Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

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photofly
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Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-51237265

Now, did he leave it on the ramp, in which case shoot the journalist, or did he taxi out and take off with the towbar dragging in front of the airplane?

Are those grind marks from dragging on tarmac, in the photo??
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by co-joe »

Pretty sure that happened to the cutlass at MRC years back. Minor damage only.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by Chris M »

Definitely left it on until takeoff. My bet is that it fell off after rotation/liftoff since anything sooner would have been a pretty good bump to him and hopefully gotten his attention. The damage to that towbar wasn't caused by someone dragging it while walking around.

Moral of the story: If you don't have clear, positive memory of performing a task, assume you didn't. I had one day where I couldn't remember if I'd put the caps back on after fueling the 172. Fueled, pushed back, got in the plane, briefed passengers, just about to start up but couldn't get the itch out of my brain that something wasn't right so I got out to check. Sure enough, one cap left off.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

Chris M wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:44 am Definitely left it on until takeoff. My bet is that it fell off after rotation/liftoff since anything sooner would have been a pretty good bump to him and hopefully gotten his attention. The damage to that towbar wasn't caused by someone dragging it while walking around.

Moral of the story: If you don't have clear, positive memory of performing a task, assume you didn't. I had one day where I couldn't remember if I'd put the caps back on after fueling the 172. Fueled, pushed back, got in the plane, briefed passengers, just about to start up but couldn't get the itch out of my brain that something wasn't right so I got out to check. Sure enough, one cap left off.
This can all be easily prevented. The last thing you do before getting in the aircraft is your final check. I have my own one that covers the variety of general aviation aircraft that I fly....

I start at the front of the aircraft and say either to myself or out loud as I walk around the aircraft, no towbar, no intake plugs, no chocks, no tiedowns, oil cap secure, fuel caps secure, no pitot cover, no external locks, baggage door secure.

Takes about 30 seconds and ensures that none of these items are missed and that you don't have to undo your seat belt and go back outside to check if it suddenly dawns on you that you are not 100% sure about these items. A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.

Why do I do it? Because I am the kind of guy that would eventually have one of these items happen to me....or maybe I already have.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.
Intake plugs, chocks, pitot cover, tie-downs, oil and fuel-caps secure... that sounds a lot like a walk-around inspection to me.
Do you include other things from the walk-around? "I don't remember checking the alternator belt tension... or the stall warning horn... " If you missed the loose fuel cap on your walkaround, what's to say that you'll spot it on your final check? Maybe you should check the plane a third time, or a fourth time.

Do you have a final final check, that your final check was done? Where does it all end?

This pilot (allegedly) forgot to stow his tow-bar because he was unnerved by an earlier near collision with a cyclist while driving to the airport. Perhaps that would have made him forget his "final" check too.
This can all be easily prevented..... A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.
You are doing the Transport Canada thing. Seizing a mistake by a pilot, blaming flight schools and instructors, and saying a simple fix is to implement (yet) another checklist.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by digits_ »

pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:51 am
Chris M wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:44 am Definitely left it on until takeoff. My bet is that it fell off after rotation/liftoff since anything sooner would have been a pretty good bump to him and hopefully gotten his attention. The damage to that towbar wasn't caused by someone dragging it while walking around.

Moral of the story: If you don't have clear, positive memory of performing a task, assume you didn't. I had one day where I couldn't remember if I'd put the caps back on after fueling the 172. Fueled, pushed back, got in the plane, briefed passengers, just about to start up but couldn't get the itch out of my brain that something wasn't right so I got out to check. Sure enough, one cap left off.
This can all be easily prevented. The last thing you do before getting in the aircraft is your final check. I have my own one that covers the variety of general aviation aircraft that I fly....

I start at the front of the aircraft and say either to myself or out loud as I walk around the aircraft, no towbar, no intake plugs, no chocks, no tiedowns, oil cap secure, fuel caps secure, no pitot cover, no external locks, baggage door secure.

Takes about 30 seconds and ensures that none of these items are missed and that you don't have to undo your seat belt and go back outside to check if it suddenly dawns on you that you are not 100% sure about these items. A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.

Why do I do it? Because I am the kind of guy that would eventually have one of these items happen to me....or maybe I already have.
The problem is, if you do this every flight, at one point it will become some automatic reflix, and you might still miss thing. The longer the list of items you check, the higher the chance you will miss something. Especially if it is the second time you check it, it gives the impression the first time is not important.

If you really want to check stuff right before departure, stick to the real killer items.

no towbar: important
no intake plugs: probably important for most types
no chocks: what is the worst that could happen? you taxi over them or you get out and remove them
no tiedowns: worst that could happen? you won't move or rip one off. won't kill you
oil cap secure: important, but you usually have to open a cowling or hatch to access this. The danger here is not doing the job properly, not forgetting to do the job. So if the hatch is closed, no point in checking it again.
fuel caps secure: if you can't see them from the cockpit, that could be important
no pitot cover: if done properly, this won't kill you, as you will notice there is no airspeed indication during take off
no external locks: if you follow the other checklists properly, you will notice this during the flight control check
baggage door secure: usually not critical
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

digits_ wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:17 am
pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:51 am
Chris M wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:44 am Definitely left it on until takeoff. My bet is that it fell off after rotation/liftoff since anything sooner would have been a pretty good bump to him and hopefully gotten his attention. The damage to that towbar wasn't caused by someone dragging it while walking around.

Moral of the story: If you don't have clear, positive memory of performing a task, assume you didn't. I had one day where I couldn't remember if I'd put the caps back on after fueling the 172. Fueled, pushed back, got in the plane, briefed passengers, just about to start up but couldn't get the itch out of my brain that something wasn't right so I got out to check. Sure enough, one cap left off.
This can all be easily prevented. The last thing you do before getting in the aircraft is your final check. I have my own one that covers the variety of general aviation aircraft that I fly....

I start at the front of the aircraft and say either to myself or out loud as I walk around the aircraft, no towbar, no intake plugs, no chocks, no tiedowns, oil cap secure, fuel caps secure, no pitot cover, no external locks, baggage door secure.

Takes about 30 seconds and ensures that none of these items are missed and that you don't have to undo your seat belt and go back outside to check if it suddenly dawns on you that you are not 100% sure about these items. A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.

Why do I do it? Because I am the kind of guy that would eventually have one of these items happen to me....or maybe I already have.
The problem is, if you do this every flight, at one point it will become some automatic reflix, and you might still miss thing. The longer the list of items you check, the higher the chance you will miss something. Especially if it is the second time you check it, it gives the impression the first time is not important.

If you really want to check stuff right before departure, stick to the real killer items.

no towbar: important
no intake plugs: probably important for most types
no chocks: what is the worst that could happen? you taxi over them or you get out and remove them
no tiedowns: worst that could happen? you won't move or rip one off. won't kill you
oil cap secure: important, but you usually have to open a cowling or hatch to access this. The danger here is not doing the job properly, not forgetting to do the job. So if the hatch is closed, no point in checking it again.
fuel caps secure: if you can't see them from the cockpit, that could be important
no pitot cover: if done properly, this won't kill you, as you will notice there is no airspeed indication during take off
no external locks: if you follow the other checklists properly, you will notice this during the flight control check
baggage door secure: usually not critical
Some items are to prevent embarrassing/inconvenient events and others are items that have led to many fatal accidents(including baggage doors on some aircraft by the way).

Feel free to take my advice ……..or not. Based on your response, I think I know which is your choice. That is up to you and perhaps you are not as likely as me to forget one of these items on rare occasion.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:44 am Feel free to take my advice ……..or not. Based on your response, I think I know which is your choice. That is up to you and perhaps you are not as likely as me to forget one of these items on rare occasion.
Uh huh.

So... it's all the instructor's fault, we can fix this with another check list, and now the last of the holy trinity of AvCanada memes, if you don't take my perfect advice and do as I say, you're an idiot!

:-)
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

photofly wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:18 am
A simple thing that I bet that virtually no school or instructor teaches their student learning to fly.
Intake plugs, chocks, pitot cover, tie-downs, oil and fuel-caps secure... that sounds a lot like a walk-around inspection to me.
Do you include other things from the walk-around? "I don't remember checking the alternator belt tension... or the stall warning horn... " If you missed the loose fuel cap on your walkaround, what's to say that you'll spot it on your final check? Maybe you should check the plane a third time, or a fourth time.
Many of these items(it is not a checklist by the way) can be put in place after the walkaround. Discover you need some oil or fuel which is done after the walkaround. Chocks put in place after the aircraft is moved with a towbar(perhaps out of the hangar where you did your walkaround). Intake plugs left in until the last minute to keep the engine warm. Baggage door used after the walkaround and then it wasn't closed. Nothing about the alternator belt or the stall warning is going to change since the walkaround, so they are not checked again.

By the way, while doing this final check which frequently happens after having left the aircraft subsequent to completing the walkaround(such as to file a flight plan, get a weather update, take a leak, pay the fuel bill, meeting the pax, etc, etc...….it give you a change to take a quick glance during that 30 seconds to discover that another aircraft or vehicle clipped your wing or tail.

Such common sense.
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Last edited by pelmet on Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

photofly wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:49 am
pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:44 am Feel free to take my advice ……..or not. Based on your response, I think I know which is your choice. That is up to you and perhaps you are not as likely as me to forget one of these items on rare occasion.
Uh huh.

So... it's all the instructor's fault, we can fix this with another check list, and now the last of the holy trinity of AvCanada memes, if you don't take my perfect advice and do as I say, you're an idiot!

:-)
Just a suggestion from someone who has done a few of these things in the past, but not since I started doing my final check several years back. Anyways, I will keep an eye out for more Cadors reports to see if perhaps, I am just being paranoid...a little bit of which is a good thing.

By the way, I do it for killer items after the pre-takeoff checklist is complete as well. My own technique. Obviously excessive for some. The only problem is...there are a lot of dead people out there who would not be if their pilots had done a final killer item check....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest ... Flight_255

….and that is just one of many examples of guys who didn't check their killer items. After all, the checklist will cover it all.
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Last edited by pelmet on Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:50 am Such common sense.
I'm sure the pilot in question has a lot of common sense - but if it was common sense, why do you have to invent a new checklist to cover it?

I'm surprised that nobody has commented on the real point of this story, which is that he was rattled from his earlier incident with the cyclist and it affected his performance. He probably shouldn't have gone flying at all. That's the learning point here - distraction and fitness to fly - not final checks.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

photofly wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:02 pm
pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:50 am Such common sense.
I'm sure the pilot in question has a lot of common sense.

I'm surprised that nobody has commented on the real point of this story, which is that he was rattled from his earlier incident with the cyclist and it affected his performance. He probably shouldn't have gone flying at all. That's the learning point here, nothing about final checks.
You are sure that he has a lot of common sense but figure that after his incident on the way to the airport, he shouldn't have gone flying but decided to do so anyways. OK.

The final check(for GA aircraft) might save the day for a rattled pilot(or sick pilot, fatigued pilot, or distracted pilot - as the report says) who for whatever reason decides to fly anyways. As they say....Stuff Happens.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by digits_ »

pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:52 am
By the way, I do it for killer items after the pre-takeoff checklist is complete as well. My own technique. Obviously excessive for some. The only problem is...there are a lot of dead people out there who would not be if their pilots had done a final killer item check....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest ... Flight_255

….and that is just one of many examples of guys who didn't check their killer items. After all, the checklist will cover it all.
The cause of that accident was:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flightcrew's failure to use the taxi checklist to ensure that the flaps and slats were extended for takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the absence of electrical power to the airplane takeoff warning system which thus did not warn the flightcrew that the airplane was not configured properly for takeoff. The reason for the absence of electrical power could not be determined.
If he followed the existing checklists, everything would be fine.

One more checklist wouldn't help. The more items and checklists you use, the less attention people will pay to them.
I've flown airplanes where the controls needed to be checked 3 times between engine start and line up. 3 times, because it's super important and we must be safe right? Nope! Students made 3 half assed attempts at a control check instead of treating the control check with the respect it deserved.

1) "we'll check it again 2 more times, so it isn't that important"
2) "we already checked it and we will do it once more, so it isn't that important"
3) "we already checked it twice, I'm sure it will be fine now"

Whereas if you check it once, you better do it right, because it is your only chance.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

digits_ wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:44 pm
pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:52 am
By the way, I do it for killer items after the pre-takeoff checklist is complete as well. My own technique. Obviously excessive for some. The only problem is...there are a lot of dead people out there who would not be if their pilots had done a final killer item check....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest ... Flight_255

….and that is just one of many examples of guys who didn't check their killer items. After all, the checklist will cover it all.
The cause of that accident was:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flightcrew's failure to use the taxi checklist to ensure that the flaps and slats were extended for takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the absence of electrical power to the airplane takeoff warning system which thus did not warn the flightcrew that the airplane was not configured properly for takeoff. The reason for the absence of electrical power could not be determined.
If he followed the existing checklists, everything would be fine.

One more checklist wouldn't help. The more items and checklists you use, the less attention people will pay to them.
I've flown airplanes where the controls needed to be checked 3 times between engine start and line up. 3 times, because it's super important and we must be safe right? Nope! Students made 3 half assed attempts at a control check instead of treating the control check with the respect it deserved.

1) "we'll check it again 2 more times, so it isn't that important"
2) "we already checked it and we will do it once more, so it isn't that important"
3) "we already checked it twice, I'm sure it will be fine now"

Whereas if you check it once, you better do it right, because it is your only chance.
Guys like the pilots on that airliner probably think along your line of thinking. If you follow the checklist, everything will be fine. Just follow the checklist. But on occasion, an item gets missed. How do I know that? Because I have missed an item on a checklist....and more than once. Then there are situations like contaminated runway ops, where the checklist is done but the flaps are left up until holding short of the runway. Then the flaps are extended. Until someone forgets. Of course, the warning system should alert the crew...until it doesn't. And even if it does warn the crew, it might end up with a warning/demotion/firing at some airlines or an embarrassing explanation to the higher-ups.


From an airliner point of view...….If only they had done similar to what I recommend close to lining up such as....speedbrakes stowed, flaps set, stab trim set, rudder trim set, v-speeds visible, LNAV and VNAV armed(or whatever is appropriate for your aircraft)(some are not killer items but can create an issue). A lot of people would be alive. It takes a little over 5 seconds and is not a checklist. Some would rather engage in non-pertinent discussion during the 10 minute wait for takeoff or enjoy watching the airliners land, etc. Usually, that is still possible.

Here is another bunch of deaths from a crew that never felt that a final check of certain items before takeoff could save the day....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Air ... light_1141

If only....
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Last edited by pelmet on Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:47 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »


If only they had done similar to what I recommend close to lining up such as....speedbrakes stowed, flaps set, stab trim set, rudder trim set, v-speeds visible, LNAV and VNAV armed.... and is not a checklist.
It’s a list of things to check. How is it not a checklist?
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

digits_ wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:44 pm I've flown airplanes where the controls needed to be checked 3 times between engine start and line up. 3 times, because it's super important and we must be safe right? Nope! Students made 3 half assed attempts at a control check instead of treating the control check with the respect it deserved.

1) "we'll check it again 2 more times, so it isn't that important"
2) "we already checked it and we will do it once more, so it isn't that important"
3) "we already checked it twice, I'm sure it will be fine now"

Whereas if you check it once, you better do it right, because it is your only chance.
Actually, I recommend checking the elevator again just prior to the takeoff roll in addition to the checklist. It could become jammed subsequent to the control check. Just a bit of an up/down movement to ensure that it is free. I did start doing that a while back but have been lazy about it.

Good idea don't you think.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

photofly wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:45 pm

If only they had done similar to what I recommend close to lining up such as....speedbrakes stowed, flaps set, stab trim set, rudder trim set, v-speeds visible, LNAV and VNAV armed.... and is not a checklist.
It’s a list of things to check. How is it not a checklist?
Call it a mental one. One the C172 I flew the other day, after lining up, I checked the fuel tank selector, fuel on/off selector, trim set, mixture set, mags on both, boost pump off, flaps set. If it were an older 172...also primer locked.

I recommend everyone similar. Took about ten seconds.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

So what’s wrong with the manufacturers checklists, that you have to invent your own?

Last thing we want is pilots making up their own procedures.
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by pelmet »

photofly wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:25 pm So what’s wrong with the manufacturers checklists, that you have to invent your own?

Last thing we want is pilots making up their own procedures.
There is nothing wrong(in general) with manufacturer's checklists. What is wrong is with pilots brains which is why we have so many accidents from guys that did the checklist. Look at the link to the Delta 727 crash. The checklist was completed yet the flaps were up(meaning that one should not just respond "fifteen. fifteen, green" on the assumption that the flaps were extended earlier in the taxi out). But that is what happened. If one of the pilots had checked his killer items after the completion for this checklist, those dead pax would be alive. Seems a reasonable trade-off for 'Making up procedures".
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Re: Pilot leaves towbar on runway??

Post by photofly »

pelmet wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:32 pm The checklist was completed yet the flaps were up
Well then the checklist wasn’t completed, was it? Maybe the pilots thought it was ok because their own made-up checklists they’d decided to do later, were better, so didn’t pay any attention.

Layer upon layer of checklists, that’s the answer to every problem.
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