Flight Training - June 2015 - 26

ACCIDENT REPORT

By Dan Namowitz
THE MOST common causes of ramp
accidents are carelessness and/or a
lack of awareness, according to the
AOPA Air Safety Institute.

RAMP RISKS

CONFRONTING KNOWN AND UNPREDICTABLE HAZARDS

J

ust as automobiles and pedestrians sometimes mix badly when
they must cross each other's paths, persons operating aircraft
in the vicinity of pedestrians confront some known risks and
other unpredictable perils. In a perfect world, every passenger would emplane or deplane from an aircraft safely secured, with no
props, turbine blades, or rotors in motion, and would be under escort
until safely off airport movement areas.
That's not the way of things in the
real world, so pilots must remain acutely
aware of the hazards that await the
unwary or the distracted on the ramp.
The last thing pilots should do is
aggravate matters in the name of convenience. One way pilots have done that on
numerous occasions is to press nonpilot
passengers into service to perform tasks
that they should never be asked-or
allowed-to perform.

eral parked unoccupied airplanes."
The report added that the pilot said
he "did not show the passenger how to
activate the aircraft's brakes, and believes
the passenger may have inadvertently
applied left rudder in an attempt to stop
the airplane, although the passenger told
him he did not recall doing so."
The NTSB assigned the probable cause
of the mishap as "the pilot's use of a
person unfamiliar with aviation and his

"INITIALLY THE AIRPLANE DID NOT MOVE,
BUT THEN BEGAN TO MOVE. HE ATTEMPTED
TO BOARD THE AIRPLANE BUT WAS UNABLE."
One of those scenarios is when a nonpilot passenger is asked to "hold the
brakes" during an attempt to hand-start
an aircraft. One such case occurred in
Danbury, Connecticut, on June 28, 2014.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board's accident summary, the
pilot had already resorted to hand-starting the aircraft "once during five attempts
prior to five separate flights the previous
weekend."
This time, unable to find someone from
the FBO to help start the Cessna 172, the
pilot "asked the non-rated passenger
seated in the right front seat to apply the
aircraft's brakes. With the airplane unsecured and the throttle applied 'a little bit,'
the engine started. Initially the airplane
did not move, but then began to move. He
attempted to board the airplane but was
unable and it began travelling faster. The
airplane turned to the left, went between
two rows of airplanes, and impacted sev-

26 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

failure to properly secure the airplane
during hand starting of the engine."
There were no injuries-but the next
time you are out on the ramp, walking
toward your aircraft, pay close attention
if a nearby aircraft begins to move. There
may be an untrained person in charge.
Should a person who works for an
airport business in a nonpilot capacity,
and who has the run of the ramp during
routine operations, be considered familiar
or unfamiliar with aviation?
Air Safety Institute Safety Brief:
Ramp Operations
On the ramp, the key to safety is
vigilance and awareness. Download
the Ramp Operations Safety Brief for
more tips (www.aopa.org/-/media/
Files/AOPA/Home/Pilot-Resources/ASI/
Safety-Briefs/SB10.pdf).

A tragic accident in June 2014 in
Middletown, Ohio, might cause pilots to
rethink their ideas about that.
The NTSB reported that on June 1,
2014, a propeller from a de Havilland
DHC-6-200 Twin Otter, a high-winged
turboprop, "struck an employee from the
skydiving operator as she walked toward
the cockpit while the airplane was standing with the engines operating on a ramp
at the Middletown Regional Airport/
Hook Field."
The report said the skydiving aircraft,
which has two wing-mounted engines,
had been contracted by a skydiving
business that normally operated singleengine aircraft with engine and propeller
up front. The twin "was standing on the
MWO ramp while waiting for passengers
to board when the accident occurred."
The report noted that the pilot thought
that the delay before the next flight "was
not long enough to justify shutting down
the engines."
According to newspaper reporting of
the accident, the employee, a 24-year-old
office manager for the based skydiving
business, had walked out to the aircraft-
"as she frequently did"-to ask the pilot
if he wanted food. She was struck by the
rotating propeller of the left engine.
The NTSB's terse report set the
probable cause of the accident as "the
skydiving operator employee's failure
to see and avoid the rotating propeller blades when she walked toward the
cockpit while the airplane's engines
were running."
In its aftermath, if pilots take some time
to rethink their sense of what constitutes
risk mitigation on ramps and movement
areas, a shred of good may emerge from
the darkest day in the life of one airport
community.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight
instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and
an instructor since 1990.


http://www.aopa.org/-/media/Files/AOPA/Home/Pilot-Resources/ASI/Safety-Briefs/SB10.pdf http://www.aopa.org/-/media/Files/AOPA/Home/Pilot-Resources/ASI/Safety-Briefs/SB10.pdf http://www.aopa.org/-/media/Files/AOPA/Home/Pilot-Resources/ASI/Safety-Briefs/SB10.pdf http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - June 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - June 2015

Contents
Flight Training - June 2015 - Cover1
Flight Training - June 2015 - Cover2
Flight Training - June 2015 - Contents
Flight Training - June 2015 - 2
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