Scariest Moments as a Pilot

That’s not a problem, just say i do!

I had a door pop off mid-flight in a Cessna 162 near KGTU once. Approaching storms, wind, and an improperly latched gullwing door led to the inevitable. My flight school was not the first victim of an airborne C162 door incident, however - it turns out others have had this happen too.

Nobody was hurt, but that was my last flight on the 162… I switched to the 172, lol.

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High gusting winds at a high altitude airport.

Stuff gets interesting fast 💨

Also the window opening while in flight. Sounds worse than it is lol all I can think of is movies where people go flying out of the plane because of the suction lol 😂

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Fuel cap on the left wing unhitched itself and flew off on the way back from a long XC, on a Piper Cherokee. Had to really control my descent like crazy, while slow-flighting all the way home.

Made sure to screw those damn things on double-tight forever after that (to the point where it hurt my fingers to open them).

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An extremely weird weather day in SoCal where it was completely clear but extremely turbulent at the lower altitudes with severe downdrafts, with barely any wind at the surface. I was at 5000 feet at full power trying to climb to 5500 and managing an average of about -700fpm. Yes, that’s a negative sign. Near mountainous terrain.

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Howdy! I’m a student pilot out of KFLY and I have had a real emergency during a solo flight.

I was flying from KFLY to KCOS to do some stop and goes with ATC. Got into the pattern, cleared for the option 35R. All was well and good, it was my first landing of the day at KCOS. I might have come in a little fast, but I wasn’t high, and I had a pretty solid landing. I was braking to slow to a stop, and off the right side, I hear a big pop; certainly not a sound we want to hear. Then, I start drifting to the right. I bring the plane to a stop, luckily before the edge of the runway, look out the right side window, and see a popped tire. I notified ATC, and I was stuck on the side of the runway for about an hour before getting towed. Overall, a very frightening experience, but it taught me not to be quite so hard on the brakes. Pics below.

TLDR: Was flying from KFLY to KCOS, skidded the tires on landing, and popped the right main.


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when my dad lost all of the “A” hydraulic system

It was a pretty day flying my tiny Sport Cruiser along. I was entering the pattern with my instructor when he pulled the familiar “oh look your engine failed” stunt. Did my normal procedures and was looking good on my short approach. Then out of no where wind shear screwed me over causing me to lose even more airspeed. Had to throttle at the last second and go around. Crazy to think I’d not make it if it were a real engine failure.

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Once I was at an alt of 5,000 when the plane turned off. I started falling but I got it on a again and I am safe! Scared the life out of me!

How much would it be to replace the wheel and fly again?

The wheel wasn’t affected but the tire was so my flight school just drove out, got it fixed, and flew it back to KFLY.

That’s nice of them!

Almost loosing an engine on takeoff, no comma in busy class C airspace, ATC asking you to rely a message to an aircraft on guard because there ELT was going off…

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This was about a year ago when I had just started working on my PPL. I was out in a c152 with my instructor to do manoeuvres and on the way back (about 12nm out from GPM) we were having a casual conversation when at the last second I noticed a c172 of to our right a bit ahead of us coming directly across our flight path 🤦🏾‍♂️ Same altitude and going a good bit faster than we were. Instructor threw in full throttle and pulled up so fast it was like complete panic mode 😂

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Shortly after this taking this photo^ (Note clouds below my altitude - sign of visible moisture)

I was on my long solo commercial cross country leg 3/4, a quick and easy 90 minute flight from San Jose, CA down to Paso Robles, CA.

I have previously flown to San Jose from Bakersfield. Everything was perfect (I was on the DRY side of the coastal ranges… you see where this is going).

Just when I was singing along to some r&b, my 2400RPM cruise setting dipped to 1900RPM, then began to fluctuate between 1900RPM and 2100RPM. I was at 7500’ doing about 85KIAS on a Cessna 152. Quickly, the airspeed deteriorated to about 70KIAS.

Things that I did immediately

  • Look for landing spot (Okay, 101 freeway)
  • Suspected carburetor icing (Alright, carb heat on)

Since I could no longer hold altitude and there is a restricted area and a MOA below me, I declared precautionary emergency status with Oakland Center and coded 7700 in the box.

Now the scary part: the running STILL runs rough after 2 minutes of carb heat, while I am doing full power and flying down at about 300FPM.

ATC quickly pointed me out the nearest airport, one that’s inside the MOA.

Almost instantly, the roughness disappeared, and everything was back to normal. I cancelled my emergency status and went back to my regular beacon code. To assure that the loss of partial engine was due to carb icing and there isn’t something else to it, I saved enough altitude for the pattern so I can ,if I need to, do a 180 power-off landing (ironically required for commercial…).

It wasn’t a good landing, but it was safe. For the rest of the trip from Paso Robles to Long Beach, essentially as soon as I turn the carb heat off the roughness and RPM loss started again. I flew home with carb heat applied most of the way!

Lessons learned:

  • ALWAYS get flight following!

  • Watch out for carb heat at all altitudes and power setting!

  • Foreflight’s nearest airport display also shows heliport. Be careful!

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that’s why i fly gliders

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I’ve been very lucky so far to avoid any major incidents. In my time flying, the worst I’ve had was a scary moment during my PPL checkride. First takeoff of the day, examiner told me to do a soft field takeoff.

A soft field takeoff is practically wheelie down the runway, lift off ASAP, hold ground effect until you gain sufficient speed and then climb

During the wheelie, I thought I had lifted off and tapped the brakes to stop the wheels spinning. Turns out in all of my nerves, I actually had not lifted off and basically just pumped the brakes in the middle of my takeoff. Not a great start…

But I passed so it’s ok!

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Dual Engine failure or “Your Gonna have to Sully it”

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I haven’t experienced it for real(fortunately… knocks on wood) but engine failure in a single engine airplane, even when it is simulated is super terrifying.

I’ve really wanted to go to KFLY for a while, seems like a nice little airport, but I definitely ain’t heading down there with the density altitudes you guys get in the summer.