Home > VansAirForceForums

-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

Go Back   VAF Forums > Main > Safety
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-05-2020, 08:17 PM
ArlingtonRV ArlingtonRV is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Marysville, WA
Posts: 526
Default Similar, but Opposite Situation.

Well done.

I had a similar incident in my Air Force days, but I wasn't the pilot, I was the mechanic on the ground.

I worked Transient Alert at Bitburg AB, Germany in the late 80's/ early 90's. One of our responsibilities was to assist emergency response of non-base assigned aircraft, since we had more knowledge of them than the regular folks.

One day we got a call from the tower that there was in in-flight emergency (IFE) inbound, nature of the emergency unknown, aircraft type F-35. None of us had any idea what an F-35 was (previous century remember). We were pulling out Jane's big book, nothing. Finally we looked up and saw a bright yellow Bonanza pulling off the runway. I said "oh, F-35 Bonanza, OK".

Since I was the only one with any GA experience, and most of the guys were afraid of propellers, I was handed the job. I went out and parked him in front of the office. Our office was at the base of the tower, right next to the fire department, so it seemed like a good place.

About the time I got him parked the Security Police (SP) showed up wanting to ask him a few questions. He was still in the airplane fiddling with the controls. I got his attention and had him shut it down. As I secured the airplane (no wheel pants, so our usual chocks worked fine and I improvised with the ground wire) I asked what the problem was.

He said he could get full manifold pressure, but only about 1,800 RPM. I immediately figured it was the propeller governor. We went around to the front of the plane and sure enough, the governor case was cracked and leaking oil.

About this time the SPs were wanting to have a chat with the pilot. They asked a few questions and escorted him to base operations, which is directly above our office. About the only requirement put on him was that he had to be escorted at all times.

He was a ferry pilot ferrying a brand new Bonanza from the factory to the Lufthansa pilot school. He called Lufthansa and in about 2 hours there was another Bonanza on the ramp with a mechanic and a new propeller governor. They swapped it out, did a test run that went just fine and then both Bonanzas took off together. Total time on the ground about 3 hours.

I asked the pilot how he ended up at Bitburg and not somewhere else and he said that when he started to lose RPM and it was clear that he could not maintain altitude he looked down and saw a runway. He figured out that it was a military base, but he declared an emergency and was cleared to land.

All in all, it provided a break in the tedium of daily activities without causing any real problems for any one. The one big lesson that I took away from that incident is that that if you have a problem, declare an emergency and don't worry about who owns that runway until you are safely down and stopped.
Steve Rush
Arlington, WA
ArlingtonRV on YouTube
RV-8 (Bought Flying)
Glasair Sportsman (Sold)
RV-8 Tail, QB Fuselage (Sold)
RV-4 (Bought Flying) (Sold)
RV-9 Tail
RV-12 120018 Flying (Sold)
RV-7 Tail, Wings, Started Fuse (Sold)
Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 09:17 PM
catmandu's Avatar
catmandu catmandu is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 925

When I got back into GA, flying traffic in 172's, the thing I missed most was being able to flip through mishap reports on the message board in the Ready Room (physical paper messages, kids! Yes, I am INDEED that old), so that I could learn from other's experiences. It took me a while, but I eventually learned there were 'virtual' reports out there on this here interwebs.

You, my friend (he really is, folks!), have done the RV community a great service with your write up. You are a credit to the . . . crud, this is not a FITREP, I'll stop typing now.
Mike C.
Sierra Nevada
RV-6A bought flying

Last edited by catmandu : 04-05-2020 at 10:35 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 09:25 AM
506DC 506DC is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 40
Default Been there done that....

I finished building my RV-4 in 1997 and been flying her ever since. It's been a 23 year love affair. The first engine she sported was a first run new engine out of an old Mooney.

After about five years of flying, I noticed a small puddle of oil on the ground that had rolled down the cowling. I carefully inspected the engine and found no oil leaks but was worried something was wrong. My mistake was that I did not physically tighten all the nuts and bolts on the engine. So, I just kept a good watch on the leak that kept leaking but never got worse so I ASSumed that my engine with about 1200 hours since factory new was not new anymore.

My son was in the military and he wanted me to fly his girl friend to San Diego from Fresno for a weekend visit. The weather over the whole LA and San Diego area was solid overcast so I filed an IFR flight plan and set out to San Diego.

I still was worried about the leak so kept monitoring the oil pressure. My course took me over Bakersfield at about 10K feet when the oil pressure started to fluctuate. I immediately knew the problem was loss of oil. I pulled the engine to idle, cancelled my flight plan and spiraled down to Bakersfield Muni. About half way down, my prop went into high RPM as a result of the low oil pressure. I landed and taxied to the ramp with the engine sounding normal. I got out of the airplane with the girl looking like this was a normal event. She told me later that this happens with the farm tractors all the time. You have got to love those farm girls. Oil was all over the left side of the fuselage. I removed the cowl to find the B nut on the #2 cylinder gone and the oil drain line disconnected. I do not ever remember removing the oil line when installing the engine.

We tightened the nut, put in new oil, and cleaned the plane. I checked all the other nuts and bolts which all were tight and after an extensive run up and full power climb to altitude, we continued our trip to San Diego. Lucky for us, the entire coastal area was solid overcast all the way to San Diego. It would have been an interesting IFR approach with a frozen up engine had the incident happened while in the LA basin.

I flew the plane another 500 hours and traded it for new XP-360 engine.

Another incident happened just last year in my C-170B. I had just completed a Fresno County Sheriff Air Squadron practice SAR over the high Sierras at altitudes as high as 11k and of course, very rough terrain. We flew back to Chandler, debriefed, refueled headed back to the Sierra Sky Park (E79) where I live. We got about 700 feet when a valve boss broke on the right rear cylinder.

The engine vibrated valiantly and I made a 180 turn back to the airport for an emergency landing. I reduced power to about 2K RPM to perhaps ease the vibration. The engine kept running rough but smoothed out enough where I was tempted enough to make another 180 turn back to E79 so I could get my plane safely in my hanger which was only 5 minutes away over some densely populated areas. I then thought to myself, "This is really stupid Dale, you are right at an airport" so I made again another 180 and landed at Chandler. Turns out that I could have easily make it to E79 but it would have been the wrong decision.

I was going to put a sign on my plane that read “God is my copilot” but after seeing a sign in a store window that said “Protected by angels” decided it would prevent people from asking my wife if she really was GOD.

RV-4 Fastback completed in 1997
Transition training
Taildragger instructor

Last edited by 506DC : 04-06-2020 at 09:50 AM. Reason: said Bakersfield meant San Diego
Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2020, 10:11 AM
Pilot135pd's Avatar
Pilot135pd Pilot135pd is offline
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Vaca Moo Airport - TA37 in East TEXAS
Posts: 1,374

Glad that you and the plane came out ok.

Just one question. You mentioned that you turned on the electric pump when you were finishing your approach.

Originally Posted by RhinoDrvr View Post
.... The Lycoming O-360 coughed to life one cylinder at a time ....

... I reached over, and pushed the mixture up. The lever didn’t move; it was already fully forward. I snapped on the electric boost pump,

I have it on my Before Landing Checklist in case of a go around, is your engine set up different or am I adding something is it not needed in the RV-8 / 0-360 combination? Thanks.
Sadly sold my RV-8 N52VM however I'm still trying to enjoy life by creating an airport with FREE campsites for pilots to come visit WHILE WAITING FOR THE HIGH WING RV15 !

Exempt by 3 out of the 10 ways but I still donated.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2020, 02:09 PM
RhinoDrvr RhinoDrvr is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Lemoore (Fresno), CA
Posts: 146


Good catch. I definitely use the pump on takeoff to backup the engine driven pump.

On landing I typically turn it on entering the pattern VFR (be that at the initial, or turning into the downwind.

I wasn't using it for the practice approaches although, I probably should have been. Having not doing much IFR work in the -8, my habit patterns aren't fully developed yet. I'll probably start working it into my habits to turn the pump on at the FAF.

Here's my understanding; it's never required in normal operation. It's always a backup in case of engine driven pump failure...the idea is that if the engine driven pump fails, the electric pump will takeover seamlessly and you won't know until you turn off the electric pump and the engine quits. So I always get to a position to make the field prior to turning off the electric pump after takeoff. That was also my logic for not using it during practice approaches, since at 120kts (which is what I've been using as an IFR approach speed before decelerating once I break out. I would have time to turn the pump on while I climbed bleeding off energy to best glide.

Good point though. I think for IFR approaches the pump should come on at the FAF, VFR ops, initial or entering the downwind.
Evan Levesque
RV-8 N88MJ (Built by Michael Robbins)
Lemoore, CA
Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2020, 06:45 PM
Drum Drum is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southport, CT
Posts: 23
Default Wrench on it

Nice write-up/de-brief. This is the second similar issue I?ve heard of in as many months. Other was a loose fluid fitting on a Grumman oil cooler which backed off during a test flight after engine replacement. A quarter turn later and most of the oil found itself on the belly of the a/c. I echo the comments of another gentleman here who suggested not to be shy about putting a wrench on every bolt and fitting firewall forward. Thanks for sharing.
Drum G
Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2020, 09:47 PM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 219

My buddy Jeremiah Jackson crashed his new RV-10 on the 4th flight due to an oil line that wasn't torqued properly and subsequently dumped all the oil overboard. Occurred ~ 8 miles east of Ramona inbound after a 2 hour Phase I flight. He wrote a good book about the experience called "4 Minutes". Also gives a really good talk about it in the San Diego area if you ever get a chance to catch it. He's a good speaker.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2020, 10:50 AM
XPPilot XPPilot is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 204
Default Sum of luck vs. Superman

Great write up and statement below is so true!

Originally Posted by RhinoDrvr View Post

This thing we call luck is merely professionalism and attention to detail, it’s your awareness of everything that is going on around you, it’s how well you know and understand your airplane and your own limitations. We make our own luck. Each of us. None of us is Superman. Luck is the sum total of your abilities as an aviator. If you think your luck is running low, you’d better get busy and make some more. Work harder. Pay more attention. Study your [POH] more. Do better preflights.
- Stephen Coonts "The Intruders"
Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2020, 11:13 AM
sblack sblack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,487

I always think of the Alaska Airlines crew that stripped the threads on the hstab jack screw. The stab jammed so they did some trouble shooting in the air and in the process stripped the threads completely and the tail came off and the airplane went straight in. Had they just declared an emergency and landed with higher but manageable workload they would have been fine. Any troubleshooting other than the most basic stuff us best done on the ground. There is almost nothing so bad that you can?t make it worse. Thank you for sharing.
Scott Black
Old school simple VFR RV 4, O-320, wood prop, MGL iEfis Lite
VAF dues 2020
Instagram @sblack2154
Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2020, 01:06 PM
grandpa1955 grandpa1955 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Bay City, MI
Posts: 1
Default Well done!

I don't care what anyone else says. When you have a possible problem with an airplane, no 1: If on the ground, don't take off. no 2: If airborne get it on the ground as safely as possible. no 3: Don't make things worse. We have to remember we not only risk our own lives (our choice) but the lives of folks on the ground (not their choice). As a former F-16 driver, great airman ship. Well done sir!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:16 AM.

The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.