Big balls ferry pilot
Author Topic:   Big Balled Ferry Pilot
javelin
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posted 14 June 2000 09:57          

Crossed 40 west this morning, N41815 asked for relay to Gander - passed his report, FL90 ! 123.45 lit up with questions - guy ferrying a PA28 from Vero Beach to Germany, 14 hours planned from St Johns to Shannon. Chatted for a while until we went out of range. Boy had that bloke got balls! Picked a brand new Warrior up and ferried it. After the recent Hawaii incident I would have thought many times before that. Good luck to you ferry pilots and don't forget to give us a call on the Atlantic chat freq if you're bored, scared, tired or any other reason.

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Hung start
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posted 14 June 2000 12:32              

Sure had balls, didn´t he?? But this is an everyday event! These guys do it all the time, which makes it even more impressing! I mean, the more you push it .......!

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JJflyer
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posted 14 June 2000 14:58              

I did that sort of flying for over 2 years mostly in Pacific. Occasionally a KingAir over the Atlantic.
I lost several friends and people I knew and flew with as a result of accidents.
Some were never found.
My usual route was Oakland to Honolulu. 2110 nm of water and absolutely nothing out there.
Longest flight I ever did was 18.1 h from HNL to OAK.
I flew anything from an Archer to DC9's. Close to 90 crossings.

Safe flying and tailwinds for those that are still in the business... I have been told that once you have done it a few times you get hooked... I miss the adrenalin and excitement... Badly


JJ

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V2
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posted 14 June 2000 15:03          

Very brave guys.
Did it a few years ago (UK - Iceland - Greenland - Goose Bay - Dallas). Arrived at Goose on a high, feeling like I'd just discovered North America.
Met an old boy at Goose on his way back. During conversation:
Me: (trying to sound laid back)How many times have you done it?
Him: (long pause whilst he counted) About 17-18 times.
I was feeling well and truly cut down to size before he added, ".... this year!"
As they say "Pride goes before ..... feeling like a prat!"

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pigboat
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posted 14 June 2000 15:18              

Strange that this thread would show up today. Eighty one years ago this morning, two gentlemen named Alcock and Brown left YYT and showed everyone it was possible. Theirs were large, and made of brass.

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I'd rather
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posted 14 June 2000 15:48          

Sorry: a question from a dim non-aviator:

this sounds dead exciting, but can you tell us more in words of one syllable?

what sort of planes are they and why is it so dangerous?

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New Bloke
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posted 14 June 2000 16:25              

I'd Rather

Answer from a Dim Aviator.

Pop down to your local Airfield and look at all of the little single engine planes lined up by the Flying School. We are talking about flying one of those, all alone, one engine, across hundreds of miles of empty sometimes frozen seas.

Some Balls. (I'd Love to have a go)

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Wycombe
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posted 14 June 2000 16:40          

We took an Archer to Le Touquet for lunch last Saturday, and even going across that
25nm of English Channel, I still find myself
listening extra carefully to that engine and
looking out for ships!

These guys (and girls) have my utmost respect.

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javelin
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posted 14 June 2000 16:50          

Spooky connection with the dates, if anyone knows who he was or when he arrived at Shannon - he was due in at 1300z please post.

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Commander
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posted 14 June 2000 23:51              

As a resident of Iceland I have first hand knowledge of some "heros" that are crossing the big water on a single. Some of these men/women are ones I wouldn't step up in a plane whatsoever. I remember once asked by the tower after a nightlanding at summertime in Reykjavík what the average cruise speed of a C-152 was. I told him and asked him why he asked. He said that a C-152 was crossing from Gander to Iceland. The plane didn't appear on radar and was behind schedule. He said he would give him about 30 minutes more. The next day I read that the plane was missing, followed by news that it had crashed into Greenland glacier at 5-6.000'. You might say that trying this in a C-152 is a heroic thing but I sincerly disagree. This is just plane'ol stupidity. Risking your life like this is dangerous to say the least, criminal to be extreme. The most overwater experience I've had was crossing over to an Iceland in the northen Iceland, just about 20 nm from shore. That made me just a little nervous and very aware of fishingboats in the vicinity. Going over the whole Atlantic would certainly make me plan extra carefully and have a couple of backup plans. A few pilots have killed themselves doing this, although most have survived. The worst case I must share with you: A lady decided to fly over to Iceland from the UK on a Grumman AA-5 with a friend. That plane doesn't cruise very fast and the wx in Faroe Islands was below IFR minimums at time of departure, although she had planned to land there for refuelling. So she decided to fly straight over to Iceland after executing an approach in Faroe Is. The plane went down (after flying at 2000' for a while) about 200 metres (600') from the shore of Iceland. She declared emergency when the motor died of fuel starvation. Had she mayday'd before, it might have saved her some valuable time. They both survived, luckily enough. One managed to swim ashore, while the other drifted about 2 km. from the ditching point one hour later. It might have killed her easily. The ELT from the dry-suit had stopped transmission after about 30 min. in water, an investigation revealed that the ELT battery had expired in March 98, over a year before.

As Einstein (?) once said; there are only two things that are indefinate, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universt. Crossing a vast area of sea is dangerous, not neccessarily fatal, but the pre-arrangement must be done carefully and all issues regarding possible emergencies have to be addressed. I would be happy to give you the vital information by email if you have "the balls" to fly over here. Welcome, but be careful - don't be a statistic.

Commander

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FE Hoppy
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posted 15 June 2000 00:17              

I flew SAR from Kinloss for a few years and was scrambled twice to find ditched aircraft.
Found the ac both times but no crew.
good luck to all who do it, there must be a better way of building hours.
on a lighter note sir A Whitton Brown taught my farther to fly during the war. Dad was 14 and got the lessons free in return for playing rugby for Sir A W Brown's team.
Two years later dad was over europe in a mosquito but thats another story.

[This message has been edited by FE Hoppy (edited 15 June 2000).]

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captain marvellous
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posted 15 June 2000 01:35              

I had the pleasure of flying a brand new Piper PA28-181 Cherokee Archer from the factory in Florida to Sydney, Australia in September 1994. The man in charge and sitting in the right hand seat was reamarkably similar to the well known aviator who went for a non-terminal swim near Hilo late last year (in the same type of aircraft).

It was a terrific learning experience. We had 48 US gallons total in the standard wing tanks, and 150 US gallons in a bladder tank inside the fuselage. We achieved a sea level to 6,000 feet climb in just on 30 minutes (average 200 ft/min at 131% MTOW). We had carefully calculated the fuel burn between Florida and the west coast, and it was 9.002 litres per hour. And it burned zero oil up to the 25 hour recommended oil change.

I figure we had around 22 hours of fuel. And the 2068 nautical miles from Santa Barbara to Hilo only took 17 hours at 6,000 feet.

The only part that had me worried was when we arrived at Piper to collect the plane and the receptionist girls asked us where we were taking it to. When we said Sydney, Australia, they assumed that we were sending it by ship. When we explained we were flying it accross the Pacific they went a funny colour of white! Not a good start to our trip.

Anyway, thanks for the ride, I had a ball. But now I've got a missus and we've agreed that she is the brains of the operation she won't let me play in little planes anymore!

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I'd rather
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posted 15 June 2000 09:16          

Thanks New Bloke.

It sounds terrifying - respect!

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bateleur
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posted 15 June 2000 10:04              

Extraordinary! This thread has revealed an area of aviation to me I had no idea existed. The bravery of the pilots is amazing.

But ... why can't these small planes be disassembled sufficiently for them to be carried in another cargo aircraft, or by sea?

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New Bloke
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posted 15 June 2000 10:44              

What, and miss all the fun....

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gaunty
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posted 15 June 2000 11:26              

Any ex Transair ferry jocks out there.

Rex Aviation Ltd the Oz Cessna distributors must have had many many thousands of new aircraft ( of the 7-800o) ferried across the Pacific with a perfect record.

Ferry or container was always an economic decision with ferry being preferred due to not having to dismantle the aircraft. Depending on the season gaggles of Cessna in loose formation could be seen like geese flying south for the winter.

The mantle was picked up by a couple of ex RAAF guys in Peter Dixon and Peter Frazier of Southern Cross Aviation in Van Nuys I think, did many a job for me. Consummate and superb professionals dealing routinely with Indian Ocean, Pacific, South Africa and America in fact anywhere routinely and with a minimum of fuss and no bravado.

They have THE BEST flying job in the world C150 to B744 whatever, is their bag. Ahh to dream!

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leftwingdownabit
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posted 15 June 2000 12:04              

Really interesting stories in this thread. I read about about a guy who got lost flying to Norfolk Island on a ferry flight - I think his ADF got jammed and he was near to ditching. If I remember right an Air New Zealand DC-10 was able to assist for some while due to light load and extra fuel on board. I think they eventually found the aircraft with help from an oil platform and helped guide it towards land. Apologies for any factual errors - I've lent the book to someone. :-)

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Ozgrade3
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posted 15 June 2000 12:37              

The pilot who went in the drink on the way to Hilo was Ray Clamback from Clamback and Hennesy, a flying school at Bankstown airport in Sydney Australia.

Believe it or not, after being rescued, he went straight back to the factory and picked up another aircraft and ferried it to Australia.

There is a great account of the whole thing in a recent UK flying mag, can't remember which one.

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Dingersan
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posted 15 June 2000 13:55          

I had a flight engineer once in the Air Force. Typical cigar smoking, beer drinking, big handed kind of guy. When he heard I was leaving to fly ETOPS airplanes he said "Sir, you know why I only ever fly four engined airplanes over water? "No, Chief, tell me" I said. "CAUSE THEY DON'T MAKE EM WITH FIVE!"

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Wycombe
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posted 15 June 2000 17:15          

Ozgrade

The article concerning the ditching of the Archer on it's way to Hilo is in the current issue of "Pilot" and a riveting read it is too.


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JJflyer
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posted 15 June 2000 22:07              

Capt Marvellous...
Just wondering. How did you fellows get away with 2 pilots in an Archer. I had great difficulty to get 2 crew authorization for a Cessna 402.

JJ

[This message has been edited by JJflyer (edited 15 June 2000).]

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Captain Ed
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posted 16 June 2000 12:54              

PigBoat - I remember departing LHR with my crew in a bus, headed for the Kengsington layover. As we passed by the Alcock and Brown, a black hostess asked "Who are they?". I replied "Alcock and Brown." She nearly flipped!

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Scooby Doo
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posted 16 June 2000 19:21              

I remember doing my Cross-Channel check from Lydd to Le Touquet. I remember that it scared the excreta out of me because at one point we were unable to see either the English or the French coasts - and they were only about 25nm apart! I sure followed those ferries very closely.

Later I flew down in California and was over the desert for an hour (yes a whole hour!) before the sight of Mohave really made my day.

And now when I find myself between Mombassa and Djibouti on an ETOPS sector, I still get a but jittery.

Maybe this flying game wasn't for me after all! I jest, of course, but there must be better ways to build your hours than to fly Pa28's / C172's across the Atlantic!

Safe flying, all of you....

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captain marvellous
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posted 16 June 2000 23:52              

JJflyer - Did your 402 have an autopilot? Our Archer didn't - and it was 17 hours to Hilo. Have you ever hand flown 17 hours single pilot?

Ozgrade3 - I think you may find that Ray actually went and helped get a new young ferry pilot up and going on a ferry. I understand that Ray flew right seat from the factory to the west coast. And then went home on a big four engined jet.

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Rollingthunder
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posted 17 June 2000 00:03          

Captain Ed,I believe the joke goes...
Who was the first African to fly across the Atlantic? Never actually liked that joke.

Without going into my extensive research library... Didn't women do ferry flights, eastbound,transatlantic, during the war (WWII), regularly?

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