I bet all these passengers will listen and watch the safety briefing on their next flight!

lion airThis incident  clearly shows that both pilots conspired to intentionally fly the a/c below the published minima for the approach in IMC thus risking the lives of themselves,  the passengers and the safety of the a/c. Miraculously no one was killed after the a/c impacted the water and broke up short of the runway. The captain was a very experienced pilot and this in itself most likely contributed to his decision to disregard standard operating procedures and ‘have a go’. There is a very old saying in aviation:


It applies if you are flying a Boeing 737 on a non precision approach at Bali or flying a Cessna 152 on first solo at Halfpenny Green, There is no substitute for experience but as this incident and many many similar ones show, one of the most important requisites on a flight deck, or in a cockpit, is good personal attitude to standard operating procedures and rule based behavior coupled with sound aviation decision making skills.

From the official accident report:

On 13 April 2013, a Boeing 737-800 being operated by Indonesian carrier Lion Air on a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Bandung to Denpasar, Bali impacted the sea and was destroyed short of the intended landing runway 09 at Bali after making a non precision approach. The aircraft broke up on impact in shallow water near the shoreline but there was no fire and all 108 occupants survived with only 4 sustaining serious injury.

An Investigation was begun by the Indonesian NTSC and has gathered factual information and documented initial findings. The aircraft was estimated to have come to rest facing north about 20 metres from the shore in a position approximately 300 metres southwest of the threshold of runway 09. It was concluded that all damage to the aircraft was “consistent with post accident impact with the sea floor, coral reef and sea wall”.

The CVR and FDR were recovered from the wreckage and successfully downloaded. It was demonstrated from this data that the aircraft final approach had not penetrated any EGPWS Alert criteria and that the standard radio height call outs from the same equipment had functioned normally throughout. In all significant respects, the aircraft was found to have been airworthy. The VOR and DME navigation aids being used by the accident aircraft for the approach were also confirmed as serviceable as was the PAPI and runway lighting.
The aircraft commander, an Indonesian national, was found to have substantial aircraft type flying experience and to have been twice the age of the foreign national Co Pilot, who had been designated PF for the accident flight and for whom experience gained on the accident aircraft type with Lion Air in the two years since joining the airline constituted most of his flying experience.
It was established that although the surface wind had remained light, there had been a transient deterioration in the visibility during the last few miles of the final approach due to rain and low cloud. The TWR controller reported having had visual contact with the approaching aircraft when issuing landing clearance as it passed approximately 1600 feet but the aircraft did not subsequently remain visible. A report from the pilot of an aircraft that made an approach 5 NM behind the accident aircraft stated that they could not see the runway at the published minima and decided to go around. Continue reading

Budget HM 40 headset from Harry Mendolssohn

Several of you have asked me about a good cheap headset for light training aircraft-this is the one we use alongside the much more expensive DC’s




The Classic HM40 Headset is back!!

This headset since its introduction has grown to be very popular with flying schools, private pilots and other users in high noise environments. This popularity is due to its superb passive noise reduction capabilities and strong construction whilst only weighing 16 oz. It has an electret noise cancelling microphone mounted on a flexible ‘rubber duck’ boom. The earseals are liquid filled to affect a close fit and the headband is air foam filled. The cable is of a reinforced construction and the headset is supplied with microphone sock and cloth ear covers.

  • Affordable Quality
  • Military Spec. Cabling
  • Volume Control
  • Slimline Electret Mic
  • Flexible Mic Boom
  • Air Foam Filled Headband
  • Cloth Earcovers
  • Padded Headset Case
  • Mic Sock
  • Liquid Filled Earseals


g-asilGO AROUND AFTER THE FIRST LARGE BOUNCE! If you just sit there it can only get worse, take decisive action, GO AROUND!

Failure to take correct  go around action to recover from a BAD LANDING is an example or very poor decision making skills usually as a result of never having been taught how to deal with a large balloon or bounce. Taking such recovery action should be instinctive by first solo and taught in such a way that the student never forgets how to deal immediately with the problem. Since writing this initial article the above aircraft G-ASIL, which I recently flew on a FI course, ended up at Halfpenny Green looking like this as a result of poor ADM skills!


Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, G-AYAR

Location: Exeter Airport

Date of occurrence: 12 March 2013

Category: General Aviation – Fixed Wing

The pilot was carrying out a VFR flight fromSouthend Airport to Exeter Airport. He had downloaded the weather from the internet which indicated good visibility and a high, scattered cloud base with strong, blustery winds from the north-east. The transit to Exeter was uneventful with occasional turbulence and the aircraft was established on the final approach at about 70 kt IAS for Runway 08, with full flap selected. The 1320hrsMETAR gave the surface wind as 030°/18 gusting 28 kt. The pilot rounded out normally and the main wheels touched down but as thenosewheel touched down, the aircraft bounced several times and the nose landing gear collapsed. The aircraft veered to the right and departed the runway, coming to rest on the grass. The pilot isolated the fuel and the electrical system before exiting through the normal door.

The pilot considered that he had probably been a little fast on the approach which led to a fast touchdown. As the aircraft bounced, he had allowed a Pilot Induced Oscillation (PIO) to develop, which had caused the damage to the nose landing gear. He felt he should have initiated a go-around when the aircraft first bounced.

Download report:
PDF icon Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee G-AYAR 08-13.pdf (89.26 kb)

My Instructor told me, ‘ Always climb straight ahead to 500 feet before turning’!

My Instructor told me, ‘ Always climb straight ahead to 500 feet before turning’!

Perhaps he never flew off Runway 23 at Cambridge? http://alturl.com/jzbpx

Climbing straight ahead to 500 feet may not be the best option at every airfield-Pre flight planning should involve the take off path too!

Climbing straight ahead to 500 feet may not be the best option at every airfield-Pre flight planning should involve the take off path too!

When you are learning to fly you are initially taught to fly by numbers, it’s simpler and safer. The only problem with this type of elementary teaching is that it doesn’t encourage situational awareness and good judgment which is essential for safe flight.

Lets go back to basic human factors:

Threat & Error Management (TEM)

Determining the threat and errors that can occur at any stage of flight and managing them.

I should point out that threat and error management is required teaching for all part FCL flying licences, including the PPL (this seems to be unknown by many instructors)

One of the biggest threats to any aircraft, regardless to how many engines it has, is an engine failure on take off. If you mismanage this type of failure by error the consequences are likely to be extremely serious.

In a multi engine aircraft capable of continued SE flight the main decision is to manage the situation so as to allow the aircraft to continue to fly the take off path and emergency procedure. In a single engine aircraft that is not going to be an option, so part of the decision has already been made for you, if the engine fails you are going to have land somewhere! You primarily aim is to just manage that landing so as to minimise the damage to the aircraft, yourself and any passengers with consideration for people on the ground too.

The first thing to understand very clearly is that the area ahead of the aircraft is very likely going to be unsuitable for a light aircraft to make a perfect approach and landing that you can just walk away from to the sound of applause from astonished locals. You need to be very realistic here as the aircraft is very likely to be damaged, what we need to achieve here is the minimum damage without fire and not becoming trapped in the aircraft.

In July 2011 a Piper Tomahawk taking off from Manchester Barton suffered an engine failure, this  was the outcome

barton plane crash 2

barton plane crashAmazingly the passenger survived this accident although he was very badly burnt, the pilot was killed. The aircraft was apparently in a stalled condition when it hit the side of the house. This very sad accident can teach us many  lessons.

The most important lesson is that it is essential to arrange your flight path on take off to put you in the best possible position should you suffer an engine failure. This very important obvious plan of action has never been given much attention by single engine flying instructors.

The second lesson is that it is essential to try to keep the cabin intact in any off airfield landing.

The third lesson is that it is essential to keep the aircraft under control, this aircraft clearly wasn’t, it was stalled. No pilot would consciously fly into the side of a house!

The fourth lesson is that in any emergency situation at low-level you need to act quickly, correctly and decisively. A take off brief in which you mentally rehearse what you are going to do is a memory jogger and can help prevent suroise and distraction. An early MAYDAY call is essential, make it as you push the nose over.



Single engined aircraft will have a very critical flight path with an engine failure after TO below 500 feet

Many airfield take off paths will have  a less than ideal landing areas ahead of the aircraft, forget the folklore that you cannot turn more than 30 degrees etc. Turn towards the clearest area with an unobstructed undershoot

Most PPL’s are low houred pilots with the minimum experience of emergency procedures and mostly have had zero refresher training.

The element of surprise can be one of the greatest factors in preventing a successful outcome to any emergency. An emergency that comes as a total surprise is always harder to deal with


Incorrect selection

Checklist discipline

Fuel mismanagement

Carburetor Icing

Two above are most common cause of engine failure in light single engine aircraft

Failure to lower the  nose attitude (push over) to preserve airspeed (Barton accident above)

Failure to choose optimum lateral take off path after lift off

Failure to climb to 500 feet at the best rate of climb speed

Failure to brief passengers on emergency procedures

Failure to self brief before take off on a possible EFATO (The emergency take off brief)

Failure to select a safe alighting area and undershoot

Failure to complete the emergency landing checks

Failure to safeguard the aircraft after landing.

The successful outcome to any emergency situation can only be enhanced by good planning and training.