Low level flying

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Blakey
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Re: Low level flying

Post by Blakey » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:27 pm

Edited.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by mark_ » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:13 am

There was a Cessna on the weekend that was well below 500 agl just west of YBW :smt018 :smt018
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Re: Low level flying

Post by trey kule » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:13 am

get a job in the bush and do it on empty legs, away from population.

That is some of the worst advice I have seen on here. It is not your airplane. You are not being paid to take extra risk with someone elses plane...and you are putting your career at risk...only takes an engine burp to turn a thrill into an accident at low level

For what it is worth to those who might take this advice. Our company, for one, has a zero tolerance policy on this. right in the ops manual along with drug use and drunk driving. Thats where we classify low flying pilots...with the druggies of the world

It absolutely boggles my mind that anyone can speak of being a professional and then expose someone elses machinery, their company, and other people's property to unnecessary risk.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by twotterflogger » Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:20 am

Whoa there, hang on TreyKule,

Let's say that you've been flying the same dead leg over a river (lets say on floats) for a few weeks now bringing back old propane tanks or whatever from camp...
You've ensured that there are no obstacles, power lines etc, and your not in a national park, no migrations are seen etc, etc.... You've also spent many of hours with much more expirienced bush rats whom enjoyed flying on the low side, and over the years have taught you the ''do's and dont's'' of low level flying in that perticular region.

One day, you notice that your whole deadleg run back from camp is into a head wind which naturally follows the main chutes of the river....
Is there anything wrong or dangerous in low and overing the river and having a bit of safe and controled fun?
You stated, that a power loss might upset your day... Well if you've planned it correctly, and safely, your already flying over a suitable waterway to land on, your flying into wind, so your just going to land dead ahead right?
Sorry mate, just stirring the pot :wink:
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Re: Low level flying

Post by trey kule » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:04 am

I am going to answer your question two ways.

Firstly, you are being paid to fly someone elses plane. They are trusting you with their machine, insurance, their company reputation etc. When you fly low (and I assuming single engine) you are reducing the margin of time you have to react to any unexpected emergency . altitude is time. when you fly low for no other reason that a thril you are increasing the risk to your employer for your own enjoyment. That is not what you are being paid to do. It is not what a professional does.

Secondly, over the years I have known several fine pilots who have been killed flying low. We will never know, but I dont expect any of them got up that mornng making the decision to get killed. They , like you posted, figured they had it all figured out. They are dead. Give some thought to your rationale next time you think you have everything in control and decide to do something dangerous for the fun of it.

I stick with what I said earlier. I really dont care if lots of old guys have done it before. It was two "old" guys who banged in a King Air two years ago. Probably had done it a few times before, but that day things didnt work out as expected and they are both dead. I cant urge you enough. dont do this.

I wish I could share with you the grief I have seen in a young pilot sitting in my office with tears running down his face, trying anyway possible to justify what he had done and knowing his career was pretty much over. It is to late after you find out you were not quite as smart as you thought you were.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by small penguin » Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:33 pm

Maybe its my point of view... but anyone who gets in a plane knowing full well they're going to land alive at the end of the day is ... misguided. Flying is a dangerous activity, like driving, like a lot of things these days. Yes, flying low increases that risk. Just like flying tired increases the risk. Or flying a machine that the company AME signed off when he shouldnt have. Or flying into marginal weather.

Anything you do can kill you. Including doing nothing.

That being said, again, Im GA. Im not being paid to fly. I fly for my own amusement. Some CPL guy IMO shouldnt be doing the low flying unless they have to (provided the flight is work related). Same goes for flying tired. A poll on AvCan showed a lot of pilots have done this. Thats more dangerous IMO than flying low.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by 1000 HP » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:24 pm

Maybe I misunderstood "low flying". What exactly does Trey Kule consider low flying? Many of my days involve flying low, and sometimes, I never get 300 feet up all day. All the time being as safe as possible. Trey Kule must be a fighter pilot... :roll:
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Re: Low level flying

Post by buster79 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:39 pm

[quote="small penguin"]Maybe its my point of view... but anyone who gets in a plane knowing full well they're going to land alive at the end of the day is ... misguided. Flying is a dangerous activity

are you serious! that is the stupidest thing i think i have ever read! "misguided" hahahahahahahahah haha haha! penguin my man you really have no clue do you.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by trey kule » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:51 pm

What exactly does Trey Kule consider low flying

I tried to make it clear. Intentionally flying low for no purpose other than the thrill.
There are many legitimate times when accepting the risk is part of the job. Crop spraying. Low level survey. And even scud running. I am not, in the least suggesting low flying is not an acceptable part of a job...but that is not what is being discussed here. And the military has reason to train in low level flight. Part of the job

read the whole thread. There are posters here who simply rationalize the whole thing.
Look at rationales being used. Empty leg..Safely....Its not your bloody plane to take more risk than necessary, and like many many who have been killed , you just might not be as smart at analysis as you think you are. tough way to find out.

I am jaded. I have had some very sad personal experiences in my career with people who were just having a litle fun on an empty leg, or enjoying the morning. I did not always feel this way, and I was hoping some might see the wisdom from experience, but I can see that those that are going to do it, are going to find a way to rationalize it as being every bit as safe as flying higher, and not the least bit of a breech in trust to their employer.

You guys win.. Have at it. Do me a favor. If things dont work out for you on one of these jaunts, be a big enough person to tell others what an idiot you were in the hopes some might learn from your mistake.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by Chuck Ellsworth » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:34 pm

small penguin wrote:Maybe its my point of view... but anyone who gets in a plane knowing full well they're going to land alive at the end of the day is ... misguided. Flying is a dangerous activity

are you serious! that is the stupidest thing i think i have ever read! "misguided" hahahahahahahahah haha haha! penguin my man you really have no clue do you.
The more I read of small penguin's opinions on flying the more convinced I become he/she should be like a penguin...because flying would be a dangerous activity for him/her.

trey kule has summed this subject up correctly.....go back and read what he has said.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by RatherBeFlying » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:55 pm

The one thing that seriously concerns me when outlanding a glider is finding all the wires. You can't see them, but if you look real hard you'll be amazed where they run poles.

There's a whole bunch less time to check for wires when the engine has just quit.

Then there's towers. Some folks in a twin were sieved through a TV tower South of Barrie many years ago. If they had managed to miss the tower, there's lots of guy wires.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by _dwj_ » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:28 am

Here's a useful experiment: next time you're driving in your car, have a look at the telephone cables running beside the road. You'll notice that even though you're just 50 feet away, it is sometimes impossible to see them depending on the background colour, lighting, etc. Think how much more difficult it is flying at 100+ mph straight towards them, and with the dark ground as background (essentially the same colour as the wires).

If you're landing at a small airstrip that you haven't been to before, it's always a good idea to look out for poles, as that is usually the only indication you'll see of any cables in your way.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by Hedley » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:46 am

Then there's towers. Some folks in a twin were sieved through a TV tower South of Barrie many years ago. If they had managed to miss the tower, there's lots of guy wires.
Hey, is anybody here old enough to remember, decades
ago, when ATC went out on strike for $$$, so you couldn't
file IFR, and a corporate (G1?) full of poo-baas from one of the
big ol' nickle companies (Falconbridge?) tried to scud-run VFR
down low in crap wx and took out a tower?

Gosh, I think that was back in the 70's. Anybody else
remember it?
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Re: Low level flying

Post by snoopy » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:51 am

If I may add to Trey Kule's excellent comments on this topic...

Back in my stupider days, I thought buzzing stuff was fun too - even after a couple of near-"oopsies". But I'd like to tell you a story of the "best" and last buzz job I ever did.

It was a perfect day, light wind, and I was in an Otter heading back to base from a supply run up north. Conditions couldn't have been more ripe for a devilish stunt. In the distance, I could see the mechanic at our maintenance facility was astride the oldest tractor anyone had ever seen still operational, pulling another aircraft out of the hangar. I knew the area well, this was going to be great I giggled to myself. I double-checked everything just to be sure gas, mags, carb heat... "Quietly" I plunged, in a power on descent, toward my unsuspecting victim.... at the last moment, I caught the most incredible and rewarding look of surprise and shock from the engineer as I smoothly applied climb power and made my escape....

Not much more than a week later, a terrible tragedy occurred right outside the cabin where I resided that summer - thankfully I was not on hand to see it happen. A young pilot flying for the competition was on an empty leg home, and went "strafing" down the waterways, possibly looking for the owner's son who happened to be fishing. Too late he saw the invisible, single-strand line that ran from the shore by my cabin, to a small island. He tried to pull up, but caught a wing.... The pilot was decapitated, the wings torn away and the floats ripped from the fuselage. For two weeks what little remained of the wreck sat outside my cabin wrapped in a tarp - a grim reminder of a prank gone wrong.

Weeks later I drove up to the hangar to deliver a part to the mechanic. As I pulled into the yard, my heart stopped and I felt incredibly cold. Something, a bird maybe, caught my eye and I looked up.... there, unbeknownst to me was a power line - right in the vicinity of my overshoot.

That was my last buzz job.

I hope nobody else needs to come that close to learn the lesson - it can happen to anyone.

Cheers,
Snoopy
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Re: Low level flying

Post by invertedattitude » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:00 am

snoopy wrote:If I may add to Trey Kule's excellent comments on this topic...

Back in my stupider days, I thought buzzing stuff was fun too - even after a couple of near-"oopsies". But I'd like to tell you a story of the "best" and last buzz job I ever did.

It was a perfect day, light wind, and I was in an Otter heading back to base from a supply run up north. Conditions couldn't have been more ripe for a devilish stunt. In the distance, I could see the mechanic at our maintenance facility was astride the oldest tractor anyone had ever seen still operational, pulling another aircraft out of the hangar. I knew the area well, this was going to be great I giggled to myself. I double-checked everything just to be sure gas, mags, carb heat... "Quietly" I plunged, in a power on descent, toward my unsuspecting victim.... at the last moment, I caught the most incredible and rewarding look of surprise and shock from the engineer as I smoothly applied climb power and made my escape....

Not much more than a week later, a terrible tragedy occurred right outside the cabin where I resided that summer - thankfully I was not on hand to see it happen. A young pilot flying for the competition was on an empty leg home, and went "strafing" down the waterways, possibly looking for the owner's son who happened to be fishing. Too late he saw the invisible, single-strand line that ran from the shore by my cabin, to a small island. He tried to pull up, but caught a wing.... The pilot was decapitated, the wings torn away and the floats ripped from the fuselage. For two weeks what little remained of the wreck sat outside my cabin wrapped in a tarp - a grim reminder of a prank gone wrong.

Weeks later I drove up to the hangar to deliver a part to the mechanic. As I pulled into the yard, my heart stopped and I felt incredibly cold. Something, a bird maybe, caught my eye and I looked up.... there, unbeknownst to me was a power line - right in the vicinity of my overshoot.

That was my last buzz job.

I hope nobody else needs to come that close to learn the lesson - it can happen to anyone.

Cheers,
Snoopy

Great post Snoopy.

I hope all the young pilots, and low time weekend warriors (Re: myself) take a lesson from those more experienced than us.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by adhc2 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:35 am

I did a number of years flying west coast Tofino area. Prep for Scud runnin along shore line we would practice low level to familerize for local terrain following shoreline over water. Of course risk is greater, but risk management is what flying is about. One tip from my time flyin pipeline is to fly with a little bit of up trim to avoid flyin into terrain if distracted. Never the less as you were taught altittude is your friend so use it. Besides old guys like me like the smoother ride which often comes with altittude
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Re: Low level flying

Post by just curious » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:14 pm

Hey, is anybody here old enough to remember, decades
ago, when ATC went out on strike for $$$, so you couldn't
file IFR, and a corporate (G1?) full of poo-baas from one of the
big ol' nickle companies (Falconbridge?) tried to scud-run VFR
down low in crap wx and took out a tower?

Gosh, I think that was back in the 70's. Anybody else
remember it?
Navajo Chieftan. Our next door neighbor was on it. His wife wound up commiting suicide over it.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by Rowdy » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:09 am

If it's a part of the job description.. ie: spraying, pipe patrol, scudrunning on the coast by all means know the area, take the proper precautions and fill your boots. However...

I know of one good friend who had a mighty scare low level in a river system on one of those perfect wind/wx dead leg kinda days.. Bombing along.. comes around a bend and lo and behold another machine doing the same thing coming right at him. Conflict averted.. but he tells me it was the worst few seconds in his life and career.

Wasn't there also someone in red lake that during a buzz actually clipped another airplane a year or two ago?

What would you folk consider 'low' ? 50ft? 100ft? 500ft? 1000ft?
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Re: Low level flying

Post by small penguin » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:21 am

Personally I do most of my flying around 2000-2500 feet. But sometimes I'll dip down.

I've done some flights between 50-100agl going along a straight river in the middle of nowhere. I know that area is free of obstacles... wires, buildings, population, trees.. Though the possibility of a plane doing the same as I is there. I never really considered that one to be honest. But the corridor is wide and long, so I *should* be able to see anyone coming.

But no, its not at all work related.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by MrWings » Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:16 pm

When you guys are dipping down to tree top level and in river valleys in the middle of nowhere, are you at least broadcasting your intentions? Well, the other guy coming the opposite direction probably isn't either. Something to think about.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by twotterflogger » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:08 pm

I've never made a broadcast about my low level flying, but I do know that when I worked up in Northern Quebec, that EVERYONE knew which side of a valley to fly over depending on cruising direction.... Never had a problem, and they've been using this unofficial rule for awhile....
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Re: Low level flying

Post by AuxBatOn » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:23 pm

Rowdy wrote:If it's a part of the job description.. ie: spraying, pipe patrol, scudrunning on the coast by all means know the area, take the proper precautions and fill your boots. However...

I know of one good friend who had a mighty scare low level in a river system on one of those perfect wind/wx dead leg kinda days.. Bombing along.. comes around a bend and lo and behold another machine doing the same thing coming right at him. Conflict averted.. but he tells me it was the worst few seconds in his life and career.

Wasn't there also someone in red lake that during a buzz actually clipped another airplane a year or two ago?

What would you folk consider 'low' ? 50ft? 100ft? 500ft? 1000ft?
I'd considerer everything below 1000 ft AGL low level.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by Chuck Ellsworth » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:10 pm

What would you folk consider 'low' ? 50ft? 100ft? 500ft? 1000ft?


Low is one foot or less which is required for some chemical application work.....we had a contract with a potato company for blight control on potatoes....the application had to be done at one foot or lower......and we did thousands of acres of that type of flying.

By the way you can fly a bit higher when using a helicopter as the down wash from the rotor is better than the down wash from a wing.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by ragbagflyer » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:12 pm

trey kule wrote:
What exactly does Trey Kule consider low flying

I tried to make it clear. Intentionally flying low for no purpose other than the thrill.
There are many legitimate times when accepting the risk is part of the job. Crop spraying. Low level survey. And even scud running. I am not, in the least suggesting low flying is not an acceptable part of a job...but that is not what is being discussed here. And the military has reason to train in low level flight. Part of the job

.
Lighten up Trey Kule. There's a difference between reckless flying and low flying. Don't assume that all employers have a problem with it either. Some do, and in that case the employee has a responsibility to abide by the company procedures, but for some it's just part of the job, and if it's in the best interest of both the pilot and the company if the pilot reaches a certain comfort zone before the going gets shitty. It's kind of like sex. There are some risks, which can be mitigated. Also like sex, it's ok to enjoy it, no need to feel guilty. People like flying low because you feel the sensation of flying more then you do up high, it's no secret. There wouldn't be so many students with dead hands and feet if people learned to fly with REAL reference to the ground. Just my opinion.
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Re: Low level flying

Post by small penguin » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:46 pm

lol going on that sex analogy... low flying = sex without a condom. high level flying = sex with a condom

:roll:
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