December 24, 1999
On Capitol Hill
Picture of the day
TRAINING ENDS WITH MID-AIR; CHECK RIDE TODAY Student pilot Barbara Yeninas is slated for a very special check ride today in Florida. She was in a mid-air collision earlier this month in which two small aircraft locked together but landed safely. Alan Vangee, Yeninas’ CFI who also survived the freak mid-air collision in mid-December at the Plant City, Florida, Municipal Airport, said that all he saw "was a wheel, coming right down through the windshield" of his Cessna 152. Vangee and his student, Yeninas, were practicing landings at Plant City when 19-year-old private pilot Jay Perrin of Melbourne, Florida, essentially landed his Piper Cadet on top of Vangee’s Cessna, according to reports. "I heard him call downwind, then base leg, and he said he ‘had the Cessna in sight’…but there were two Cessnas in the pattern that day. The next thing I knew, there was a nosewheel coming through our windshield," Vangee said in an exclusive interview with AOPA. "We were on final, at about 150 feet agl, I suppose, when his landing gear hit us from above," Vangee continued. "The Piper’s main gear landed on top of our flaps, damaging the left flap. The nosewheel, after it came through the windshield, shifted a little to the right, which was good because it kept the prop arcs away from each other." After colliding, the two airplanes descended as one, with Vangee steering the whole works toward the left of the runway. "I figured that landing on the grass might soften the impact and prevent sparks from igniting any fuel that might leak," the 25-year CFI said. Vangee, 65, is a retired Air Force officer who taught ROTC classes and works as a part-time instructor at Plant City Airport Services. "It worked out well, except for the flap damage and some scratches," Vangee said. "Our landing gear even seemed to handle the extra load without damage." The Piper’s tail ended up resting on top of the Cessna’s empennage. Vangee said that after the two airplanes came to rest, Perrin emerged from his cockpit to fully assess what had just happened. "He said he knew he hit something," Vangee said, "but he didn’t see what it was [the Piper Cadet is a low-wing design, so its pilot can’t see the area blocked by the wing planform]. He said he went to full power and tried to pull up after he hit us, but of course nothing happened—he was attached to us!" "I knew I’d landed," Vantee quoted Perrin as saying. "But I couldn’t figure out why I was sitting so high off the ground." Perrin is reportedly a low-time private pilot based at the Bartow, Florida, airport. In his preliminary narrative of the accident, Perrin described descending from his airplane after the landing and looking into the Cessna’s cabin, saying that Vangee and Yeninas appeared to be "two semi-healthy people." In fact, no one was injured in the accident. The Cadet suffered very minor damage. It was lifted off the Cessna with a crane and straps, then flown back to Bartow the following day. The Cessna will undergo repairs at Plant City. It had damage to the right wing leading edge, windscreen, vertical stabilizer, and left flap track. And what about Yeninas? "She handled it very, very well," Vangee said. "Her biggest worry was how to break the news to her husband, who I guess wasn’t very enthusiastic about her taking up flying lessons in the first place." For additional photos of the scene, see ( http://www.aopa.org/members/).—Thomas A. Horne, AOPA Pilot WEB SITES FOR AIRPORT LISTENERS... Sure, you’re busy today with travel, entertainment, and Christmas in general. But after the packages are unwrapped tomorrow, you might enjoy listening to a few airports from the United States to Australia. Try these links: ( http://members.home.com/catcw/livefeed.html) ( http://nce.natca.net/live-atc.html) ( http://www.broadcast.com/simuflite/) ( http://www.basair.com.au/) ( http://www.airparts.com/radio/) ...AND WATCHERS--And if you would rather SEE what is going on at a few airports, visit this site: ( http://www.cargolaw.com/cameras.html#airports) GARMIN ADDS NEXRAD TO 430, 530 DISPLAYS As if Garmin International’s GPS color moving maps weren’t revolutionary enough--the ones that lead you through instrument procedures--now you can view weather graphics and text on them. You can even receive e-mail while in flight. Nexrad weather data will be available in the second quarter of 2000. Garmin will offer satellite-based weather datalink through Echo Flight. The Garmin GNS 430 and large-screen GNS 530 will both work with the Echo Flight system. "When we designed the GNS 430 and GNS 530 we wanted an expansive platform for flight-critical data," said Gary Kelley, Garmin director of marketing. "However, this is definitely just the beginning when it comes to Garmin's ability to deliver both text and graphic weather in the future." The weather data provided by Echo Flight is an alternative to other Flight Information Systems (FIS) that are currently in development. Unlike traditional broadcast FIS information, Echo Flight uses Orbcomm's network of low-earth-orbit satellites to deliver weather information to the cockpit on a request/reply basis. With Echo Flight, there are no altitude restrictions, and you can request weather data at your current location, your destination, or anywhere in between. In order to access this data, pilots will need to purchase a $2,495 transceiver from Garmin. Users will then subscribe to a $40-per-month service through Echo Flight. For daily news updates, see ( http://www.aopa.org/members/).
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