Tomahawk vs Brazilia


New Member
A few days ago, my instructor and I were up for a flight in a Tomahawk practicing commercial maneuvers. On the way back into FAT (on the downwind leg), I thought I heard a pinging noise coming from up front. My instructor didn't hear anything, and we were already in the pattern so we made a normal landing. As soon as we were on the ground with the engine at idle, the pinging turned into a constant, very loud "PING-TING-PANG-TING-TING-PANG-PING".

Not knowing what the heck was going on, but realizing it probably wasn't catastropic, we slowly taxied back to the flight line at an idle. So we're bumpin' along at slow walking pace when we hear this terrible noise from behind us: 'BuuuurrrrrrrrroooooooowwwwwwWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWwooooooooWWAAAAAAAAAAAA'. We both turn around really slowly and there's a Brazilia with its nose about 10 feet from our tail (I used to be a carpenter and I'm telling you, it was 10 feet!) reving his engines, throwing it into Beta over and over. We bumped up our taxi speed as much as we felt we could, but he stayed right there doing exactly the same thing. I think he was trying to blow us forward with his Beta prop wash . . .

Turns out that the starter had broken and a piece of it was bumping into the ringgear and making the pinging noise. Took the mechanics all of an hour to get the plane in, put on a new starter, and signoff on the book.

But if any of you were flying a Brazilia and were slowed down by a white and blue Tomahawk last Saturday, now you know why . . .
Primarily because if you were to make a sudden stop or turn on a different taxiway, there'd be composite props and cheap piper aluminum flying everywhere.

Got to keep a safe distance from the aircraft in front of you and knowing how the FAA thinks, they'd ask the captain, "So you're taxiing 10 ft behind a Tomahawk. Tomahawks are normally student pilots... Do you trust you could have stopped in enough time if the Tomhawk with the possible student pilot stopped or taxied erratically?"
Yup, the feds almost 'whacked' me for signing off a student for an ATP checkride that could 'read, speak and understand English', but was later considered not to have "ATP-quality" English.

The FAR's are one thing, but there's a good degree of "should have known better" that's mixed in above and beyond the FAR standards.

I almost learned the hard way.
Must have been his last leg and trying to catch the RJ home.. But, if I see this I will point it out. It probably wasn't personal, probably lives in LA.