Will the Mid-Air I survived, Kill me?

Will I make it as a pilot with a violation

  • Yes

    Votes: 43 64.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 5 7.5%
  • Not the majors

    Votes: 12 17.9%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 9 13.4%

  • Total voters
    67

John Hucklebery

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I'll try to keep this short and simple.

I was involved in a mid-air collision while instructing in a baron 55. We were level at 6500 feet cruising on a cross-country and did not see the aircraft in front of us until the last second. No one was hurt. I made a landing and reported everything according to regulations. There was no 'horseplay' involved, I just simply didn't see the other aircraft and neither did the three of my students on board (all commercial pilots and one instructor). FYI I don't allow anyone in the aircraft to talk accept the student up front unless its an emergency, so if your thinking distracted, its not what happened. I am most likely going to have a violation for failure to see and avoid and an accompanying suspension for 60 days (waived for ASRS).

I'm currently flying part 135 (caravan) and am grateful that I have a job, but I can't seem to get a straight answer on if this is a career killer. I'm 21 years old and ambitious as h$ll, but if I can't make the majors (Airlines or Fractionals) some day I might have to cut my losses here. I am willing to do what ever it takes to prove myself as a worthy professional pilot. Can anyone give me advice? Will the interviewers ever give me a chance?
 

Andy Neill

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As the interview team might say:

"So tell us, what did you learn? How would you have prevented this accident from happening or how can you prevent it from happening again?"

By the way, I couldn't find the event as you described it in the NTSB database. [Edit: Oh, I found it now].
 
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PTWOB

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Midair

A buddy of mine had a midair in the early 90s. Same sort of thing. 2 aircraft basically destroyed with no fatalities. Investigation did not find him at fault. He was upfront about it on all applications and it wasn't much of an issue at an important interview (and successful) with a major airline. There is nothing you can do about the incident now except to think about what you have learned from it and what you can change or do differently to become a safer pilot as a result. Airlines want to see maturity and growth. Good luck!
 

501261

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John,

Assuming there are no other issues involved than a violation of 91.113B a failure to see and avoid, I don't think you have too much to worry about. Granted it’s completely up to the Inspector to decide what kind of penalty you will receive. I'm sure those bloodsucking lawyers are telling you how bad the situation is right now and that Feds are out to screw you. Take what they say with a grain of salt, it is in their best interest to scare you so that you hire them!

If all you did was not see the other airplane, I think you could easily get off with a Warning Letter. I think a suspension would be overkill; the scare from the midair would be penalty enough for me. If you can get off with just a warning or remedial, it’s not going to hurt your career much. Hell, just about anybody flying has had a near miss and can relate.

On the other hand where you doing something questionable that might have contributed? For example, if I was an ASI and assigned to your case and found out you were in the back seat while the safety pilot and student were up front and everybody was logging it PIC, I would try to give everybody on board 180 day suspensions, because I personally disagree with this 3-way PIC BS! Or where you inside a Class B or not talking on the radio while, center was trying to get in touch with you. Was it at night and your lights weren't working? Again if all you did was not seeing him, no problem, but if something else might have contributed you might have a problem.

One last piece of advice get all your ducks in a row (logs, A/C logs, MX logs, accounts, etc) before talking to the FAA, with the advice of your lawyer. There are some George Demartini's out there, but most of the Feds are just trying to do their job. Be nice, courteous, professional and let the ASI do his job and hopefully everything will work out!

Good luck.
 
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banned username 2

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501261 said:
"I'm sure those bloodsucking lawerys are telling you how bad the situation is right now and that Feds are out to screw you."

"One last piece of advise get all your ducks in a row (logs, A/C logs, MX logs, accounts, etc) before talking to the FAA, with the advise of your lawery.

Not to be anal (ok I can't help it), but....

"Lawery" is the manufacture of tasty seasonings for cooking, they are especially good on beef, poultry and pork... and even white fish such as Orange Roughy and Talapia, but I would hesitate to use them on the steak type fillets such as Swordfish or Tuna....

and...

"Lawyer" is the blood-sucking, bottom feeding, amorphous blob you are referring to... These aren't good eating no matter how you cook them.... They tend to be rather rubbery on the outside and full of grissle on the inside... I would avoid these at all costs... There are much better culinary delights to be found elsewhere..

.... Ok I feel better now... Sorry...

ut, oh... Wapner's is on in 7 minutes! Yeah, definately Wapner...
 
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501261

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I've done that a bunch on this forum. My apologies! Is there any easy way to spell checker on the forum for illiterates like me? So I don't sound any dumber than I already am.
 

bigD

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"Lawyer" is the blood-sucking, bottom feeding, amorphous blob you are referring to... These aren't good eating no matter how you cook them....

LOL. I have an ex girlfriend that is studying to be a lawyer. Talk about a double whammy! :D
 

John Hucklebery

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What I learned from the incident

Well I learned that no matter how much you think you know or how comfortable you are in an aircraft, anything is possible. And a pilot must stay on his/her toes one hundred percent of the time. The frustrating thing is, I was focused. I just looked down for a second at the nose gear indicator (on the floorboard) to explain something, and when I looked up... And after this, I truly believe in Murphy's law "what can happen, will happen"

Secondly, they are giving me a violation for failure to see and avoid and careless operation (an add on to any incident/accident). I filed an ASRS form so I don't have to stop flying, but the whole situation is very frustrating. My lawyer says I have no case b/c I bent metal and by definition I didn't "see and avoid". There are guys I know who are dangerous, buzzing each other's houses, and they get warnings, I make a legitimate mistake and I get nailed. I just wish I could stick the FAA lawyers in the plane with me at the time of the incident and say see, there wasn't anytime to react differently than shoving the nose down (which by the way kept it from being five fatalaties), I didn't see the airplane. And neither did any of the three commercial pilots in the airplane with me.

And no, I was in the front right seat. I don't believe in that, "lets all log PIC" crap either, it's for liars. I let my two other students ride in back to observe, and let them learn from the other students mistakes. It increases their understanding w/o them ever touching the controls.
 

Andy Neill

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John,

Thanks for the response. I wanted to hear it so I could give you a better assessment of what the future may hold. I think you got the point of the lesson learned. I didn't hear a response on how to avoid it in the future or what you could have done differently that day. Perhaps your point is that there WAS nothing that could have been done.

I read the NTSB summary of the event a got the shudders. You were a half second away from 5 fatalities indeed! You were also a haf second away from a VERY near miss. The other aircraft is completely blameless since you were both at appropriate altitudes on the same course in the same direction.

I would certainly keep the "other pilots do a lot worse things and get away with warnings" script to yourself in any interviews you may have.

I'm glad that you and four others are alive today and wish you the best in your aviation future.
 

501261

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John,

Just read the NTSB report, scary stuff. Your Achilles heel might be that the report stated you overtook the archer, because now you might also be in violation of 91.113G. How far down the enforcement track are you? Have you gotten your Letter of Inquiry? Did you respond? Have you gotten a Notice of Proposed Certificate Action? Did you or are you going to go to the Informal Meeting? PM me if you don't want it public.

I still think you'll be fine, just from reading the NTSB summary I don't think you warrant a 91.13 careless charge. In the old days the Feds would throw 91.13 on just about every violation, but then 2 things happened. 1, the NTSB ruled you can violate the FAR's and not do it in a careless or reckless manner (i.e. you can buzz a house and violate 91.119, but that does not necessarily mean you wear careless or reckless). 2, In 2000 FAA HQ came down and said that they need to do a better job of rehabilitating offenders (i.e. it’s better to teach someone where the Class B airspace is so he doesn't intrude on it again, than just suspend him and hope he doesn't do it again).
 

bigD

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John - thanks for posting this. I know you came here just to get an answer, but your situation serves (at least to me) as a reminder of what can happen even when you think you're doing everything right. I kind of thought back to my last couple of VFR flights and thought of all the times my head was buried in the cockpit when it should be looking outside. Programming the GPS - futzing with the radar, and so on. It's so easy to do, and when I fly this weekend I'm going to write "LOOK OUTSIDE" on a sticky note and place it right in the middle of my scan.

I bet the note will catch me more than a few times paying too much attention to the gauges. I think I sometimes have the tendency to have the 'big sky' attitude when out of a terminal area and let my guard down a little. Your NTSB report was a heavy dose of reality.

Well man, I feel for you. Good luck with it all.
 

John Hucklebery

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follow up

Thanks for all the great replies. You guys have given more hope and things to think about than any of the lawyers I've spoken with.

In regards to the investigation process, yes, I have received a letter of investigation and replied and they have given me a letter of proposed action with a violation of Failure to see and avoid, and Careless and Reckless operation. The informal is to be scheduled in a couple of months. My lawyer isn't giving me much hope in getting the violations wiped off. REAL BUMMER. I'm going to beg if I have to and see if they can at least remove the word reckless, b/c obviously if I hit someone I guess legally you could say I was careless, even though I personally don't believe I was. But I was definitely never reckless, no way.

You know being so young I guess I always expected that if you act the right way in the cockpit, and always try to be a good intentioned person that things would be taken into account if something happened. Well I've got to tell you, lawyers don't care. To them they think they can win the case based on the evidence and regardless of how many people say I'm a good instructor or what I'm willing to do, doesn't matter. I've even offered to give seminars on avoiding mid-airs, or write a column for FAA aviation Safety magazine. Isn't that a better way to serve aviation then to give me a violation and go on? Isn't the idea for me to learn something from what happened? What do I learn from having my career damaged. I know I sound like a winer, you'll have to excuse that. And you're definitely right about leaving that comment of "others get off with a warning" out of any interviews. I just wish I new a tactful way of saying, look guys I'm not a bad pilot, something screwy just happened, give me a chance and I'll prove it.
 

501261

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Those $%^&*# bloodsuckers! Of course they'll tell you that there's no way that you can get off. It's the smart thing for them to do; if you lose they take your money and say "see there was nothing I could do." On the other hand if you win or get a reduction of sanctions they will tell you that only a lawyer of their skill was able to get you off and all those billed hours was worth it.

Since the inspector has gone ahead and charged you with 91.113 I would go ahead and accept it and try to get it suspension reduced to 10 days (its off your record in 5 years) or less or maybe they'll even accept a fine. Hell you had midair, can't really get out of that unless you call Johnny Cochran.

On the other charge of 91.13, which is it careless or reckless? Remember they are two separate violations. I don't think you were either and it would be hard to prove. You mentioned earlier that you looked down for a second; I would try NOT to mention that again. It is entirely possible to be scanning for a target and not see him! It happens all the time, the only thing is, you do not know it has happened unless you are equipped with TCAS and the other traffic has a working Mode C. I would suggest to your defense should be centered on that. Pilots that fly TCAS equipped aircraft, especially in busy VFR airspace, will be the first to tell you, that you don't see a majority of the traffic the TCAS is showing. I know from first hand experience that archers (or other small singles) are almost impossible to see unless they are within the 3 mile audible "Traffic, Traffic" alert area and then you still might not see them.
 
T

TDTURBO

How did you guys find the synopsis? I used Beech as type aircraft and querried "midair" plus a million other combinations. What am I doing wrong:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

bigD

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Use "Beech" as the type, "55" as the model, and narrow the search to this year. Use the defaults for everything else, and you'll get 4 results. It's the 3rd one down.
 

LJDRVR

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Hey John,

Thank you so much for having the cajones to post what happened to you. Most aviators are content to hide their skeletons from everyone, including themselves. As a result, nobody gets the opprtunity to learn from what happened. There's an old adage in the fighter community that goes something like: "It's better to die than to look bad." As a pilot and a safety professional, I appreciate your candor.

Concerning your pending violation, I'll try to avoid any barracks lawyering. I think both Andy and 501260 have given you excellent advice. One thing I would do though with so much at stake, is to GET A SECOND OPINION! There are lawyers out there who specialize in pilot/controller deviations. I don't know of any specifically, but call Jerry Eichenberger in Columbus Ohio. Jerry has practiced aviation law since the late 60's, and when I was taking lessons at OSU Airport in the early 80's he had a Commanche and an instrument rating. Very well-thought of guy who, if he can't assist you personally, should be able to steer you towards the right person in your area of the country.

There are probably lots of bitter types on these boards who will tell you you'll never get hired. If you believe them, you won't. If you turn this into a positive experience and learn from it, I think it has the potential to actually help you. Most of us have been much closer to another A/C than we would have liked to be, and there but for TCAS II and the grace of God, go we.

Look at it this way: Orville Wright, Jimmy Doolittle, Glenn Curtis, Tex Johnson, Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, Chuck Yeager, Eddie Rickenbacker, Barry Schiff, Richard Bach, Curtis LeMay, Douglas Bader, Antoine De St. Exupery and you all have something in common. (Accident)

Dude, I am so glad y'all are alive! Just keep pluggin' away.

Warm Regards,

DAN
 
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Captain X

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There is a young lady that flies for us....she's in Continental's Pool.

She was involved in a midair where her Mooney had the outer portion of one wing (from about the flap out) sheared off by the rotor of a helicopter. The helo went into the water (all survived) and she managed to nurse the Mooney back to a safe landing.

They figured if she can fly an airplane with 1/2 the wing missing, she can fly a whole 737.
 

JCJ

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Glad you lived through it. I VERY STRONGLY agree with advice to get a second legal opinion if you can, preferably with an aviation law attorney. See my PM for details.
 

501261

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John, any word yet on the informal hearing? Enquiring minds want to know.

Some good points brought up regarding getting a second and even third opinion by someone that actively practices aviation law, specifically violations. A lawyer being on the AOPA just does not cut it!
 
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