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Student pilot on tow versus a blimp



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 15th 21, 09:25 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
kenward1000
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Posts: 18
Default Student pilot on tow versus a blimp

Thought about this event recently. Beautiful fall Sunday afternoon in '89, Fremont, CA. I'd earned solo privs for a SGS 2-33, building up time towards the flight test. The 49ers were playing at home, someone is flying passengers around the SF Bay in an ex-Fuji blimp. I hear it's not cheap. Went to 'Sky Soaring' for a tow. This was after Brett Willat closed 'Sky Sailing' and moved to SoCal. The crusty boss, Kevin Geffen (ex-Navy instructor), said to me "Listen up! If you see the blimp, don't you get anywhere near that damn thing! That pilot won't hesitate to call the FAA on your ass, then your flying days will be over!" Gulp. Yessir. The tow pilot was Pawwl from Texas. We took off around noon and headed for Lake Elizabeth. On the way, I saw the blimp coming at 10 oclock high. Waited for Pawwl to turn right, to avoid crossing the blimp's path; he didn't. Moved the 2-33 way to the left, requesting him to turn right; he didn't. I can picture it to this day, the blimp getting bigger and bigger in the canopy, otherwise not moving. Can see people, we're that close. No radio. I'm thinking mid-air, w/o a chute.
Started really yanking on the tow rope, trying desperately to get his attention. Whew, finally he turned right, we did a big 360 to let the blimp go by, proceeded to the lake. After landing, Pawwl came looking for me. He said "Dammit! All your jerking on the tow rope was screwing up my photographs! Do you know how hard it is to fly a tow plane with the stick between your knees, one arm braced AND operating a manual zoom camera?! Never do that again!!" Then he stomped off.
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  #2  
Old January 15th 21, 04:25 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tony[_7_]
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Posts: 27
Default Student pilot on tow versus a blimp

On Friday, January 15, 2021 at 3:25:51 AM UTC-5, kenward1000 wrote:
Thought about this event recently. Beautiful fall Sunday afternoon in '89, Fremont, CA. I'd earned solo privs for a SGS 2-33, building up time towards the flight test. The 49ers were playing at home, someone is flying passengers around the SF Bay in an ex-Fuji blimp. I hear it's not cheap. Went to 'Sky Soaring' for a tow. This was after Brett Willat closed 'Sky Sailing' and moved to SoCal. The crusty boss, Kevin Geffen (ex-Navy instructor), said to me "Listen up! If you see the blimp, don't you get anywhere near that damn thing! That pilot won't hesitate to call the FAA on your ass, then your flying days will be over!" Gulp. Yessir. The tow pilot was Pawwl from Texas. We took off around noon and headed for Lake Elizabeth. On the way, I saw the blimp coming at 10 oclock high. Waited for Pawwl to turn right, to avoid crossing the blimp's path; he didn't. Moved the 2-33 way to the left, requesting him to turn right; he didn't. I can picture it to this day, the blimp getting bigger and bigger in the canopy, otherwise not moving. Can see people, we're that close. No radio. I'm thinking mid-air, w/o a chute.
Started really yanking on the tow rope, trying desperately to get his attention. Whew, finally he turned right, we did a big 360 to let the blimp go by, proceeded to the lake. After landing, Pawwl came looking for me. He said "Dammit! All your jerking on the tow rope was screwing up my photographs! Do you know how hard it is to fly a tow plane with the stick between your knees, one arm braced AND operating a manual zoom camera?! Never do that again!!" Then he stomped off.

Well heck, you guys had the right-of-way!
  #3  
Old January 15th 21, 08:29 PM
Walt Connelly Walt Connelly is offline
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First recorded activity by AviationBanter: Aug 2010
Posts: 345
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenward1000 View Post
Thought about this event recently. Beautiful fall Sunday afternoon in '89, Fremont, CA. I'd earned solo privs for a SGS 2-33, building up time towards the flight test. The 49ers were playing at home, someone is flying passengers around the SF Bay in an ex-Fuji blimp. I hear it's not cheap. Went to 'Sky Soaring' for a tow. This was after Brett Willat closed 'Sky Sailing' and moved to SoCal. The crusty boss, Kevin Geffen (ex-Navy instructor), said to me "Listen up! If you see the blimp, don't you get anywhere near that damn thing! That pilot won't hesitate to call the FAA on your ass, then your flying days will be over!" Gulp. Yessir. The tow pilot was Pawwl from Texas. We took off around noon and headed for Lake Elizabeth. On the way, I saw the blimp coming at 10 oclock high. Waited for Pawwl to turn right, to avoid crossing the blimp's path; he didn't. Moved the 2-33 way to the left, requesting him to turn right; he didn't. I can picture it to this day, the blimp getting bigger and bigger in the canopy, otherwise not moving. Can see people, we're that close. No radio. I'm thinking mid-air, w/o a chute.
Started really yanking on the tow rope, trying desperately to get his attention. Whew, finally he turned right, we did a big 360 to let the blimp go by, proceeded to the lake. After landing, Pawwl came looking for me. He said "Dammit! All your jerking on the tow rope was screwing up my photographs! Do you know how hard it is to fly a tow plane with the stick between your knees, one arm braced AND operating a manual zoom camera?! Never do that again!!" Then he stomped off.
While the book says an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft, digression is always the better part of valor. A blimp is an engine driven aircraft and while not the most maneuverable bird in the sky it would seem that he should have given way to you on tow...BUT there is no guarantee that anyone is actually seeing the other aircraft so it is always prudent to see and avoid yourself. Your tow pilot was negligent (and quite stupid) in taking photographs while towing you and should have followed your signals. I've always assumed the other guy hasn't seen me and would take corrective action. Mistakes are ubiquitous, deadly at times.

Walt Connelly
Former tow pilot
Now happy helicopter pilot
  #4  
Old January 17th 21, 03:42 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
2G
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Posts: 1,350
Default Student pilot on tow versus a blimp

On Friday, January 15, 2021 at 4:27:57 PM UTC-8, Mark Mocho wrote:
Walt-

I believe it's "Discretion is the better part of valor."

"Digression" means to change the subject.

Oh, wait. This is RAS. Sorry, my bad.


§ 91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations.
(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

(c) In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.

(d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories -

(1) A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;

(2) A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

(3) An airship has the right-of-way over a powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.

  #5  
Old January 17th 21, 03:43 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
2G
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Posts: 1,350
Default Student pilot on tow versus a blimp

On Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 6:42:52 PM UTC-8, 2G wrote:
On Friday, January 15, 2021 at 4:27:57 PM UTC-8, Mark Mocho wrote:
Walt-

I believe it's "Discretion is the better part of valor."

"Digression" means to change the subject.

Oh, wait. This is RAS. Sorry, my bad.

§ 91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations.
(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

(c) In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.

(d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories -

(1) A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;

(2) A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

(3) An airship has the right-of-way over a powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.


Balloon
Balloon means a lighter-than-air aircraft that is not engine driven, and that sustains flight through the use of either gas buoyancy or an airborne heater.
  #6  
Old January 18th 21, 03:01 PM
Walt Connelly Walt Connelly is offline
Senior Member
 
First recorded activity by AviationBanter: Aug 2010
Posts: 345
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2G View Post
On Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 6:42:52 PM UTC-8, 2G wrote:
On Friday, January 15, 2021 at 4:27:57 PM UTC-8, Mark Mocho wrote:
Walt-

I believe it's "Discretion is the better part of valor."

"Digression" means to change the subject.

Oh, wait. This is RAS. Sorry, my bad.

§ 91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations.
(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

(c) In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.

(d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories -

(1) A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;

(2) A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

(3) An airship has the right-of-way over a powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.

However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.


Balloon
Balloon means a lighter-than-air aircraft that is not engine driven, and that sustains flight through the use of either gas buoyancy or an airborne heater.
Thank you my friend for correcting my mistake. While I am familiar with the proper wordage of the saying I believe I mangled the spelling so bad using notes to write my response, then cut and past to this forum that spell check decided I said something else. Interestingly though when you consider the fact that "digression" means a composition or speech that marks a temporary shift of subject, other than the fact that it refers to "speech" the word actually fits quite well as does "discretion." The temporary shift is what's important and to temporarily shift ones flight path is always a good idea. I have always told students that a midair should always be avoided.

Walt Connelly
Former Tow Pilot
Now Happy Helicopter Pilot
  #7  
Old January 19th 21, 01:09 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Mark Mocho
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Posts: 46
Default Student pilot on tow versus a blimp

Walt-
Your convoluted explanation definitely qualifies you for a political career.
A word of advice- DON'T. You are too nice a guy to try to survive in the snakepit of politics.
 




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