Becca

Fear of Fisk!

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Love all the Mooney events at Oshkosh.  The Mooney Owners Forum was great (next time give Don Kaye a whole hour though!)!  So sad that Mooney activities seem to be winding down for the rest of the week.  (pro Tip: make sure Mooney has you on their email list so you get invited to things like their Mooney Love lunch before RSVPs fill!)

One thought I wanted to open for discussion though is “fear of Fisk”.  I always assumed doing the Caravan was a cool thing for the comraderie and learning some formation skills and hanging with other Mooney people etc. (the only downside I can see is those traffic cone orange shirts they wore this year :)).  We don’t do it because we just don’t have the time for all the pre-osh mustering required - we always just kind of get here in the nick of time.  But it seems like a great thing to do and maybe one of these years we will join the gaggle... 

anyway, yesterday, someone at the presentation about the caravan said “how many people here arrived via Fisk?”

and a few of us raised our hands.

and he said “never again, right?”

and we were all baffled, of course we would arrive at Fisk again.  So some of us were like “sure again.”  But the implication was that one of the reasons to do the caravan was fear of Fisk.  

So here’s my message:  Don’t fear Fisk!  (But be prepared for Fisk, read the NOTAM many many times!)

Especially when timed right (we like coming in early morning) it’s actually a pretty manageable arrival - a plane a mile or so ahead of you, a plane a mile or so behind you, they direct you to a downwind, you descend and land.  With two people in airplane it’s easy to keep your eye out for other traffic but most people keep their distance.  Yeah if Fisk gets saturated and you have to hold that really sucks.  But the arrival itself is no problem.  Certainly no harder/easier than keeping track of 60+ Mooney’s flying in close proximity for many miles in the caravan.  

Anyway I just wanted to put this out there for other people like us - that just logistically can’t do the caravan.  You shouldn’t feel like you have to come in a mass arrival out of fear of Fisk.  It’s fine.  Come to osh!  You can even go mooch beer and tent space off the caravan (for a small fee :)) when you arrive!

 

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7 hours ago, Becca said:

Love all the Mooney events at Oshkosh.  The Mooney Owners Forum was great (next time give Don Kaye a whole hour though!)!  So sad that Mooney activities seem to be winding down for the rest of the week.  (pro Tip: make sure Mooney has you on their email list so you get invited to things like their Mooney Love lunch before RSVPs fill!)

One thought I wanted to open for discussion though is “fear of Fisk”.  I always assumed doing the Caravan was a cool thing for the comraderie and learning some formation skills and hanging with other Mooney people etc. (the only downside I can see is those traffic cone orange shirts they wore this year :)).  We don’t do it because we just don’t have the time for all the pre-osh mustering required - we always just kind of get here in the nick of time.  But it seems like a great thing to do and maybe one of these years we will join the gaggle... 

anyway, yesterday, someone at the presentation about the caravan said “how many people here arrived via Fisk?”

and a few of us raised our hands.

and he said “never again, right?”

and we were all baffled, of course we would arrive at Fisk again.  So some of us were like “sure again.”  But the implication was that one of the reasons to do the caravan was fear of Fisk.  

So here’s my message:  Don’t fear Fisk!  (But be prepared for Fisk, read the NOTAM many many times!)

Especially when timed right (we like coming in early morning) it’s actually a pretty manageable arrival - a plane a mile or so ahead of you, a plane a mile or so behind you, they direct you to a downwind, you descend and land.  With two people in airplane it’s easy to keep your eye out for other traffic but most people keep their distance.  Yeah if Fisk gets saturated and you have to hold that really sucks.  But the arrival itself is no problem.  Certainly no harder/easier than keeping track of 60+ Mooney’s flying in close proximity for many miles in the caravan.  

Anyway I just wanted to put this out there for other people like us - that just logistically can’t do the caravan.  You shouldn’t feel like you have to come in a mass arrival out of fear of Fisk.  It’s fine.  Come to osh!  You can even go mooch beer and tent space off the caravan (for a small fee :)) when you arrive!

 

I don't think I could have put it better!  I unfortunately couldn't do the Caravan this year for the exact same reasons you mentioned.  Transponders on & ADS B has made RIPON entry so much easier- just look at where the tail end is, plan to get to the end of the tail where there's a gap, and go.  We got cut in front of just before Ripon, but I think they poured the coals on (or were already too fast) and it spaced out nicely.  We also arrived early which is probably one of the more critical ways to make the Fisk "easy".  The arrival alerts on Sunday/Monday sounded like a huge mess.  

That said, the Caravan would be way more fun and I'm hoping to shake loose from work next year!  The leadership teams in the Mooney community are incredible, and do a fantastic job organizing things like this, so, to the leaders and organizers of the great events, thank you!  

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Fisk is just fine.  Have flown it 3 times, twice from the left seat. A second pair of experienced eyes helps a lot to spot landmarks and traffic, remind you of the procedure. Have plenty of fuel. Admittedly getting sent to orbit a lake can get annoying. Just don't try to force it if spacing isn't working out, even if you're on speed and it's not your fault - just break it off and try again.  Frankly I have no formation experience so I'm far more intimidated by Caravan. Prepping for it and flying it may never fit my schedule.  Will be arriving by Fisk on Friday.

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8 hours ago, Becca said:

So here’s my message:  Don’t fear Fisk!  (But be prepared for Fisk, read the NOTAM many many times!)

Especially when timed right (we like coming in early morning) it’s actually a pretty manageable arrival - a plane a mile or so ahead of you, a plane a mile or so behind you, they direct you to a downwind, you descend and land.  With two people in airplane it’s easy to keep your eye out for other traffic . . . .

That wasn't my experience going into the smaller Sun n Fun. They turned me straight in from the lake, following a disorganized gaggle if RVs whi couldn't hold altitude or speed, and seemed unable to spot the turns without looking over their shoulders. Thankfully I had experienced eyes in the right seat and had an uneventful landing, but I was in my best "defensive flying" mode right up to short final when Tower had me sidestep to the runway then fly a mile at 20'agl before finally landing to taxi back to camp at the approach end.

Keep a sharp lookout!

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1 hour ago, Hank said:

That wasn't my experience going into the smaller Sun n Fun. They turned me straight in from the lake, following a disorganized gaggle if RVs whi couldn't hold altitude or speed, and seemed unable to spot the turns without looking over their shoulders. Thankfully I had experienced eyes in the right seat and had an uneventful landing, but I was in my best "defensive flying" mode right up to short final when Tower had me sidestep to the runway then fly a mile at 20'agl before finally landing to taxi back to camp at the approach end.

Keep a sharp lookout!

I haven’t been to Sun N Fun imsicne I was a teenager so that was a ... while ... ago.  But I recall the approach being far less organized than Osh.

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Don’t fear Fisk, fear taxiing over humps, bumps and ditches. 

Remember, it is your plane and you get to decide where you taxi.

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16 minutes ago, N201MKTurbo said:

Don’t fear Fisk, fear taxiing over humps, bumps and ditches. 

Remember, it is your plane and you get to decide where you taxi.

When I went to Oshkosh 3 years ago I feared the Fisk and I feared the bumps.  I went to Clair du fond just south of Oshkosh.

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Sorry Becca: 

I am one of the Never Again folks.  During our one and only FISK arrival in 2011, we ended up in a gaggle of aircraft and I was instructed to go around twice because of shenanigans on the runway.  I like my Caravan because of the time taken beforehand for "all the pre-osh mustering required."  That work builds trust between us so that we all know what to do, and what to do "in case."  Competent leaders lead Caravan elements, sections/wings and the entire formation.  

I saw very little of that competence from a whole bunch of aircraft during the year we did the FISK.  The FISK arrival does not scare me.  It is the whole pile of aircraft being flown by folks with significantly less situational awareness than my Caravan compatriots.  If there were significantly fewer aircraft flying the FISK arrival or if all the pilots flying it had to go through the demonstration of a skillset to fly it properly, I would be less concerned about it.  But EAA and FAA will never restrict their freedom to fly to KOSH and no one will insist on their doing any of the "pre-osh mustering" and that is probably as it should be.  But not for me. 

That set of conditions is in the red column of my own personal safety matrix for an evolution that has my best friend in the seat next to mine.   It is not good enough for me.  Not from fear - but from risk management and choice.

But that is just me....

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Ah, Fisk. First time was 8/3/81 - first day of the controller strike (the one where Reagan fired them all)! Didn't know what to expect, but the striking controllers showed up for Oshkosh, and all went well. Wife's most vivid memory is the jumbo-sized mosquito repellant for sale in the on-field store. Also recall the sound the sleeping bags made as we peeled them off our damp skin in the morning.

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I've never done the Fisk but I have done SnF a bunch of times.  For me it isn't the arrival procedures that are spooky it is the departure.  It's a total free for all and I've seen several near misses as folks try and sort themselves out.  

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11 hours ago, Ned Gravel said:

 It is the whole pile of aircraft being flown by folks with significantly less situational awareness 

This would be my whole take on Osh Kosh.  Every year I swear it will be my last time but almost every year I end up going for a few days. 

It was safer to fly over Berlin in 44. 

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Last time I went to OSH was in 13. I did an IFR for the last leg and noted that I would cancel at FISK. 

There was surprisingly little traffic on center. He worked me all the way to FISK sequenced me into the flow and turned me loose.

It worked out very well!

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12 hours ago, Ned Gravel said:

Sorry Becca: 

I am one of the Never Again folks.  During our one and only FISK arrival in 2011, we ended up in a gaggle of aircraft and I was instructed to go around twice because of shenanigans on the runway.  I like my Caravan because of the time taken beforehand for "all the pre-osh mustering required."  That work builds trust between us so that we all know what to do, and what to do "in case."  Competent leaders lead Caravan elements, sections/wings and the entire formation.  

I saw very little of that competence from a whole bunch of aircraft during the year we did the FISK.  The FISK arrival does not scare me.  It is the whole pile of aircraft being flown by folks with significantly less situational awareness than my Caravan compatriots.  If there were significantly fewer aircraft flying the FISK arrival or if all the pilots flying it had to go through the demonstration of a skillset to fly it properly, I would be less concerned about it.  But EAA and FAA will never restrict their freedom to fly to KOSH and no one will insist on their doing any of the "pre-osh mustering" and that is probably as it should be.  But not for me. 

That set of conditions is in the red column of my own personal safety matrix for an evolution that has my best friend in the seat next to mine.   It is not good enough for me.  Not from fear - but from risk management and choice.

But that is just me....

I think you’re trading risk either way.  60 kind of trained pilots with some standardization all arriving at once, or a handful of pilots at Fisk, some of whom might be amazing but some not so much but at least they aren’t flying 3 feet off your wing.  But I actually think both are fine and manageable.  What I worry about is the “avoid Fisk at all costs” mantra keeps people unnecessarily from Oshkosh because they don’t have the time or inclination to come with the caravan. (The mustering also adds mission success risk of missing a weather window — Mooney caravan did amazing this year found the perfect opportunity and only dry camping on the field on Saturday... unlike a certain caravan starting with a B who gave up.., but I must say I would have been tempted to abandon the caravan at 7 am on Saturday morning to ensure I got in before weather moves in on Saturday...)

Midairs are mandatory reporting to NTSB.  Anyone know how common they are on the Fisk arrival, there must be stats?  Has there ever been one?

Edited by Becca
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In the caravan, you're never with more than 2 other planes.  Yes, there's 60+, but there's lots of room between each element

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12 minutes ago, Becca said:

Midairs are mandatory reporting to NTSB.  Anyone know how common they are on the Fisk arrival, there must be stats?  Has there ever been one?

That is the right question - to properly answer if FISK is just scary or actually dangerous.  My guess is that it is just scary.  That said - it scares me.  :-)

Edited by aviatoreb

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Thanks, good message.  I've spent quite a bit of time watching the EAA livestreams and ATC on YouTube the past few days and there certainly are some folks on frequency who sound dazed and confused :-).  Yet somehow the controllers get everyone down. Amazing job by them. 

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2 minutes ago, pwnel said:

Thanks, good message.  I've spent quite a bit of time watching the EAA livestreams and ATC on YouTube the past few days and there certainly are some folks on frequency who sound dazed and confused :-).  Yet somehow the controllers get everyone down. Amazing job by them. 

Seriously!  One thing we were talking about is how encouraging they are even for total F-ups (on sunday we watched people actually approach wrong end of the runway!).  Apparently it’s a human factors thing if you start getting grumpy or angry with pilots it increases cockpit stress levels and the mistakes pile on.  A few “good jobs” and “great wing rocks” builds confidence to keep it coming.  And it can’t be easy for the controllers and they seem to manage to squeeze in “welcome to Oshkosh, enjoy the show!” on many Fisk crossings and landings!  Really a pleasure to listen to.

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38 minutes ago, Becca said:

Midairs are mandatory reporting to NTSB.  Anyone know how common they are on the Fisk arrival, there must be stats?  Has there ever been one?

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Edited by 201er
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8 minutes ago, 201er said:

507D98BF-6912-4ECA-AE05-5FCE116F1A01.thumb.jpeg.c4e06d1e9195f49211671e5ad96401a6.jpeg

Good find.

But one in 1990 doesn't actually help us to assess risk.  The question should not be if one ever happened, and clearly it has, at least this one.  The real question is if this kind of flying is more risky than the kind of flying that these folks would have been doing on a monthly basis anyway.  In other words, how many landings have there been since 1990 using Fisk?  What is the rate of incidence and is that rate of incidence greater, same, or less than the rate of incidence that folks experience back at home.

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23 hours ago, Becca said:

Certainly no harder/easier than keeping track of 60+ Mooney’s flying in close proximity for many miles in the caravan.

Flying in the Caravan, as a first timer, you  only have to keep track of one (1) other plane, your element lead.  As long as you stay in your box (which is the reason for the training), there is nothing else to worry about.

Eventually, you may work your way up to element lead and then you need to keep track of a whopping three (3) planes, the element lead in front of you and your two wingmen.  You stay a set distance (15 seconds) behind the element lead in front of you and check to make sure your wingmen are in their box.

39 minutes ago, Becca said:

60 kind of trained pilots with some standardization all arriving at once,

The spacing between elements of 3 is supposed to be 15 seconds, though admittedly, that sometimes gets stretched out.  At 90 knots (the slowest the caravan flies) that is 2277' (just shy of 1/2 mile).  How much spacing does the NOTAM call for on the FISK arrival?  Further, with the Caravan, you don't have to worry about someone cutting in front of you if you let your spacing get too large.

The 60+ planes in the Caravan don't all arrive "at once" but rather in an orderly fashion, three at a time, all spread out by 1/2 mile or more.  These comments show a lack of understanding of the Caravan procedures, probably similar to my ignorance of the FISK arrival that I have only heard about and never flown.

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23 minutes ago, skydvrboy said:

Flying in the Caravan, as a first timer, you  only have to keep track of one (1) other plane, your element lead.  As long as you stay in your box (which is the reason for the training), there is nothing else to worry about.

Eventually, you may work your way up to element lead and then you need to keep track of a whopping three (3) planes, the element lead in front of you and your two wingmen.  You stay a set distance (15 seconds) behind the element lead in front of you and check to make sure your wingmen are in their box.

The spacing between elements of 3 is supposed to be 15 seconds, though admittedly, that sometimes gets stretched out.  At 90 knots (the slowest the caravan flies) that is 2277' (just shy of 1/2 mile).  How much spacing does the NOTAM call for on the FISK arrival?  Further, with the Caravan, you don't have to worry about someone cutting in front of you if you let your spacing get too large.

The 60+ planes in the Caravan don't all arrive "at once" but rather in an orderly fashion, three at a time, all spread out by 1/2 mile or more.  These comments show a lack of understanding of the Caravan procedures, probably similar to my ignorance of the FISK arrival that I have only heard about and never flown.

NOTAM at Fisk requires maintaining at least 1/2 mile in trail and for you to break out if you can’t maintain that or if you’re closing on plane in front (no S turns).  We’ve never been as close as 1/2 mile to plane in front or behind likely because we tend to arrive at slower times.  This week when we arrived on Saturday morning (730 am) there was one plane about 2 miles in front of us, another plane about 1 mile behind us at Fisk.  When we transitioned to tower, we got whole runway to ourselves.  That’s unusually slow, but having watched arrivals from our campsite on Sunday, at given time you might be transitioned to the airport pattern with maybe 5-6 other planes in the pattern at the same time so no worse than a busy GA airport.  We’ve watched the mass arrivals come in, it seems much busier but obviously it’s also regimented.  I guess I’m of the opinion there’s advantages and disadvantages to each - the commraderie and formation training to the caravan vs the flexibility for tight schedules of a lone arrival.   But I wouldn’t do the caravan just because of fear of Fisk, I think that’s my message really :) which is especially important because people shouldn’t be deterred from coming to Osh (which is amazing!) because they can’t make the caravan for timing or other reasons.  

Edited by Becca

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2 hours ago, M20F said:

This would be my whole take on Osh Kosh.  Every year I swear it will be my last time but almost every year I end up going for a few days. 

It was safer to fly over Berlin in 44. 

Let’s look at this objectively. How many Midair collisions have occurred on the Fisk arrival.  Mike found one in 1990. Perhaps half a million arrivals over Fisk since then. 
I will add this though. I have flown  Fisk arrival five or six times now and only one time was it required to hold and that was because of the three or four mass arivals scheduled all at the same time. I believe the Cherokees were a little late and the Mooney’s were early that year and they shut down Fisk for an hour and a half and then we were holding. But it seems remarkable that people on the mass arrivals are saying that Fisk  is more dangerous because of saturation and holding that is, in fact, caused by mass arrivals..  self eating watermelon.  

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I believe our total time on the runway at OSH was 11 minutes.  62 aircraft in 11 minutes.  There's not a chance in hell that closed Fisk for an hour and a half.  Not to mention, there's a whole other runway for people to use

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“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”

I’ve flown Fisk arrival and it was super fun and super exciting the first time!  

I’d fly the Caravan arrival also.  Suspect super fun and super exciting also!

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Weather you are in the Caravan or not, getting some formation training would be a huge benefit. It teaches you the skills to maintain your relationship to another airplane. It makes you feel comfortable flying close to another airplane. 

1/2 mile is nothing. It gets a little iffy when the wing tips cross. It does't take long to get comfortable flying within 100 feet of another airplane. Your biggest challenge is learning precise power/speed control to maintain your position and how to slide in and out on a sight line. 

Sailplane training would be helpful too. 

If you are concerned about your flying skills, you should get that taken care of before you go. It is the other guy that you should be worrying about, but with ForeFlight/Stratus traffic or any other active traffic, there are a lot more tools to help these days. Just make sure your eyes are outside more than on the IPad.

It would be good to get a willing accomplice and go to a sleepy uncontrolled field and practice landing 1/2 mile in trail (or less). At Oshkosh you will be landing with another airplane on the runway ahead of you. This is unusual and some practice may be helpful.

You want to make it a short field landing, there may be a CUB in front of you that lands at 45 MPH, so hit the numbers without any extra speed.

Edited by N201MKTurbo

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