More Oops

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Oh my God this makes me sick.  Two Twin Otters were damaged last week in Florida when one of the planes spun around on the ramp and hit the other.  The rumor is that the pilot of the offending Otter missed seeing that the circuit breaker for the hydraulic system had been pulled for maintenance the night before.  In the Twin Otter if you don’t have hydraulics you don’t have steering and possibly no brakes.  I haven’t heard for sure what happened but my guess is that the pilot started the right engine first and when she took it out of feather it just spun right into the second one which was unfortunately also running at the time.  Now if it had been me, and thank God it wasn’t, I hope I would’ve been quick enough to pull the engine back into feather and if that didn’t stop it pull it all the way into beta or reverse thrust. Either way it must have happened very quickly and I can’t imagine the horrible sound it made when those two engines ate each other.  I’m good friends with the owner and feel sorry for him because it sounds like they won’t be fixed in time for the skydiving season this spring. What a bummer. I can totally see how this can happen though.  Flying skydiving aircraft is a unique job. Most of the planes have some of the original equipment removed either to save weight or because it’s not necessary for hauling skydivers in VFR conditions .  This often results in circuit breakers that are pulled so that the unneeded, broken, or missing item doesn’t draw any power.  The usual procedure is to put a collar or zip tie around the pulled circuit breaker so the pilot knows that the circuit breaker is out intentionally and doesn’t accidentally push it back in.  But that makes it all the more important to check the circuit breaker panel very carefully, otherwise, well, you see what happens.  Jump pilots do a whole lot of takeoffs and landings in the same plane day after day and that can lead to complacency which can really bite a pilot if he’s not careful. Ask me how I know.

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