This will be the first in a series of short stories called “Safe-To Share”. I call it that 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 as you will see in my personal story below.
By way of example, I want to share a “near miss” I had a few years ago. It was a beautiful VFR day. Not too hot. Just a great day for flying. I took my 20 year old son and a friend of his to Big Bear for lunch. All went well until we were climbing out of Big Bear to head home. I couldn’t understand why I was not able to get much performance out of the 172. It was really struggling and we barely cleared the trees. (We took off to the east vs. over the lake that I am more used to). Anyway, I was sweating bullets and barely climbing. I had checked the density altitude before departure and considered that, (A common issue at a high airport on hot days). Then I noticed that one of the mags was off. In my haste to do a “quick abbreviated run up” before departure, I had not put both mags back on! Once I rectified this the engine roared back to normal performance and we were fine.
In the middle of a trip like this, when we are only on the ground for an hour or so, I usually just do a walk around before heading home. In this case I made the decision to do a “quick run-up”.
Big lesson here for me. NEVER DO ANYTHING BUT A FULL RUN-UP IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO A RUN UP AT ALL. Because I was thinking of this as an “abbreviated run up” I rushed and obviously did not pay close enough attention to the check list or this could not have happened. I think of myself as a very careful pilot and that I do not cut corners but I did. I can tell you one thing for sure, I won’t make that mistake again.
Please feel free to send me your short stories. The life you save my be your own!
Here’s to safe and fun flying.