advance of the impact?


How effective do you think the APQ-126 is at spotting
small fiberglass airplanes in ground clutter?
Hint: It's an air-to-ground radar. Would you rather
have a pilot heads-down staring at an ineffective radar display
or heads-up scanning for traffic?

The use of radar aboard the A-7 for collision avoidance seems obvious.


I don't think you know very much about the A-7 radar. Using
an ineffective radar for collision avoidance is neither as obvious
nor as smart as using a sectional and a phone/radio call to FSS
to avoid hot MTRs.

I'd be most interested in the information contained in those articles.


They're on their way.

Why do you make it sound like it was solely
Mr. Garner's responsibility to avoid the military jet?


Because I don't think ROW was the issue here.
Neither pilot failed to see the other. Neither pilot was
faulted for failure to see and avoid. The NTSB _has_ addressed
"the inherent limitations of the see and avoid concept of separation
of aircraft operating under visual flight rules" [...on MTRs], but
their conclusions are/were not to your statisfaction, I suspect.
One pilot used the system as it was intended and followed
procedures intended to prevent midairs - the other pilot
did not. I do not see right-of-way as a blanket absolution
and/or reason for chucking what I (and the NTSB, as reported)
see as the major causal factors in this mishap.

I cited the only MTR reference I saw in the AIM. If the AIM contains
more MTR related information, I'd be interested in reviewing it.


The section you posted was sufficient and clear in its intent.
Messing around in a hot MTR is risky. Do so at *your own* risk.

Dave 'Fox four' Hyde

  #5  
Old July 14th 03, 10:42 PM
Big John
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Tim

I've not seen any AF Contract School accidents investigated by NTSB.
If there was a GA aircraft involved with contract school aircraft,
NTBS would be part of the investigation.

Same goes for flying at the Air Force Academy. The Slingsby T-3A,
Firefly, aircraft suffered a high accident rate at the Academy (high
altitude field). Several cadets and instructors killed. All
investigated by Air Force. Birds were grounded and evaluated by a
detachment from Edwards and got a clean bill of health but due to
publicity, the training program was given to a Contract School flying
DA20-C1 Falcons.

23+ feet long
35+ wing span
125 HP

Big wing seems to have helped with accident rate and they, to date,
have performed excellently at Academy fields altitude.

Can't find syllabus on Internet but would guess they also took some of
the higher risk maneuvers out of program? It's only a screening
program (they get Private license) for entering Heavy Iron training
after graduation.

Big John
USAF (Ret)


On 14 Jul 2003 11:46:13 -0700, (Tim Witt)
wrote:

(lance smith) wrote in message . com...
Are USAF accidents included in NTSB accident reports/statistics? I'm
not talking about skunkworks or other secret stuff, but what about
cadet trainers?

Purely military accidents are not investigated by the NTSB--the
military investigates their own accidents. Accidents involving both a
military aircraft and a civilian aircraft will be investigated by both
the NTSB and the service involved. The military does not fly under
the auspices of Federal Aviation Regulations however their regulations
are similar and in some ways complement the FARS. Similarly,
government agencies that operate aircraft such as States or Federal
Agencies do not necessarily fall under the restrictions and
regulations of the FARS you and I have to comply with. They sometimes
will investigate their own accidents for internal consumption but
oftentimes they'll "let" the NTSB investigate as they may not have the
resources to do it (unlike the military.) Whether or not a particular
accident gets NTSB scrutiny depends in large part as to under what
authority the flight is conducted. The Air Force has contracted out
much of its "Cadet training" and these operations might be under Part
141 or Part 65 of the FARs which would mean the NTSB would get
involved.


  #6  
Old July 15th 03, 03:18 PM
Tim Witt
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Big John wrote:
I've not seen any AF Contract School accidents investigated by NTSB.
If there was a GA aircraft involved with contract school aircraft,
NTBS would be part of the investigation.

Big John,
The T-3A aircraft were military aircraft, owned by the USAF and
modified from the British version to the "unique" USAF specifications,
so their accidents would have been investigated by Air Force Safety
personnel. The T-3As were not civil certified aircraft. Who owns the
DA-20s? If Embry-Riddle owns them, they have to be civil certified
and so I would think that any accidents they have would be
investigated by the NTSB. If the USAF screening program results in
the award of a PPL, I would think the program has to follow FARs and
any resulting accidents would be investigated by the NTSB.

The whole T-3A fiasco has been a particularly sore subject with me as
I thought the entire premise for its procurement was bogus and it
turned out to be a huge waste of tax dollars (as well as a contributor
to a tragic loss of lives.)
Tim Witt
  #7  
Old July 15th 03, 07:42 PM
Big John
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Tim

On 15 Jul 2003 07:18:01 -0700, (Tim Witt)
wrote:

Big John wrote:
I've not seen any AF Contract School accidents investigated by NTSB.
If there was a GA aircraft involved with contract school aircraft,
NTBS would be part of the investigation.

Big John,
The T-3A aircraft were military aircraft, owned by the USAF and
modified from the British version to the "unique" USAF specifications,
so their accidents would have been investigated by Air Force Safety
personnel. The T-3As were not civil certified aircraft.


Right. I gave a short version just to outline the subject. Probably
should have gone more into the detail you covered?

Who owns the DA-20s?


Government, AFA or USAF, leased 35 of the DA20-C1 aircraft and renamed
them "Falcon" vs the civilian name 'Eclipse'.

Since they are leased to AF, they will be handled like any AF aircraft
in event of an accident even though flown by a civilian contract
pilot.

E-R pilots will give instruction IAW FAA rules for both air and ground
training with an AF overlay of classic military operations and
progress check flights by AF Pilots.

Couldn't find a photo of any of the birds at AFA in my brief search
but found that two birds were delivered to the USNA for the same type
of program (run by Navy Pilots) and they had the 'N' number on them vs
military number and text id. Was a arrival photo so may have been
repainted to Navy specs at school?


If Embry-Riddle owns them, they have to be civil certified
and so I would think that any accidents they have would be
investigated by the NTSB. If the USAF screening program results in
the award of a PPL, I would think the program has to follow FARs and
any resulting accidents would be investigated by the NTSB.

The whole T-3A fiasco has been a particularly sore subject with me as
I thought the entire premise for its procurement was bogus and it
turned out to be a huge waste of tax dollars (as well as a contributor
to a tragic loss of lives.)


Remember there was some political association with the T-3A. Can't
remember what it was now, but lots of hot air going around (and
aircraft mod to US standards, delay, delay, etc.)????

Who is getting the birds? I heard but can't remember. Think they will
be used for some proficiency flying some place? They are owned and
paid for and we need to get some value out of them vs dumping for a
song to some shyster who will turn and make a fortune reselling them.

Were you involved in procurement of the T-3A?

Looks like the storm missed us here in Houston ) No wind and just
moderate rain. Less than from one of our normal summer thunderstorms.
Wx will be OK for GA flying by tomorrow )

Fly safe

Big John
  #8  
Old July 16th 03, 10:42 PM
Tim Witt
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Were you involved in procurement of the T-3A?
Big John


No, but I am active duty Air Force and I have always had issues with
General McPeak's rationale for buying the T-3A. I used to see them
parked at Hondo for months/years while the USAF decided what to do
with them. It always seemed to me a colossal waste. Millions of
dollars spent for no good reason and no one ever held to account for
ramrodding this aquisition through. I never did hear what decision was
made but I would be very surprised if they got sold to the civilian
sector as anything but cut-up fuselages and engine parts for a return
of pennies on the dollar to the taxpayer.

Tim Witt
  #9  
Old July 21st 03, 09:00 PM
Larry Dighera
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For others following this message thread, here are the stories written
by the pilots involved:



March 1988
The Naval Aviation Safety Review (pp 11-13)
US Navy

Approach looks at low-level flying

The Hop Was Perfect ... Except for the Midair
By Lt. K. C. Hutcheson

What a great day to go flying! It was a beautiful sunday afternoon in
southern California. My trusty Corsair and I were returning home from
a good cross-country weekend. Fighertown base ops was accommodating
as usual. Being an infamous cross-country pilot, I began checking
every preflight planning block.

I planned to fly a local low-leval training route that would take me
on a scenic tour of southern California, then fly back home. This had
all the makings of a great hop -- great weather, great airplane, great
countryside and flight time. The preflight, man-up and takeoff
confirmed my expectations, and the Flight Service Station even
answered my call when I checked in on the first point of the route, a
rare occurrence at best. It was, in fact, a beautiful day, hardly a
cloud in the sky. I was thoroughly enjoying myself as I approached my
next to last check point. The point was a mountain peak with ranger
tower on it, and as I arrived, I made a left turn to the last leg of
the route. As I was rolling out I saw him -- a glider just on the
other side of the ridge. He was pointed straight toward me as I was
rounding the peak.

A few seconds after spotting me, he must have realized that my turn
put us on a collision course and that I couldn't see him in his small
cross-section sailplane. He dropped his nose and right wing to show
me some planform and to try to get away.

My entire body was filled with terror when I saw nothing but glider in
my windscreen as I pulled back on the stick while screaming into my
mask. It was only a moment before we collided, but I found it was
plenty of time to ponder my autobiography from birth to my sudden new
interest in purchasing some rural real estate. I thought I was in the
archives for a second there, and my dreamy Sunday afternoon had
violently become a nightmare.

The next few moments were filled shouting every expletive known to
mankind until I realized that I had actually survived a head-on midair
and my combat proven Corsair was still flying. I knew that I hit the
left wing of the glider but wasn't exactly sure where he contacted my
aircraft. My new vibrations felt and sounded like airframe
vibrations, and I thought that perhaps I had pulled up enough to only
get a glancing blow to the bottom of the corsair. My mind was filled
with visions of the glider pilot and what happened to his frail
aircraft. I looked over my shoulder for him but saw nothing. I
thought the impact certainly must have ripped his wing off at the root
and he was spiraling down into the mountainside. We're talking some
high anxiety here!

I figured there was nothing I could do for him now anyway, so I
started climbing toward Miramar only 30 - 40 miles away. I finally
began to settle down and told Approach what happened. I reviewed the
structural damage part of the NATOPS Pocked Checklist to make sure I
wasn't forgetting anything as I proceeded overhead for my dirty-up and
controllability checks. A visual check by an airborne Tomcat
confirmed that my control surfaces weren't damaged and the Corsair was
controllable in the landing configuration. I hadn't experienced any
engine instrument fluctuations, but when I added some power to stop my
deceleration, the engine sounded like a box of rocks, shaken
vigorously. Good deal, I made a precautionary approach to a field
arrestment.

Upon shutdown, the engine made all sorts of clickety-clackety noises,
and when I climbed out of the cockpit, I could see where the glider
had hit. There was a jagged hole about the size of a football in the
intake with fiberglass wing fiber packed in it. You could also see
white scraped paint streaks swirling down the intake and visible FOD
to the first stage blades. The tailpipe still had bits of fiberglass
from the glider wing in it. A runner from base ops came out to tell
me that the FAA called, and although losing 3 feet of his wing, the
glider pilot had landed safely.

Once again the big sky - little airplane theory had been disproven.
Anyone who has flown airplanes for any significant length of time has
had a close call with another aircraft, or *will* have one. I have
around 1,200 jet hours, and this was the third time I have seen a
small civilian aircraft without enough time to avoid it. Fortunately,
the other times I wasn't that close, and it just surprised me.

The amount of VFR traffic in the United States in becoming enormous,
especially in the southern California area. Two gliders or two light
aircraft flying at VFR altitudes are not too bad, but throw in a
military jet on a training route at 400 plus knots, and you have a
serious problem. Jets at that speed are incapable of "seeing and
avoiding" small cross-section targets, especially if they have no
crossing angles. Civilian pilots must become educated on the danger
to *them* of military training routes and where they are and hot to
find out if they are active or not.

This incident has reinforced another point to me that I have already
learned and generally live by, and that is preflight planning. On
many occasions I have found myself walking to an aircraft realizing
that there were a couple of more things I could have to better
prepare. Fortunately, for me, that wasn't the case on this flight. I
had made all the appropriate calls to schedule the route and read all
the route restrictions. Even as prepared as I was to go on a simple
hop on a beautiful day, near disaster struck. All that preflight
planning had absolutely no effect on the collision itself, but imagine
if I had be violating a published restriction due to ignorance and an
unprofessional approach to preflight planning. That would have made
standing in front of the big green table and answering very painful
and not too career-enhancing questions. Even something unrelated to
an actual mishap will come out in an investigation, and the finger
will be pointed at you if your performance has been less than
acceptable.

Every time you man up, you should be convinced that you have "checked
all the blocks" in your preflight planning. If your hop should turn
into a nightmare through no fault of your own, you will avoid a lot of
heat. Most importantly, it's the best to stack the safety odds in
your favor

Lt. Hutcheson flies A-7Es with VA27


-------------------------------------------

And for the glider pilot's viewpoint, we offer his story.

Perspective:

An Unfortunate Way to Start the Season
By Chip Garner

It was the first good soaring day that I had found last Spring. I
took off at Hemet-Ryan airport at about 1 p.m. and headed southeast.
The lift was good; I was able to work 5 to 6 knot thermals to about
9,000 feet MSL over the mountains. The terrain is at about 5,000 to
7,000 feet in this area and drops off spectacularly to the east to the
Anza-Borego Desert and the Salten Sea at 235 feet below sea level. My
radio quit after about 45 minutes of flying for some unknown reason.
The lift was weakening as I went south and I had no crew so I turned
back.

I headed north toward the Idyllwild area and was staying within easy
reach of Warner Springs Airport but couldn't find anything good. I
mosied along north and was looking for lift near Warner Springs in the
vicinity of, and about level with, the lookout tower five miles east
of the airport. I was flying into a canyon when I saw a military jet
come over the ridge headed on a long radius arching turn that would
obviously intersect with me. I initiated a right turn and started
nosing down, but the jet was coming on very fast. I did not want to
bank too far because I was very aware that banking would increase my
collision cross section from the jet, so I compromised and banked
somewhat. I kept hoping that the jet would straighten out and miss me
by several hundred feet or more, but this opportunity was disappearing
with astonishing speed. I thought I was going to go through the large
circular object under his wing, which I thought was an engine and
later leaned was a drop-tank. At about this time the jet pilot
apparently saw me and pulled up. I continued to push down and started
to bring the left wing down (I had banked right to turn away) so it
would clear the jet. It looked like we would just clear, and I
thought I would probably have to report the near=miss.

About one to two seconds after the jet pulled up, there was a loud
bang and the glider shook, but did not yaw, as he went by. My radio
came back to life, and there was dust flying around in my cockpit. I
thought the loud bang had been from his wake at such close quarters,
but I immediately looked out and saw damage to my left wing. I then
looked down and felt some discomfort at the thought of bailing out (I
was at about 800 feet over steeply rising terrain) and initiated a
left turn toward Warner Springs Airport and toward more ground
clearance. The ship turned nicely, which was very pleasing and led me
to think that the damage must be minor. I was relieved not to see any
crashed jet aircraft in the valley.

Of course, I hit a great thermal a mile or so on the way toward Warner
Springs Airport. I started climbing and announced my predicament on
the radio, which caused a lot of commotion. I started thinking about
soaring the 40 miles back to Hemet as I got higher (I was within final
glide for 15-meter LS-4) and began wondering how to estimate my L/D.
I got some good advice on the radio. Curt Hawkins in sailplane side
number CJ and others pointed out politely that flying back to Hemet in
a damaged glider when Warner Springs was in easy reach was a dumb
idea, and offered to come get me. Jack Gravance in HL Suggested that
I check my dive brakes, gear, slow flight and control travel while I
had altitude. Bob Backer in 3S came in below me in the thermal and
reported that I had lost about a meter of my left wing and that there
was a piece hanging down.

I climbed a while and then flew a mile or two further out into the
valley and tried slow flight, faster flight, gear, diver brakes and
turns in both directions. I then dumped my altitude and entered a
left-hand pattern for the west-facing runway at Warner Springs.
Flying the pattern I noticed a large loss of L/D. I got scared as my
options narrowed on approach *I hadn't had time to get scared
earlier), but landing was easy and normal.


Postflight Analysis

I estimate that I had the jet in sight for five to 10 seconds and that
he saw me and pulled up about one to two seconds out. He was in an
A-7 traveling at 360 knots, terrain following on a low-level route,
and I was coming more or less head-on at about 60 to 65 knots. I
probably saw him first because I was headed directly toward the jet
when I first saw it and was headed nearly toward it the whole time,
presenting a very small visual cross section. If the Navy A-7 pilot
hadn't been flying heads-up, I don't think I would be writing this
story.

Private aircraft are allowed to fly in military low-leval training
routes but are discouraged from doing so. The rule is as always, see
and avoid. The Navy pilots I spoke to usually fly at either 360 or
450 knots, and the routes are between 200 and 1,500 feet AGL and
usually extend to nm on either side of the centerline mark (as little
grey lines) on the Sectionals. Judging from my experience, if you are
lucky and happen to be looking in the right place at the right time,
you might see, but do not have time to avoid. In retrospect, the best
thing I could have done when I saw the A-7 would have been to
immediately bank away to show him as much wing area as possible, and
to hope he saw me in time. (An even better thing would have been to
avoid the low-level route.) The difference in maneuverability between
an A-7 and an LS-4A is awesome. Turning away would have required
relinquishing the illusion of control I had over the situation and
would probably have caused me to loose [sic] sight of the jet under my
belly, which is why I did not.


Aftermath

The aftermath of this incident was in some way more traumatic than the
collision itself. (Although I have subsequently taken an occasional
extremely fast, hard look at a speck on my canopy.) When I landed, I
got a call from the Navy spokesman, who informed me that the jet I had
collided with was a singel-engine a07 and that the pilot had landed
safely at Miramar. He had had trouble of his own swallowing my tip
down his engine (I think it nearly choked on the aileron hinges) and
could not come back for a look; he was certain he had killed me. The
sheriff and the fire department showed up and wanted reports, and I
also got a call from the FAA, who also wanted a report . A TV station
from San Diego showed up (also wanting reports), and some friends from
Hemet appeared and rescued me and my 14 meter LS-4a. About a meter of
wing was gone, and the aileron was gone for another 1/2 meter and was
split at the trailing edge.

The following week I cooperated with four separate investigations by
the NTSB, the FAA and both a legal and safety investigation by the
Navy. I also had to explain things to my partner, Stan Foat, and
spent a lot of time on the phone trying to find an LS-4 wing.

Alen Bikle rebuilt our wing tip, and we ordered a new aileron from
Germany and were flying again in June. We collected some
reimbursement (half of what my partner and I asked for) from the Navy,
contending that gliders have the right of way even in low-level
routes. The navy people were very straightforward, and I enjoyed
dealing with them -- I did not encounter the bureaucratic ineptitude
that I expected.

I no longer ignore the little grey lines on my Sectionals.

Reprinted from Soaring and Motorgliding.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's obvious the Navy felt culpable, and settled the matter. The
NTSB's failure to recognize the violation of regulations is
pathetically telling about their lack of objectivity.

The military pilot's statement, "...this was the third time I have
seen a small civilian aircraft without enough time to avoid it." is
first hand evidence that high-speed, low-level military operations as
currently regulated are unsafe, and should be curtailed.



On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 22:08:42 GMT, Larry Dighera
wrote in Message-Id: :

On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 00:27:02 GMT, Dave Hyde wrote in
Message-Id: :

Larry Dighera wrote:

I can readily understand the physics involved in such a "reduction" in
pilot ability so spot the frontal area of an inconspicuous (lights
out) fighter airplane traveling at ~500 knots.


In the example we are discussing, which airplane was flying with
no lights? Which one was flying at 500 knots? While an A-7 might push
500 on some legs of a low level it's not likely he was that fast
masking in the mountains. The glider pilot reported (how he knew
is not stated) that the A-7 was at 360 KIAS. Fast, but not that fast.


350 KIAS is about **44%** faster than the FAA/CAA felt was a safe
speed below 10,000' for mere (civil) mortals (FAR Sec. 91.117).

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/a-7.htm
The A-7's Max level speed at sea level is 600 knots.

Back in the timeframe of this accident it's unlikely that you'd find
an A-7 on a low-level (intentionally) without lights, as well, day or
night.


I was thinking that the Navy's prudent sense of AIR SAFETY might
prompt them to enhance the conspicuity of the A-7 while it's operating
44% faster than non-military aircraft below 10,000' amongst slow civil
aircraft.

http://www1.faa.gov/ATPubs/AIM/Chap4...03.html#4-3-23
§ 4-3-23. USE OF AIRCRAFT LIGHTS
c. The FAA has a voluntary pilot safety program, Operation Lights
On, to enhance the see-and-avoid concept. Pilots are encouraged to
turn on their landing lights during takeoff; i.e., either after
takeoff clearance has been received or when beginning takeoff
roll. Pilots are further encouraged to turn on their landing
lights when operating below 10,000 feet, day or night, especially
when operating within 10 miles of any airport, or in conditions of
reduced visibility and in areas where flocks of birds may be
expected, i.e., coastal areas, lake areas, around refuse dumps,
etc. Although turning on aircraft lights does enhance the
see-and-avoid concept, pilots should not become complacent about
keeping a sharp lookout for other aircraft. Not all aircraft are
equipped with lights, and some pilots may not have their lights
turned on. Aircraft manufacturer's recommendations for operation
of landing lights and electrical systems should be observed.


Is the A-7 even capable of displaying a landing light at that speed?
Aren't they tucked in the gear wells out of sight?

I hear that the Romulan cloaking device was inop too.


Untrue.

When an aircraft is on a collision course with your aircraft, it
presents its smallest silhouette (frontal area) to your view. At ~500
knots it is virtually physically impossible to visually spot it IN
TIME to maneuver out of its way. For this reason, I believe the
military should bear _exclusive_ responsibility for
see-and-avoid/seperation while operating under exemption from Federal
Aviation Regulation, at high-speed below 10,000' within the NAS, on or
off MTRs, except in time of actual combat.

It's simple logic. The military should be solely responsible for the
safety hazard their high-speed operations below 10,000' create.
Placing responsibility for separation on the civil aircraft operating
in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations is absurdly contrary
to the laws of physics, and woefully unjust.

Even better, would have been for the fighter pilot to give way to the
aircraft that had the right-of-way by virtue of the regulations both
pilots were duty bound to follow.


You should read the supplemental info.


Your mail had not yet arrived at my box when I checked on Monday.

*BOTH* pilots were _trying_ to give way.


That's my point. It's physically impossible to see-and-avoid at
high-speed.

Trying and failing cannot be construed as _complying_ with
see-and-avoid regulations.

You'll see that *neither* pilot was reported for failure
to see and avoid, but that the glider pilot was written up for his
decision(s) to loiter in the published, active, and reported active
MTR.


I don't see where the glider pilot was "written up for his decision(s)
to loiter in the published, active and reported active MTR":

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?e...13X33340&key=1
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable
cause(s) of this accident as follows:

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..IMPROPER.

IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION..IMPROPER.

CHECKLIST..POOR.

The truth is, the military pilot's actions weren't merely improper,
they were contrary to _regulations_, but the NTSB failed to mention
that.

Apparently you don't agree that MTR airspace is Joint Use. Civil
aircraft are not prohibited by regulations from flying within Military
Training Routes. It's Russian Roulette, but not prohibited.

AIM 3-5-2
2. (f) Nonparticipating aircraft are not prohibited from flying
within an MTR

The glider pilot did not violate any Federal Aviation Regulation
solely by operating within the active MTR, and the NTSB report didn't
find that he did.

(and I think I'm duty-bound by the charter of the newsgroup to
report that an A-7E is not a "fighter" :-)


I appreciate your insistence on accuracy.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/attack.htm
Attack aircraft, delivering air-to-ground munitions, are deployed
in force application and air control roles.

One wonders why the A-7 radar
wasn't used to spot the glider in advance of the impact?


How effective do you think the APQ-126 is at spotting
small fiberglass airplanes in ground clutter?
Hint: It's an air-to-ground radar.


I have no experience with on board military radar.

Would you rather have a pilot heads-down staring at an
ineffective radar display or heads-up scanning for traffic?


I would prefer that the military aircraft operating on MTRs employed
some technology to augment the pilot's ability to prevent colliding
with civil aircraft. Perhaps something like TCAS would less of an
anachronism for this purpose than the "Mark-1 Eyeball."

A study employing highly trained military pilots determined that
17-seconds out of every 20-seconds was required to scan for
conflicting traffic. That leaves only 3-seconds remaining out of
every 20-seconds for head-down instrument scan.

http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/sa15.pdf
"An experimental scan training course conducted with military
pilots found the average time needed to conduct the operations
essential to flying the airplane was 20 seconds – 17 seconds for
the outside scan, and three seconds for the panel scan. Without
the benefit of intensive military training, most pilots will need
more time than this. But as demonstrated by the military pilots,
considerably more time should be spent on the external scan than
the panel scan."


An aircraft traveling at 250 knots will travel ~1.4 NM in 20
seconds. If 20 seconds are required to visually detect conflicting
traffic, and one adds to that

* the additional time necessary to recognize the
(intentionally very inconspicuous) military attack traffic
as being on a conflicting course

* the time to make appropriate deconfliction control inputs

* the time it takes the aircraft to respond to those inputs
and maneuver out of harm's way

it becomes readily apparent that the PIC is tasked with the
impossibility of visually locating the conflicting aircraft
when it is much greater than 1.4 NM distant, or face disaster.

Of course, the pilot of a military aircraft operating on a MTR at ~500
knots will only have half the time given in that example. Further,
the above calculations do not take into consideration the speed of the
other aircraft, which may significantly increase _closing-speed_. The
physics involved realistically preclude visual separation of
high-speed military operations from reliably occurring, but currently
the FAA erroneously permits it, indeed mandates it by official
regulation.

Currently, a civil PIC is required to visually observe the tiny speck
offered by the minimal frontal profile of the military aircraft
operating on the MTR (traveling well in excess of 250 knots, and not
burning a landing light) at substantially (2 to 4 times) more than 1.4
NM distant to successfully avoid it.

I submit that the likelihood of a non-military trained pilot
accomplishing visual separation from military aircraft operating on
MTRs is effectively nil. Therefore, it would seem that the FAA is
failing to meet its responsibility to provide safe skies by permitting
high-speed low-level operation of military aircraft while relying on
physical calculations which indicate that see-and-avoid is physically
inadequate for separation of these aircraft in excess of 250 knots.

Perhaps it's time for a change:
http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFAR.nsf/0/c85fcc2b24fc2ead86256962005b584c!OpenDocument&High light=special%20use#_Section1

The use of radar aboard the A-7 for collision avoidance seems obvious.


I don't think you know very much about the A-7 radar.


Agreed. I'm just attempting to provide constructive suggestions for
adequate flight safety. Perhaps someone with your experience would be
more successful in suggesting more reasonable safety measures.

Using an ineffective radar for collision avoidance is neither as obvious
nor as smart as using a sectional and a phone/radio call to FSS
to avoid hot MTRs.


I don't think you have much experience in attempting to obtain MTR
information from FSS:

http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsite...00-4-066x.html
AOPA's Vice President for Air Traffic Melissa Bailey noted that it
is difficult for pilots to obtain information about activity on
MTRs. "We've been pushing FAA and the military for years to make
real-time information on military flight activities available to
civilian pilots."

I'd be most interested in the information contained in those articles.


They're on their way.


Many thanks for your kindness in sending that information. When I
have read it, I'll provide my comments.

Why do you make it sound like it was solely
Mr. Garner's responsibility to avoid the military jet?


Because I don't think ROW was the issue here.


I would be most appreciative of your divulging your thought process
that lead you to that conclusion. It seems erroneous to me.

Neither pilot failed to see the other.


That has nothing to do with right-of-way.

Neither pilot was faulted for failure to see and avoid.


NTSB's omission was in error.

The NTSB _has_ addressed "the inherent limitations of the see and avoid
concept of separation of aircraft operating under visual flight rules"
[...on MTRs], but their conclusions are/were not to your statisfaction,
I suspect.


That has nothing to do with right-of-way either. The aircraft were of
differing Categories. The USAF and FAA regulations concur,
(civil) gliders have right-of-way over powered (military) aircraft in
peacetime.

One pilot used the system as it was intended and followed
procedures intended to prevent midairs


The military pilot failed to comply with:

FAR Sec. 91.113 (d)(2) Right-of-way rules
"A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, airplane, or
rotorcraft"

FAR Sec. 91.13(a) Careless or reckless operation"
"No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless
manner so as to endanger the life or property of another."

FAR Sec. 91.111 Operating near other aircraft.
"(a) No person may operate an aircraft so close to another
aircraft as to create a collision hazard."

And, though authorized:

FAR Sec. 91.117 Aircraft speed.
"(a) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no person
may operate an aircraft below 10,000 feet MSL at an indicated
airspeed of more than 250 knots (288 m.p.h.)."

(I am aware that military pilots are required to follow AFI11-202. As
I am familiar with FARs, I quote them. AFI11-202 parallels FARs in
these areas.)*

- the other pilot did not.


While the glider pilot may not have ATTEMPTED to ascertain the current
status of all the MTRs within 100-miles of his route, _regulations_
would NOT have prevented him from operating within the MTR structure.

I do not see right-of-way as a blanket absolution
and/or reason for chucking what I (and the NTSB, as reported)
see as the major causal factors in this mishap.


Obviously there are more contributory factors to this mishap than the
military pilot's failure to comply with FAR Sec. 91.113 (d)(2)
Right-of-way rules. But it would seem to be fundamental. And the
NTSB's failure to note it implies that it is either superseded in this
case by other regulations, an error of omission by NTSB, or deliberate
NTSB bias.

The bottom line is, that the FAA has failed to provide air safety by
granting military MTR operation as it is currently regulated, IMNSHO.






* http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/searc...I11-202&page=2

22 AFI11-202V3 6 JUNE 2003

5.5. Right-of-Way Rules . Usually, right-of-way is given to the
aircraft least able to maneuver, which normally permits that
aircraft to maintain course and speed. However, visibility
permitting, each pilot must take whatever action is necessary to
avoid collision, regardless of who has the right-of-way. When
another aircraft has the right-of-way, the yielding aircraft must
not pass over, under, abeam, or ahead of the other aircraft until
well clear.

5.5.1. Distress . Aircraft in distress have the right-of-way over
all other air traffic.

5.5.2. Converging. When converging at approximately the same
altitude (except head-on or approximately so), the aircraft to the
other’s right has the right-of-way. Aircraft of different
categories have the right-of-way in the following order of
priority:

5.5.2.1. Balloons.

5.5.2.2. Gliders.

5.5.2.3. Aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft.

5.5.2.4. Airships.

5.5.2.5. Rotary or fixed-wing aircraft.

5.5.3. Approaching Head-On . If aircraft are approaching each
other head-on or approximately so, each shall alter course to the
right.

5.5.4. Overtaking Aircraft . An overtaken aircraft has the
right-of-way. The overtaking aircraft must alter course to the
right.


--space

Irrational beliefs ultimately lead to irrational acts.
-- Larry Dighera,
  #10  
Old September 10th 05, 07:34 AM
KenLarkin KenLarkin is offline
Junior Member
 
First recorded activity by AviationBanter: Sep 2005
Posts: 1
Thumbs up

[quote=Larry Dighera]For others following this message thread, here are the stories written
by the pilots involved:


http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/attack.htm
Attack aircraft, delivering air-to-ground munitions, are deployed
in force application and air control roles.

One wonders why the A-7 radar
wasn't used to spot the glider in advance of the impact?


How effective do you think the APQ-126 is at spotting
small fiberglass airplanes in ground clutter?
Hint: It's an air-to-ground radar.


I have no experience with on board military radar.

Would you rather have a pilot heads-down staring at an
ineffective radar display or heads-up scanning for traffic?


I would prefer that the military aircraft operating on MTRs employed
some technology to augment the pilot's ability to prevent colliding
with civil aircraft. Perhaps something like TCAS would less of an
anachronism for this purpose than the "Mark-1 Eyeball."

A study employing highly trained military pilots determined that
17-seconds out of every 20-seconds was required to scan for
conflicting traffic. That leaves only 3-seconds remaining out of
every 20-seconds for head-down instrument scan.

http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/sa15.pdf
"An experimental scan training course conducted with military
pilots found the average time needed to conduct the operations
essential to flying the airplane was 20 seconds – 17 seconds for
the outside scan, and three seconds for the panel scan. Without
the benefit of intensive military training, most pilots will need
more time than this. But as demonstrated by the military pilots,
considerably more time should be spent on the external scan than
the panel scan."


An aircraft traveling at 250 knots will travel ~1.4 NM in 20
seconds. If 20 seconds are required to visually detect conflicting
traffic, and one adds to that

* the additional time necessary to recognize the
(intentionally very inconspicuous) military attack traffic
as being on a conflicting course

* the time to make appropriate deconfliction control inputs

* the time it takes the aircraft to respond to those inputs
and maneuver out of harm's way

it becomes readily apparent that the PIC is tasked with the
impossibility of visually locating the conflicting aircraft
when it is much greater than 1.4 NM distant, or face disaster.

Of course, the pilot of a military aircraft operating on a MTR at ~500
knots will only have half the time given in that example. Further,
the above calculations do not take into consideration the speed of the
other aircraft, which may significantly increase _closing-speed_. The
physics involved realistically preclude visual separation of
high-speed military operations from reliably occurring, but currently
the FAA erroneously permits it, indeed mandates it by official
regulation.

Currently, a civil PIC is required to visually observe the tiny speck
offered by the minimal frontal profile of the military aircraft
operating on the MTR (traveling well in excess of 250 knots, and not
burning a landing light) at substantially (2 to 4 times) more than 1.4
NM distant to successfully avoid it.

I submit that the likelihood of a non-military trained pilot
accomplishing visual separation from military aircraft operating on
MTRs is effectively nil. Therefore, it would seem that the FAA is
failing to meet its responsibility to provide safe skies by permitting
high-speed low-level operation of military aircraft while relying on
physical calculations which indicate that see-and-avoid is physically
inadequate for separation of these aircraft in excess of 250 knots.

Perhaps it's time for a change:
http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFAR.nsf/0/c85fcc2b24fc2ead86256962005b584c!OpenDocument&High light=special%20use#_Section1

The use of radar aboard the A-7 for collision avoidance seems obvious.


I don't think you know very much about the A-7 radar.


Agreed. I'm just attempting to provide constructive suggestions for
adequate flight safety. Perhaps someone with your experience would be
more successful in suggesting more reasonable safety measures.

Using an ineffective radar for collision avoidance is neither as obvious
nor as smart as using a sectional and a phone/radio call to FSS
to avoid hot MTRs.


I would like to shed some light on the capabilities of the A7E radar to help illuminate the discussion. I happen to know a great deal about A7E Radar, as well as its inertial navigation system, computer systems, Doppler radar, and weapons control systems since I was in charge of the Integrated Weapons System (IWT) shop at VA27 that had the responsibility of maintaining these systems on LT Hutcheson’s aircraft at the time of this incident.

The forward looking radar on the A7E has several modes of operation including terrain following, terrain avoidance, search, ground tracking of targets, and yes, navigation. But please keep in mind that it was 1950’s technology. If the radar detects a pending near-air collision, it is designed to provide a flashing break-X or other indicator in the pilot’s heads-up display system and loud audible alarms in his headset, so your question that “Would you rather have a pilot heads-down staring at an ineffective radar display or heads-up scanning for traffic?” may not be applicable.

I do not know what happened on this occasion. I do know that if the pilot had received any warning from the system, it would have been recorded on the flight recorder and presented to the investigating authorities. That leads me to suspect that this situation was instantaneous and immediate. I know that sounds like a redundancy, but I am trying to convey that this happened so rapidly that “no one” had any possibility to react.

I know a great deal about aircraft, but I know nothing about being a pilot. Unlike you folks, I don’t know anything about flight rules, or plans, or regulations. One thing I do know, however, is that flying is inherently dangerous and sometimes there may simply be no “right or wrong” in a situation.

I believe that it may be possible that the A7E (which is a “light attack” aircraft and not a fighter, of course) and the glider could have both acted entirely appropriately within the conditions they were presented, and yet still collided. I don’t know the actual conditions, and from what I read, you really don’t either. Some things can be over analyzed.

I DO know the nature, character, and training of LT Hutcheson, however, and I know the thoroughness with which the Navy deals with aviation accidents. Both are outstanding. I also know that there were no instrumentation alerts recorded either before or after the collision.

Thank you for your time and courtesy, and I apologize for entering into a conversation beyond my depth.

K. J. Larkin
 




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