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This past weekend was
a wonderful weekend to fly in eastern North Carolina. I was fortunate to be at
the Harnett County Airport (KHRJ) in Erwin, N.C. for their first fly-in.
TC showing HRJ Fly-in attendees the Piper Tomahawk
Despite the much larger than anticipated crowd of over 5,000, Manager Josh Pusser and his crew pulled off a great event. Special thanks to Mr. Martin for allowing us to use his Piper Tomahawk which allowed many youth their first chance to sit and work the controls of an actual aircraft.
SAFETY MINUTE VIDEO #61 ~
Trusting Your Gut With Rental Aircraft
BEECH 1990 FLIGHT 5481 UNRAVELED
By TC FREEMAN
Here’s the scene: You are standing on the ramp
of a busy maintenance hangar. In the background are the typical sights and
sounds of various aircraft approaching or departing the airport. On this cool,
crisp January morning the sound of a turbine engine rising to fever pitch
catches your attention. Quickly looking around, the horrific image of a
Beechcraft (Beech) 1900 commuter airline in a near vertical position comes into
view. The aircraft is literally “hanging by the props,” like an aerobatic
aircraft on the verge of a tail-slide maneuver. As the aircraft falls off to
the left it becomes apparent the doomed aircraft is heading directly toward the
maintenance hangar. Primal “fight or flight” instincts take over as you run for
cover. Looking back you can actually see the Captain and First Officer fight to
control the aircraft. Narrowly missing the empennage of a heavy jet, the 1900
bounces hard off the ramp then clips the side of the hangar igniting hundreds
of gallons of Jet A fuel. The blast is horrific, small bits of aircraft
insulation fall from the sky ignited.
Trying to “get your wits about you,” thought
patterns turn to searching for survivors. Co-workers ban together, grab fire
extingushers to search the scorched wreckage. Despite the slim prospects of
survival your mind tells you to “do something - anything” to find survivors.
Not until sometime later did the grim facts came out that all nineteen
passengers and two crewmembers perished in the accident. While this could have
happened to anyone, it happened to Dave Allison, an aircraft mechanic working
on the ramp at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport (KCLT) on January 8, 2003. It was
US Airways Flight 5481 and his life would never be the same.
Dave will tell you that it took a long time to get over the accident. However,
in reality you never really get over it. While coping with the life-changing
events of that day he made a conscience decision to get involved to prevent
something like this from ever happening again. Dave worked closely with the
NTSB to initiate changes that ultimately make flying safer for the public.
Additionally, he became active in the safety community volunteering his time to
speak with pilots and Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) on a variety of
topics but he wasn’t ready to talk about Flight 5481.
Fast forward to October 11, 2014 in Salisbury,
North Carolina. For the first time, Dave is talking about Flight 5481 to a
small group of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter members. I have
the honor of co-presenting this important topic that consists of causal factors
from not only the flight deck but also maintenance, management and regulatory
organizations. Please make every effort
to attend this presentation to hear the complete story behind Flight 5481.*
*To bring this presentation to your group, company or organization, please contact TC Freeman at email@example.com.
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