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Old 07-14-2012, 06:23 AM   #11  
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Default This is the story...

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishFlyer757 View Post
I was supposed to take a couple up for a one-hour sightseeing flight tonight. Guy was 230, me 250, and she was 140 - the couple is friends with the family that owns the FBO/Flight School/Charter company where I am a part-time instructor. The plane had 36 gallons of fuel on it. It is a 1999 172R with a 160HP engine. I ran a W&B and ended up 80 lbs over gross weight.


I found the chief pilot and he said it was too hard to drain fuel out of the plane (all the mechanics had gone home). The couple said they would come back next week. I didn't have any means to drain fuel from the plane so I relented. (The plane was supposed to have less fuel in but it didn't fly this morning because of VCTS and mechanical issues).

About 20 minutes after the couple left the FBO I got a call from the owner and he yelled at me for 20 minutes saying I made the FBO look bad. He said I needed to 'use common sense' when it came to aviation. He asked, "Do you ever drive 70 on the highway instead of 65?" He said sometimes you just need get the job done and that I was splitting hairs because '50 or so pounds hardly makes a difference' - but I can't help thinking that I didn't want the NTSB or FAA to reconstruct my fiery wreckage and cite 'pilot error' if the worst were to happen.

I understand that measuring fuel and such isn't 100% accurate but 80 lbs is well beyond the 'fudge factor'. I feel that since the owner and his ex-wife planned this demo flight that they should have made sure the line guys didn't 'tab' the fuel right before I was supposed to go flying. I pride myself on being a conservative and safe pilot - did I do anything wrong here?

I should add the Density Altitude was 3100' but the runway is about 8100'. There was a small convective cell 5 miles north and a line of TS about 60 miles west. To me it just didn't add up to a great day to push the envelope - not to mention it was Friday the 13th!
This is the story you relate in your interview when asked, "Have you ever had incidents or situations..." Good Call
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:40 AM   #12  
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There is more than one way to skin a cat and get the job done in this business, but busting limitations and FAR's just ain't one of them. The next time you get in trouble for making the right decision politely tell that person scolding you to eff off.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:44 AM   #13  
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Default Old joke from the training center

Q: Your manuals show that you are 50 pounds overweight for takeoff. What can you do?
A: Throw manuals out sliding window to reduce weight.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:48 AM   #14  
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Told owner since he is unable to take fuel off, you would start it up and take it to run up area to burn fuel off. Then pick pax up for their flight. End of story.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atr42flyer View Post
80lbs is over the fudge factor? really on any given day airliners take off thousands of pounds overweight, when you think about it per the FAA the avg airline passenger weighs only 175lbs and their bags only weigh 30lbs each. I am sure your little cessna would have handled 80lbs pounds over just fine. I am with the boss on this one get the job done. rookie
Your judgement is flawed, and you're not doing the new guys any favors here.

I'm sure the airplane would have been fine.

But the OP was a little outside of his experience box, so he did the absolute right thing here...went by the book. If he had 10,000 hours in Alaska maybe he could have used his judgement.

What if the CG was only 1.5 inches aft of limits? It's not even two inches! But THAT will kill you.

Besides, if the guy got ramped the inspector would have eyeballed that load and asked to see the W&B for sure...that would have been a violation and a NASA form would not help if he had an overweight W&B and went anyway. I'll work within the width of a pencil lead, but I'm not putting tickets on the line for an employers convenience.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:08 AM   #16  
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishFlyer757 View Post
I understand that measuring fuel and such isn't 100% accurate but 80 lbs is well beyond the 'fudge factor'. I feel that since the owner and his ex-wife planned this demo flight that they should have made sure the line guys didn't 'tab' the fuel right before I was supposed to go flying. I pride myself on being a conservative and safe pilot - did I do anything wrong here?
Hell no you didn't. Me personally, I would've told the owner that if he had a problem with my decision making we could take it up with the local FSDO. But that's me, and I have a good paying job.

Ever flown a 172 at max gross on a hot day? It's not fun. 80 # over, or 1 # over, the limit is the limit. If the owner had such a hard on for getting the flight done he should've been more proactive. Flip side to that is take this learning experience on board and next time prepare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrUpGrDn View Post
Told owner since he is unable to take fuel off, you would start it up and take it to run up area to burn fuel off. Then pick pax up for their flight. End of story.
That's over 13 gallons of fuel. You gonna go out and sit at the hold short at cruise power for over an hour?
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:37 AM   #17  
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U bet, I would have taken care of the problem. Overweight, overbearing owner. Wasn't his butt was it? No FAR's broken. Having the truck come out to offload fuel would have cost him less....
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #18  
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Welcome to the world of aviation...due to a set of circumstances beyond your control you get stuck making the tough call and getting a tongue lashing. GOOD ON YOU for doing the right thing by not taking off overweight. The only advice I can offer is to somehow find a way to say yes and remain within limits. I would have offered to do a few laps around the pattern (solo) in order to get the weight down. There is always a way, you just might have to be creative.

C9
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:56 AM   #19  
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C9 is dead on. This is always the predicament the PIC is in. Just as a Designated Examiner is a representative of the FAA, your pilot certificate is a representation of how the FAA wants aircraft to be operated. Only problem is the government has never been able to make a profit!
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:12 AM   #20  
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Good decision. However, you should have told your manager to get pipers and this problem wouldn't have happened. Find a couple 5 gallon buckets and let the drains do their work!!
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