General Aviation Accident: How Glynn Falcon Survived a Crash in a Piper Arrow with its Ailerons Connected in Reverse


In July 2017, Glynn Falcon had a crash while taking off in his Piper Arrow at the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, CA. His plane was there for maintenance, and he was planning to fly it back to his home airport in Marina, CA. Immediately after rotation, he observed that the aircraft made an uncommanded roll to the left. Realizing he was unable to control the aircraft, he pulled the power, and the plane was destroyed in the crash. Glynn survived with minor injuries. In this episode, he describes the factors that led to the crash, and what he learned from his first flight instructor that helped him avoid what is often a fatal accident type.

Here’s what I teach my students from day one. When you’re checking the controls, take ahold of the yoke and stick and stick your thumb straight up. Then when you move the yoke or stick, your thumb will be pointing at the aileron that is supposed to be up. If you do that religiously, every time you do a run up, you’ll avoid ever taking off with the controls connected backwards.

And this is a mistake that even test pilots make. In 2006, the sole prototype of the Spectrum 33, which was a $3.6 million business jet, crashed on takeoff, killing both pilots. Witnesses reported that the plane entered a right roll and immediately cartwheeled when the right wing hit the ground. According to the NTSB, the ailerons were linked in a manner that reversed the roll control, such that the left roll input from the stick would have deflected the ailerons to produce right roll of the airplane, and vice versa.

Prior to the accident, the aircraft had undergone extensive maintenance, including removal of the main landing gear, which required disconnection of a portion of the linkage control systems.

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Private Pilot Tips for Traffic Patterns, Cirrus Crash, ATC Privatization, and Air Canada Near Miss Update + GA News


We talk about flying the traffic pattern, and talk in detail about flying a Cessna 172 in the traffic pattern. For example, many people don’t know the exact meaning of “Make Right Traffic.” It means, fly to a position where you can enter the traffic pattern on the 45, then turn to downwind and fly the traffic pattern. It doesn’t mean to enter on the downwind. And of course you should be at pattern altitude when you’re on the 45. We also talk about doing a forward slip in a Cessna 172 and use of flaps during crosswind landings.

Air Canada flight 759 had a near miss last week, when it inadvertently lined up to land on a taxiway instead of on the runway. We talk about how confirmation bias may have contributed to the lack of awareness that the Air Canada pilots had about their situation.

We also talk about a recent fatal Cirrus SR22 crash in Sonoma, California, and the importance of never pulling the parachute below 400 feet, as it will most likely make things worse! I give details about a recent flight I took from El Paso, Texas to Concord, CA with the new owner of a Cessna 206. We postponed the trip because of a heat wave 3 weeks ago.

Plus listener questions about using flaps during crosswind landings and whether you can fly if you’re legally using medical marijuana.

Click here for the survey. Tell us which plane you fly most often. Please visit my new Patreon page and help me with my goal of funding the creation of two apps for my show, one for Apple and one for Google Play, so that non-techie pilots can find the show in the app store.

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