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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: CAP/CC memo about check pilots and instructor pilots
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Spaceman3750
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,609

« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2017, 06:49:56 PM »

If you're going to compare staying home as the baseline then everything is "risky" including
respiration and gravitational attraction.

You can use a baseline of typical hobbyist GA flying and a Saturday hike on the local trail, the statement still stands.

I'm not saying that what we do is OMG high risk, but calling it low risk is a recipe for complacency (and rejects the reality that stuff happens even when we do everything right, which is important when the wing king gets his opportunity to weigh in on the mishap report).
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I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2017, 09:02:47 PM »

You can use a baseline of typical hobbyist GA flying and a Saturday hike on the local trail, the statement still stands.

I'm not saying that what we do is OMG high risk, but calling it low risk is a recipe for complacency (and rejects the reality that stuff happens even when we do everything right, which is important when the wing king gets his opportunity to weigh in on the mishap report).

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

Looking at the NTSB accident db, it seems every few years or so CAP aircraft are involved in a cluster of fatal or SI accidents.   Accidents involving bent metal, but no Fatal/SI are an annual occurrence... lots involve instruction & checkrides... but many do not .  FWIW, "bent metal" in the NTSB accident DB usually means "substantial damage".  Depending upon our risk preference and how we interpret the numbers, this probably incomplete list complied in about two hours or so doesn’t support the assertion that we enjoy  a really impressive safety culture:

2017Sep12  C182     N946CA
2016Aug24  C182     N4810N
2016Feb01   C182T   N784CP  2 fatal
2015Dec29  C172     N914CP  1 Fatal (suicide)
2014Nov15  C206     N9420R
2014Feb22  Baron    Private    3 fatal - all private citizens (Crashed  on final after NMAC with CAP aircraft/glider in tow)
2013Dec16  C182T   N963CP
2012Sep07  C182T   N635CP
2012Jun06   C182    N73466
2012Mar24  C172P   N99087
2012Jan28  C172S   N427CP
2012Jan03  C172P   N54872
2011Mar19  C206    N6169Z
2010Nov16  C182RG  N7556Y (yes, we did have a CP C182RG) classified as an 'incident'
2010Feb03  C172P   N97075
2009Oct31  C182T   N652CP
2009Feb20  DHC-2   N5342G
2008Nov14 C182R   N9772H   Midair with private C152
2007Nov08 C182T   N881CP  2 fatal
2007Aug20 C182R   N6109N  3 fatal
2007Aug09 C182R   N1298M

Again, this was a "quick look".  I know there are other mishaps (and a lot of ‘near mishaps’) out there that aren't easily discovered.   :)

"The Letter" from the Commander appears to be on point from my read of the accident reports I reviewed in compiling this post.  And, FWIW, A couple of the recent mishaps listed above haven't yet made it past the "preliminary" category in the NTSB data base. Information about non-accident mishaps is a very difficult to come by since records in  the ‘incident’ db are purged after just a year or two. 

I’m sure that CAP NHQ's  files would offer a more complete picture, if they were researched, summarized, and made available to CAP pilot workshops, etc.  In my opinion, a bit more transparency by NHQ Ops would be a very good thing for facilitating a culture change within CAP.
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Eclipse
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Posts: 27,987

« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2017, 09:17:45 PM »

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

So what risk level is it?

Thousands of people fly gliders, learn to fly, and inhabit busy, controlled and uncontrolled airfields every day.
Incidents are news because they are rare, and "clusters", unless you can show otherwise, aren't actually "clusters"
because they aren't related in any way that can be compared.  They are just coincidental in the same way that prolonged
periods without incidents are.

6-8 months of the year cadet injuries are rare because most activities in the greater US occur indoors.  Come summer
the incident rates go up due to normal active-kids injuries.  You could call it a cluster, but it's really just a function of
ops tempo and probability.

The only thing CAP does that might be more "risky" then normal, is lower flying and circling an object, but it's not like
pilots don't do that all the time as well.

Is CAP's incident rate higher then the norm for the general pilot population?  You can't compare orgs, because no
one else has as many planes or sorties in GA, so statistics are incomparable at that level.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 09:21:21 PM by Eclipse » Logged

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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2017, 11:18:07 PM »

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

So what risk level is it?


Is CAP's incident rate higher then the norm for the general pilot population?  You can't compare orgs, because no
one else has as many planes or sorties in GA, so statistics are incomparable at that level.

Dunno if it's higher or lower given the absence of data on CAP  incidents and the somewhat challenging nature of pulling numbers together from public sources.  I've heard anecdotal accounts of maintenance issues like cracked cylinders and other engine problems that suggest it's a good idea to keep powerplant health in the forefront of consciousness.   I don't recall seeing or even hearing the conclusions of an engine issue study in my region that I was told was ongoing four years ago.  FWIW, I've seen some pretty good data elsewhere that quantifies the ratio of NTSB reported engine problems (consistently reported year after year by NTSB as number 2 or number 1 in what the agency calls "defining events").  The ratio is either depressing (it's about 5 engine failures per engine failure accident in the NTSB db) or very encouraging (because most engine failures are handled quite well... well enough to be 'non-events' as far as NTSB and FAA are concerned).  But that ratio is for the GA fleet, not the CAP fleet.  I don't know what the numbers are for CAP, and I expect not many other people do either.  They may be about the same as the GA wide numbers for SE, piston, production aircraft... or something different.  Again, the CAP numbers are opaque.  But, all that said, engine failures don't seem to be a really big problem for CAP in terms of accidents as reported by the NTSB.  But maybe it's just luck.  Consider this:  If we prang multiple CAP aircraft each year during engine out maneuvers in check rides are at least some of our pilots likely to respond sub par should the real thing happen?  I mean, Iwe EXPECT to do an engine out on a check ride!  How much easier is it to be successful then when we are primed, spring loaded, and ready with the 'right' responses?    I know of three (real) CAP total engine failures in the last five or six years where pilots landed successfully with minimal or no damage, and several more where a blown jug required superior piloting to get the aircraft safely on the ground (and without accident or incident).  Again, CAP doesn't publish the data, nor have I seen any substantive articles or summaries available to the aviating membership.    You are probably in a better position within CAP  than I am to understand why.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 879

« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2017, 09:25:32 AM »

That risk would change depending on the circumstances of the flight. Under ideal, textbook conditions, you'd have a risk that varies based on whether or not it's a standard training sortie dodging waypoints, an orientation flight, etc. Then factor in the hazards of stresses and fatigues of crew members, weather, environment, operational demands, and the risk fluctuates and builds.

I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.

But any regimented, standardized organization that operates aircraft, or even ground teams for that matter, are more likely to counter those hazards because they are trained to a standard with stronger lines for reporting safety concerns/incidents and more oversight. But that does not negate the fact that those hazards still exist. If people start to get into that mindset of "It doesn't happen often, so it's very unlikely," the standard of safety begins to droop, and it becomes more probable that an incident will occur.

A lot of people get weary when things become so regimented and nothing adverse occurs. It's unfortunate that it usually takes an incident (or accident) to remind people why we need to stay frosty.
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etodd
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Posts: 850

« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2017, 12:17:49 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 12:25:20 PM by etodd » Logged
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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,809

« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2017, 12:57:26 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D

I would agree with this. If the crew does their jobs, then there is not really a high risk. The issues arise when everybody wants to ignore their training and CRM and step out of their lane.
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Strup
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2017, 01:42:26 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D

I would agree with this. If the crew does their jobs, then there is not really a high risk. The issues arise when everybody wants to ignore their training and CRM and step out of their lane.

I agree some mission profiles are low risk.  Usually "O" flights are fairly benign.  So are transport missions (during day VFR) or most SAR/DR over non-forested agricultural and grasslands.  For example, when we fly over Kansas for nearly any mission.  Under those mission profiles should the engine quit or other mechanical issue (including fire) dictate an immediate landing we (usually) have  really good options that might ding up the aircraft, but that are entirely survivable.  Take the same mission profiles that involve low level SAR, DR (and even some AP missions) to Colorado, most of the PNW, lots of CA, AZ, NV, etc. and it's an entirely different story.  FWIW, transport flights (based on the NTSB record) are much higher risk under IFR or night conditions, regardless of the terrain below.  Even the 'best' technique and most prompt 'book' response to an unexpected mechanical issue often has very few "good" options for the pilot and crew when the aircraft is low energy (low elevation, inhospitable terrain) or visibility is compromised.  For example, some of the country I flew over this past summer in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon had NO good landing sites within glide distance, despite being 3,000' - 4.000+ AGL.  Throw in weather and smoke (yes, SMOKE - I'm sure many on forum recall the significant amount of smoke from wildfires in western states) and the risks rapidly begin to climb.  It's a stretch to say that good CRM inoculates against bad outcomes when our mission requires low level VFR or flight where potential emergency landing sites are few and very far between.  Yes, CRM is very helpful.  But...   FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), the three fatal/SI outcomes occurred on transport and SAR missions.  SEL IFR, SEL night are sorties CAP trains for and flys.  Both are  high risk given the elevated potential for a very bad outcome when we can't SEE terrain or locate where we might set 'er down with minimum potential for inadvertent loss of control (for example, when a wing hits something and initiates a cartwheel, or our choices are between landing uphill on a steep rock face or in the tops of a mature forest).  Let's not try to minimize the risks of CAP mission profiles.  There are several very good reasons why the US Department of Interior's Office of Aviation Services (https://www.doi.gov/aviation) and the USDA Forest Service prohibit SE FW piston IFR (day and night) and night VFR ops...
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 01:49:16 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
Spam
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Posts: 944
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2017, 04:38:32 PM »



... FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), ...

If you are citing the NTSB reports, you might in the interest of accuracy want to revisit your phrasing on that glider mishap, where the final NTSB report listed four Causes for the mishap (all attributed to the mishap pilot) and two Factors (one of which was CAP, the other the airport).  Reference: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20140222X51922&AKey=1&RType=Final&IType=FA. Court decisions aside, that's the official record.

I strongly agree with you on visibility in obscurants and low light conditions (weather too). There's an FAA report from a couple of years ago looking at GA mishaps which targeted them as the bad actors contributing to the flat accident rate in GA. Can't find it now, I'll look later, but its very good...

V/r
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2017, 11:20:41 PM »



... FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), ...

If you are citing the NTSB reports, you might in the interest of accuracy want to revisit your phrasing on that glider mishap, where the final NTSB report listed four Causes for the mishap (all attributed to the mishap pilot) and two Factors (one of which was CAP, the other the airport).  Reference: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20140222X51922&AKey=1&RType=Final&IType=FA. Court decisions aside, that's the official record.

V/r
Spam

I confess, I put a lot more weight on the Judge's opinion than I do on the NTSB's Probable Cause that blamed the Baron pilot.  I read the documents in the Docket long before the Court's Decision.  I didn't find a convincing case for blaming the pilot then, and I don't think there's a convincing case now.  I have experienced the "startle effect".  Fortunately for me it wasn't flying an airplane.  It's tough to overcome unless there's significant muscle memory built up by lots of simulated similar situations.

I hope you locate the FAA report you mentioned.  I'm really interested in reading it.  I've run across some pretty good articles about smoke, flat light, etc. and would like to learn more.  Smoke is a weird obscuration since it can be really dense, then nearly absent... all within a very short distance.  And it can close in rapidly behind the unwary, particularly in mountainous terrain.

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