Sunday, August 19, 2012


My friend Nick loves gadgets, and flying with him is like a trip through Den Den City.  We had two tablets going, one running SkyCharts, the other running ForeFlight, plus a fistful of smart phones and two different handheld GPSs.  For a twenty minute flight.  Oh, I had a current sectional chart available, too.

We went to our local EAA chapter meeting and headed home.  Given the smoke pervading the Western US the visibility was a little low, but still good VFR.  I had planned to do a practice ILS on the way home, but I have plenty of recent approaches, so skipped it.

Nick asked me about uPad and the trick I wrote about in the last post, so I turned my tablet toward him and showed him how it worked.

That meant that nobody was flying the airplane.


When I looked up, we had gone through the extended centerline to runway 21, although we were more than 10 miles from the airport.


The wind was 070 at about 8, an acceptable tailwind component. so the tower offered runway 21.  Great.  But my focus on the tablet had put me behind and we were high and fast.  I reduced the manifold pressure as much as I dared, but we were still above Vfe and still high.


The American 757 going into Cali, Colombia.  The Gulfstream going into Houston.  The Lear headed into Carlsbad, CA.  I did not want to join that list, but being hot and high with a tailwind certainly increased my chances.


"Tower, 60N, change of plans, we'd like to enter left downwind for runway 3."

Admit your mistakes, and fix them before things get out of hand.


At August 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM , Blogger Frank Van Haste said...


...and all the way back to EA 401 into the Everglades. The list goes on and on. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I suspect it's easier for a crew of two, acting in collusion, to have a distraction incident. But that doesn't mean single-pilot ops - my usual mode - are resistant to the danger.

Keep safe,


At August 20, 2012 at 5:25 PM , Anonymous Shamim said...

Hi Jim!

I was going to be safety pilot for a friend who recently bought an SR-22. As we flew out VFR, he was showing me all the bells and whistles (and boy does an SR-22 have them) and I was of course drooling. Same story -- two rated idiots onboard but no one flying the airplane. ATC had to interrupt our show-and-tell to ask about our intentions.

At August 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM , Anonymous Peter S. said...

Hi Jim,

As an owner of a Perspective SR-22 I totally concur. It's easy to get caught looking down at the gadgets than outside where the other planes are. TCAS helps, but amazing how many times an older or experimental doesn't show up. I missed a small experimental flying out of KSBS a few weeks back by 500 ft. I was at 10k headed west IFR and he was at 9500 going east, but due to terrain the radar folks didn't have either one of us. Fortunately it was a clear day, but how fast we passed made me think twice about dividing my attention.

At August 21, 2012 at 9:06 AM , Blogger Dr.ATP said...

Peter, meet Shamim; Shamim, Peter.

How come my friends are flying SR-22s and I'm flying a 1969 Cherokee Six?

At August 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM , Anonymous Shamim said...

I only drool over an SR-22, a friend owns it. My 1973 Citabria is probably the one that doesn't always show up on TCAD devices!


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