Category Archives: Blog

Preparing the Fly In Camping Area

On Saturday July 13 Ed Boon, Tom Grozier, Ruth Wiebe and Adrian gathered in the AFC lounge for coffee and muffins, supplied by Ruth.

After that we met Steve Stewart and got onto the airfield east of Sequoia Helicopters. This is the area for the new home of aircraft parking this year.

Ed, Steve and I marked the low spots on the field with cones and Tom with his John Deere dug into the pile of crush dust, supplied by Gerry Crapo, to dump and spread it onto the low spots. A full day of hard labour was accomplished in two hours.

Safety Corner: Plan Continuation Bias

“ Plan continuation bias”, by Warren Le Grice

Welcome to the “ Safety Corner”. I used to write a similar column, when I was a member of the Boundary Bay Flying Club. I have been involved in the promotion of flight safety for many years and will continue to do so with the AFC.

In the early 1990s, when the ATC system was still operated by Transport Canada, I had an opportunity to participate in a 20 month secondment with System Safety Branch, as a Regional Safety Officer . At the time I was working as a Course Director in our Regional Training School at the VR ACC.

I was fortunate enough to work with an excellent mentor, during my time with System Safety, Vince Edwards, an experienced fixed wing and helicopter pilot. During my time with the Safety Branch, I developed a keen interest in human factors and why pilots make the decisions they make. I was tasked with delivering the PDM ( Pilot Decision Making) course to Flying Schools and Flying Clubs around  B.C. A side benefit to the secondment was the opportunity to receive dual on both Transport’s amphibious  Beaver C-FDTI and the Jet Ranger C-GCGQ.

With the preceding narrative as some background, I can now relate the story of my first aircraft partnership, what happened to the aircraft and one of my partners.

I controlled  at Vancouver Tower from 1971 to 1979, a very interesting airport to control  during that time period. My first aircraft partnership was in a 1968 Piper Arrow, CF-UKE. My four other partners and I purchased the airplane in 1979. I was able to build up my IFR experience in the airplane over the next couple of years and was able to give one of my partners, Dave, most of the dual he needed to get his instrument rating.

We had one good cross country from Carson City, Nevada, back to Vancouver, in the Arrow, as one of the partners got weathered in, and wisely decided to return to VR by airlines. Dave and I were able to  practice all the IFR approaches in the lower mainland and southern Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo. Now in the early 1980s Nanaimo had only one NDB approach which terminated at the YCD NDB, if you didn’t see the airport from the beacon inbound, you carried out the missed approach, so obviously the limits were quite high, probably about 1000 feet and 3 miles.

I do remember advising Dave to take it easy, and be careful as he built up his experience, after he achieved his instrument rating. The Arrow had only 2 VOR/ILs receivers, no DME and no de-icing capability was really just a fair weather IFR airplane. Unfortunately as he got more experience in the airplane, he would take on IFR flights that I wouldn’t attempt, and once told me about an icing experience he had going into Port Hardy.

In 1981 when the mortgage rate went to 19 ¼ on our home in Burnaby, I decided it was time to sell my share in the airplane. It would be approximately a year later when I heard on the news, that UKE had crashed into a mountain, south west of the Nanaimo airport. My first thought was, what was the airplane doing going into Nanaimo at night? We kept the airplane on the south ramp at Vancouver, so I couldn’t figure out what reason there would be for flying into Nanaimo at night, on that fall evening. I concluded the pilot must have been Dave, as he was the only IFR rated partner at the time.

I got the full story a couple of weeks later, from one of my ex partners who was an electronics  tech with Transport Canada. Dave was a keen bird hunter and had flown over to Alberta with his youngest daughter, to shoot geese and ducks around Brooks, Alberta. He had asked permission of a farmer to shoot on his property, and after the hunt was invited in for coffee. The farmer’s sister –in –law, was visiting from Port Alberni, having travelled out by Greyhound. When Dave was told she would be returning soon, he volunteered to fly the lady back as far as Nanaimo as he had a spare seat.

The aircraft was on an IFR flight plan to CD, and as is often the case, the weather was deteriorating in the lower mainland, as the flight progressed from Alberta. Dave was likely anticipating doing an approach in VFR conditions upon his arrival. Now we had never done a night landing at Nanaimo as part of training, and I don’t know if Dave had ever done one once he was on his own. As the flight progressed through the Vancouver Terminal airspace, and was approaching Nanaimo, UKE was cleared to the Nanaimo airport for an approach, radar service was terminated and a the frequency change to Nanaimo radio was given. During the early 1980s VR Terminal controlled both CD and YJ airports as well as VR as there wasn’t anywhere near the IFR traffic there is today.

The last communication from the aircraft to Nanaimo Radio was, “are the runway lights on? ” The aircraft failed to arrive and was located a day or so later, having flown into the side of a mountain located a few miles south west of the airport. The aircraft was in level flight, likely in cloud and hit a large tree almost head on, killing all three occupants instantly.

The accident was a classic CFIT ( Controlled Flight Into Terrain) situation, likely brought on by pilot fatigue, stress and not being prepared to do a non precision approach, following a long day.

There is an interesting side note to this story. A couple of years later at the Area Control Center, I was facilitating a series of  human factor workshops for all Transport Canada control and FSS staff in the province. The subject was “ Situational Awareness”, and the first question I asked each class was, had they ever had an experience where  loss of situational awareness had lead to an accident or incident? On different workshops, the Terminal controller who cleared UKE for the approach that night, and the Nanaimo FSS who last spoke to the aircraft, related their stories. The FSS member had the family of the passenger who was headed for Port Alberni, waiting at the counter in the FSS, for word of their family member. It was a tragic experience for all involved.

So what can we take away from this accident?

NASA has recently come up with a new term “ Plan Continuation Bias”. The premise is when the pilot has somewhere to get to, he or she ignores the environment. The more the person has invested in the plan, the less likely they are to change that plan. Another way of putting it would be to say when a journey is almost over, people tend to go into auto-pilot, ignore changing and potentially dangerous environmental factors.

Had my ex-partner decided as they approached his home base in Vancouver, “gosh I am tired, let’s just do the ILS onto runway 08  and we’ll put the lady in the back seat ,on a ferry tomorrow”, I have already saved her a very long bus ride”. Had that been the case, his wife would have grown old with her husband and younger  daughter and the older daughter would have had a Dad and a younger sister.

Know your aircraft’s limitations and more importantly know your own.

Fly professionally and make good decisions.

Notes from our Past – 1969

Notes from our Past – 1969

1969 was an important year for aerospace, aviation, the AFC and the Airshow.

By Steve Stewart

For AFC and AIAS, the year started in January with the AFC buying-out the EAA Chapter 85 half-interest in the Airshow, which left the AFC as sole sponsor. From then on, the AFC had full responsibility for producing the show every year for almost three decades. The relationship with EAA Ch85 had started in 1964, and had worked well, but by 1968 there was serious conflict, and a parting of ways was the mutually agreed solution.

The maiden flight of the Boeing 747 was in February. This was an aircraft destined to utterly transform the business of air travel, by making it more accessible than could possibly have been imagined at that time. A 747 in Pan Am livery came to the Airshow in August that year and performed a series of low passes along runway 18-36; which would have also involved climb outs and approaches directly over Clearbrook.

A much briefer flash of achievement was the Tupolev 144, the Russian SST. It actually first flew late in 1968, but it had a series of technical problems, and a crash at the Paris Airshow in 1973; and its time in service was short. However, early in 1969 the Airshow society sent a message of congratulation to Moscow, along with an invitation to attend the show. (In fact, the Russians were invited every year from 1965 onward.) The Tu144 did not come to the show, but Mr. Vassili Myshkov, Head of the Soviet Trade Representation in Ottawa did attend, and at the Airshow Banquet on August 7 th , he presented a model of the Tu144 to the AFC and AIAS. That model is still on display over the bar in the AFC lounge.

The1969 airshow was opened on Friday August 8 th by Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau. He was scheduled to speak at 12:50, followed by a fly-past CF5 demonstration at 13:00. They came thundering in at precisely 13:00 – dead on time. Pierre was still talking and had been unaware of their near-silent approach from the west at over 400 mph. When the noise died down, he was heard to mutter “I guess I might as well shut up and sit down”.

The next display was the Boeing 747 in Pan Am livery, and it was followed by a display by two Mini- Mustangs, one red, flown by John Spronk and one black, flown by Scott Nelskog of Edmunds Wa. It resulted in the only fatality in the history of the airshow. After passing each other midfield at high speed and 50 feet altitude, both aircraft climbed out and started snap rolls to the right. Scotty was travelling south, and two thirds into the roll his nose dropped. Only instantaneous correction could have saved him. He hit the runway in a vertical dive and was killed. There were suggestions that lingering wake turbulence from the 747 had been to blame, but this possibility was dismissed by the technical investigation on the basis of compelling evidence. Scotty had a total 618 hours of flying time, including 62 hours on type, but he was relatively inexperienced with aerobatics, having only 12 hours total aerobatic time, including just three hours on type. It appeared that this was his first attempt at low-level aerobatics. The investigation concluded that “.. the pilot in all probability became momentarily confused while inverted and reversed the required control column movement
while attempting to bring the nose up during the roll.” The coroner’s report did not attach blame to any person. The DoT had asked the accident investigator if there were any problems that might be eliminated in future, and he responded with a recommendation that there was scope for more positive control of safety by requiring that pilots performing low level aerobatic manouevres at airshows should be required to demonstrate competence before a Civil Aviation Inspector.

President’s Column, July 2019

June has been a good month for the AFC.

I particularly enjoyed our First Flights for Kids event that went off successfully – flying over 100 children through the Fraser Valley and igniting a passion for aviation within them. Not only is it rewarding to see the joy on the faces of the excited children, it is also wonderful to see the fulfillment and happiness it brings to our club members. We just love to
share our passion for flying.

Our club is very much like that as well. We have members who come and who go in our club. New members come to us through a passion for flight and because they want to share their aviation adventure with fellow aviators. They look for equipment to fly,  naturally, but they’re also looking for a community of like-minded people who share their passion.

Sometimes we must say goodbye to members; sometimes because life is taking them elsewhere or sometimes they are shuffling off this mortal coil. I’m writing this just before heading out to Wayne Maure’s memorial ceremony, and I suppose it’s making me think about these Life Events. We are born, we go to school, get jobs, start families, raise our children, retire, have grandchildren and then eventually pass on. Somewhere in there – or throughout it all – we get to fly. It’s the fulfillment of a desire that is a constant in our lives.
Whether members come or go, I would like our club to be a constant as well. For the brief time that we have each other, I hope that we treat each other with dignity and respect, no matter which stage of our lives that we are in.

In the face of members going, let us remember those who we have inspired in our First Flights for Kids event. Let us remember those who we have encouraged with kind words, advice and sentiments of fellowship. Let us be the candles that are used to light other candles and thus bring more light into the world. In so doing, we shall provide a meaningful legacy for all those who have gone before.

Yours truly,
George

News in brief

Zoltan is the first club member to successfully finish his check ride in our Glastar. Congratulations.

He said he loves the plane!

Ken McKeen in action this morning pruning the tree in front of our clubhouse

With CGGMA out of commission, we flew a three ship formation over the Canada Day Parade parade this morning, as was requested by the Abbotsford Airshow. Rene flew lead in his Pacer, Bevan was on the right wing in his RV7A and Dave Wall was on the left wing in his Q2