Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No.... it wasn't me.

It seems that last Monday a small Cessna from the local flight school landed long on the runway and missed its intended taxiway. It had to back track in order to exit the runway, as a result a Regional Jet CRJ-200 had to perform a "go-around". There was no close call, no miscommunication, drama or anything amiss, no one at any time was in danger. The local flight service specialist saw that the Cessna had landed long and simple told (suggested) that the commercial do an overshoot to give the Cessna a chance to clear the runway.

While this is not common, it happens all the time and it's not a big deal. I personally have been asked to extend my downwind or land short and take the first taxiway many times, and I have been happy to accommodate the commercial traffic. The commercial pilots have also thanked me over the radio on numerous occasions for letting them jump the queue.

This one time it didn't work out. It was probably a low time student or a infrequent renter that thought he could get down and out of the way in time for the Regional, but it didn't work out that way. No close call, not a safety issue, only a simple inconvinence.

The next day the local paper then ran this headline on the front page, "Commercial aircraft aborts P.E.I. landing". While technically it's true, it is very misleading to the general non aviation public. Everyone that read the paper and knew me then asked if it was me (it wasn't), like the Cessna had done something wrong. I take the time to explain that it was the Cessna pilot that had the right of way and that this wasn't considered an incident but simply an inconvience. No TSB investigation.

In the story the reporter asked the airport spokesperson if this incident could have been avoided if an air traffic controller was in the tower instead of a flight service specialist. I couldn't help but laugh when I read that part. I don't know how an air traffic controller could have helped the pilot land short unless they have type on magical powers that I don't know about.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Flying the warm skies of PEI

Me and a couple of buddies got up for a flight last weeknd. This was the first time that either of them had flown in a small non-commercial aircraft.

It was about 30c on the apron and we nearly perished from the heat until I fired her up to complete my preflight checks. We taxied with my door open into position and then a few minutes later we were climbing out at a paltry 600 ft per minute. Fern did not like the heat one bit and her performance was way below normal. A few times during the flight I actually had to fly with my window open to increase the airflow in the cabin.

We hit some of the tourist attractions located on our north shore and I circle a few of them so Dean could get some shots. It was a hot hazy day and the pics reflected this fact. I let Dean take the controls for a bit but he wanted me to do all the flying in case he did something wrong, (he admitted that he wife told him not to touch anything).

When then pushed on to Summerside to give Dean a chance to take some shots of his house, then we swung down to the Confederation bridge and finally we returned to Charlottetown where I did a picture perfect landing. (Due to the pax load, nearly full tanks and hot conditions I found that I had to leave more then normal throttle on to reduce our descent rate on final).

Another great flight and both of my buddies want to go again next month when it's a tad cooler and less hazy for picture taking.

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