I thought I would share an experience I had Friday December 17th at the Macomb, Illinois airport. I have used that airport, an uncontrolled field, for the past 11 years enroute to California from Philly.
It is in the open with no obstacles, a 5000 foot runway in good condition, two GPS approaches and reasonably priced fuel.

I was approaching the airport with Chicago Center who advised me of an airplane maneuvering miles Southeast of the field which I saw on TCAS.(Traffic Collision Avoidance System). I gave a wide berth and joined the downwind announcing my position and intentions to land on Runway 09. I turned the base leg and announced that position. I then turned final and heard another pilot announce he was downwind which also was confirmed on the TCAS.

I then cautioned that aircraft by radio that there was a HondaJet on final for runway 09. I made yet another broadcast that I was on short final. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an aircraft at my altitude crossing directly in front of me. We missed each other by feet!

There was no TCAS warning and no avoidance maneuver (Resolution Advisory) suggested.
I landed moments later and taxied to the fuel pump. I was met with a line serviceman who said, “I thought I was seeing a midair collision.” He confirmed he heard all my transmissions and pointed out the flight instructor and his student standing on the ramp who had obviously landed behind me while I was still on the runway.

I walked up to the instructor and his student who were still standing by the airplane and the instructor said to me, “I guess I owe you an apology.” I gave him what for, like who has the right of way and what was he thinking and everything else I could think of that was as elegant as I could be without saying how I really felt about what he did. He admitted he heard all my transmissions. Okay, I’ll get over it. I admit that I was more pissed than shaken then but it brings up something that is worth articulating.

No matter how careful you are. No matter how strictly you follow the rules. No matter how much you want to live and enjoy the good fortune that has blessed you, there will always be some moron who doesn’t give a crap. If he is a flight instructor, not a kid but an experienced adult, it is even more unforgivable.

The near miss I had was one second and seventy-five feet from collision as confirmed by FlightAware. The reason I got no traffic advisory or resolution advisory was because I was already so low on final and the other aircraft was so close, it was literally beyond the capability of the system to generate either of those.
So lessons learned is to not be complacent that the TCAS will end the risk of mid-air collision, it won’t. The other lesson is there is no substitute for your eyeballs and looking outside especially close in may be the difference between life and death.

Now to be honest, this happened so fast I didn’t have time to react so even though I saw the other aircraft 1 second away there was nothing I could do except be astonished after he whizzed by.
I am still processing all this and if I have any useful suggestions I’ll make them. I guess the only one that makes sense right now is no matter how comfortable you are that no one would be so reckless as to cut you off while you are almost at the threshold, such people do exist so don’t assume you’re safe until you’re on the ramp.

  • TCAS ‘TA’ – N420LH was below 2000′ AGL (on final approach) and the intruder aircraft closing rate provided less than 15 seconds of separation or intruder range is within 0.2 NM.
  • TCAS ‘RA’ – RA is not issued below 1000′ AGL
  • This can all be found in the Garmin Manual which specifies the limits of operation of the TCAS 1 and TCAS 2 systems.
  • Having said that, none of it means beans until it happens and then if you live, you get a chance to read it and you find out why what you thought should happen didn’t.
  • ‘TA’ means traffic advisory audible “Traffic, Traffic, Traffic”
  • ‘RA” means resolution advisory like “Climb”

Airline pilots have the benefit of TCAS that will give traffic alerts and resolution advisories all the way to the ground. The Garmin system leaves a pilot vulnerable when he needs the protection most, in the traffic pattern close to the ground.

This must be fixed!

Arthur Alan Wolk

December 29th, 2021



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A Lear 35A ambulance air flight crashed in the dark and in very marginal VFR conditions at Gillespie Field San Diego, Ca. when the crew attempted a circle to land approach. Control was lost at a base to final turn for runway 27.

The aircraft performed the GPS instrument approach to the only runway into the wind with an instrument approach, Runway 17, but then after being cleared to land, elected to land VFR (Visual Flight Rules) on Runway 27, a much longer runway at the airport but with no instrument approach.

There is also a GPS approach to Runway 9L but both approaches terminate at about 1000 feet AGL.

That resulted in the crew cancelling the IFR clearance and making the circling approach VFR as you must be VFR to legally make such an approach. The approach is supposed to be made at or close to minimums for the IFR approach just completed and within a mile of the runway.

It is a very difficult and demanding maneuver under ideal conditions. At night and in bad weather it is just plain risky. Airlines stopped doing them for that reason.

It is understandable for the crew to request Runway 27 because it is much longer and Runway 17, especially when wet is marginal for a Learjet.

Further investigation will be required and a determination made if any mechanical issue intervened to make the approach unsuccessful.

The FAA requires demonstration of a circling approach during the annual 61.58 ride all jet pilots must pass. But every time I do that maneuver for the check ride, I often wonder why anyone would do such a maneuver in real life let alone at night and in not ideal weather.

A medivac flight is a special animal and pilots often are called upon to do what others may neither have to do or want to do but in this instance perhaps another of the many airports available would have been a better choice. As soon as a jet is taken off the stabilized approach, as a circling approach is not, the risk factors go up exponentially.

Their intentions were the best but sadly the outcome was tragic. May their lives be a blessing.



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The FAA, the agency of Government responsible to ensure aviation safety has been caught flat-footed once again by failing to ensure that frequencies used by 5 G networks do not interfere with aircraft avionics like radar altimeters that provide critical altitude information to aircraft crews performing instrument approaches to airports.

The FAA and FCC had years to work with industry and the authority to tell industry to use slightly different frequencies for their 5G or reduce frequency strength near airports to avoid this. But naturally the Gov’ment being the Gov’ment, it did nothing.

The FAA just issued Airworthiness Directives to airlines warning that interference could occur which is a dangerous condition. The FCC has done nothing about it, the FAA has done nothing about it, and they both have eroded aviation safety by their collective inaction, ineptitude and ignorance.

Sophisticated modern airplanes use radar altimeters to perform Instrument Landing System approaches. The radar altimeter tells the flight crews how high they are above the ground starting at 2500 feet going all the way down to 10 feet above the surface. The safety benefit is enormous but in really bad weather operating radar altimeters are FAA required for Category II Instrument approaches.

So, because it was asleep at the switch the potential exists for a dangerous condition to exist in bad weather so somebody like your youngster can play with their cell phones all day instead of interacting like a human being with their friends and parents.

Maybe the FCC should ban 5 G from cell phones instead of causing interference that may endanger tens of millions of airplane passengers.

Now the good news is that in other countries where 5G has been used for a year or more no airplane interference has been documented. But we have to take seriously the safety warning and assume that while it is only in the imaginary, Illusory and figment of one’s doomsday scenario, and may never materialize, it is nonetheless unforgiveable, but not surprising, that the FAA and FCC who apparently don’t speak to each other on their 5G phones much, didn’t fix this before creating a crisis.

Maybe the FAA was just too busy explaining its way out of why it certified an airliner and missed critical flight system flaws that killed 346 innocent people. Or perhaps it was hiding documents so FAA employees wouldn’t be jailed for looking the other way purposely.

The system is corrupt, inept, dangerous and broken.

Arthur Alan Wolk

December 23rd, 2021.

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