John. The weather was good and winds not
too strong, so that was in everyone’s favor.
But making your first landing in a cabin class
twin from the right seat with the unimaginable worry about your stricken spouse in the
left seat is off the scale.
Bob coached Helen through the banks
and power and pitch trim changes it took to
get the landing gear down and approach
flaps selected. They made three patterns—
orbits, really—around the runway, including
a final approach down to about 400 feet
above the pavement before Helen lost runway alignment and Bob talked her through a
After that pass the right engine surged
for a time, probably because the somewhat erratic attitudes Helen flew during
the aborted landing unported the fuel
pickup on that side. Fuel was low, but not
gone, and both engines again ran
smoothly when the airplane flew closer to
level. However, it was clear that the time
for practice was gone.
As Bob guided Helen back on a downwind and then the beginning of a turn to
base leg, the 414 suddenly rolled level. She
had lost sight of the airport. It took a sort
of 270-degree turn to get her lined up on
final, but it worked. Bob asked her to hold
about 125 knots on final, and she managed
the power well to maintain airspeed. The
airplane was light, and with 4,700 feet of
runway, getting stopped even with extra
knots on final would work. And too slow
was certain disaster, so faster was certainly better.
It was a fantastic flying performance by Bob, and clearly
his coaching was on target.
Helen is a determined woman,
and the right people came
together to save the day.
Without Bob’s unique combination of flying and instruction
experiences, and Helen’s cool
and calm, I don’t believe the
outcome would have been the
same. For once the public opinion about an aviation event was
right—Bob really did “talk”
Helen to a safe landing.
FAR 61. 57 Is An Odd Rule
The so-called landing currency rule is one of the
strangest ones in the FAA’s
book. As you recall, to legally
carry passengers you need to
have made at least three landings and takeoffs in an airplane
in the same category and class
within the past 90 days.
Category is the FAA’s broadest
definition of an aircraft such as
airplane, rotorcraft, or hot air
balloon. Class is a narrower
grouping within a category
such as single-engine, multiengine, or seaplane. Tailwheel airplanes are treated
differently, requiring the landings to be full
stop, while with a tricycle gear airplane you
can make touch-and-goes.
I bump up against the rule going back
and forth between twins and singles. What I
find strange is that the rule treats all propeller twins or singles, no matter how large or
small, complex or simple, the same if they
weigh less than 12,500 pounds max for takeoff. For example, three landings in a Cessna
150 satisfies the rule to fly the large and
complex Pilatus PC- 12 turboprop single, or
the very fast Socata TBM 850. Making three
landings in the last three months in my
Baron qualifies me under the rule to fly passengers in the 12,500-pound Beech King Air
On the other hand, three landings in a
Piper Comanche doesn’t qualify you to fly
Helen’s first landing in the 414 wasn’t perfect, but turned out to be perfectly
safe thanks to Bob’s inflight coaching.
It was clear that the time
for practice was gone.
The 414 hit near the centerline, but the
nose wheel didn’t survive the touchdown
and swerve. But Helen used brakes and rudder to get the Cessna back on the runway
and stopped with lots of room to spare. She
was okay, but John was gone by the time
medical attention could reach him.
passengers in the Twin Comanche. But
the landings in the Comanche single
count for the PC- 12, or the Twin
Comanche toward the King Air. Now
which airplanes have more in common, a
single Comanche and a PC- 12, or a single
Comanche and a Twin Comanche?
Certainly there are different pilot techniques required in a multi if one engine
quits, but wouldn’t it be logical then for the
Twin Comanche pilot to be current in the
single Comanche? The intent of the recent
experience requirements of FAR 61. 57 does
make sense, but the rule itself sure doesn’t
make much sense to me.
J. Mac McClellan, EAA 747337, has been a pilot for more
than 40 years, holds an ATP certificate, and owns a Beechcraft Baron. To contact Mac, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.