Low and Fast – No Good Will Come

On two occasions, I have observed a local pilot with a very distinctive aircraft buzz buildings, aircraft, and people. One of them was while sitting in front of my hangar at Pearland Regional. I saw him sidestep right on runway 14 to overfly a hangar at less than 100 feet AGL to pass near a man and woman from a Citabria that had been in the pattern in front of him and stopped at the fuel pumps for gas. (See “Pushing the Margins”). The second incident was at a local airport where we and the other pilot had gone for lunch. We were taxiing out when he was taking off; and as he lifted off, he immediately rolled left to buzz the restaurant full of people behind us (and cockpit video in my airplane captured the liftoff and the beginning of his turn). Not only that, but he had done it with several of his family members in his aircraft. Why put a whole lot of people at unnecessary risk for the sake of ego and a thrill?

You can’t hang around Pearland Regional without seeing, sooner or later, RV’s or warbirds making high speed passes down the runway, often with smoke on. I actually have no problem with that on occasion but really wonder about a pilot who cannot land without “making a low pass” first.

I get it that flying is a lot of fun; and sometimes that kind of flying is a lot of fun. But when you take it to extremes and/or are putting other people at undue risk with your behavior, sooner or later, no good will come of it.

The blog title paraphrases the title from an article I am about to introduce which was written by a fellow pilot and ex-Navy A-6 Bombadier/Navigator (B/N). It is posted in Air Facts and is his cut on the practice of flying low and fast in our airplanes. While flying low and fast was the bread and butter of the A-6 community in particular, every tactical aircrew is trained to do it and at some time has done it. Most of the time, it was part of or solely in support of a mission, but I would be lying to say that sometimes it was not fun. And dangerous as hell. His article discusses both the safety and legal aspects of the practice; and I consider it something all pilots might want to chew on: “Low and Fast- A Bad Combination” by Jeff Edwards.