6th-11th MAY 2010
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS
Many interresting subjects were dicsussed.
Please note this report is not exhaustif. If members who were present think some items have been omitted or forgotten, please inform the Webmaster.
FAI Round the World Flight 2010Hans gave a thourough and very interesting description of his last FAI Round the World Flight.
Details are still available on his own site: http://www.14east.at/WoPre/
Ditching at seaClaude suggested that pilots preparing for water crossing should take the "Emergency Egress Course". It is a course where pilots (and pax) are put in a fuselage mock-up which is lowered in a swimming and inverted before the "victims" are allowed to find their way out. Don't we all prepare for forced landings? In the same way we should prepare for the unthinkable: ditching at night in choppy waters with an overloaded aircraft... It was noted that among those present only 3 pilots have taken the course. At least some "rehearsal" of getting out of the aircraft should be done and the role of each on board well defined.
The controversial question of where should the raft be tied (on the sinking aircraft or on one of the crew member) was raised. Airlines with large rafts do tie them to the aircraft with a "weak link" that is supposed to break and free the raft when the A/C sinks. But they use much larger rafts than our 2 or 3 person rafts. So it is a rather different situation and it has been suggested that the raft be tied to one of the crew. In the case of the Airline which did recently ditch in the Hudson River in New York, the so-called weak link did not break and the sinking airliner was dragging the loaded raft to the bottom. A local fisheman handed a pocket knive to a passenger to cut the tether. It musy also be noted that some rafts are very heavy before thay are inflated.
Eligibility:Eligibility: What does it take to be called a "genuine Earthrounder"?
The rules of the FAI for records around the World were mentionned: minimum distance, equator crossings. We are not bound by those rules and common sense should always prevail. An exemple that has been mentionned was to fly to the Pole, turn around and come back. Such flight would not comply neither for any of the FAI records nor for Circumnavigator Badge. So it was decided that flights should take place within the 2 Polar circles.
At that stage, Bob Gannon made a very good remark saying that even if such a flight is not considered as a RTW flight its pilot still has a lot of merit as flying in those unhospitable latitudes is an enormous challenge.(He went there!!!)
Gerard suggested that in extreme cases a pannel of the three founding members (Hans, Margi and Claude) should decide. Hopefully common sense will always prevail and there will very few cases in need of this type of decisions.
Archiving "orphan sites":Claude mentionned that some RTW Internet Sites have disapeared of the scene. Either their Pilot and/or Webmaster got tired of maintaining the sites, or were under expense pressures? The end result is a loss for all of us of those sites describing interresting flights as they could fall into oblivion. He is negotiating with the hosting server a "one-off" fee of less than $200 for a perpetual archiving of a "normal" size RTW site. That would be less that the usual yearly cost of maintaining a domain name and hosting fees. Please note this is not the usual hosting which is available anywhere at the corner grocery store but archiving, that is "read-only".
Companies doing clearances:It was noted that the recently most used companies doing clearances were:
White Rose: http://www.whiteroseaviation.co.uk
Bo in Danemark (used by CarollAnn): email@example.com
All coordonates are on the Clearance page http://www.earthrounders.com/cgi/clearances.php
Communications:There was some discussion on the future oof the Iridium system. Some members having doubts of its future compared to Immarsat. Also it was noted that the new units are not as good as the old Iridium "brick".
HF is still compulsory in some countries and it seems that radio amateur equipment is widely used (after some "secret" mods). Legal or not satellite phone can still save the day when HF propagation is poor or non exist. One would have to have the numbers to call, of course.
Flemming mentionned Mail-a-Sail, which uses a compression software enabling to send emails and faxes.
There was further discussion on the various tracking systems available. The comments on Spot were although it is the cheapest, it is far from being the best user-friendly and reliable. Bill Charney in his Staggerwing uses TrackPlus from New Zealand, a much better system but a lot more expensive. None of these tracking systems can be relied on for true emergencies and the 406 beacons are the only totally reliable way to tell the rest of the World that we are in trouble and where we are.
Accidents:Two recent fatal accidents were mentionned, although they did not take place during a RTW flight, they affected two RTW pilots.
Flemming gave us an indepth account on both accidenta.
The first accident took place in the Atlantic, probably caused by the fuel system. After suffering an engine failure the heavily loaded aircraft could not sustain level flight. As with other aircraft, problems often happen when the fuel of the ferry tank(s) is used directly to the engine(s) instead of being pumped into either a header tank or one of the regular tanks.
The second accident occured on take off with an overloaded aircraft, probably with the CG beyond the rear limit.
"from Russia with love..."Pavel Romanenko gave each participant a little ceramic aircraft...
Next Earthrounders MeetingFinally the venue for the next meeting was decided. It will coincide with the Sun-n-Fun Airshow in Lakeland Florida in March-April 2012.
Bob Gannon will be our host. The meeting proper will probably starts 2 days prior to the Airshow, giving us time among ourselves before participating with the show itself. Beeing of easy reach of a lots of Earthrounders, we can expect a good turnaround.
Details will posted regularly as they come available.
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