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JohnRich

Bail out, or land with the plane?

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Hypothetical situation:

You're in a Cessna Caravan, fully loaded with jumpers. At 9,500 feet, the engine dies. The pilot maintains control of the aircraft and starts gliding to earth. There is no word from the pilot as to whether or not he wants you to bail out. You prepare for an orderly single-file exit while awaiting permission from the pilot. The countryside provides plenty of safe off-airport landing spaces. Time passes. Now you're down to 3,000 feet, but there is still no word from the pilot. What are you going to do? Bail out, or take your chances landing in a crippled airplane?

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I've always understood it to be Pilot in Command. In the scenario you describe I see no real emergency and so nothing is obviously indicating an emergency decision in my part. And until I get the pilot's permission to exit his aircraft, I stay put.

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Wait for the pilot to tell you what to do. Moving around changes the center of gravity, which can lead to stall/spin accident. If the pilot has not turned on the green light or told you to jump, you should sit, buckle up and prepare to land with the plane. If he's not talking to you, it is probably because something else has his attention and requires him to be focused.
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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So from 9.5 to 3 the pilot just glides along and says nothing? Not likely.



Maybe he says something but nobody hears it. Full face helmets! Maybe someone up front hears it, but doesn't pass the word. Maybe the pilot is over-saturated dealing with the situation and has been too busy to think about informing the jumpers on board.

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I've always understood it to be Pilot in Command. In the scenario you describe I see no real emergency and so nothing is obviously indicating an emergency decision in my part. And until I get the pilot's permission to exit his aircraft, I stay put.



Good luck. Please review back issues of "Parachutist" for the many stories of large numbers of jumpers who have died in plane crashes, trying to return to the airport after an engine problem.

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Having been in an aircraft crash in pretty similar circumstances where nobody talked to the pilot, I would say at some point just before minimum bail out altitude (depends on many variables i.e. type of jump, size of aircraft, equipment in use, personal hard deck etc.)
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

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How about, "Ask the pilot"?



At what point would you interfere with the pilot while he's dealing with an emergency situation, in order to request permission to bail out?



While we're still up pretty high, like shortly after the rubberband broke...

I'd ask and if no responce came...I'D TELL him, I'm going for help... C-YA! ;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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9500'? Are you serious? The plane is going to glide better if it is lighter, isn't it? ;)

Edit: I have been in a plane that had a problem about 10,000'. Everyone moved towards the door and started wanting out, which did the pilot no good at all! :o Someone told us very forcefully to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THE PILOT!!! We did not ride the plane down.


"Don't! Get! Eliminated!"

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I'm sure it will cross the mind of the pilot at some point that he's carry a ton or more of optional ballast that won't help his forced landing.

Wasn't there a tale of a pilot running down the back of a C47 years ago and diving out the door??. I think a few jaws hit the floor that day....

I would be expecting him to swear loudly to start, and then to turn and snarl at the jumpers..."get the F#*+ out of my aeroplane", but prolly with less words than that!!..

Pilots get snotty pretty fast when the fan stops....

At 2 grand I'd go for help....I'd hate to be on both the front page and back page of the next days newspapers...
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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One of the scariest loads i have been on was when a twin otter lost an engine. Same scenario the pilot never gave us a go to get out. So all in all we stayed packed in the otter and landed with one engine......scary situation. I myself wanted out , aftewards the pilot said "i guess i coulda let you guys out". And yes it would have made it probably easier on the landing. If i was ever in that situation again, i would ask the pilot and tell him i want out.. Now if both engines were not working i would in no way stick around!!

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9500'? Are you serious? The plane is going to glide better if it is lighter, isn't it? ;)

Edit: I have been in a plane that had a problem about 10,000'. Everyone moved towards the door and started wanting out, which did the pilot no good at all! :o Someone told us very forcefully to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THE PILOT!!! We did not ride the plane down.



I was in a L-10 once on jump-run when the left spinner quit, the pilot said everybody out NOW...1st guy by the door started to climb rear floater. >:(

I think the 3 or 4th guy diving out past him sent the message...It was all in all a very orderly and relatively safe exit, no one rushing the door etc. However several people did pull right after getting stable, they got blown a mile or so off the dz.










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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9500'? Are you serious? The plane is going to glide better if it is lighter, isn't it?



It depends on what you mean by "better."

If the airplane is above a safe landing area, then a minimum sink speed allows the pilot more time to deal with the problem. The minimum sink speed is lower when the airplane is lighter. Jumpers out!

If the airplane needs to glide somewhere to land safely, then it still depends. Higher weight means a higher speed and better penetration into headwinds. If the airplane is downwind of the landing area, keeping jumpers on board for a little while longer is helpful. If upwind, then lighter weight (jumpers out) and lower speed might be able to take advantage of the wind to make it back -- a little bit like hanging in brakes to get back from a long spot.

Mark

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How about, "Ask the pilot"?



At what point would you interfere with the pilot while he's dealing with an emergency situation, in order to request permission to bail out?



I have been in a jump plane when the engine quit 3 times and in my experience the pilot does not remain silent. With no engine it is easy to hear what is going on. At altitude there is no reason to panic and there is plenty of time to make a decision. If we descend a few thousand feet and no instructions are given I think it is entirely appropriate to tap him/her on the shoulder and request instructions.
No moving around, no freaking out, just a simple
"Hey bud, what do you want us to do?"

But again from previous experience the pilot would have already made a decision by then.

I remember one load I was on when we had an engine quit at about 8 grand. We were in a 182 with a load of 4 climbing to 10. The pilot (who was not a jumper) immediately opened the door and started screaming "get out, get out!" I was sitting in the door and checked the spot, we were a long way from the DZ so I asked the pilot if we could get a bit closer first. He calmed down, looked out and saw where we were and a said oh yeah sure..... At about 4 grand we all made nice orderly exits and landed at the DZ, the plane dead sticked in without incident. We all did hop and pops and still barely made it back but at the time we jumped there were outs available.

If we would have exited at 8 grand when he first said we would have been over the forest with nothing but trees, cliffs, rocks, water, etc. No outs. Pretty rugged terrain in western Oregon. I remember the other jumpers behind me also wanting to exit when the pilot said go but we would have all ended up in the trees.

If you are low the decision process needs a bit more haste but at altitude it is time to take a few deep breaths and think about what you are doing. Communicate with the pilot and keep your shit together.
Onward and Upward!

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Hi JR,
First off, what jimmy said. Just shows ta' go ya' when the rubber band breaks it's generally time to leave. Back some years ago at old Elsinore someone I believe it was a Marine Pilot brought out a CH-46 chopper to jump, Green ID required. On one lift the pilot incurred a "Rotor Sync Problem" and informed the JM on the comm for everyone to strap in as he was taking it down. He recieved no reply and when he looked back in the cabin there was noone there and just the headset dangling in back by the ramp! 'Nuf said.
SCR-2034, SCS-680

III%,
Deli-out

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So from 9.5 to 3 the pilot just glides along and says nothing? Not likely.



Maybe he says something but nobody hears it. Full face helmets! Maybe someone up front hears it, but doesn't pass the word. Maybe the pilot is over-saturated dealing with the situation and has been too busy to think about informing the jumpers on board.



I'm fairly certian that the guy at the front of the plane would've passed the message to bail.

Less bodies in his way.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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One of the scariest loads i have been on was when a twin otter lost an engine. Same scenario the pilot never gave us a go to get out. So all in all we stayed packed in the otter and landed with one engine......scary situation. I myself wanted out , afterwards the pilot said "i guess i coulda let you guys out". And yes it would have made it probably easier on the landing. If i was ever in that situation again, i would ask the pilot and tell him i want out.. Now if both engines were not working i would in no way stick around!!




Scariest I was on was back in the 70's. They brought in a beech for a local boogie, blew a jug not long after take-off and the guy closest to the door just rolled out...I was about 3rd to the door but about 5th out. Didn't have a whole lotta jumps & I remember looking down thinking FUCK we're LOW!

Two little guys wormed right past me...:ph34r:

I had a Jerry Bird belly wart with the Velcro opening flap...I 'think' I remember hearing that Velcro ~s l o w l y~ peeling and the pilot-chute finally shooting out...no doubt felt longer than it took. :D:)

Some people said the exit was 600 feet, but I think we were higher, I was under a 24' flat @ 500, and didn't think to look at my altimeter for bit, until I got my heart beating again. ;)




I was also in a 180 that quit shortly after take-off, I was jump-mastering students and was on my knees by the door, maybe 3-400 feet up...the pilot just looked at me and said STAY, he landed safe, I'm glad because it was 'back in the time' before seatbelts and I was kneeling facing forward with no door on! :S

Plane was down and sick, so the beer light was on early...it wasn't cold yet but, never tasted better! :)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Well, I have been in just about this exact situation. Except that the pilot did eventually give us instructions and it happened at 10,000 feet.

We all bailed out at about 9,000 feet single file orderly exit as instructed by the pilot. While the pilot definitely had his hands full, he wasn't so distracted that he couldn't give us instructions.

Oh yea, it got very quiet when the engine quit and the prop was locked in place. So there was no trouble hearing the pilots instructions.

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...it got very quiet when the engine quit and the prop was locked in place. So there was no trouble hearing the pilots instructions.

Ain't THAT the truth! Laugh



Ain't it funny how much the pilot starts sweating when the fan stops....;)
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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How about, "Ask the pilot"?



At what point would you interfere with the pilot while he's dealing with an emergency situation, in order to request permission to bail out?




Waaay before 3000ft. Provided there are not parts falling off the airplane the pilot should have everything under control in a couple of minutes.

No way in hell I'm landing with the airplane if there is time to get out.

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