My most stupid mistake (recently)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by tracecom, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I have four large red oak trees in my back yard. Rather than rake the leaves, I try to keep them mulched with my riding mover. I went over the entire yard yesterday, but the yard was covered again this afternoon; in fact, there were more than yesterday. There were so many that they began to bunch up between the right front wheel and the deck. But when I made a hard left turn, they would come out and I would make a loop back to mulch the bunch.

    A lot of the leaves blow over my house and accumulate in the front, so I went around there and started on it. Apparently, I didn't make enough hard left turns, and the leaves got up against the muffler and caught on fire. I saw the smoke and started raking them out. I pulled the mower on to the driveway, ran and got a bucket of water, and threw it under the mower, putting out the fire.

    Unfortunately, some of the burning leaves fell out in the yard and caught more leaves and the dormant Bermuda grass on fire. It didn't take long before I saw that I couldn't put this out with a bucket. I ran to the house and told my wife to get the garden hose, which took a few minutes to get out and hook up. Meanwhile, I am running back and forth between the hose bibb and the fire; the fire is gaining ground.

    While this is going on, a lady in a car stopped and asked if I needed help. I said that I did and she called 911. About that time, my wife got the hose hooked up and I started spraying the edges of the burn, and was able to put out all that I could reach with the hose. But the one hose wasn't long enough, so the wife went to get the neighbor's hose, which I added on to mine and soon had the fire out.

    That's when the fire trucks showed up, all three of them...and a police car to control traffic...and a city worker in a pick-up. All were just in time to see a hot, nasty, old man with a garden hose looking sheepish. At least, I felt sheepish. The fire chief decided that since they were already here, they should do something, so they uncoiled a hose and sprayed over the burned area.

    So, the damage to the mower was minor: a melted wire loom and a scorched hood. The yard has a really ugly corner about 20' by 40'. And I have egg on my face.

    But, I have learned a lesson. And this year, I won't feel quite as bad when I write the check for my city taxes. :rolleyes:
     
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  2. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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    This was a good story, and from my point of view, I think you took the right decision.
     
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  3. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    It would have been another story if your love for deep leaves caught your house on fire.

    That why people keep the small brush from around the house. I have raked leaves for

    Easter egg hunts for toddlers ,and cleaned around the base of trees ,clearing the area

    of insects. A lot of insects can live under a carpet of leaves. Turning the page



    P.S. I have read on the University of Tenn web site that you have fire ant problems.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  4. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Thanks for the story, I feel the same way about local taxes for a slightly different story but still, I don't mind paying any more..
     
  5. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Wasn't recent, but I often think back to the time that I flew a pre-crashed airplane. I used to be a ferry pilot to fly birds back and forth between Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and the Air Force Academy, which couldn't support night ops. I got to log a few tenths of an hour, plus the landing, for free and the Academy didn't have to pay a pilot. Nice deal. So one morning weather is coming in -- nothing bad, just lowering clouds that were threatenting to drop the Academy below its (somewhat more restrictive than required) minimums. So an instructor takes me out there and we do a quick walk-around (but we did NOT skip steps) and I got in and got back to the Academy and made one of my best crosswind landings ever. I put the aircraft in the hanger and go home to crawl in bed because I had been up all night. A couple hours later I get woken up by the aeroclub manage telling me to get down there post-haste. I did and he asked me if I had down a proper preflight on the aircraft. I said that, yes, we preflighted the aircraft, but that we were a bit rushed when we did it. He then asked if the flight was unusual in any way. I told him that it was a very uneventful flight and even ended in a landing I was quite pleased with. He then asked me to go take a look. The left wing tip was pretty badly scraped up and the left horizontal stabilizer was bent. It wasn't huge, but it was anything but minor. I was flabbergasted. I was sure there was no way I could have possibly missed that. The instructor that had taken me out there was of the same opinion. The aeroclub manager had also called the instructor that had used the aircraft the night before for night ops training with three cadets. He swore that everything was just fine, which agreed with his entries in the aircraft logs. But the manager contacted each of the three cadets. One thing about Academy cadets: they tend to answer questions completely and honestly -- there's just too much riding on the line to even flirt with an Honor Code violation. So when asked how their flight went, the third cadet promptly stated that the final landing was "eventful". They caught a gust of wind right after touchdown that put the left wing into the ground (and this is a high-wing airplane) and, after taxing back, they discovered that it has nailed the horizontal stab as well as the tail skid. The instructor said that he would take care of the write-up, so the cadet had, reasonably, assumed that it had been written up.

    The bottom line was that I got grounded for thirty days and had to make a presentation at the next safety meeting to all of the aeroclub members; the instructor that had taken me out there had to develop a hands-ons training lesson regarding proper preflight inspections -- and I had to be her genuia pig and first costumer, the instructor that had failed to report the incident was fired (within just a few hours of my little wake-up call) and reported to the FAA. The cadet faced absolutely no penalty whatsoever. All-in-all, everyone got pretty much what they deserved.

    The incident taught me a few valuable lessons: (1) A plane can actually be pretty well bent and still fly nicely; (2) We tend to get blinders on and become complacent doing routine tasks. The preflight checklist said to check the elevator hinge. I checked the elevator hinge. It said nothing about checking that the elevator and stabilizer were straight, so I didn't check for that! The same thing with the wing tip. It said to check the light. I checked the light. It was fine. It said nothing about checking the condition of the wing tip a foot behind the light, so I didn't check that. But ever since that day, my preflight inspections are deliberately done with a much wider field of view that specifically includes looking over every surface of the plane with the conscious assumption that there is something, somewhere on that plane that is bent; and (3) don't let "mission accomplishment" override the concern for safety. At the time, I didn't feel THAT rushed, but in hindsight I was clearly operating under a case of "get-there-itis".
     
  6. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Out here in kali, the city would probably have billed you for the emergency response.....
     
  7. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Yep. And they are probably considering an ordinance to require prepayment of services. :rolleyes:

    Ever wonder why they use the same word for a governmental rule as they due for a military explosive? Oh, wait, the latter is "ordnance". Ah, close enough. :D
     
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  8. Miss Kelly

    New Member

    Nov 9, 2013
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    Good stories. I need to be more diligent about my leaf raking duties. I don't fly, but I'll pay more attention to my car from now on.
     
  9. monster_catfish

    Active Member

    Mar 17, 2011
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    WBahn your account of that pre-flight omission reminds me of an episode of Airplane Repo that I watched on Youtube, in which one of the repo pilots commented that he starts his pre-flight checks bearing in mind the assumption that each airplane he is assigned to fly is determined to kill him the first chance it gets, and he needs to scrutinize it closely, to find that hidden weak link.

    That program is hands down the most riveting TV show I have ever watched, and my favourite quote was from that pilot who had been asked once again by airport security to assume the usual felony prone position after he disembarked from a bank-reposessed Learjet he had just landed.

    In response to the suggestion by the arresting officers that he was lying about being a repo pilot, the arrestee's comment, offered in that laid-back Texas drawl, was " The paperwork is right here, sir. I got no reason to lie to you. You ain't my wife"
     
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  10. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    This one I have posted before ,I was driving a small truck with a insulated back on

    it. Like a small ice cream truck for hauling ice cream only. Any way I was on a busy eight

    lane road ,I had to check my load ,didn't know the latch wasn't working. The body was

    also sound proof. I did not panic ,but I knew I had a big problem. I found a piece of

    paper and was able to wiggle it thru the rubber seal and pull it in and out. After from

    seamed forever someone noticed the paper waving in and out ,maybe he was behind me

    and stuck in traffic. Lucky for me it was not in a warehouse district.
     
  11. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Can you expand and elaborate on this story more? Right now it reads like, well it reads like you had a stroke while typing it out. :eek:

    There seems to be a few paragraphs missing between most of the sentences. :confused:
     
  12. monster_catfish

    Active Member

    Mar 17, 2011
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    Ha ha ha TCM your mistake today was seeking clarification from Looswire.

    That said, following Loosewire's train of thought will get much easier, once you master the interpretation of telepathic messages.
     
  13. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    While Loosewire's story can use some expansion and embellishment once you learn to read his mind the story becomes clear.

    He's driving a refrigerated truck. Stops on the 8-lane highway to check the load. Gets locked inside the back.

    He realizes that he is in deep trouble but remains level headed.
    He slips a piece of paper in the crack of the rubber-sealed door and pulls it in and out to catch attention. (Note: He does not wriggle it around since that would appear like the wind is blowing it).

    After a seemingly long time, a driver stuck in traffic notices the paper and rescues Loosewire.

    Great story loosie! Shows your ability to think straight in a crisis.
     
  14. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I didn't realize you spoke looseish.
     
  15. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Yes, I'm a polyglot.
    To become conversant with the native tongue one has to spend many years studying the subject.
     
  16. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    That makes much more sense now!

    Amazing what a few extra words in each sentence can convey. :rolleyes:
     
  17. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    From Sawyer, ND to Antalya Turkey? I thought I was unusual, shuttling between Paris and Grand Forks, ND for a while.
     
  18. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    Loosewire, practices the lost art of American Haiku.
     
  19. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    @Loosewire, how much ice cream was left in your load, when you got rescued?
     
  20. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    If you can read this, you can read looseish. Relax your mind, think loosely.
     
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