Most of us that have spent any time in California know about In-N-Out burger.  For pilots, In-N-Out should have a special place in your heart.  It certainly does for me.  I grew up in Orange County and learned to fly at John Wayne Airport (SNA).  I soloed on 9/11/1993.  It was a cold December day of that year when and I was headed to the airport for another flight.  That’s when I heard the news.  An aircraft had crashed just short of the runway and it was pretty bad.  

In-N-Out was founded by Harry & Esther Snyder in 1948.  They had two children, Harry (Guy) and Richard.  When Harry Sr. died in 1976 from lung cancer, a very young Rich Snyder took over as president.  He continued to grow the company until his death in 1993.  Guy took over as President from his now deceased brother but his reign in the top position didn’t last long, however, and Guy died in ’99 from an accidental overdose.  A tragic end to an amazing legacy.  Esther, the matriarch of the Synder clan took over as President as she now outlived all of the men in her life.  Once Esther died, the entire In-N-Out ownership transferred to her only grandchild, Lynsi who continues to own and run the company to this day.

Once the dust settled, I learned that the jet that crashed was a Westwind that had been charted by Rich Synder returning from opening the 93rd In-N-Out restaurant in Fresno.  Rich was accompanied by two friends, one being the Executive VP of the company.  Breaking a company rule that did not allow corporate executives to travel together, this crash took the lives of five people, including the top company officials.

Coast TRACON (still at MCAS El Toro at this point) had been vectoring United Flight 103 onto the final approach course at John Wayne’s 19R while the Westwind was coming from KPOC and being vectored behind the United 757.  Because of the entry from the downwind to the final on the visual approach, the 757 was flying a nearly 6 degree glideslope.  The Westwind, however, was tracking the ILS on a normal 3 degree glideslope and closing in on the 757.  On about a 4 mile final, the Westwind was only 2 miles in trail and 400′ below the 757.  The wreckage was analyzed and when the report finally came in, it was determined that the Westwind crashed at an 45 degree nose down attitude and the flight path showed 80 degrees downward.  

The FAA utilizes the airplane categories as a basis for their IFR separation standards.  As of the date of the accident, the FAA separation standard between a large and heavy airplane was 5 nautical miles.  The standard between large airplanes was 3 nautical miles.

The FAA Air Traffic Handbook 7110.65H, 7-10(a)(2), Change 1, Visual Separation states in part, “…The tower shall not provide visual separation between aircraft when wake turbulence separation is required or when the lead aircraft is a B-757….”  Change 1 was to become effective January 6, 1994.

An excerpt from the NTSB report “The National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) provided the Safety Board with data reflecting fly-by and other engineering tests conducted by the FAA through independent investigators and by the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 1992.  These data, some of which was generated in 1991, showed several instances in which large turbine jets, i.e., Boeing 737, McDonnell-Douglas DC-8, and other corporate jet aircraft, encountered a loss of control when following Boeing 757 aircraft.”

As a result of this accident, as well as several others between 1983 and 1993, the NTSB conducted a special investigation that resulted in Wake Turbulence being added to the NTSB’s Most Wanted list in 1995.  After a series of improvements implemented by the FAA, Wake Turbulence was removed from the Most Wanted list in 1998.  

In 2014, the FAA released an updated Advisory Circular 90-23G, that provides a wealth of information on wake turbulence and avoidance procedures.  Additionally, the Pilot & Air Traffic Controller Guide to Wake Turbulence details several of the accidents referenced above.  Additionally, it provides valuable information for both pilots and controllers alike.  It is important to remember that most air traffic controllers are not pilots and may only have a rudimentary understanding of things we take for granted.

While the separation minimums changed in 2016 with the Wake Turbulence Recategorization order, the fundamentals are still the same.  You’ve heard your instructor beat it into your head many times in the past, when following a heavy or jet aircraft, stay above his glide path and land after his touchdown spot.  Learning to fly out of John Wayne solidified my understanding and appreciation for these procedures. 

The “In-N-Out” accident was a tragic end to a legacy while at the same time, jump-starting a new legacy of understanding, research and additional safety procedures to prevent these incidents from occurring again.  So the next time you are eating a Double-Double, no tomato, grilled onions with extra spread and animal fries, say a quick thank you to all of the people that lost their lives in pursuit of a safer aviation experience.  

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Plus One Flyers - Membership Agreement

Section A:  Agreement

I hereby certify that all the information on this membership form is true to the best of my knowledge.  I understand that any falsification shall be grounds for disqualification or forfeiture of my membership.  I have received, read, understand, and agree to abide by the Plus One Flyers, Inc. (the “Club”) Bylaws and Operational Rules.  In particular, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8 of the Bylaws, which states that I shall be responsible for any damages or abuse to an aircraft that I am using.  I also acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8.3 of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall not seek to hold Plus One Flyers, Inc. legally responsible for my acts while operating a Club aircraft which results in damages or injuries, whether to myself or others. I further acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Article VII of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall be fiscally responsible for my dues, timely flight payments and any collection fees.

In the event that any damages are assessed against the Club as a result of my acts or negligence, I shall be solely responsible for the payment of those damages and for any legal fees or costs incurred by the Club in defending itself.  As set forth by Article VII in the Plus One Flyers Inc. Bylaws, each member, and their heirs, successors, personal representative and assigns, release, acquit, and covenant not to sue, and  shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Club, its officers, directors, agents and employees for any liability, losses, or damages that I or the Club may suffer as a result of an act by, or negligence of, the member while operating a Club aircraft. Each member must acknowledge and agree that he or she is accepting and using any and all Club aircraft in a used, “as is” condition and that the Club does not and has not repaired, reconditioned, or maintained any Club aircraft.  Each member must agree to assume all risks, and assumes full responsibility for risk of bodily injury, death or property damage associated with any Club aircraft and not to seek to hold the Club legally responsible for any such defects in Club aircraft before being allowed to use and fly Club aircraft.

Finally, I understand, should I resign from the Club, my resignation notice (form) must be given in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to leaving the Club and that I will return my club key(s) on or before my resignation date, which is effective the 1st day of the next month following that 30 day period. Membership remains effective until terminated under the terms of this Agreement.

I also agree and understand that:

A.     I will not allow non-members, whether pilots or not, to operate Plus One Flyers Aircraft because they are not insured through Plus One Flyers.  All flight instructors instructing in Club Aircraft must be members of Plus One Flyers, Inc., and be authorized by the club’s Safety Program.

B.     I will not operate Club Aircraft if my FAA medical or Flight Review is not current.

C.     I will not operate Club Aircraft for hire, either under Part 91 or Part 135 of the FAR’s, because the Club’s insurance does not cover such operations.

D.     I, alone, am personally and financially responsible if I participate in any uninsured operations of Club Aircraft.

E.     I will maintain and promptly notify the Club of any changes to my telephone numbers, billing address, email, and credit/debit card(s) information by updating this information myself in Schedule Master.          Initial here_________

F.     I will promptly notify Plus One Flyers if I am involved in an aircraft accident, even if it is not a Plus One Flyers Aircraft.

G.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make monthly or yearly (as specified in Section B) payments to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.                               

H.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make payments for possible collections for errors or non-payments of flights to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.

I will promptly and regularly submit updated copies of my Medical Certificate and Flight Review to the Club’s Membership Officer.


Section B:  Automatic Payment and Credit/Debit Card(s) Guarantee

The credit/debit card(s) you provide on this form and/or in Schedule Master serve as your payment guarantee and is required in your Schedule Master Membership account to enable and maintain your airplane scheduling privileges. Plus One Flyers will charge your card(s) and email you an invoice for any payment shortages.  Any dispute regarding a charge can be handled by the Club Membership Officer.  If an error results in an amount owed you, Plus One Flyers will credit your Schedule Master account balance unless you request a refund check.

Membership Dues are $29.00 monthly, charged to your credit/debit card(s) or if available, against a pre-paid credit balance.  Paying Annual Dues means you maintain a pre-paid credit balance that is reduced by $31.00 monthly until zero and if you elect to continue to pay Annual dues, you are responsible for pre-paying the appropriate amount each year.  There is a $129.50 initiation fee for new members and renewing members, except for those members renewing while serving active duty in U.S. Armed Services.  If there is a change in dues you will receive a thirty day notice by email and a message will be posted in Schedule Master. Your account will be charged on the 1st of every month if you choose the monthly option.  An email invoice will be sent to you every month.  It is your responsibility to view your invoices/account to verify that your payment has been made.  You are responsible for ensuring your card(s) remains current and that if it expires or your billing address changes you alone are responsible for updating that information in Schedule Master.  If your bill has not been paid your scheduling privileges will be automatically suspended until it is paid.  If three consecutive dues invoices remain unpaid your membership will automatically terminate and a $99.00 initiation fee plus the past due balance will be required to reinstate your membership.  If you take no action your account may be sent to a collection agency.

Keep your billing address and email address and card(s) current in your Schedule Master Membership Account. Plus One Flyers is not responsible for ensuring your email system allows Schedule Master or other Club emails to reach you.  You will receive an automatic email one month prior to the expiration of your card in Schedule Master.  Plus One Flyers is a PCI-DSS-compliant e-commerce and POS credit card processing merchant.  See the Club’s Privacy Policy for more about how we protect your private information.                                                                                              

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