When things happen in the ferry business they happen FAST!  Got SG”s Brazilian visa back quicker than anyone thought possible and seeing no reason to hang around Wisconsin we booked the first flight to Uruguay we could get and a short 23 hours later,ugh, we’re in Montevideo.  The plan now is to inspect the plane, meet the owner to go over the route and con convince everyone that I can really get this aircraft to North Carolina.  SG and I met the director and film crew this afternoon for a short pow wow followed by a great Uruguayan BBQ.  Super Girl charmed the pants off everyone and it looks like she will be a natural in front of he camera just like everything else.  Tomorrow we go to the airport to see the plane and start filming, should be a grand adventure.  Here’s a shot of the Bonanza.



It’s A Go!

This Christmas vacation instead of going skiing with her friends Super Girl is going to be stuck inside a small metal box for five or six days with her dad.  We got the word yesterday that the Uruguay trip is a go, and we leave Saturday, or maybe Sunday, depending on whether SG’s Brazilian visa gets here on time, or any number of other possible delays, but the word is GO!  With a destination finally nailed down I can finally start packing, and, be still my heart, help SG pack.  That should be fun, I’ve already given her the thumbs down on a pair of shorts that appear to be missing the bottom six inches.  Here’s the proposed route.  I can change it once we get into Brazil because after we clear customs I can fly wherever I want, I’m the captain after all.  OH CRAP!  I’ve only got TWO DAYS to get my Christmas shopping done!


An Old Story

Improper use of NEXRAD radar data proves fatal

General Aviation News will often reprint excerpts from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports, including one from October 2010 that involved a Cessna 210 in Aiken, South Carolina, where there was one fatality because the pilot relied on outdated weather radar imagery. The pilot who crashed also did not have an instrument rating nor were there any records of him obtaining a weather briefing or filing a flight plan for a VFR cross-country flight.

During the flight, the pilot had been advised by ATC that there was a broken line of weather with moderate-to-heavy precipitation which extended almost to his destination airport. The pilot told ATC that he was underneath the weather plus he had weather radar on-board.

According to radar records from the time of the accident, various witness statements and surface station measurements, the aircraft was most likely in instrument meteorological conditions during the final two minutes of flight. Radar data also showed that the pilot’s altitude control became erratic after entering the weather system with the aircraft making ever-tightening right turns  – a sign the pilot was experiencing spatial disorientation. The aircraft completed roughly two and a half 360° turns of progressively smaller diameters before impacting terrain.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that on-board weather radar was not installed but the remains of a portable global positioning system (GPS) receiver were discovered. However, the receiver was not certificated for use under instrument flight rules and the manufacturer intended for it to only be used as an aid for VFR navigation. The GPS receiver was capable of displaying weather data and images from the NEXt-generation RADar (NEXRAD) ground radar network, but this data was not transmitted in real time with the manufacturer cautioning that the lapsed time between the collection, processing and dissemination of the images could be significant.

Moreover, the FAA says that NEXRAD data along with any radar data should not be used to penetrate hazardous weather as its intended to only be used in an early-warning capacity during pre-departure and for en route evaluation. In addition, NEXRAD images consists of radar data from multiple ground sites displayed as a single mosaic image that could be up to 15 to 20 minutes older than the age indicated on the image.

For the above reasons, the probable cause of the crash was ruled the pilot’s inadequate weather planning and improper decision to continue a VFR flight into IMC leading to spatial disorientation and a loss of control. Contributing to the accident was the improper use of radar imagery for short-range weather avoidance.

The conclusion that the GPS not being certified for instrument flight and the NEXRAD feature not giving real time information being the reason for this crash is total BS.   The cheapest handheld GPS works just as well as a panel mounted IFR certified one, I’ve used supposedly VFR only handhelds to fly all over the world for over twenty years and they work just fine.  And to blame the NEXRAD is also more piling on in regards to somehow trying to blame the equipment for the crash.  Nope, sorry the reason for the crash is as old as flight.  If you don’t know how to fly in the clouds then DON’T FLY IN THE CLOUDS!  The pilot didn’t accidentally hit a thunderstorm,  he  flew into instrument conditions without the proper training, got vertigo and spun in.  The FAA estimates a pilot in this situation will be dead in ninety seconds, this guy lasted two minutes.

More Oops



The NTSB says a misjudged high-speed, low-altitude pass led to the crash of a Piper Malibu that killed the pilot and two passengers last year in Monroe, Mich. (PDF) The board said pilot Rick Howell, 58, of nearby LaSalle tried to raise his flight instructor on the radio to alert him that he was doing a high-speed pass before aiming the big single at the runway on March 29, 2011. The NTSB counted 37 propeller gouges in the runway in its investigation. The gear and flaps were retracted. The aircraft stayed airborne long enough to crash into a neighboring soccer field, narrowly missing a children’s playground and tennis complex, where a high school team was practicing.


Also killed were Nate Brahier, 30, and Jeremy Tate, 40, both of Ohio. The three were returning from a business trip to Pennsylvania. The NTSB said it found nothing mechanically wrong with the airplane but it did find evidence of the use of unapproved cough and pain medications in the tissues of the pilot. Toxicology tests also found the prescription drug Nortriptyline in his system.

Launch The Alert Five Wife

Three weeks ago when the powers that be at “Dangerous Flights” decided that maybe, just maybe, Super Girl might join me on the ferry flight from Uruguay to North Carolina in mid December.  Upon hearing the news I promptly sent a Text tell them that if SG is on the flight that she will need  visa for Brazil, so don’t forget.  Last Friday I got an email indicating that it was looking very good for SG to be the co-pilot for the flight and we might be leaving as soon as the next Thursday.  I again reminded the producers that SG will need a visa for Brazil because that big country is kinda in the way don’t you know.   Well surprise surprise Yesterday afternoon I got a call from SG telling me that someone from the production company called and told her that she needed to get a visa for Brazil, TODAY!  What followed was a mad scramble to get the applications filled out, copy’s of drivers licenses and birth certificates notarized, passport photos copied and money orders obtained.  Everything needed to go out that afternoon on Fed Ex  or the whole trip would be in jeopardy.  It didn’t make things any easier when at the last minute the production company told us that the company that was going to speed up the visa process couldn’t get it done fast enough but they found another that could and would you mind terribly starting all over again with this new company here’s the link.  “No problem” I said, “we only have forty five minutes until the last Fed Ex pick up and it’s a ten minute drive in good conditions, oh did I mention that we just got eighteen inches of snow and the roads are only half plowed?”  My wife flew into action on the computer filling out the new application, scanning a new photo for an ID, printing out new letters of something or other and printing a new Fed Ex label.  I helped by offering suggestions on how to get things done faster, which were much appreciated by my wife, which she told me in no uncertain terms.  At which point I stopped “helping”.  The packet was complete a good ten minutes after the final pick up time but I still grabbed it and dashed out into the snow hoping that the blizzard had slowed the driver in his appointed rounds.  I was at least twenty minutes late as I slid into the grocery story parking lot and was greeted by the beautiful sight of a white Fed Ex truck parked out front.  I did my best OJ Simpson impersonation across the ice and slid up to the driver with my package.  I had at least thirty seconds to spare.