20 September 2012

Near Miss

"Greenstreak 8, you're cleared to enter left base for runway 24... Landing at the ramp will be at your own risk, that area is not visible from the tower." 
"Greenstreak 8, Roger". 
So I set myself up on a close-in left base, looking to the right down the runway centerline I was about to cross to insure no landing fixed-wing was trying to occupy the same airspace I was using. Seeing no traffic, I started my left turn to final and my eyes focused on something through the left greenhouse of the AStar 350D I was flying... 
It looked familiar... 
As it SHOULD, because I was looking at the bolts attaching the skids to the right front crosstube of a Bell 47, an aircraft similar to one I have flown about 1100 hours. 
 Instantly I lowered the collective ALL THE WAY, then rolled the AStar violently to the right, gritting my teeth as I expected to hear metal-to-metal contact. 
Thankfully my actions, and the actions of the guy flying the 47, allowed enough space for my composite rotorblades to not slice his aircraft to pieces. 

My heart was pounding. I couldn't talk, so there was no reason to key the mic and say anything. I landed, shut the aircraft down on the rolling platform, and told the refueler how much fuel I needed. 

Paperwork finished, I drove to the County police office and walked in. 
There, the police pilot was also finishing up his paperwork. 
When he looked up I asked, "Was that as close as I thought it was?" 
"Closer than I ever want to be to another aircraft", he replied. 

 He was cleared to land before I even entered the traffic pattern and we weren't warned about one another... 
Human error by the controller. 
 I shook his hand, smiled, took a deep breath, and walked out of the office, vowing to do a better job of keeping my "head on a swivel" in the future. 

Thank you Lord. 


lotta joy said...

Congratulations on not throwing up, crying like a little girl, or peeing your pants. I would have done all three - twice.

cary said...

First - yeah, nice flying. Well done, on both parts. The controller needs to find another line of work.

Second - nice layout change. Easier to read, larger print for those of us with - erm - different sight abilities.

Third, I agree with lotta joy. At least twice.

Peter said...

Congratulations on not doing something drastic and very physical to the controller! Glad you're both OK.

The Old Man said...

Dear Lord, I would have seriously expanded that controller's vocabulary whilst exploring his family tree and nocturnal habits...Might have taken the other pilot with me so he could cover what I missed.
Murphy missed this time, but he takes no days off.

Ed Bonderenka said...

"Landing at the ramp will be at your own risk, that area is not visible from the tower."
Did this encompass that?

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Good gracious, just reading that gives me shakes. Good flying, on both your parts - and may you never be so close to another flight again!

Old NFO said...

DAYUM! That had to be feet at most, maybe inches from impact with the rotor arc! Glad y'all are okay!!!