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Old 12-07-2009, 02:26 PM
diamond diamond is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 710

That's quite the ordeal for someone new to flying. I'll go out on a limb and say that most likely (I'm no psychologist) someone that responds that aggressively in that situation probably has other pronounced phobias in life. Maybe there should be a questionaire available that one could give a new potetential passenger to reveal the potential for such a reaction.

I had a college roommate that was/is a great guy, but it wasn't until I knew him 3 years that certain phobias started to come to light. I remember we were in the state capitol building in Austin Texas, going up a circular staircase and he was hugging the inside wall. We thought he was joking, but turns out he had a fear of heights. Several years later when I took him deer hunting, he absolutely would not get into a low tree stand. Other than those few instances, I never saw evidence for these fears.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:45 PM
frankh's Avatar
frankh frankh is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Corvallis Oregon
Posts: 3,547

And remember if they freeze on the controls and its life or death... Your elbow under their chin is the weapon..I mean.. tool of choice...

I always thought that black belt might come in useful one day..

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:59 PM
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kevinh kevinh is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 1,419

Originally Posted by frankh View Post
And remember if they freeze on the controls and its life or death... Your elbow under their chin is the weapon..I mean.. tool of choice...
Or in the case of my RV, if I 'help' them pull up on their stick it will pop right out. Not that it will help them relax, but it will certainly help me.
-kevinh, Track my RV-7A, flying, alas, sold in 2013 after 450ish hours. (I'm now building something different)
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:26 AM
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jjconstant jjconstant is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oakland CA
Posts: 771
Default another tactic

Originally Posted by kevinh View Post
Or in the case of my RV, if I 'help' them pull up on their stick it will pop right out. Not that it will help them relax, but it will certainly help me.
I remember reading of a small female flight instructor who had a very large male student panic and freeze on the yoke. She couldn't overpower him through the controls so she dislodged his headsets. The sudden shock of noise immediately got him to let go of the yoke to put the headsets back on, and broke the brain-lock death grip.

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Old 12-08-2009, 10:39 AM
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Jamie Jamie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,295

My friend was teaching a young foreign kid that came to the US for flight training. On his first take-off roll the kid jerked back on the yoke and the little 172 jumped off the ground and immediately the stall warning horn was going off. My friend was pushing on the yoke and yelling at the student to release it but he would not.

A swift backhand to the nose remedied the situation. My buddy made one circuit around the pattern, landed and told the student to find another instructor. Can't say that I blame him.
"What kind of man would live where there is no daring? I don't believe in taking foolish chances but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all." - Charles A. Lindbergh
Jamie | RV-7A First Flight: 7/27/2007 (Sold)
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:20 AM
WhiskeyMike WhiskeyMike is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: WA State
Posts: 192

My first pilot training was in sailplanes (a Schweizer 2-33, which is tandem with the student flying from the front seat). My instructor was already a good friend of mine, and told me that no matter what I got us into he could get us out. This was reassuring for a new pilot trainee to hear. His instructions to me were that when I heard him say "I've got the plane" I was to release control so that he could fly. Seemed simple and easy.

However, he also showed me a wooden mallet that he kept in the rear cockpit area, and then explained that he kept it there in case a student were to freeze on the controls. He told me that he had actually used the mallet to "dislodge" a student that didn't respond to his directions to release! My noggin never experienced the mallet, but I still recall his methods as a reminder of how serious such an event can be.

To me, tandem aircraft are more problematic in this regard. If your passenger is sitting behind you and freezes on the controls you are in big trouble because it is very hard to reach back to employ a mallet, backhand, or whatever. For this reason I would be very careful and thorough about screening potential passengers to ride in back!
Will McClain
N954WM (Reserved)

Last edited by WhiskeyMike : 12-08-2009 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:46 AM
Bill Dicus Bill Dicus is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Shorewood, WI (Milwaukee area)
Posts: 1,066
Default Pax panic

I had two episodes in the late 70's when instructing. The first involved a ten hour student, 225# footballer, in the left seat who froze on the controls of a Cherokee 140 on short final. Yoke locked with too much up elevator, his hand holding throttle closed and airspeed rapidly deaying at about 75 feet. All my verbal input over the previous 30 seconds or so had no effect. I couldn't break his hold or overpower him so I hit him as hard as I could with the back of my left hand/arm. That did the trick and he let go and we were able to recover to a fairly normal ldg. He didn't solo that day! The second episode happened a few years later when another CFI and I working for a local flight school were going to take up a brand new F-33 Beech (Debonair - 225 hp) just to try it out; we both a good amount of Bonanza time. A student of another insructor asked if he could go along. Sure, we said. On takeoff the door popped open (not rare in Bonanzas). It's noisy but they fly just fine so Del and I just called tower for closed circuit and ldg. The student in back went wild, screaming, hitting things including the seats randomly and thrashing around. He happily didn't try to climb over the seats. His panic continued until we had stopped at the FBO and gotten him out. Really no serious problem but scary. Happily no more pax problems since then.
Bill Dicus
Shorewood (Milwaukee) Wisconsin
RV-8 N9669D Flying 12/4/14!
Flying Pitts S-2A, Piper Lance
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:20 PM
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N64GH N64GH is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: KCCB
Posts: 196


Another nice thing about the RV6 is no back seat folks to worry about

So far I have had no trouble. At every opportunity (Start, taxi, run-up, in position) I ask if they are good to go and remind them that it is ok to change their mind at any point. If at all possible I never make turns to the right till they feel ok. Turning to the left they see me not that long drop to the ground. I also try to give them something to do - read the checklist to me or tell them everything I am going to to say touch or do. So far it has worked. A few tears here and there but it has always been fun in the end. Glad to read your post and file it away in my mind if the need arises I have a good example.

Again - Outstanding job!
Mike Divan
N64GH - RV6,flying
Once an Airman always an Airman (SSgt 78-82)
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:13 AM
ron sterba ron sterba is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: salem Oregon
Posts: 1,024
Red face attack in 172.

After takeoff the 50 yr plus lady took her eyes off the runway and began looking over her left shoulder toward the interior of the aircraft and starting saying loudly get me down,get me down! I realizes her condition and had her put her seat all the way back and tighten her shoulder harness. Called tower and they responded-is everything Ok. GEE I thought I sounded professional when I called. Those great tower folks can tell. Their calm because their on the ground (almost). We landed safetly. Maybe I won't put that stick in the right seat position of the RV9A! Risk management. We should all know if there is a event. Great Question,Thanks for posting. Ron
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:51 AM
Wayne Gillispie Wayne Gillispie is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,499
Default Good job Aaron

I have slightly over 100 hrs now, 40 since check ride. I have learned alot on my own, from local pilots and from others posting situations such as yours. Thanks for the experience to put in my memory bank. I have only taken my wife and two kids up so far. My wife does not mind the 60 deg banks to the left. I don't do it to the right more than 45 deg or she feels like she is going to fall out.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
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