Archive for September, 2004

Norman Transcript

30 September 2004 at 4:05 pm
by Berck

It’s not very often that I both read a news story and know what actually happened. Everytime I do, the news story is so very bad, I wonder why anyone ever reads the news. First, I present you with the text of the article.

PURCELL – A University of Oklahoma flight student and his instructor walked away from an emergency landing in a field north of the Purcell Municipal Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Coy Reed, a flight instructor, and Michael Dow, a junior from Norman, were practicing routine “touch and go” procedures in the Cessna C-182 single-engine plane when they made the emergency landing shortly before noon.

McClain County detectives said Dow was piloting the plane and attempting to gain altitude after practicing emergency procedures at the Purcell airport when the plane stalled, forcing Reed to take control and execute a forced landing.

“They landed in an open field about 1 mile north of the Purcell airport but damages to the plane were minimal,” said Detective David Graham. “They seemed kind of shaken up a bit, which is normal, but they didn’t have any injuries from the landing.”

After the area was secured by McClain County sheriff’s de-puties, the student and instructor were taken back to the Norman campus. OU officials and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were looking into why the plane’s engine stalled.

Chris Wright, an equipment operator for the college’s flight program, and Glenn Schaumburg, director of aviation, spent Tuesday afternoon looking over the plane’s engine. No official cause of the incident has been released though Schaumburg said the probable cause is a malfunction of one of the plane’s four cylinders. He said a crew will go to the secured plane today and examine it more thoroughly.

“Even if it is the cylinder, it’s absolutely nothing the pilots or the mechanics could have seen,” Schaumburg said. “This is one of those oddball things.”

Schaumburg said the stalled plane was likely between 28 and 30 years old but “isn’t quite near retirement age yet.” Schaumburg said safety mandates require OU planes have their engines routinely replaced as well as pre-takeoff checklists. Schaumburg doesn’t attribute the plane’s malfunction to its age or a lack of safety measures, nor does he believe Reed is to blame for the incident. Schaumburg said Reed was an OU student and was hired by the School of Aviation “a year or two ago.”

“What I can say about the pilot is that he did an absolutely excellent job. He went through the emergency checklist and when that didn’t work out he found that convenient field to land in,” Schaumburg said.

This story is so wrong that I can’t even begin to guess at where they got these ideas. First, the story claims that the aircraft is a “Cessna 182”. This was actually even more amusing in the print article, because it had a picture of the aircraft in the field. You don’t have to know much about airplanes to know that a Cessna 182 is a high-wing airplane. The plane was actually a Piper Cherokee, a low-wing airplane with absolutely no similarity to a Cessna 182. I cannot even begin to guess how the reporter arrived at the aircraft being a C-182. Not only does OU not have any Cessna 182’s, but it’s not a plane that’s generally used for training by anyone.

As for what actually happened: What actually happened was that after a routine simulation of an engine failure, the student applied full power for a go-around. At this rather inopportune moment, the engine decided to break a valve and bend a pushrod. The engine was then effectively running on three cylinders and was running so poorly, that they elected to go ahead and make the simulated forced landing an actual forced landing.

You’ll notice that at no point did the aircraft stall. This doesn’t stop the reporter from claiming, “…Dow was piloting the plane and attempting to gain altitude after practicing emergency procedures at the Purcell airport when the plane stalled..”

And there are all kinds of other things that I don’t understand at all. Like what does this sentence mean? “Schaumburg said safety mandates require OU planes have their engines routinely replaced as well as pre-takeoff checklists.”

Safety mandates and pre-takeoff checklists require OU planes have their engines routinely replaced?

Overall, the student and instructor did a good job. As Dale likes to say, “Doors opened, people got out.” And the airplane is perfectly fine, though they’ll probably have to take it apart to get it out of there.

These things happen. A couple months ago, one of our instructors was flying one of our aircraft when the exact same thing happened– stuck valve and bent pushrod. But instead of putting it down in a field, he used what minimal power was available to get it back to the airport, which wasn’t very far.

Sayre, OK

28 September 2004 at 2:36 pm
by Berck

My instructor called me yesterday and told me that the only time he could get a plane for us a do a 100NM cross-c0untry was 6am. I’m not a big fan of morning. I got there at 6:30am and it was still dark. My instructor didn’t show up for another few minutes. We’d have had to wait around for the sun anyway, since it was supposed to be a day flight. I don’t like getting up early.

It was a nice, cool flight. I picked Sayre because I’d never been there, it’s an approved field, and it was on the same sectional, so I didn’t have to plot a course on the backside or buy another chart.

The air was perfectly calm, something that’s not been too common around here. The mornings tend to be calmer, though, because there’s no thermals rising from the heated ground. It was nice almost being a little cold at 6,500 feet.

There’s only one flight left in this stage with my instructor. It’s a 100NM night VFR flight. The rest are about 12 solos.

I’m planning on knocking the first one out tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be my first solo flight since my private cross-country. Since I’m a little nervous about it, I’m going to fly to Ardmore again. It’s easy to find. I’ll go to different places for my other flights.

Eventually I’m going to have to make a 250NM cross-country. I get to pick either Little Rock or Dalhart, TX. I’m thinking about Dalhart just because I like it out west. Most of the students pick little rock because it’s greener and landmarks are easier to find.

Truly Nonsense

27 September 2004 at 7:54 pm
by Jonah

I just realized that the organist plays “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” in the middle of his solo in “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

More Movie Reviews

24 September 2004 at 11:04 pm
by Jonah

Time for more movie reviews.

We actually WENT OUT to the theater this week…TWICE. Berck’s mom gave us some money with instructions to go do movie and a dinner. I discovered, when checking the movie times in the paper, that the dollar theater just down the street becomes the fifty cent theater on Tuesdays. It just so happened to be Tuesday, so we decided to do a practice run and went to see The Terminal. The movie was better than the theater. Berck broke his vow of never going to the dollar theater again, and his nose was punished as a result. (“It smells bad in here.”)

Terminal is a delightful movie. Not a great film, by any means, but quite entertaining. Everyone should see it. It was fun seeing it in a theater full of teenage rednecks, who laughed at EVERYTHING, or else pointed out the obvious audibly to whoever blind might be in the audience. (Tom Hanks glances at the restrooms, and someone whispers, “He has to go to the bathroom!”) All in all a safe film bet.

We went on our real date to the real theater last night (it’s across the street from the dollar theater) and paid real cash for Garden State. This was a wonderful movie that I think the only person in my family who would enjoy it is Ben. Everyone else who reads this and doesn’t share my bloodlines should go out and watch it at once. Or wait till it hits the dollar theater and take a clothespin. Natalie Portman actually acts in it, instead of just looking pretty, which delighted me but disappointed Berck. He wanted more ripped clothing and knee-high boots.

We’ve been wading our way through The Decalogue, a series of one-hour films made for Polish television in the late eighties. They were directed by the guy who did Trois Couleurs. They don’t follow the Ten Commandments exactly, but each one is about a different inhabitant of a Warsaw apartment complex and the circumstances that lead them to sin. They’re very well done but also very depressing. We’ve finished “Seven.” Three more to go.

and now it’s Friday…

24 September 2004 at 4:28 pm
by Berck

I still haven’t flown to Lawton. Yesterday, the plane I was scheduled in went out for its 100 hour inspection the flight before mine. Today, I was scheduled in two planes at two different times. The first one is out for maintenance and the other one was supposed to be out of maintenance by now, but isn’t. And tomorrow is Saturday, and I’ll try again.

I’m annoyed.