Short Final: One‑Cat Approach


We were flying in our Cessna Cardinal RG from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Norwood, MA. On board were my wife, me, and our cat, Amie. The weather was clear but windy. The local forecast for the Boston (Norwood) area was winds 30 blowing to 60 MPH. Approaching Norwood, I tuned in the tower and checked in. There was nobody else except for the controller and me on the frequency. It had been a really bumpy flight. She cleared us miles out to land on Runway 28. Luckily the winds were just about out of that direction.

Normally I never joke with controllers but since nobody else was on the frequency, as we were turning from downwind to base I said, “Cardinal 1234 is making a One‑Cat approach to Runway 28 and boy is she going to be happy to be down.”

The controller laughed at this and asked me about my flight conditions. I told her. Landing, I came in with more airspeed than normal and less flaps since it was so windy, and did my best to do a squeaker. We did. And the controller complimented our landing.

Brian Gately

Brooklyn, NY

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  1. 30 Gusting 60…
    Turbulence. Probably Airmets and Sigmets for turbulence and low level wind shear…..
    No one else in the air for a good reason…..
    In an aircraft with known spar problems…..
    Why? Was the trip really that important?

    • Agree with all of the above except “in an aircraft with a known spar problem”

      Define “problem”. The Cardinal has never had a spar failure in flight. Yes, there is a Service Bulletin to address potential corrosion, but it is not an AD. The Cardinal Service Bulletin stems from a widely publicized Australian Cessna 210 spar failure in flight which was attributed to corrosion and fatigue. The accident airplane had over 15,000 hours on it, much of it at low altitude doing pipeline patrol. The airplane also had modifications to carry additional fuel in the wing and I believe there were other wing mods installed as well. This was not a stock 210. But because the 210 and 177 share a similar spar (but not the same), and out of an abundance of caution, Cessna issued the spar SB for the 177. I elected to comply with the Service Bulletin on my 177. Some surface corrosion was removed, eddy current inspection performed, and then the spar was coated in Kor-ban. I have every confidence my spar will outlast me.

  2. All accidents are preventable. 8% of the pilot population is female. Statistically women pilots should be causing 1 or every 12 accidents. I can’t remember the last time I read about a woman pilot involved in an accident. Have you noticed the same thing? Women are often victims of the accidents. They are viewed or are left to do the viewing. Could it be that accidents are related to the male ego and machismo?

    I am proposing PRM – Passenger, Public, People Resource Management in a effort to identify and reduce the repetitive accidents. PRM would make available training materials designed for passengers (many times a spouse), people on the ground (many times a spouse, public (50% women) to arm them with enough information to push the “no button”. Arm them with enough information to make an informed decision. In other words be part of the team and not a spectator. “No honey we are not taking off into a thunderstorm, we can wait 20 more minutes”.

    Refer to the accident of Cirrus N733CD in AR, one year ago. I call this Gavin’s Story. Gavin was a 7 year old boy. His life, the life of his mother and granddad were snuffed out because his dad didn’t have a “no button”. After you read the report ask yourself if mom or grandpa could have made a no decision had they just a minimal amount of training. Folks we need to change the trajectory of the accidents. Gavin didn’t need to die at the hand of his father.

    Please join me in this effort.

    God bless.

  3. The FAA has unpaid FAASTeam Representatives that talk with people and try to educate them as to the perils of doing uninformed or stupid stuff. Almost all Reps have CFI’s and have been in the business for decades with lots of experience. Nobody can stop a person from doing something really stupid in flight but we can sure advise on the ground. I once saw a C210 start a T/O roll and grabbed the mic and told him to “Abort, Abort, Abort” He had his baggage area door open still and it would have ripped off in flight and possible hit the rudder. He aborted and after he stopped asked why, I told him and he taxied back, close the door, and continued. Another flight came in at closing which had deviated a hundred miles around a line of thunder storms. He was picking up his cousin, and informed me he was a Navy flight instructor. I looked over his Homebuilt and saw it was not instrument equipped. He used his cell phone for attitude control. It was getting dark and the storms were approaching. He was insistent to go, so I told him to not go in the weather and if necessary to land at X, Y, or Z and let it go by. They took off and disappeared. Next day I found out that he lost control wile in a storm and crashed, killed both his passenger and himself. Subsequent investigation showed he was in IFR conditions at night, lost control, and hit trees. Killed them instantly.
    Do we get thanks, no but we know we do as good a job as we can and possibly keep an accident from happening. The FAA has ever fewer inspectors in the field, represents a bigger threat and people try to avoid them. So who does this fall back on, the reps. We try but not all people listen and they pay the price.

    • The story about the navy instructor insisting on flying without ifr instruments in a homebuilt in imc and paying with his life and passenger seems to display arrogance of this pilot. Perhaps not enough discipline despite being an instructor and not admitting being out of his element with a mere homebuilt? I came across one NTSB report of a 15k hour pilot (presumed commercial and/or military) flying a Robinson R22 when it went down. Mast bumping was cited where over control of cyclic led to incidents of mast bumping destroying the rotor blades. After many NTSB investigations, SFAR 73 was enacted, forcing Robinson to train pilots (20 hrs?) before continuing with fight training.

  4. Also relevant is that the 210 was apparently operated aerobatically.

    Jeff Welch wrote: All accidents are preventable.

    Really? Even meteor strikes? Hmmm.

    >> 8% of the pilot population is female. Statistically women pilots should be causing 1 or every 12 accidents.

    Statistically? Where are those statistics? Do women fly 8% of the Parts 91, 135, and 121 hours? Accident rates are not just incidents, but also exposure. Without data, you don’t HAVE statistics.

    >> I can’t remember the last time I read about a woman pilot involved in an accident.

    Poor memory is not a valid data source either… look it up!

    >> Could it be that accidents are related to the male ego and machismo?

    Could be. Or, this entire conversation could be a manifestation of your bias, that you’re too lazy to verify with data. Just conjecturing… like you are.

    >> Gavin didn’t need to die at the hand of his father.

    You might have a point. So don’t be lazy… do the supporting research, or pay someone to do it for you.