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THE HUMAN ERROR


SEVEN YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A TSB INVESTIGATOR, PART 4


One question that was sometimes


asked of me was, “What do you do between accidents?” Perhaps it was an off- day or I was tired of being politically correct, as I responded with: “I just sit in my cubicle with my feet on my desk and wait for some poor, misguided pilot to kill himself. I produce a report detailing the how and why and two years later, when no one gives a damn, they publish it.” It really wasn’t that bad, but close at times.


#8 POLITICAL CORRECTNESS


CAN KILL The fatal aircraft was a Cessna L19 Bird Dog owned by the Canadian Air Cadet League. This tandem seated tail dragger was ideal for glider towing because it was inexpensive (free surplus from the Royal Canadian Air Force where it had served as an observation aircraft). The design was derived from the 4 seat Cessna 170, but with a bigger engine (Continental O-470 developing 213 hp), a rear (omni)window, slanted outward side windows and a joystick for control. It was used to tow tandem two-seat Schweitzer 2-33A gliders in a training program for select air cadets to obtain their glider pilot license. This very popular and sought after summer program was available to a select few in each region from the 25,000 air cadets. The air cadets comprised about 30% female at the time.


BY GORDON DUPONT


The accident occurred just after


takeoff when a new trainee with her instructor pulled rapidly back on the joystick, causing the glider to rapidly climb above the tow plane. Before anyone could react, the


L-19 was diving for the ground as the instructor released the glider from the doomed tow plane. With insufficient altitude to recover, the L-19 impacted the ground in a near vertical attitude and burned. The glider landed without incident. The young glider student was devastated by what she had done and could not explain how this could have happened. On interviewing the other cadets, several mentioned that she had been chosen because there was an unofficial unwritten rule that 30% of the candidates must be female. Thus, she had been selected even though many


24 DOMmagazine.com | dec 2017 | jan 2018


felt she was not qualified. That could not be proven in spite of the outcome that had occurred. It took two years, four months and 14 days for the report to be accepted by the board and I think you know what was not in it. The Moral. Political correctness can


keep you out of trouble or get you into trouble. Be assertive (D.O.M. April 2015 issue) and stand your ground if you believe that it compromises Safety.


#9 BUT IT WORKS AT HOME The Piper Navajo was flown by a VFR single pilot who flew loggers into camps on shift rotation. One location had a long runway paralleling a river in a narrow valley between two mountains. It was a definite one way in and one way


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