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  #41  
Old 06-05-2013, 05:21 PM
SHIPCHIEF SHIPCHIEF is offline
 
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Location: Seattle
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Default

Now really!
That's just baloney. Military aircraft have painted ID, anti collision lights & position lights. They operate lights in civil airspace, and don't when applicable.
People make mistakes, and this aircraft in question could be near the aerostat by a pilot error or other unforseen problem. The automatic assumption of negligence does not release responsibility from the Aerostat. See and Avoid is the last chance to prevent a disaster.
If it is Covert to catch bad guys, then it should turn on anti collision lighting when aircraft come in proximity to save the innocent and preserve a gov't asset. The Bad Guy could still be caught if he got that close before the strobes came on?
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  #42  
Old 06-05-2013, 05:45 PM
Bill Dicus Bill Dicus is offline
 
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Location: Shorewood, WI (Milwaukee area)
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Default Aerostat

The accident report (first I was aware of this) indicates this was a night flight in clear conditions. However, the pilot had filed an IFR flight plan and had been in touch with ATC before the accident. I don't know night procedures at Key West International. Would he have filed and then planned to pick up his IFR clearance after airborne? Or could he have picked it up and been cleared for the flight through the NAS? And what was the conversation between this pilot and ATC? Why wouldn't he have seen the Aerostat on a clear night if it was well lighted? And the report notes the pilot was advised of the restricted area. Lots of questions. Apparently the Aerostats were to be decommissioned and taken down in March of this year. Was this part of the "sequester"? I guess it hasn't happened. Our tower at KMWC is still open as well, thankfully!
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  #43  
Old 06-05-2013, 06:00 PM
PJSeipel PJSeipel is offline
 
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Location: Albany, GA for the moment
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It's not in civil airspace, it's in a restricted area! The whole point of a restricted area is that there are things in there hazardous to aviation and you are required to stay out unless you want to die. Sure, you could put lights on the aerostat and its cable, but then that restricted area would be "special" in that you're supposed to stay out for your safety, but you want them to adjust things so you can still violate the restricted area and not hit anything.

Let me pose you this one: Do you suggest we put lights on the artillery rounds we fire in R-5306 so that you can see and avoid them? Flying through R-5306 when we're shooting high-angle 155mm or anti-air weaponry at Camp Lejeune is just as risky as flying through R-2916. How is one different than the other?

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  #44  
Old 06-05-2013, 06:28 PM
John Collier John Collier is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Niceville, FL
Posts: 81
Default No lights? Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJSeipel View Post
Let me pose you this one: Do you suggest we put lights on the artillery rounds we fire in R-5306 so that you can see and avoid them? Flying through R-5306 when we're shooting high-angle 155mm or anti-air weaponry at Camp Lejeune is just as risky as flying through R-2916. How is one different than the other?
I'd say there are some differences? Hanging a light on a tether/ballon seems relatively straight forward. Hanging a strobe on a 155 round might be more challenging. R-5306 is 40ish miles wide....R-2916 is much smaller...maybe the smaller restricted area gets missed more?

FWIW....most, if not all, the military balloons I've seen in Afghanistan have lights on them. Doesn't reduce the operational effectiveness of the ballon and adds to the safety margin. Guess I don't buy the no lights argument on this subject.
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  #45  
Old 06-05-2013, 07:02 PM
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KRviator KRviator is offline
 
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Location: Sydney, Aust.
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As has been pointed out, the balloon is not operating in civil airspace, it is operating in a restricted area, controlled by the USAF (I think). In exactly the same manner as happens in several other areas of the country, the military have a special toy, and they declare a restricted area to ensure its, and John Q Pilot's safety by ensuring no one can come near it.

But anyway, what are your thoughts on NVG operations in restricted areas? Should the aircraft display lights then? If not, why not?

If this aerostat was in airspace that a civil aircraft could legally fly though in everyday operations, then yes, I would agree some form of lighting would be appropriate, even pretty.

But it isn't.

It is in its own dedicated restricted area. A civil aircraft will, presumably, never be cleared through that area, and if you penetrate that restricted area in an emergency, the obligation for continued safety of flight falls on the pilot. No one is going to deny you can bust restricted, or just about any other airspace in an emergency, but in doing so, you are no longer provided protection from whatever that airspace is guarding, in this case, RonH's aerostat.

The balloon could have the cloak of invisibility on it for all I care, as it is in its own little bubble. The see-and-avoid principle applies to charts as well. I see a restricted area, and unless it is an emergency, I'll avoid it.
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  #46  
Old 06-05-2013, 07:27 PM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Location: Brookshire, TX
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Re: The "automatic assumption of negligence" by the aircraft in question...

There is no "assumption" of negligence. If you, as PIC, fly into a restricted area, you are negligent. Period. You failed to do something right; maybe you couldn't be bothered to study the sectional. Maybe you intentionally flew close to the restricted area and accidentally wandered off course and busted the airspace.

Accidental or not, it's negligence. You have failed to perform your job as PIC.

Pointing out the fact that the hazard in a restricted area is hard to see is redundant. That's in the definition of a restricted area. If it was a lighted, easy-to-see-and-avoid hazard, it wouldn't fit the definition of a restricted area.

"Restricted areas denote the existence of unusual, often invisible, hazards to aircraft such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles."

All the warning anyone should need as a pilot is the restricted area. It's very existence means that there is a hazard that is difficult to see and/or avoid. It's there for a reason. Stay away.
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  #47  
Old 06-05-2013, 07:27 PM
John Collier John Collier is offline
 
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Location: Niceville, FL
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My point is...if it does not degrade the balloons mission and the cost is reasonable then it should have lights.

Operating lights out under NVGs is required for our training and mission...and you will likely get a KIO from the RCO if/when an unauthorized aircraft enters your operating area....then cease training and turn your lights on. You then proceed to cuss about the incompetent a-hole that just entered the restricted area...and rightfully so.

Just because it is on the map, NOTAM'd, etc, does not mean GA aircraft won't fly through it...the question is what safety margin is in place once it happens...cause it will happen...and this airspace appears to have an above number of violations.

Now....if this is a blacked-out, death laser, stealth ballon that only operates at night....the DR please delete my account.
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  #48  
Old 06-05-2013, 08:13 PM
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dlloyd3 dlloyd3 is offline
 
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Don't think lights on the aerostat would do much good. Most of the danger is the tether. The C182 accident hit the tether at 4500 feet or so and the aerostat was at 8000 that night. R2916 goes to 14000, even if you saw the balloon could you figure out where the rope is?
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  #49  
Old 06-05-2013, 08:50 PM
RonH RonH is offline
 
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Location: Yuma, Az
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Default Wow

Been away from the computer all day picking up the wife at FLL from a trip to her parents up in Indiana. So, to give you all a little insight, I'll try and answer a few of the questions that have been posted so far...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHIPCHIEF View Post
What about identification of the Aerostat and mooring cable?
The aerostat and cable should be lighted with anti collision (strobe) lights as well.
See and avoid is the last line of defense, so lighting and markings should always be required, even on government aircraft.
There are three anti-collision lights (LED Strobes) on the aerostat...one on the nose, one on each side of the tail. The tether (rope, not cable, btw) is not lit and that is well documented on the charts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Dicus View Post
The accident report (first I was aware of this) indicates this was a night flight in clear conditions. However, the pilot had filed an IFR flight plan and had been in touch with ATC before the accident. I don't know night procedures at Key West International. Would he have filed and then planned to pick up his IFR clearance after airborne? Or could he have picked it up and been cleared for the flight through the NAS? And what was the conversation between this pilot and ATC? Why wouldn't he have seen the Aerostat on a clear night if it was well lighted? And the report notes the pilot was advised of the restricted area. Lots of questions. Apparently the Aerostats were to be decommissioned and taken down in March of this year. Was this part of the "sequester"? I guess it hasn't happened. Our tower at KMWC is still open as well, thankfully!
Can't answer most of those questions intelligently. However, we were scheduled for shutdown along with all the other TARS sites in the US. That turned out to be a high stakes game of chicken between governmental agencies. Customs and Border Patrol will assume this program from the Air Force as of the beginning of the fiscal year (1 Nov).

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Collier View Post
I'd say there are some differences? Hanging a light on a tether/ballon seems relatively straight forward. Hanging a strobe on a 155 round might be more challenging. R-5306 is 40ish miles wide....R-2916 is much smaller...maybe the smaller restricted area gets missed more?

FWIW....most, if not all, the military balloons I've seen in Afghanistan have lights on them. Doesn't reduce the operational effectiveness of the ballon and adds to the safety margin. Guess I don't buy the no lights argument on this subject.
See answer above

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Collier View Post
My point is...if it does not degrade the balloons mission and the cost is reasonable then it should have lights.

Operating lights out under NVGs is required for our training and mission...and you will likely get a KIO from the RCO if/when an unauthorized aircraft enters your operating area....then cease training and turn your lights on. You then proceed to cuss about the incompetent a-hole that just entered the restricted area...and rightfully so.

Just because it is on the map, NOTAM'd, etc, does not mean GA aircraft won't fly through it...the question is what safety margin is in place once it happens...cause it will happen...and this airspace appears to have an above number of violations.

Now....if this is a blacked-out, death laser, stealth ballon that only operates at night....the DR please delete my account.
As indicated above, it has anti-collision lights installed and operating...always has. In fact, one way I see if we're up, I look out my bathroom window and search for the three blinking lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlloyd3 View Post
Don't think lights on the aerostat would do much good. Most of the danger is the tether. The C182 accident hit the tether at 4500 feet or so and the aerostat was at 8000 that night. R2916 goes to 14000, even if you saw the balloon could you figure out where the rope is?
You are absolutely correct. He hit us almost right in the middle. And, the tether does not go straight up hardly ever. Most of the time there's a pretty good catenary in it, depending on wind (think about a kite string and the curve that's in it...that's a catenary). And, one data point here...when we recovered the aerostat after the 182 incident, the only damage to the tether was a deep scuff mark...the cover was not split, the fiber was not broken. It will take a wing off in the blink of an eye. Is that dangerous, not if you heed the warnings on the sectional. Again, it states that there is an unlit tether (I believe it actually says cable) and the balloon. Whether anyone agrees with the aerostat flying there or not, that is absolutely not the intent of this thread. The intent is to try to get this in the forefront of everyone's mind so that nobody ever again has to lose their life when it's completely avoidable. I can understand differing opinions as to whether the aerostat should even be there, but that is a discussion for a different type of forum. Just do this one thing, and you will arrive alive in Key West alive and have a wonderful vacation...STAY SOUTH OF US1 WHEN PASSING CUDJOE KEY!
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  #50  
Old 06-06-2013, 05:40 AM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
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Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,885
Default C'mon guys

I can't believe that this thread has digressed into someone ACTUALLY trying to shift the blame from one pilot's incompetence to the tether!

We learned about avoiding restricted airspace prior to solo, in most cases.

Ron's simple, good advice escalates into finger pointing...sheesh.

Outta here,
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