Thank You and Fly Safe
Pacific Coast Flyers
In 400 hours of flying over 40 years as a pilot I have had only 1 or 2 degrees of separation from 4 fuel mismanagement incident/accidents. Score: 2 dead, 1 maimed, 3 walked away.
I flew out to Lake Havasu (KHII) from Corona (KAJO) on one very hot summer day as a newly-rated 17 year old pilot. After being there later than I expected, the group I met there and I came back to the airport at night. During the preflight I decided that I would not feel comfortable heading back to Corona on the fuel that I had in the tanks. A CFI who was there with me insisted I was fine and told me just go, but I was too weary. It was after the fuel station's operating hours and they would only come out to assist for a hefty fee. This 172 was 80/87 octane approved however, so we ended up driving to the nearest gas station and filling up one 5-gallon fuel can to bring back to the plane. I really wanted two, but I digress. We fueled up the plane, I completed my preflight, and I was on my way, along with a passenger who decided last second to fly home with me instead of the CFI.
This accident was 30 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. The plane was a Beech Debonair (straight tail Bonanza), the weather was about 1000 ft overcast, rain and about 3 Miles visibility, tops around 7 thousand. Destination: Mexicali, Mexico and then Mulege Baja. My passengers were my wife and two sons; Two and a half and three and a half years old. The clearance: IFR to VFR on top, maintain runway heading, if not on top at seven, maintain and advise. At around six thousand five hundred, I was still in the clouds when I heard a loud noise, similar to ice in a blender.
Safe-To-Share. Number 2
Below is the secondin a series of short stories generously sent to us by club member Franck Valles. I call these stories safe-to-share because we want folks to feel safe sharing these very valuable lessons that we can all benefit and learn from. By the way, a “near miss” just means a close call. It does not necessarily mean a true near miss.
Here’s our story: