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General Aviation Accident & Pilot Safety

Ask any pilot, safety is top priority when it comes to flying. General aviation accident prevention is the focus of our NTSB Debriefer. Learn keys to being a safe pilot with the articles below.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Midair Over The Hudson


One digit in a radio frequency might have made all the difference



Midair Over The HudsonAs a result of its investigation of the August 8, 2009, midair collision over the Hudson River, the NTSB says it’s time for the FAA to improve the information it offers to pilots about avoiding collisions.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stop Squeezing Them In


The NTSB wants the FAA to change the regs governing required seats and seat belts



Stop Squeezing Them InRemember the circus act in which a dozen clowns get out of the smallest car you’ve ever seen drive into the center ring?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Crosswind Component


The principle is the same whether you’re flying a 737 or an LSA



The Crosswind ComponentEnsuring that there’s a safety margin in everything we do is fundamental to aviation accident avoidance.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hazards Of Extreme Flying


You have to know when you’re too close to crossing the line



Hazards Of Extreme FlyingEnsuring that there’s a safety margin in everything we do is fundamental to aviation accident avoidance.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Buyer Beware


Whether it’s a new or used airplane, don’t rush when doing your prebuy inspection



Buyer BewareYou might think that FAA airworthiness, inspection and record-keeping requirements virtually guarantee that any airplane you buy is going to be in superb condition.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great Places Not To Have An Accident


Don’t spend so much time looking at scenery that you neglect to look at flight necessities



Great Places Not To Have An AccidentOne of the truly wondrous things about general aviation is the ease with which you can reach vacation sites that would be a hassle via road, ferry or airline transportation.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Light-Sport Safety Record


Tracking 2009 incidents



The Light-Sport Safety RecordWhile the NTSB’s preliminary statistics show that the number of general aviation accidents dropped again last year, as did the number of people killed, the estimated number of hours flown also dropped, resulting in a slight increase in both the overall and fatal accident rates.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monitoring What’s Going On


Managing pilot workload



Monitoring What’s Going OnIndividuals who have passed their FAA written exams and practical tests don’t necessarily have the knowledge and skills to become trustworthy pilots.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Analyzing Pilot Performance


The NTSB’s findings on the Colgan Air crash



Analyzing Pilot PerformanceNTSB investigators were able to assemble plenty of data to reconstruct what happened on board the Colgan Air Bombardier DHC-8-400 that crashed at Clarence Center, N.Y., on February 12, 2009.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recognizing You’re In Trouble


Fatigue can cause pilots to fall behind



Recognizing You’re In TroubleOne of the most important skills for pilots to possess is the ability to recognize when they’re falling behind in an unfolding scenario. Frequently, pilots who fall too far behind experience accidents and are immortalized in NTSB accident reports.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Safety’s Ideal World


Unfortunately, we don’t always learn from example



Safety’s Ideal WorldIn an ideal world, once the probable cause of an accident is identified, there never will be an accident like it again.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Getting Ready For NextGen


The controllers are as crucial as the automation



Getting Ready For NextGenRecently, NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman issued a warning that those in the government and aviation industry who are enamored of the planned Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) should get their heads out of the clouds and realize that the people who will have to use the system—i.e., the air traffic controllers—are as important to safety as the automation itself.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Muffler Inspection


It’s critical to ensuring a safe flight



Muffler InspectionIf you were to make a list of the most fun and glamorous aspects of flying, I’d bet that inspecting an aircraft’s muffler wouldn’t be on it.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sweet Dreams


Don’t take for granted the importance of a good night’s rest



Sweet DreamsIf the NTSB had its way, the FAA would be gauging whether or not you’re having sweet dreams and sleeping through the night cuddled up with your teddy bear.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Steve Fossett Accident


The NTSB’s findings on the famed aviator’s fatal crash



The Steve Fossett AccidentThe NTSB says the probable cause of the 2007 crash of adventurer Steve Fossett was an inadvertent encounter with downdrafts above mountainous terrain that exceeded the climb capability of the Bellanca Super Decathlon he was flying. Downdrafts, high-density altitude and mountainous terrain were all contributing factors.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blocked Pitot Tubes


When accessible, pitot tubes and static ports should be checked in every preflight



Blocked Pitot TubesThe crash of Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, during a flight from Brazil to Paris focused attention on pitot tubes, although many people had never heard of them before.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Knowing When To Cancel


Don’t fly with a known equipment deficiency



Knowing When To CancelThe other evening, I got a call from a friend who operates a Piper Navajo for his business. He filled me in on what had happened with a flight from his home airport in the Northeast to Miami, Fla.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fixing Flutter Is Nothing New


Investigating violent oscillations that led to structural failure



Fixing Flutter Is Nothing NewIn April, the NTSB advised the FAA to ground all Zodiac CH 601XL S-LSA and E-LSA until the FAA determines they have adequate protection from aerodynamic flutter, which occurs when airplane structures vibrate back and forth in increasingly violent oscillations, eventually reaching a point where the structure breaks apart.
Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Pilot Decides


Controllers offer assistance, but it’s the pilot’s responsibility to manage the flight



The Pilot DecidesEach year, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union representing FAA controllers, honors members who’ve helped save pilots from dangerous situations that might have resulted in accidents.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should You Reset A Circuit Breaker?


Revisiting and revising old ways of doing things



ntsbThe NTSB says it’s time to rethink something most GA pilots learned early in their training: If a circuit breaker trips while you’re flying, it’s okay to reset it after allowing a minute or two for it to cool, even if you have no idea what caused it to trip and cut off electrical power to a particular circuit.