What's at the end of the Yellow Line?

Recently our Warrior had a scrape around the back of the maintenance hangar.  No, I’m not going to go into how this happened because at the time there were many “professionals” there who all had a different view of what did and what should happen; as well as just as many who were not there!  By the time I had had a phone call and got on scene there were so many arms being thrown up in gesticulation I thought I was at an Italian football match !  

Yet this has highlighted another aspect of us pilots – why did it happen?  

Luckily all that is visible of this incident is a patch of clean paint on our wing; but what if we transpose the same scenario to the air.  The result could have been very serious indeed.  We have all been trained, we have all studied ‘Human Performance Limitations’ yet this incident was real – a wake up call to us all.  

Let’s break this down into sizeable chunks. And as you read on consider how much relates to you when you go flying.  

  • Was our pilot tired? 
  • Had he/she had been at work that day and most likely all week.
  • Was he/she exhausted having just landed from a flight?
  • Was our pilot under any duress from non-aviation matters (e.g. family)?
  • Was our pilot indeed fit to fly (e.g. cold or flu)?
  • Was he/she familiar with the machine and by how much?
  • Was visibility a factor?
  • Was there a sudden mechanical defect?
  • Was there a distraction?  

Without reproducing the whole HP book here, you can see what I’m driving at.

Now consider this.  

YOU have just come back from a long pleasurable flight and are turning from Base to Final Approach. The flaps are down; the speed is slowing; the trim is a bit out; the sun is low in your eyes and YOU are late home. Sound familiar?  

YOU feel tired; YOU’RE stressed to get home in time; YOU’VE been carrying that nagging cold; YOU can’t in truth remember the stall speed at 60 degree bank/roll; YOU see another aircraft a bit too close for your liking; the radio messages are non stop; YOU’VE gone past the runway centre line.  

Suddenly – the stall warner blares – YOU have 60 Degrees of bank/roll – YOU are only 200 feet above ground !!!  


So please don’t just pass off the HP books as simply another written test to pass. Get the book out and read it again. Think ahead – will you be able to maintain concentration from brakes off to brakes on?   We’ve had our wake up call behind the hangar – let’s all learn and remind ourselves from it.

It could be YOU next.  



Video diary

Want to know what it is like to fly one of our aircraft? The video diary page shows some videos provided by our members in our Cessna 172 and Piper Warrior PA28 aircraft.

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Trial flights

We offer trial flights of one hour duration with a qualified instructor. The recipient will spend most of this time at the controls of the aircraft. The flight will be from our club house at Biggin Hill and will return to Biggin Hill.

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Alouette news

Want to find out what is going on at the club? You can view video diaries from Alouette pilots as well as details about social events, club grub nights and other important club information on our ‘latest news’ page.

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How to find us

You can find the Alouette club house on Churchill Way, just off the A233. Although travelling by car is easier, you can access the club by bus. Bromley South and Orpington train stations are a 20 minute drive.

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