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Thread: How to think like an amphibious airplane pilot

  1. #1
    SJ's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Kansas City, USA
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    How to think like an amphibious airplane pilot

    I was thinking about an upcoming amphib checkout for another cub pilot and came across this Burke Mees article. This is pretty much exactly how I was taught and I think Burke really says it well. Worth a read if you are an amphib operator - especially if you are thinking about it differently.

    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"

  2. #2
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    Burke is about as experienced an amphibious pilot as there is, with several thousand hours in the Goose in the Aleutians to start. I agree with him on all counts.

    When I was nearing completion of my first amphib checkout by another former Aleutian Goose pilot-Tom Belleau, he commented: “I notice that you’re a little paranoid about the gear position. That’s a good thing-and don’t EVER lose that.” Now this was after a couple of days of landings and takeoffs, in water, then runway, then water, water, runway, runway, water, etc, ad nauseum. Tom tried REALLY hard to get me to make a mistake, and anyone who ever flew with him knows he was great at applying “pressure”. At the time, I hated it, but it was some of the best training I ever had.

    Flying is ALL about discipline. Flying amphibious requires an extra dose of discipline. I wish every amphib pilot had the opportunity to fly with Tom Belleau.

    The only thing I think that Burke left out was that in my opinion, EVERY amphibious aircraft should be equipped with mirrors which permit the pilot to actually inspect the gear position. I don’t trust lights, micro switches, or other “gadgets”. I want to SEE the gear position….all of them. I’ve also seen malfunction in mechanical gear indicators. Put some small mirrors out there, then USE them.


  3. #3
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Very well described.

    One other point not brought up is that once you initiate a go-around, GO AROUND and do a pattern, take time to come back completing pre-landing check lists.

    Mike, your mirror suggestion is spot on! One thing I have found is that every manufacture has different results to actuator failure. Aerocett mains just hang out when you lose hydraulic pressure, nothing else holds them in. Other planes won't come down with out hydraulic pressure. Know your floats.

    I hope I keep the fear.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  4. #4

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    Mar 2015
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    Very good article for sure. While he does mention retracting gear after levelling off you can take that one step further. If you always retract the gear right after lift off, before power reduction or flaps, its a habit that will soon be ingrained in your mind. Easy to miss something 5 or 6 down the list but everybody remembers the first thing. This is the basic action that will eliminate the worst case wheels in water scenario.
    Likes AkPA/18, jrussl, Bill.Brine liked this post

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