Flight across the Gulf

Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Dear Friends:

Thanks to every body for the their support (George Horn, etc)  I just got back from Cozumel Mexico and I had the best time of my life.   I took me 5 hours with a head wind of 20 knt. from Lakefront (New Orleans) to Cozumel Mexico (600 nm).

At 9000 ft. with the engine lean I used 70 gl. of the 88 usable of my trusty 182R.

I was in radio contact all the time either directly or indirectly with the help of other airplanes.  There is a lot of traffic and I was able to see several ships all the way to Mexico. 

On the way back at 10,000 ft. I made it in 4 hours flat with a tail wind of 20 knt. and I used only 55 gl.

I am a low time pilot (less 500 hrs.)  and I am really surprise to the lack of confidence specially on Cessna airplanes that most of the all timer have (no need to metion names).  We are in the 21 century and with 2 GPS I was able to tell my ETE and ETA to every check point with only seconds of difference, also the new engine oils are much better that the ones used 100 year ago.

I will recommend this flight to any one, the beaches at Cozumel and Playa del Carmen are great.  My landing and departure fees were less than $100  with 3 on board and the parking was $15.00 a day.

If you are interested I will help you.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it </HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Juan, I'm really glad you had a great time, and that your flight was uneventful.

Flying over water for long periods of time in a single engine airplane does carry a degree of risk, though (even in the twenty-first century), and I believe it's up to each individual to decide for himself/herself what that personal risk threshold is.  This is especially true if carrying passengers who may not have enough experience to make an informed decision about the risk involved.

I hope you were carrying a liferaft and survival gear in, as the airlines like to say, "the unlikely event of a water landing."</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Dear Stan:  Thanks for your response.    I did have a 6 men raft, flares, handheld gps, handheld radio, water, bateries, survival gear. 6 MRE'S,  life-vest with beacon and many more.

I think the clue on this trips is to make a Risk Assestment and then take a decition.  I will like to know what are the stats for an engine with 1000 hrs. to quit.


You will have more chances for the charging system to quit or the vacuum pump to stop working  but the engine.....

Moreover if you look at the small airplane industry; they are making faster and better single engines than twin engines.    So, just because a Cessna Caravan or a Piper Saratoga have one engine;  we are going to eliminate trips over water?

Thanks for your input, I am just trying to be a better pilot and take good decitions flying a Cessna.

Sincerly,

Juan</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>It sounds like you prepared as best you could.  Good for you!

I've asked three GA pilots I know (one an instructor,
two examiners) about engine failures.  Each of them
have 10 to 20 thousand hours.  Each of them have ten to
twenty engine failures (of a mechanical nature, not
fuel exhaustion, carb ice, etc.)

One examiner won't fly planes that are past TBO, and won't
do exams in most experimentals.  He also won't
fly an IFR flight test in actual IFR.

Another examiner (Sheble) said he's got over 10,000
hours of (GA) multi and has either had an engine
failure or unable to unfeather a prop 17 times.

So maybe 1 every 1000 hours?  A rough guess/shot in the
dark...</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Dear Mark:

Thank you very much for your information.  I have 500 hrs. more to go.....so I will tell you later.

Now my question is would you do it...?

Thanks again,


Juan</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>"I will like to know what are the stats for an engine with 1000 hrs. to quit."
  I think it's like playing roulette.  Some folks will tell you that each time the wheel turns, the odds are better and better for the ball to land on your number.  But that's incorrect.  In reality, each time the wheel spins, ...it's a completely new and separate event.  Tell me which flight your magneto condenser will fail, or your mag distributor gear will fracture....and I'll tell you which flight the mags will fire the wrong cylinder at the wrong time and break a piston and connecting rod, and you go down. 
  I feel that when I fly by myself, then such flights are my own risk.  But when I am relied upon by loved ones and others, (especially those too young to make such decisions) and they trust me with the most valuable thing they own,...my responsibility increases to use my judgement to provide greater levels of safety.
  I'm glad you made it.  I hope it doesn't give you unwarranted encouragement to try it again with others.</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>You should listen to George......</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Dear George:  Thanks for your input.   

Many people like you and Alan (seems like he always agrees with you but no personal input) told me that I was crazy and that I was going to die and kill all my family.

I think that every time we go flying there are chances for thing to go wrong.  The fact of the matter is that if we take a calculated risk (taking cautions) there are less chances for things to go wrong.

Trust me, if every body would think like you.  We would not have a "D" day, no man on the moon, no Linberg, no Wright brothers,......come to think about we would no have this discution because we would no have airplanes.....

Thanks,

Juan</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Juan,
I have made no attempt to apply"input"because Ive not considered attempting such a flight.Admittedly,Im a low time VFR Pilot(and aircraft owner),but I take NO chances especially when it comes to my family,and/or the safety of others.
When Im flying by myself,Im responsible for my actions,and whatever of the actions I take effect primarily me,and the folks on the ground under me.
Ive even been referred to as  a real life"McGyver"from time to time simply because of my ability to make a situation work to my advantage.Ive got just as much "guts" as the next guy,but I know my limitations as well,and that of my Aircraft also,and have no intentions of pushing either emvelope.
Theres an old saying...There is such a thing as Old pilots,and Bold pilots,but no old,bold pilots.
I plan to be the OLD pilot,and my pasengers as well......And as far as George is concerned,I trust his judgement,and carachter.Ive never personally met him,but he knows his stuff,and I respect(and usually agree with)his opinion.</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>So you asked "would I do it?"

Well, I flew 50 miles across water to get to the
Bahamas, and I wouldn't do it again in a single.

BUT, a seaplane or a twin, yes.

BUT, I would fly over water also if it was gliding
distance to shore (I fly to Catalina island occasionally
and it's 20 miles over water, and at 12-14K, I
feel safe.)  If you have a turbo 210 with OX or
a pressurized single (these are rare), you can fly the
flight levels.

BUT, when I went to the Bahamas, we had originally
planned Cayman over Cuba, then got chicken.

I've also found that there
are charters that are pretty
reasonable to take you in a 402 or Twin Otter or
something.  Bahamas had fine charters...

Consider George is an A&P, and if he can't inspect an
engine and tell you it will last the flight, you
probably can't either.  Recips are just so complicated.

I must say, I like turbines are a lot better.  They're
MUCH simpler, and have great safety records.  Test
engineers throw chickens into them, shoot off the
compressor blades, etc. and they still go! 

A lot of people are drooling over the EJ-22 turbines.
They're really little cruise missile engines (that's
where the R&D money came from), but might make great
GA turboprops some day...

God I love my 172, but without floats there's just some things
it wasn't designed to do...Lindberg was a crapshooter,
and he didn't take family with him...</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>One thing that should be mentioned is this: your aircraft engine does not know if it is over land or water. There are countless fatalities resulting from emergency landings on land. We hear about them all the time. What are the statistics for surviving a forced landing at sea? We can alI imagine the unpleasantries of being stuck, inverted, in a sinking plane, but is this the likely result (it may or may not be)? I am well aware of the dangers associated with ditching at sea, but I do not know  the  numerical breakdown relating to fatalities.</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML> Hello, Juan!  You wrote: "Trust me, if every body would think like you. We would not have a "D" day, no man on the moon, no Linberg, no Wright brothers,......come to think about we would no have this discution because we would no have airplanes....."
   I've already proven how mistaken it can be to personalize things in a public forum.  Thanks to Mark, I'll get over my lapse, and not make that foolish mistake again.  In your comment about me, (whom you do not know), you imply that nothing worthwhile in the world would have happened if people were like me.  That's neither fair nor true.  I once was young and took needless chances.  The loss of good friends taught me to quit that behavior.
  "D"-day soldiers did not take their families onto the beaches with them.  Neither did the astronauts take theirs to the moon.  Lindbergh didn't need an admiring captive audience to ride along with him.  He did it alone (and with lots more appreciation of the reality that no one would be out there to come save him if things went wrong.  In the back of your mind, didn't you rely on someone else to come save you and your family?)  While it's been argued that the Wright brothers may not have been the first to demonstrate powered flight, it's well documented they were first to kill an innocent passenger, while trying to impress the Army, a young Lieutenant who trusted them enough to be "volunteered" to go on the demonstration flight.  I wonder if he would do it again, if given the chance.
  Your response suggests that you are only emboldened in your self-regard as a pilot.  I don't know why.  Nothing you did was original, challenging, record-setting, particularly skillful, or even imaginative. It may have been ego-building to have the lives of others dependent upon the "calculated-odds" of your limited knowlege and experience.  It's apparent you are quite proud of yourself.  This warning sign is being missed by you.
  I'm more impressed by pilots who hold their passenger's lives in higher regard than their own.</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Juan,

  I think you have tapped into all of our greatest fear as
pilots...having no backup plan.  I think that I and
many of the other pilots responding here simply don't
think we could survive a water landing in an ocean.

  I think many of us (including myself) think we can get training
and/or fly a flight profile that will keep us safe.  We
can train to make forced landings on land, and fly high enough
and on a route where we can probably land safely, even
night IFR. 

  So as pilots, we love choices.  Lindy didn't have IFR
gizmos and backups like we do...his backup (still a good
one) was the silk (a parachute).

  I think that fire and engine failure are our two biggest
fears. 

  Now, an advantage of flying over water is that upon
landing, the fire will probably go out...  ;-)

  But there are even schools that teach ditching, and have
a pool with a mockup cockpit that slides on rails, then the
water enters the cabin fiercely, the mockup inverts,
and the students are trained to figure out
which way is up, release belts, and crawl out.

  I read the article, and it sounded really hard.  I got the
impression that the students after that avoided flying
over water more than they did before the training.

  So I don't think, as a group, we think we can live through
a water landing in the big ol' ocean. 

  We also think that if we fly enough hours, we WILL have an
engine failure or fire.

  OK, so rough estimate.  About 1 in 4 accidents are fatalities.
I'm also gonna say that another 4 forced landings
are made (often before the full blown emergency happens) without
being reported.

  So if the accident rate is 8 per 100,000 hours, and 90% of
ocean ditching is fatal, that's 8 x 2 x 90% per 100,000 hours.

  Roughly 15 fatalities per 100,000 hours, or 1 in 7,000.
If you flew 10 hours over water, your odds of dying were
1 in 700.  Over land using the same calculations, 1 fatal
crash in 5,000 for 10 hours of flight.

  So this type of flying is 5-10 times more fatal, in general.

  Now consider that training and copilots reduce fatalities
by at least a factor of ten (maybe a hundred).  Assuming
ten, experienced pilots figure that even with two well
rested experienced pilots, the chance of dying in
an ocean ditch is 100 times more than over land with
a conservative flight profile.

  So we're scared because we have no control, no way out
if we have a problem over water.  Lost comms, intercepted,
smell smoke, fine mist of oil out the prop, high oil
temp, fuel gauge reads E (maybe bad sending unit?), engine
hiccup ("probably" carb ice), oil pressure dropping,
engine pinging/clanking, etc.

  Hmmm...I've flown with a missing fuel cap, missing oil cap,
fuel leaking out a bad tank seal, an untorqued oil filter,
a loose primer, too lean mixture, bad mag, stuck starter,
failed alternator, failed vacc pump, failed ASI,
smoke in the cockpit, failed electric, many intercom/radio
problems...  (don't ask why, ok?)

  I've landed for all of these (except intercept).  Over
water...

  ...too bad, continue the flight...?

  BUT, if it's a seaplane... ;-)  OR if you have chutes
and SEAL/HALO training...you'll be OK!

  Again, totally your decision, but all the rest of
us are kinda chicken...  BACAWWW!!!  BACAWWW!!
(chicken sounds fade into the background...)

Mark

P.S.  I'm still glad you and your family are safe and hope
you had a wonderful time...</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>I would not do it.

An instructor here that told me about the Bahamas flight - 50 nm from Ft Pierce.  He does it in a Warrior and swears by it.  It sounds exciting until you think about the risks involved for you and your loved ones. 

I thought about the Bahamas trip, but after the crew here discussed your flight. I then decided to make my summer vacation a flight up the east coast and visit the beaches along the way. 

I don't do mountain climbing or jump out of planes with (or without) a parachute! I use to ski - black diamonds.  Traveled in a VW van all over Europe and parts of Asia years ago.  Hey, we all draw the line somewhere.

(Mark, I didn't buy a damn airplane to fly commercial!  This is my first year owning one.  I've rented on-again off-again since 1976.  I feel a lot more comfortable knowing the condition of the plane now then when I rented.)

Juan, Glad you had a great trip!</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Personal attacks have no business in this forum.  I would hope that we can all agree on that.</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Fred,

I've re-read my last response. I can see how it might appear like an attack of some sort, but wasn't meant that way.

Mark,
I apologize to you if you found the remark offensive.
My remark about the buying the airplane was meant to be "tongue-in-cheek" and a reaction to all the money I spent to get it and maintain it, then the irony in going on a commercial flight.  It was more about me then Mark.
Sorry.
Barry</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Barry,
My message was not directed at you but was regarding the general tone of some of the responses.  Please accept my apology for the misunderstanding.  I find that this forum is a great place for an exchange of opinions and ideas.  I'm sure that no one wants to feel inhibited in giving helpful information.  Thanks again to everyone for sharing.</HTML>

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<HTML>To all my friends (yes George you too):

Thanks for all the input.  The reason the US is a great country is because we can all speak and said whatever we want.  I really respect all of you and your point of view.   Sometimes we don't see any danger but the "old timers" know better.

In fact every time I have a personal problem...I ask my mom...

I got really excited when I checked all the 16 (whooa) responses.

I think the answer that I was really looking for it was from Mark Boyd.  He really hit it on the nail.

Like I said before, I just want to be a better pilot.

Thanks again,

Juan</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Oooops...I forgot, I also flew from Oahu to some of the
other islands once.  They had an inflight overwater
reporting system with checkpoints, etc. 

Article in July 2000 EAA Sport Aviation.  pg. 42
CFL 2000 turbine 230hp $40K, pg 133 glide ratios,
pg 153 crossing the Great Lakes...  hmm...good stuff

talks about overwater over the Great Lakes, and I guess
they have a fix reporting system there too (never been there,
dunno but I bet it's like the Hawaii thing).

Anyway I love the EAA rag, always good stuff in their test
pilot section...

Cheers!  And thanks for the spirited discussion everyone!

=-)</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Oooops...I forgot, I also flew from Oahu to some of the
other islands once.  They had an inflight overwater
reporting system with checkpoints, etc. 

Article in July 2000 EAA Sport Aviation.  pg. 42
CFL 2000 turbine 230hp $40K, pg 133 glide ratios,
pg 153 crossing the Great Lakes...  hmm...good stuff

talks about overwater over the Great Lakes, and I guess
they have a fix reporting system there too (never been there,
dunno but I bet it's like the Hawaii thing).

Anyway I love the EAA rag, always good stuff in their test
pilot section...

Cheers!  And thanks for the spirited discussion everyone!

=-)</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Hi, Juan!  Thanks for the comment.  I just hoped to cause a pause to consider.  As pilots, if we don't occasionally critique ourselves, then we get complacent or foolish.  I've certainly had my share of "I'll never do that again" experiences.  If I seemed harsh, it wasn't intended to castigate,....it was in an earnest desire to prompt re-consideration.  I'm getting closer to becoming one of those "old, not bold" types.  Sometimes I still goof, and get lucky anyway, tho'. 
I like sharing the spaces with you.  Happy Aviatin'!  ;Þ</HTML>

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Re: Flight across the Gulf

<HTML>Thanks,  one more time to everyone.

Juan.</HTML>

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