Got Cut Off by an RV Today

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    Haven’t flown the 310 in a few weeks and we haven’t flown anywhere as a family since July 4th. So I had this great idea that we go for a $300 hamburger to an airport not too far away with a reputation for good BBQ on-field. Normally I don’t do $100 hamburgers and am very mission oriented, but decided I’d give it a shot.

    As I was fueling up the 310, I see this bright yellow RV do a “zoom climb,” staying low the whole way down the runway and then pulling up into what looked like a 45 degree bank climb, with at least 60 degrees of bank in the turn, putting him over a school and its football field, plus a parking lot where they were doing student driving lessons. I thought to myself “Idiot.” My wife’s response was less charitable, but we just figured it was some idiot thinking he was showing off and left it at that.

    Go for our hamburger (well, BBQ sandwich – it was quite yummy). On the way back, I set up on base and turn final. The same RV comes across midfield 100-200 ft off the runway and at least 150 kts as I’m on short final, then pulls up hard to enter the pattern. If I’d had to go around (which I was actually considering, as I was a bit high and fast for this 2800 ft strip), it could have resulted in a mid-air. Probably wouldn’t have, but it could have. Now my response is about like my wife’s at his first stunt, and my wife is around the thermonuclear level. This endangered us, and was a blatant violation of the regs.

    Land, taxi off the runway, and find a crowd of people then standing in the way of where I need to taxi to get back to the hangar, in no hurry to get out of the way. Clearly people who were there for “the show.” Oh, and the guy was giving rides while doing these stunts. We put the plane away, and with a baby who’s ready to go home, we decided that it would be better to not confront them as neither of us were feeling particularly kind. But we did write down details as well as get the tail number of the RV after he landed.

    Go home, check the NOTAMs – nothing about an airshow. Check the airport Facebook page, nothing about this. The RV is not local, and I’m not sure what the event was, but will contact the airport manager to find out.

    This is exactly the sort of thing that causes a poor reputation for GA, and especially for the experimental/RV world. I have no problems with them doing stunts in unpopulated areas and with the appropriate waivers and permissions, but I have a major problem with someone cutting in front of me on short final at my altitude with my family in the plane because in his judgement he’s far enough away and there’s no problem.

    I am debating whether or not to call the FSDO about this. My wife says absolutely. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who’s a retired air safety inspector to get his opinion. I don’t like reporting pilots and have never done so before, nor am I the sort that likes to report people in general. That whole thing about “he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I am certainly not without my faults. But this struck me as something that might actually be worth a phone call.

    Rant off. I needed a place to vent, but would appreciate any perspectives.

    Gerald T. Alves

      Ted In This case I think you wife is right. Because the guy was giving rides and doing this multiple times. Once event and I would have let it go. Jerry


      Turn him in. You just might be saving a life.


      Was he on the radio at all? If so, what was he calling out? I would not usually report – but in this case I would. Many things wrong with this pilot’s approach to safety.



      When I fly my NAVY N3N-3 biplane some people probably think I’m showing off but that is just how it is supposed to be flown. The plane is big, yellow, and loud so I know lots of people are watching my every move. People I don’t even know post videos of my flying on YouTube.

      With the crop duster upgraded P&W R985 I often reach 500 feet before reaching the end of the 3400 foot runway, even though I really only ever use a maximum of 380 HP, so I turn crosswind earlier than most. I can’t imagine what the full 450 ponies would do but why use the gas to showoff, right?

      Then on landing I have to fly a tight pattern so I can do the steep approach to keep the runway in sight. Or I do a big slip. That big rudder can really do a slip so people in the Lowes parking lot probably think I’m crashing.

      Frequently I’ll go around after flying down the runway to judge the wind. Popping back up to pattern altitude is quick even though I fly down the runway a few feet high at final approach speed.

      It is actually really hard to follow most planes around the pattern so I sometimes ask permission to turn inside of other pilots who are doing pattern work. People on the ground observing that probably think I’m a reckless jackass. I have never gotten a call from the FAA though so people must know I’m flying legally.


      Thanks for the extra perspective. For issues like this that might have repercussions I like to get extra viewpoints before making “the call”.

      He was on the radio, but didn’t announce what he was doing very accurately. He said “over the hangars”, which would basically be crossing midfield. He said he had me in sight, but not that he was going to be as low as he was, and certainly not cross where he did.

      I do agree that for some planes, the flying is unconventional when compared to how we fly our planes. I’ve flown a Stearman and it’s definitely different than how I fly the 310. But for an RV6, which operates like a normal airplane, this was obviously someone trying to show off. I would have had no issue with this if it was done in a safer manner, but between doing aerobatics over a school, cutting in front of me on short final, and flying so low over a subdivision in the process, this seems very out of line.

      I’ve contacted the airport manager who was pretty angry too. So he and I will talk about what to do.

      This is why I prefer flying on days with crappy weather!


      I spent a part of my miss spent youth doing military demo flying, guys like this need to understand that non -rehersed air shows will in the end result in a large smoking hole in the ground, up here we recently had an RV pilot pull the tail of doing some impromtu manouvers , Darwin at work!

      quote TDUPUIS:

      I’ve contacted the airport manager who was pretty angry too. So he and I will talk about what to do.

      This is why I prefer flying on days with crappy weather!

      That’s my “choice”, Ted. Might just take a call from the airport manager to have the desired result.
      He needs to know, from one source or another, that his actions were noted and not appreciated.

      A couple of years ago, at our notam-listed, closed for airshow event, I had my truck parked on the numbers. We were laying out the runway closure “X’s” when an airplane landed close over the top of my truck (and us). A call on the handheld radio got no reply and the air boss in the office got no response as well. The FAA inspector, there for the airshow, confronted the gentleman and held some impromptu “training”. Since it was well received, no violation was issued, but name and certificate number were noted for possible future reference. Yes, I was pretty hot when I got back to the office but cooler heads prevailed and I didn’t get into a confrontation. As I suspected, the idiot was on the wrong CTAF and there was no way he could miss seeing the pickup parked on the numbers.


      I ended up calling the FSDO around noon today after discussing it over with my wife, a friend who’s a former inspector, and of course getting input from the esteemed members of this forum. 🙂

      The inspector I talked to was polite and courteous, took down all the relevant information, didn’t ask too many questions, and said that he would then make sure it got in the right hands, they’d figure out who the plane’s pilot was, and then go from there. My former inspector friend said that we won’t hear anything unless they need further information from us, and of course we won’t hear about the outcome for the RV pilot. Somewhat of a shame that we can’t follow up, but of course I also understand why.

      Nobody likes a call from the Feds, though.


      After 30+ years flying for a living including 23 years at the “Majors”. You definitely did the right thing. No excuse for that kind of behavior.


      Could it be that we are getting old?

      Sorry, I know it is not funny but had to tell. :mrgreen:


      Yes we are getting old, somthing this particular pilot wont be doing if he doesnt change his ways!


      So here’s the disturbing twist:

      This guy is a pilot for Delta (holds an ATP), and the people he was showing off for were other Delta employees. I can’t believe airline employees were being so careless.

      I’m flying United next time. 🙁


      I wonder what he’ll tell his Chief Pilot when he gets his ATP suspended for a month and can’t work?!

      Assuming he gets a suspension out of it…


      Yeah, this is the sort of scenario where I really wish I knew the outcome. Who knows, maybe I’ll find out.

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