Flight Training - March 2013 - 21

FLIGHT LESSON

By Julie Paasch
FLIGHT LESSON offers the
opportunity for pilots to learn
from the experiences of others.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

STEER CLEAR OF HAZARDOUS ATTITUDES

A

ALEX WILLIAMSON

s I stood on the snow-covered ramp, nursing my freezing
hands, I watched my flight instructor check the fuel tank
of the Piper and my suspicions were confirmed: Barely two
gallons remained. How did I find myself in this predicament
as an instrument student? Although potentially dangerous at the time,
the experience taught me some key lessons that I have carried with
me in my piloting career.
I had anxiously planned my first IFR
cross-country and, adding to the stress, at
the last minute my instructor found someone else to fly with me. At the time, I was
timid and not confident in my planning,
but the two minutes that my instructor
spent looking at the flight plan seemed to
put me at ease. The first half of the flight
was uneventful. But during the return leg
the weather started to deteriorate.
Cold temperatures aloft meant we had
to stay clear of the broken clouds that
had thickened and visibility that slowly
became worse. So we descended lower
and lower. An unforecast storm was right
in our path. The potential for icing in the
clouds and the moderate snow that started
to stick to our wings meant we were forced
to cancel our IFR clearance and remain
clear of the clouds.

As I meticulously filled in my flight plan,
looking for some other options to divert
around the weather, I noticed that I was
substantially off on my estimated times.
Looking closer, the realization of our situation hit me in the pit of my stomach: We
didn’t have enough fuel to make it home.
The new instructor looked at my planning and denied it. “There is no way I am
not making it home tonight, especially
when I have a date with the bars,” he said.
“Besides, I have flown on less fuel than
we have now, and I was fine.” I wanted to
trust him, because he did have a lot more
experience than me—but according to
my planning we would not make it. The
discussion escalated into a 10-minute
argument before I finally gave in. “Fine,”
I yelled, “you are flying home, then.” I
released the controls.

PLUS Read the outcome of a low-fuel situation in this NTSB report.

The tension continued to build as we
flew through the storm and I watched
the fuel diminish on the gauge. After
touchdown, the gauges both showed
empty. After confirming only two gallons remained, he handed me a bucket
and told me to sump fuel out of one of
the other aircraft sitting on the ramp. I
looked at him in disbelief. Was he joking?
He proceeded to threaten that if I told
anyone what had happened, he would
make sure I would never get a job at this
particular flight school. It turned out that
if an aircraft returned with less than 45
minutes of fuel, the fueler was supposed
to notify the safety officer at the flight
school. I obeyed, but vowed never to fly
with him again.
Today, I share this story with many of
my students and flight instructors. Every
pilot is susceptible in various degrees to
hazardous attitudes. In this circumstance,
I didn’t know the flight instructor, I was
not confident in my abilities, and I didn’t
think I could make a difference. I put my
life in his hands. I could have threatened
to tell his supervisor, called over the emergency frequency, or at the very least tried
to continue to reason with him until he
realized the potential gravity of our situation. The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical
Knowledge describes five hazardous
attitudes: anti-authority, macho, invulnerability, resignation, and impulsivity. In my
scenario three different attitudes were
present. The first was anti-authority, when
someone has a disregard for the rules and
does not like being told what to do. The
second attitude was invulnerability—when
someone believes an accident can’t happen to him. The last hazardous attitude is
resignation, which I displayed. Resignation is when you don’t think you can make
a difference in the situation, so you give
up. Know which hazardous attitudes you
are most susceptible to so you can work on
them starting early in flight training.
Sometimes, it is difficult to admit your
weaknesses but by working on them,
accidents can be prevented. In time, with
practice, we all can grow.

MARCH 2013 FLIGHT TRAINING

/ 21



Flight Training - March 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2013

Flight Training - March 2013
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Not What It Appears
After the Checkride
How It Works
ASI News Action
Training Products
Since You Asked
Member Products Final Exam
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Flying Carpet
The "S" Word
Women With Wings
Problem Solver
Technique
Weather
Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Juggling the Airplane
The Known to the Unknown
You're Not Done Yet
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Training - March 2013
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2013 - 1
Flight Training - March 2013 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2013 - 3
Flight Training - March 2013 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2013 - 5
Flight Training - March 2013 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2013 - 7
Flight Training - March 2013 - Letters
Flight Training - March 2013 - 9
Flight Training - March 2013 - Not What It Appears
Flight Training - March 2013 - 11
Flight Training - March 2013 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - How It Works
Flight Training - March 2013 - ASI News Action
Flight Training - March 2013 - Training Products
Flight Training - March 2013 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2013 - 17
Flight Training - March 2013 - Member Products Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2013 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - 20
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 23
Flight Training - March 2013 - The "S" Word
Flight Training - March 2013 - 25
Flight Training - March 2013 - 26
Flight Training - March 2013 - 27
Flight Training - March 2013 - Women With Wings
Flight Training - March 2013 - 29
Flight Training - March 2013 - 30
Flight Training - March 2013 - 31
Flight Training - March 2013 - 32
Flight Training - March 2013 - 33
Flight Training - March 2013 - Problem Solver
Flight Training - March 2013 - 35
Flight Training - March 2013 - 36
Flight Training - March 2013 - 37
Flight Training - March 2013 - Technique
Flight Training - March 2013 - 39
Flight Training - March 2013 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2013 - 41
Flight Training - March 2013 - 42
Flight Training - March 2013 - Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Flight Training - March 2013 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2013 - 45
Flight Training - March 2013 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - March 2013 - Juggling the Airplane
Flight Training - March 2013 - The Known to the Unknown
Flight Training - March 2013 - You're Not Done Yet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 50
Flight Training - March 2013 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2013 - 52
Flight Training - March 2013 - 53
Flight Training - March 2013 - 54
Flight Training - March 2013 - 55
Flight Training - March 2013 - 56
Flight Training - March 2013 - 57
Flight Training - March 2013 - 58
Flight Training - March 2013 - 59
Flight Training - March 2013 - 60
Flight Training - March 2013 - 61
Flight Training - March 2013 - 62
Flight Training - March 2013 - 63
Flight Training - March 2013 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover4
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