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A pilot who DESERVES and EGO!

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Mar 27, 2002
Pilot awarded for "dead-stick" landing
Thu Aug 22, 6:09 PM ET

By Charles Grandmont

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian pilot
who astounded the aviation world by gliding
his stricken jetliner, with 304 people on board,
to a safe landing on an island in the Atlantic
Ocean, has been given a special flying award.

The Air Line Pilots Association ( news - web
sites), the union representing some 66,000
pilots from Canada and the United States,
gave its Superior Airmanship award to Air
Transat pilot Robert Piche and his first officer
Dirk De Jager at its annual banquet in
Washington on Thursday.

"The spirit of airmanship that is involved here
is the amazing feat of taking of airplane that
lost both its engines at 35,000 feet and piloting
it... 70 miles and making a precision pinpoint
landing on a tiny speckled island," the
association's spokesman, John Mazor, told

Piche, a married father of three, became a
national hero in Canada and made headlines
around the world on August 24, 2001, when
he brought a Lisbon-bound Airbus 330 to a
safe, "dead-stick" landing on the Azores after
a fuel leak left the jetliner's engines dead over
the Atlantic.

Diverting to a military airstrip, Piche and De
Jager brought the heavy aircraft through a
harrowing 18-minute gliding descent and
wrestled it to a grinding halt on the tarmac,
blowing eight of its 12 tires.

Less than a dozen of the 291 passengers were
treated for minor injuries, most inflicted as
they evacuated the plane.

"The good news is that because of the superior
airmanship of the crew they all landed safely,"
Mazor said.

But not all has been good news.

Portuguese authorities are scheduled to
produce a final report on their inquiry into the
incident before the end of the year. A
preliminary report found a fuel line on the
right engine had failed, possibly after rubbing
or banging against another pipe.

Air Transat was fined C$250,000 (105,000
pounds) by Canadian transport authorities for
the faulty installation of a hydraulic pump in
the right engine. The airline disputes any link
between the hydraulic pump problem and the
fuel leak.

Passengers aboard Flight 236 have launched a
class action lawsuit against Air Transat.

Piche, who has said he was just doing his job
bringing the airplane down safely, has been on
personal leave from the charter airline since
March. He plans to get back in the cockpit in
coming weeks.

"I became more aware of the changes in my
life after this incident," he said in an interview
with a local newspaper.

"I needed (the break) to fully live through all
this," he said.

The award marks a reversal of fortune for 50
year-old Piche. The former bush pilot spent
nearly two years in a U.S. jail in the 1980s
after he was busted with 53 bags of marijuana
after landing a small Piper Aztec on a Georgia
Why is it when you hear of a jet liner that runs out of fuel its always the Canadians? I think its something in the water up there.
What 2 instances and we get the label?? :)

The AC (Gimli Glider) incident I believe was a result of human error. This occured right when Canada switched from Imperial to Metric system. The required fuel was calculated in one system, yet the plane was fueled using the other.

Also, note that in both cases the pilots landed safely. That shows something about Canadian skill, eh :)

Moreover, as a serious note, would it be fair for me to label all American pilots as drunkards? ie) the NWA pilot who was reinstated years ago, the AW incident, the Mesa incident, the ASA incident..... not at all. I know it was probably meant in humour, but still...
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The award marks a reversal of fortune for 50
year-old Piche. The former bush pilot spent
nearly two years in a U.S. jail in the 1980s
after he was busted with 53 bags of marijuana
after landing a small Piper Aztec on a Georgia

No, he doesn't deserve an ego.

In the A-320 QRH (Quick Reference Handbook, kind of like a checklist for emergencies) for the A-320, it states real clear NOT to try to transfer fuel if you don't know where the fuel leak is originating. The worst case scenario is just losing one enging, instead of both if you x-feed fuel and the leak happens to be in a certain location. I am assured this is true of the A-330 as well. I got this scenario no less than three times in initial training and once in upgrade.

This all stems from an NWA incident some years ago, not long after they got their A-320s. A crew darn near ran the airplane out of fuel because they were now pumping fuel from both sides out of the one place. Airbus went back and revised the QRH and dictated that all crew get this scenario in one form or another in the syllabus.

There is an old adage; "A superior pilot uses his superior judgement to prevent the use of his superior skill". He almost as obviously doesn't posess judgement as what he does posess superior skill. In today's age that combo will get you killed quicker than anything. These are not so much machines that you manipulate so much as they are thinking machines.

As far as that inquiry that is soon to be complete, pay close attention to it. Agencies do not spend untold money, time, and other resources on pointless witch hunts, contrary to what the press would have you believe. Remember there are lessons to be learned in every incident.

The word I got was that this guy didn't think it was too necessary to reference the QRH until he heard nothing but wind whistlin'. Although I got this info from a darn good source, it aleast helped me be more prepared for the unlikely case it could happen to me whether or not it is true. Like I say, that is the entire point of reviewing accident reports.

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I gotta agree with JayDub.

This crew dug the hole for themselves. This incident was used as an example of the decision making process in my last recurrent. It is the perfect example of how you can sometimes make the wrong decision and still accomplish a satisfactory outcome, versus a situation where one does everything correctly and still ends up bent.

Another example would be the one where a DC9 pilot forgot to turn on the main tank fuel pumps and flamed out over Moriarity, NM when the center ran dry. If memory serves the made a successful dead stick into Moriarity, which is just over the mountains to the east of ABQ. Good stick skills, but he never should have had to use them.

Like I said about the 767 Glider.

Type Rating: Airbus 330 Self launching Glider
Like I've said all along... Get the Flight Engineer back in these airplanes and we won't have all those little problems like running out of GAS !! etc...;) :p :D

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