Thursday, May 12, 2005

Red Alert

Two private pilots got lost over Washington DC yesterday and caused a red alert.  This was not a drill. It was a genuine alert..I am looking forward to reading the article.  The news photo caption says they were not held.  I wonder if they were cited.  There are some things you DO NOT DO as a private pilot: (1) Run out of gas and (2) Get lost.

The most frequent question asked of me when I was a private pilot: What do you do when you run out of gas?

My answer:  Oh, you DON'T do that. 

Obviously, you check the gas before you take off. You can't pull over to the curb and call the AAA when you're in the air. It goes without saying.

It also goes without saying that you know where you're going before you take off and you keep track of where you are when you're flying.  You don't get lost. You just DON'T do that.  Especially over the Nation's Capitol.  They are lucky they weren't shot down.  They will be lucky if they don't get cited.

Now, having scolded them for their ignorance, I have to admit that I was lost once, for several minutes, within ten miles of my home airport.  Somehow I was disoriented and familiar landmarks looked different when they appeared where I did'nt expect them.  So I understand it happens.

Once after I landed at Santa Monica, CA,, the control tower told me to telephone Los Angeles International Airport controllers.  I was scared.  I got "reamed" for letting down too close to LAX. I was not cited for that bad judgement.  You are allowed few mistakes when flying -- sometimes NONE.


valphish said...

Yes, when flying some errors are deadly.  This must be very interesting to you as a pilot.  I am interested to know how they got so close to the Capitol as well.  Hmm.. Take care, Chuckie Boy! xox

monponsett said...

Hi, Mr. Ferris!

At what point when you're flying around lost do you come to terms with the terrifying decision to put the bloody plane down in a wheatfield or a country road? I personally try to avoid flight, but I do get interested in some of the technical decisions a pilot must have to make.


mavarin said...

That's a interesting perspective--I didn't know about this, or your piloting history! - Karen

ryanagi said...

I'm glad it was just a lost student pilot and not some new terrorist thing.