Promoting flight safety is important to Plane & Pilot, and Risk is where you’ll find experienced award-winning CFIs, examiners and pilots who have stories to tell and lessons to teach about flying safer and smarter
The “eight-hour” rule and the legal process for one pilot
“Are you willing to assist in defending a pilot charged with operating an aircraft while drunk?” the attorney asked shortly into our first call. As a pilot, an instructor and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), this question gave me a little pause. How could I justify defending a pilot who was under the influence more »
Transitioning to visual conditions shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes it is
Much ink has been, and continues to be, expended on the subject of transitioning from visual meteorological conditions (VMC) to instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and, without question, for good reason. Loss of aircraft control while in instrument conditions usually results in loss of life. Except for those articles concerning flying approaches to minimums, there are more »
Allowing yourself to get used to broken equipment in your aircraft isn’t a good solution
“Oh, sorry, that hasn’t worked for a while,” the pilot said when he noticed I was trying to tune the DME in his aircraft while flying a couple of instrument approaches for his currency. “What do you do when you fly an approach that requires DME?” I asked him, hoping the answer was that he more »
When you’re unexpectedly launched airborne, it’s time for fast corrective action
Don’t feel bad when it happens to you, even spaceships bounce off the earth’s atmosphere if their reentry isn’t perfectly choreographed. What matters is that you have a game plan ready, to instantly execute, in the event a botched landing leaves you airborne, and a bit surprised at the top of a bounce. In fact, more »
Post-maintenance flying has a greater potential to encounter problems than our typical everyday flying. Learn how to reduce the risk.
After lifting off and establishing a positive rate of climb in the Cessna 340, I retracted the gear when I was out of usable runway, but the result wasn’t normal. As the gear went up, both airspeed indicators stopped working and dropped to zero. Uh, oh, that’s not normal. Pitching forward a little to guarantee more »
Using this technique raises the lowered wing on departure to prevent loss of control.
Inflight loss of control (LOC), unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight, is regarded by the NTSB and the 25th Joseph T. Nall Report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation as a significant flight safety issue. Over 40% of fixed-wing general aviation accidents occurred because pilots lost control of their airplanes. NTSB and AOPA more »
While pilots can’t have contingencies for every single flight scenario, try to avoid being in a position where there’s no out left to take
Even if you’re a cool hand at the poker table, or in the cockpit, it’s always nice to have an ace up your sleeve. No pilot can have a contingency for every conceivable flight scenario, but having an “out” tips the odds to keep you flush because a bluff isn’t an option. If you’re flying more »
Not every CFI has been instructing for ages, and that’s a good thing. Here’s why a freshly minted instructor could be the best choice for you.
Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he or she had never performed the procedure before? Most people would say not only “No”, but, “Heck, no!” So why would you want to get flight training from someone who’s a new instructor? While there are some limitations of “newbie” instructors, much like a more »
It’s easy to fix a bad approach; it’s a lot harder to salvage one
The concept of a stabilized approach has been around since powered flight began, and likewise, the concept of a non-stabilized approach, as well. The term “stabilized approach” has been common in the airline and commuter worlds, and has eased its way into general aviation language. Once we have a label, we naturally spend two or more »
How sharing real-world experiences in the cockpit can engage student pilots
As I stood in front of 15 excited and anxious student pilots in the first meeting of my private pilot ground school class last fall, I started to lose their attention as I kicked off a discussion on navigation tips, tools and techniques. The majority of them didn’t have one hour of flight instruction in more »
As pilots, we’re obligated to take steps to mitigate risks and embrace a safety-minded culture with checks and double-checks.
Ever forget? Me, too—in fact, frequently. It’s probably not improving with age, either. Already this week I’ve forgotten to set out the trash, pick up the dry cleaning and a couple of other things I’m too embarrassed to admit (hopefully, my daughter forgives me). Every day, we overlook a variety of little things, because forgetting more »
It’s not worth the academic argument to banter accident statistics related to non-instrument-rated pilots inadvertently flying into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), since the data we have is notoriously incomplete; however, we can probably agree that this scenario “too often” results in fatalities. I’m disappointed the new Private Pilot Airman Certification Standards (ACS) didn’t move Flight more »
The pressure is on to complete the mission, but should it be?
Imagine yourself with a flight planned for the morning that will take you from Michigan to Texas and back in the same day. You expect icing along the route, but you’re flying a known-icing-equipped aircraft; however, it won’t climb above the weather. There will be thunderstorms along the route that you hope will be out more »