Losing All 4 Engines

I’m flying to England for a week and a bit tomorrow so its a slow work day today. Whilst reading about rumours of a Virgin 747 gliding into JFK this week with all 4 engines out (as you guessed, its not true) I was reminded of probably the most famous of the few 4-engine out incidents – British Airways Flight 9.

Hopefully on my (two-engine) flight across the pond tomorrow I will not be hearing the infamous words: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress

Currency, Glorious Currency!

Took a 172 to French Valley this afternoon. The hope had been to do some daytime touch and goes, have something to eat, then some night time stop and goes, and back home. But I underestimated the arrival of darkness and was after sunset before I was halfway there. I was too high on final and, is my habit when I am out of practice, landed too flat, not real pretty. Taxied to transient and enjoyed a very tasty hamburger in the restaurant. To my delight the place was getting fairly busy by the time I left. My hunger sated, back into the plane and once around the pattern, this time still high on final but it worked out ok. Next time around I was high again and this time I went around rather than fight it. Made a much slower pattern and greased it in nicely. I patted myself on the back as I taxied back and decided it was time to go home. I tuned Ramona into the GPS and followed the needle, got a Class D transition, over the reservoir, Gillespie Field and home. All in all a nice little flight.

For the first time since I don’t know when I am current in all three areas – PIC, Night and IFR (ssh, don’t ask me about my complex and high-performance currency). Now to keep them all up without lapsing.


If the early morning clouds lift today I plan a short hop to French Valley for PIC and night currency this afternoon. First thing this morning, I logged onto DUATS to take a peek at NOTAMs etc, put in my departure time as 1600 PDT…. and I notice that all the surface observations have a reported time later than it is right now. Hmmm….. a little asking around and who would have thought that PST meant Pacific Standard Time, rather than Pacific Summer Time?! Ok, so every American would!

In my defence, in the UK we have BST which is British Summer Time so all this time I’ve been in CA (about 6 years) I’ve thought that PST was summer and PDT was winter. And all that time my DUATS-filed flight plans have been off by an hour!

A Failure to See and Avoid

Amazing to think that no one was killed in this accident in which a plane landed on top of another just as it had touched down.

Another report I read reported that the accident pilot was transmitting on the wrong frequency and so did not hear the earlier pilot announce that he was on final, also. Obviously the second plane was on a higher path than the first and, being a low wing it would have been difficult to see beneath him. Either way, its incredible to think that at no time did he see the other guy. One of the dangers of uncontrolled airfields!

Catch Them Young!

I was hanging out at the airport tonight waiting to meet some friends, sat outside transient parking listening to the traffic on my radio. After a while a car pulled up and a lady got out with a young boy, obviously thrilled to be watching the planes. I had time to kill and I thought why not offer the kid a look inside one of the club planes – I had the key with me, though not my flight bag. So I went out, told the lady I was a pilot and would her son like to sit inside a plane?

Well, the kid needed no prompting and after what was probably a weighing-up of the likelihood of my being a child molester (or more likely the realisation that she could take me if it came to it!). I picked a 172, opened it up and told the kid to sit in the left seat while I got in the right. I explained some of the controls but it was going past him as he looked around. I flicked the master switch and let him put the flaps down. Pretty soon his mother said it was time to go, the kid thanked me with a big smile and off they went. I felt a smile myself from having given the boy something to remember for a while.

Back in Town

I’m not sure anyone reads this blog these days (if they ever did!) but in case anyone was wondering where I’ve been recently, the answer is Tokyo! I was sent there by Sony to do performance testing on the new Playstation 3 for the Japanese launch next week. Having now had my hands on the real thing rather than the test units we have in San Diego, I can say they are fantastic if you like games.

Had planned to be IFR and night current by now but the trip put a stop to that. I’m real jet lagged so not sure I will get back into the air next week. I’m going home to England for Thanksgiving so shall try to get back up at least once before then.

Didn’t see a single small plane the whole time in Japan.