Issue Number 244
October 1999
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

Hazardous Materials and Pilot's in CommandHazmat is an acronym referring to "hazardous materials" or cargo. In many of the cases reported to ASRS, hazmat is brought on board aircraft by uninformed or unsuspecting passengers. But two recent reports describe events in which PICs themselves were the unwitting source of hazardous cargo. We begin with an air carrier Captain’s story:
  • Planned to drive to do a little turkey hunting and camping. I assembled my camping equipment a couple of weeks before leaving, which included a small camp stove filled with white gas. A few days before leaving plans changed and I decided to fly instead of drive. I neglected to remove or empty stove. Gas leaked into duffel bag – luckily ramp personnel detected odor and removed bag. Can’t believe I was so stupid. Wonder how many other people do this also?

ASRS receives several reports of similar incidents each year, and there are undoubtedly more that go unreported.

A General Aviation pilot provided a tale of a frightening hazmat discovery in-flight:

Command and Control

A delicate dilemma faced by instructors in operational training situations is deciding how far to let a student go. If an instructor is too conservative, the student may never learn the full range of skills needed. Too casual, and the student may be placed in situations beyond his or her ability to cope. An air carrier instructor explained to ASRS why being mentally prepared to take control from a student was not enough.

The reporter added that the geometry of the involved aircraft is sufficiently different from previous models (longer and more vulnerable to tail strikes) as to mandate trainee landing and takeoff experience in the simulator.

The Best Laid PlansEveryone’s heard of the golfer who was all backswing and no follow-through. A distant relative may be the pilot who dutifully engages in preflight planning and activities, but loses sight of details and contingencies. Several ASRS reporters describe flight preparation omissions that put them "in the rough":

Say 'Bye Before Hi

A First Officer describes the last leg of a long day:

"Alone in the Dark" with a pair of scared eyes peeking out of a holeIn the spirit of the witching season, we offer a recent ASRS report that describes the light that wasn’t there.

Kudos to our reporter for keeping his head, and to ATC for their invisible but benevolent guidance.

Moral: the goblins will get ’cha if you don’t watch out!Bat

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
Canadian 200-foot "hold short" rule
B-737-200 uncommanded rudder movement
Conflicting departure operations at a Texas airport
Suspected electrical fire in a B-757 entertainment system
Infectious material loaded on the main deck of a cargo DC-8
August 1999 Report Intake
 Air Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots