r_stopnicki

Learned a lesson!

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I decided to bring the DC-6 to an environment where it flew for many years as a passenger carrier and in its later years, as a cargo or mainly, a meat-hauler, across the Andes mountains in South America.

I flew her from the new airport in Sucre, Bolivia, named Alcantari (SLAL) 10,000 feet ASL, to Tarija (SLTJ) at 6,000 feet ASL.

 I was careful in my planning, not to overload with either fuel or freight, as at that altitude, the airplane can become a "very fast bus", and never reach Vr, forget V2! My planned flight altitude was 20,000 feet ASL, to avoid the mountain range between the two cities.

starting the engines was a bit laborious, again at the altitude, but went OK. So did the take off. I needed help from the boosters, to reach the engine parameters I needed for a safe take off on RWY 36 and subsequent climb out straight ahead, to avoid the hilly terrain.

At 12,000 feet, I started a gentle left turn, to a heading of about 180, towards Tarija.

At 14,000 feet, my PC's mouse started to malfunction. I had installed a new scenery add-on and had not restarted the PC after, a practice that I always follow. Not this time.

oh, oh! The new add on is acting up! I thought.

then the screen lost its brightness! Now I was upset at myself for not restarting the PC, after the installation of the scenery add-on.

as I scanned the instruments, speed 150 kts in the climb, engines in the green, altitude 15,000 for 16,000 ..... the screen went black!!

I could hear the engines; right clicking the mouse, brought up some of the simulator controls (ie exit flight, save flight, etc.) but the screen was black.

and then it hit me!! I had not set up the pressurization panel!! I had simply "grayed out" and then "blacked out", as the cabin rose in altitude with the aircraft.

great simulation!!

lesson learned!

check list, check list, check list ..... PRESSURIZATION PANEL ......... SET

slightly embarrased,,

Roberto

 

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8 hours ago, r_stopnicki said:

(...)

slightly embarrased,,

Roberto

 

Glad I'm not the only one.   :biggrin:

Oliver Märtens (Maertens)

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Not flown her yet, Roberto, but a great post. Learned a great deal from it. Thanks.

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Thanks Roberto as I just purchased the DC6 last night.  Hopefully I will remember your lesson.

 

Franklin Duncan

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I am a pressurized light twin (Chancellor) pilot and I always look at the cabin pressure gauge climbing through 10,000.  I started doing that after one flight where I noticed things were not right climbing through 16000 and I glanced down at the gauge and discovered no pressurization, set up the emergency descent and told ATC. Later learned that a rubber boot for a control rod that goes through the forward pressure bulkhead had split and pressurization wasn't possible.  On reflection, I realized that many pilots have died because they didn't recognize the symptoms, and I had just had an explosive decompression about two years prior (general aviation is always interesting) at FL220 and was well aware of the subtle effects (good lord it took hours to get below 15000 where I started feeling safe).  So yeah, with experience I now check that gauge every ascent through 10000 and even do it in my sim flying with the Boeings.

When you learn to fly you start with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience.  The goal is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.

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I agree to the importance of following the checklist and of excellent training. In the military, we went to the altitude chamber at regular intervalls to learn our very own symptons of the lack of oxygen. Evervbody reacts differently, so you have to know what symptons you have personally. So we learned a lot, also trying to follow simple tasks while under the lack of oxygen and wondering later what the outcome was. Quite some lessons here, on safe ground. I never forgot that and tried to follow these checklists on all my flights, no matter which aircraft.

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3 hours ago, Viking01 said:

In the military, we went to the altitude chamber at regular intervalls to learn our very own symptons of the lack of oxygen.

There was one of those at Offutt AFB when I was stationed there and where I earned my CPL MEL and Instrument but I never got an opportunity to go for a ride in the chamber.

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Dan and Gunter!

Great stories to learn some more.

I am just happy that I "learned" my "lesson" at an "altitude" of three storeys, where our apartment is.

Not quite close to the "adventures" that Dan had in real life!

Roberto

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4 hours ago, r_stopnicki said:

Not quite close to the "adventures" that Dan had in real life!

An event like rapid depressurization is remembered in almost every detail for a long time, I suspect a lifetime.  As Gunter can attest to, if you don't have that mask IMMEDIATELY available above FL250 you could be a gonner.  Our plane is only certified to FL240 so we get a little sloppy, the mask was behind the bulkhead separating the cockpit from the cabin and we just flew the airplane first and foremost to get out of that situation.  And as you can imagine, i was a lot more interested in where that mask was before any flight thereafter. 

I've heard that the Part 121 and 135 operations require that when above FL250 pilot flying put on the mask when the other pilot leaves the cabin.  That's no surprise to me.

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I remember the days, when I was "young and handsome", when foreign airliners that stopped over in La Paz, (particularly those that flew by on an infrequent schedule) located at 13,300 ft ASL, required that the Pilot Flying, remain in the cockpit during the stop, with an oxygen mask on.

I left a long time ago, but I am sure that the practice remains.

Roberto

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7 hours ago, downscc said:

An event like rapid depressurization is remembered in almost every detail for a long time, I suspect a lifetime.  As Gunter can attest to, if you don't have that mask IMMEDIATELY available above FL250 you could be a gonner.  Our plane is only certified to FL240 so we get a little sloppy, the mask was behind the bulkhead separating the cockpit from the cabin and we just flew the airplane first and foremost to get out of that situation.  And as you can imagine, i was a lot more interested in where that mask was before any flight thereafter. 

I've heard that the Part 121 and 135 operations require that when above FL250 pilot flying put on the mask when the other pilot leaves the cabin.  That's no surprise to me.

Yes, to have the mask available is critical. In the military fighter planes we always wore the mask, it was required and the microphone was in it too. The emergency oxygen bottle was just a few inches away, easy to reach, just in case. In needed it once when we had contaminated oxygen on board. It gives you enough time to descend and breathe normally.

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