Lunch and chocks

I had done all my training in our FBO's C-152, but I had been eyeing that sexy little Archer II they had the whole time. So right after I got my certificate I decided to check out in the Archer. For my first flight my instructor and I decided to go to Brenheim to the Southern Flyer Diner for a 100 dollar bowl of chili and cornbread (I'm not into hamburgers). My instructor, who is a young fella from India ordered the chicken fried steak. I was kind of surprised and I asked him if he was a Hindu. He grinned and said, " The only way I worship my cow is medium rare ". We had a great meal and after we did an abbreviated flight check we climbed in the Archer and prepared to head back to Conroe. While we were adjusting our seat belts, headsets, etc. a Mooney pulled up and parked in front of us and the pilot and his wife got out and headed to the diner. When they crossed in front of us the guy put his hand on wife's shoulder and she stopped and he headed directly over to us. He had this huuuuge grin on his face and he stopped and just stood there right in front of the plane. I asked Tannay if he knew the guy who looked to be 50 or so and he said no. Tannay opened the door and said " Hello ". The guy pointed at the Archer and said, " Does that thing have a lot of power "? Neither of us really knew what to say and Tannay finally said, " Well, it's got enough ". The guy's grin got even bigger and he pointed down at the nose gear and said, " Has it got enough to get over those chocks "? I took my hat off and just put it over my face and Tannay whispered "Oh, crap". He started to get out and the guy said " I'll get 'em for ya' ", and he did. When he walked back to his wife she was giving him one of those "stern" amused looks and said something to him, probably along the lines of "Honey, you shouldn't have embarassed them like that". He laughed and said something back, probably along the lines of "Are you kidding? It made this whole trip worthwhile".

Tannay asked me three times on the way back, "We're not going to tell anyone about the chocks, right?" (I guess instructors worry about their street creds, too). I said I wouldn't, and I haven't.....right up until today. Heh..heh..heh. I also haven't forgotten to remove the chocks since.

If you get the chance, do visit the Southern Flyer Diner in Brenham. They have great food, and very helpful Mooney drivers.

Mike

Comments

  • Mike: been there, done that. :0 For me, it was breakfast with my wife at KSTJ (St. Joseph, MO) shortly after passing my private pilot check ride. After breakfast, we hopped in the plane, fired it up and received instructions from the tower (which is just above the restaurant) to taxi to the active runway. Added a little power. Nothing. Added a little more power. Nothing. Then, it dawned on me that I hadn't removed the chocks. So, in addition to displaying my idiocy in front of my wife, I also had to call the tower (about 30 feet above me) and advise the controller I needed to power down for a second. He was MOST kind in his restraint. Perhaps he figured I was already humiliated enough. Better yet. My wife spared me "The Look."
  • Mike and Prop, I have had this happen a couple of times. Both when I have made, what is in my mind, a quick fuel stop. I get out stretch my legs, go in pay and head back to the plane. Do a sump check and completely ignore the fact the line boy/girl has chocked the nose wheel. I jump in the plane and, so far, the line attendant comes scurrying over and pulls the chock. I now look closely at the nose gear on the way to the plane.
  • Well, since we're in full confession mode. I've done that, too.

    There, I feel better. :)
  • Well, that'll learn me about speaking too soon. Yesterday we had a bluebird day. Wind calm, 58 degrees, CAVU. So the intrepid birdman heads to the airport. My 140 is hangared in the main hangar (still waiting for a private one to come open) and I asked the line handler Steven to pull her out. Then went back in the FBO and had some coffee and shot the bull for a bit. Then I went out and did a FULL preflight. Went through the whole checklist. I also have to kneel right by the nose gear to get a fuel strainer sample. All good so in I climbed ready to go off in the Songbird and save Timmy, whom Lassie had told Penny had fallen in the well again. Just before I called "Clear prop" Steven came running out of the main hangar doors, walked up and pulled the chocks out from under the nose gear. He held them up by the cord between finger and thumb. Now he didn't give me "The Look" Propfan (only wives can really do "The Look"), but he did grin like the Cheshire cat. Sigh, that's two. I hope it's not a lifelong addiction. It did teach me a lesson about not taking anything on the checklist for granted, though.

    BTW, if you're old enough to know what I meant about Penny, the Songbird, and Timmy in the well, tell the grandkids I said hello, heh.

    Mike
  • I will tell them, Uncle Sky. =D
  • As far as checklists go, I am in the camp which looks at them as supplemental rather than primary. I have been doing preflights for a loooooooooooooong time. I have a set method which begins behing the right wing and goes clockwise around the plane ending at the spot where I started. The checklist which I have looks like it came out of the POH, there are things I do which are not on the pre-printed list. This is especially true at start up. I also do them in a different sequence than the start list has them. One item missing from the list is setting the parking brake before engaging the starter. This is something I always do and still have my toes on the brakes, just in case.
  • Yeah, Bill. I also change one thing on my checklist. It says to check the fuel level in the tank, THEN it says to sump the tank. Well heck, I sump the tank first, then when I check the fuel level, since I have to take the cap off to do that, I just pour the sample back in. Doing it their way I'd have to take the cap off twice. Just think of the wear and tear I save on the fuel cap. They should hire us as checklist consultants.

    Mike
  • Your airplane has enough power to jump even fairly large chocks on the nosegear. I've done it in a Warrior, so I'm sure you can manage in an Archer. Just pull back on the yoke and gradually increase power until you climb up and over the chocks. No sense in shutting down over something that easy to remedy with a little horsepower.
  • I saw a Saratoga do that a few months ago, and it threw the chocks quite a distance. Not sure that's safe for the aircraft or bystanders.
  • Threw the chocks? I've never seen them move when this is done. How were they thrown, and what were they made of?
  • I've seen guys do that too....they were wooden chocks, and could have caused damage to the plane, had they been a couple of feet closer. I would also suggest that jumping the chocks causes unnecessary stress on the nose gear.
  • Yes, in the case I saw they were wooden chocks also. Prop wash threw them just below the left wing and the horizontal stabilizer.
  • Well I've done it three or four times in my flying career, and not once have the chocks moved. Chocks being moved by prop wash seems a bit strange to me, given the sheer aerodynamics of the whole thing, and the fact that if you're smart, you'll reduce power as soon as you crest the chock.

    As for undue stress on the nose gear, I highly doubt that the forces here are anywhere near the forces applied when landing the plane. I've not had any nosegear problems on either airplane which I've done this in, but again, I've only done if a handful of times.
  • In the case I saw, we were just heading for the door to alert the pilot when he jumped the chocks. He clearly didn't know they were there, he just didn't understand why his plane wasn't moving, so he applied pretty much full throttle. He never had a clue what happened, or at least he didn't want to let us know!

    I don't use chocks very often, but when I do they are those hollow plastic ones from Airgizomo. I'm sure they'd go flying if I ever jumped them, but they're light enough and small enough that I doubt they'd do much harm. But, I wouldn't want to leave them lying on the ramp either.
  • This was a new one for me. I stop @ LAL frequently for lunch. Having missed chocks in the past I am pretty consistent in checking the nose wheel for chocks. Well, the FBO had a new line guy. So, I remove the nose chock, get in my Arrow apply power and it doesn't move. Realizing something was amiss I shut down got out and discovered a chock on my left landing gear. I complained to the FBO and they haven't done that since. I noticed every plane on the ramp had chocks on the nose and left main gear. I'm surprised he didn't tie a concrete block to the tail tie down ring. Ridiculous!
  • I've worked at places where they wanted planes chocked on at least 2 wheels, for what they said were for a couple of reasons.
    1) In case of a gust of wind and the parking brake is not set.
    2) In case the parking brake is not working (I can attest to the fact that many parking brakes do not hold sufficiently)
    3) Its fun to watch a pilot try to power over the chocks (ok I added that one, but its still funny to watch)
  • OK true confessions. I was at KLEX last Monday picking up my new Arrow. Took my instructor along for personal insurance that I wouldn't screw up. Since the airplane had just come out of annual I did a longer than usual pre-flight including all access cover plates and basically everything. The line guys usually pull the chocks but I made a mental note that they were still in place when I checked the engine sump. Instructor and I climb into the airplane and I am meticulously going through the checklist. Well fortunately for me the chocks were on the start up section of the check list. I looked at my instructor and asked if he had pulled the chocks because I knew I hadn't. He just smiled and started to get out of the airplane. At least we figured it out before starting the engine.

    As for hopping chocks, I would be concerned that they could some how get tangled up with the prop. I know it would be a remote chance but it would constitute a prop strike and I would be parting with lots of money. Just a thought!!!
  • Interesting thread.
    I would approach jumping chocks like I would approach thunderstorms. Avoidance. Multiple reasons exist with safety being number one. If you get in the habit of forcing the plane along when something is obstructing its path, then maybe one day the chocks will be out but the ground power plug/GPU might still be in place or the aircraft may still be tied down. I've seen both scenarios. Just food for thought.

    Lars Jensen ATP
    www.scs-interiors.com
  • Twice in three years I've tried to move the plane with a wheel still chocked. In both cases I just didn't look before climbing in (even after walking around the plane I missed it in one case - the other was on a quick fuel stop) and a rampie had chocked the plane for me. Personally, I'd never try to hop the chocks. In my mind, way too many opportunities for damage that are not even close to being worth the time saved by getting out and doing it right the second time.
  • I like to walk around the plane before departure, this is after it's already been preflighted, you just stepped away for a bit. Depending on what I'm doing & how the ramp is I may not chock it. If going inside then I do. The pitot cover is another item I take off when I 1st get to the plane & prepare for flight. I also never leave the towbar near the front wheel unattended. If I was to have the chocks in place after start I would shut down & remove them. I carry my home made lightweight cedar chocks with me anyway, wouldn't want to leave them.
  • Twice in three years I've tried to move the plane with a wheel still chocked. In both cases I just didn't look before climbing in (even after walking around the plane I missed it in one case - the other was on a quick fuel stop) and a rampie had chocked the plane for me. Personally, I'd never try to hop the chocks. In my mind, way too many opportunities for damage that are not even close to being worth the time saved by getting out and doing it right the second time.

    +1. In my experience, when it takes full power to move the plane on the ground something is wrong that bears shutting down and going out to take a look. Flat tires (after landing) and soft ground have been the main culprits so far for me. Haven't missed chocks under the wheels .... yet.
  • Funny thread!
    Haven't forgot the chocks, but did miss the tail tie-down rope once. I can vouch for the fact it will indeed keep the airplane securly in its parking spot! Luckily nobody was around to witness!
    CFI story:
    While prepping for a private pilot check ride an instructor took a student to a local airport with a control tower so he could get some radio work in. They stopped for lunch, got back in the airplane and called for taxi clearance. They were cleared to the active via taxiway xxx (don't remember the details). The student had never been to this airport and they did not have an airport diagram. After a lenghthy lecture about the importance to know where you are on the airport at all times, including a reference to the Pan Am/Lufthansa crash in the Canary Islands, they began to taxi. No need to ask for a progressive, the instructor told the student. As a highly skilled airman and professional flight instructor, who had been to this airport many times, he knew where they were going. The instructor's ego was deflated a few minutes later when the tower called to let them know that while they were indeed on taxiway xxx, they had turned the wrong direction! How the instructor was humbled, he felt about two inches tall! They few back to the home airport and the instructor said little for the reminder of the trip. Both instructor and student learned a valuable lesson that day.
    I know about this story because I was one of the two people in the airplane. I wish I could say I was the student.
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