Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Keeping Current

To start off this story, I had just been upgraded and was flying all three types that our operation ran. I was in the in between stage as I transitioned onto our largest aircraft. The one aircraft I flew the least was the C-206. I learned a lot flying that aircraft as I had the best of times and the worst. The aircraft was always requiring attention and really flew like a big truck. It's acquired an unpleasant name, the "crowd killer." It seats six: one crew and five passengers. If you ever fly one, it drops like a rock if you lose the cooling fan out front.

This particular day, I was flying into the worst strip we go into. It's 2000ft long and 75ft wide. It has a drainage ditch at the West end and is always saturated. With obstacles at each end, it's a lot of fun. I had just got back from a trip and another came up in the C-206. It would be an easy flight, two passengers out to the lodge. We jumped in and away we went. I had flown the aircraft enough to be comfortable into all the strips but it had been a few weeks since I had flown it. On our way out, the sun was shinning and we were cruising right along. As we approached, I could see a rain shower moving in. As I paralleled the runway I could see it was going to be a wet one. Since I hadn't flown the aircraft in some time I wasn't properly set up on the approach and to top it off, it was raining. Bad idea from the get go but I knew this guy tipped and I figured it would be no sweat getting the job done. As I came in, I floated half the runway before touching down. I immediately applied full power and went for the overshoot. I then yanked the aircraft out of the mud and back into the air. At that point I was out of room. I banked the aircraft to the right to miss on coming trees. Fortunately I was able to build speed over a swamp off the end of the strip. I should never have attempted to land the C-206 in those conditions. Being unprepared can cost you. I was lucky, so take note, not all are so lucky. Everyone who gets into this type of flying will experience these situations. I don't care who you are, you will at some point put yourself into a very troubling situation.

Set high standards for your profession. When you're low time you will have the tendency to do what the other pilots are doing. If they are flying in poor conditions, then you will as well. I feel it's important for senior pilots to step up to the plate and set appropriate standards. What you do influences all those who are of lower time and of less experience. I'm very verbal about my view on the weather and I will question those who push themselves into poor conditions. Work as a team, as we are all in this together. Safe fly and keep it rubber side down.


1 comment:

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