I'm sick of this


New Member
I\'m sick of this

I read the accident reports. I study them, and I am very cautious. I never think "this can't happen to me," because I know it can happen to anyone.

But I'm getting real sick of this.

I did the wrong thing last night; I read as much as I could about the Denver mid-air. I couldn't go to sleep, I was so worried.

I read the webboarder's responses about what they do and how they react. As I lay in bed, I thought to myself, this is not good enough. People are still having mid-airs, people are still having lots of CFITs, even with pretty CRT screens in the cockpit, and even when you opt for a parachute for your plane, it doesn't seem to help unless you have lots of time to think about using it (as in the one and only one case where it worked).


Here are my thoughts:

1) GET TRAINED. Screw the damned flight review and IPC--under 1,000 hours please need to get with a CFI at least once a month. And train hard; train your butt off. This is your life (and your family's, too).

2) NO COMPROMISES. Solidify your safety standards. Then double them. No ifs ands or buts. Most of us don't *need* to fly, we want to. Even if we have to fly, we must do it when it is safe. You never have to fly so bad that it is worth risking your life for it. So don't do it if it isn't going to be safe. Just forget about it!

3) RYAN COMPANY, RDEUCE THE COST OF YOUR TCAS! People who have this device (not the portable, but the accurate, panel mounted devices) swear by it. I know that the airliners all have it. It must be better than not having it.

4) USE THE "I'M SAFE" CHECKLIST. Don't go if you're tired or angry. You may normally have excellent judgement, but not when you have had 5 hours of sleep. You may have passed the eye exam in the medical, but when you're angry, you might forget about your scan. [For example, because I will need the SODA ride for my left eyesight, I am ABSOLUTELY FANATICAL about my scan, with excellent results: I often see traffic well before my 20/20 CFI sees it, and my CFI long ago forgot that I have any "diminished acuity" in one of my eyes.] Don't think that because you passed your medical, that you are fine to fly today.

5) FOR PETE'S SAKE, DO A THOROUGH PRE-FLIGHT. Do the W&B, do the crosswind calculations, do the density alt calcultaions, do a run-up, do a takeoff briefing. DO THEM! There are too many accidents caused by laziness.

6) FLY DEFENSIVELY. Have a backup plan for everything.

7) DON'T TRY TO CONVINCE EVERYONE AND THEIR BROTHER TO BECOME PILOTS. Yes, we need to strengthen the community, but we want to add thoughtful, safe pilots to it. Don't encourage the hot dogs that you know to become pilots.

I'm so upset. I'm not suggesting that we create new regs--far from it--I just want us to be around for a long long time. Please, fly safe everyone!

Ben Myers

Enjoying every minute
Re: I\'m sick of this

You list some great ideas on how we can minimize risk. Training, setting standards, complete preflights.... these are all great tools, but they will NEVER completely stop accidents.

The textbook definition of safety is "the optimum minimization of risk." All those things you mention reduce risk, but unfortunately you cannot bring risk to zero.

TCAS is another good tool, but in no way should be relied on for traffic avoidance. As an airline captain who uses TCAS regularly, I can tell you it has many shortcomings.

Accidents happen in the industry. People you know will die. That's a sad fact. This is not a career or hobby for the weak minded.

Good luck
Re: I\'m sick of this

Unfortunately aviation is dangerous, no amount of time with a CFI, or any aircraft systems will make it accident free, the thing that will minimize the risk is your attitude! If you strive to make every flight as safe as possible then you are really doing all you can do.

Out of interest how much TT do you have? And while we are asking question how old are you?
Re: I\'m sick of this

I'm tired of people constantly telling me that I'm involved in a "dangerous" activity by flying airplanes. If flying really was that dangerous, I wouldn't do it. Sure, aviation does have risks, and I'm not immune from ever being involved in a crash. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop flying and hide under my bed for the rest of my life. If I wanted to do something dangerous, I would drive on an interstate highway without wearing my seatbelt, walk on a tightrope across the Grand Canyon, or spend all day out in the sun without using sunscreen. These are all activities where you're leaving your fate to chance, or the flip of a coin.

Luckily, we can choose not to leave everything to chance in flying. See my signature quote below.
Re: I\'m sick of this

Thanks for the comments.

Suffice it to say that I am early middle aged. I am still a student, but what they call a late bloomer over on the AOPA webboards. Due to lack of money and time, I have been taking the "slow but sure" route to my PPL which, I hope, is now only a couple of months away. I have a lot of TT for a student, but not really for someone who trains out of Class Bravo (BWI), and who can only take 5 lessons a month.

When I go for the IR, it won't take too long. From what I understand, 1/3rd of the problem is getting used to ATC and taking clearances. That's no problem for me, working out of Bravo. Also, my CFI knows I will go on to the IR, so we've done probably more hoodwork and basic instrument work than his (and probably other CFI's) students.

Yes, I probably will get my PPL at 120 hours or so, but I have some great experiences that others at my level didn't get. I was in the cockpit for a flight in a Twin Commander, I've flown in actual (with a CFI, of course), and I've soloed many times in the same airspace with British Airways 747s, etc. I'm a lucky man.

I'm most certainly not condemning others. I'm just want us all to be the best, most prepared we can be.

Most of the things on my list (with the exception of the TCAS) were beaten into me by my CFI. I'm very lucky, incidentally, to have a CFI who is purely that. He loves teaching, and does it full time. He's ex-Air Force, and highly disciplined and will drop a student if he feels they're a risk to themselves, even if it means he loses some money.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just want us all to be professional and safe.

I know the safety record is steadily improving. Let's keep it up.

Re: I\'m sick of this

Good post, and I completely agree.

"being comfortable" = forgetfullness/ carelessness.

In order to fly safely each and every time that you go up, 1. Plan ahead, and 2. Treat it as if it were your first flight.(cautious).
Re: I\'m sick of this

Sometimes, you get personal reminders from the man upstairs that you can't slack off.

Yesterday, I was doing landings at a towered airport, and ATC told me to report a two mile base, which I did. They told me to follow a someone on final so I was looking for them closer to the airport. Bad idea. I'm thinking, I gotta be blind, and then I look away from the airport and I see him FURTHER away from the airport than me. If I don't look away from the airport, I never see the traffic.

And today I had to abort a takeoff because a dog ran across the runway.

It's like God decided to remind me over the past two days that flying is something that I have to be at the top of my game to do. That's good. Nobody got hurt, nobody broke any regs, but I got a reminder to always be alert!
Re: I\'m sick of this

Is "The man upstairs" landing the plane, or you? If your counting on the man upstairs, don't freaking run into me.
Re: I\'m sick of this

Thanks for your post, chperplt. I know that you're right, and that all we can do is do our best. I did want to follow up on this:

TCAS is another good tool, but in no way should be relied on for traffic avoidance. As an airline captain who uses TCAS regularly, I can tell you it has many shortcomings.

[/ QUOTE ]

Right. But don't you think that as long as you keep your scan going, that having TCAS is better than not having it? I mean, as Richard Collins says, "If I have suspenders and a belt, I'll wear them both."

Often I mention traffic avoidance gear, people will note the dangers of over-reliance. But I still think that anything that helps, helps.

Case in point: On my the return leg of my first solo cross-country, I called Baltimore Approach. They acknoledged, cleared me into Bravo and added "multiple targets in your vicinity." (Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, doesn't it?) He was real busy, and I was VFR and not yet in his airspace, so I couldn't expect separation.

Just then I caught something at 9:00--it was a Tiger, at my alt., about 200 feet, banking left away from me. Now, I did see him, and he obviously saw me, too. I thank my fanatical scan for that (see original post). But you know what? If I had a TCAS, I would had better awareness of his position.

What do you (and other board posters) think?
Re: I\'m sick of this

No, the man upstairs is just giving me little reminders that I have to be on top of my game. I don't intend on becoming a statistic.
Re: I\'m sick of this

I don't intend on becoming a statistic.

[/ QUOTE ]

Nearly 100% of those who become statistics don't intend to become statistics.

Hows that for a statistic?

Sorry couldn't pass that one up - back to seriousness ...
Re: I\'m sick of this

I have been terrified of Midairs since I lost my first instructor to one.

Aviation IS dangerous. Flying is not a natural act for man. That is why we all must be religous in our pursuit of safety. There are some differences in the way airlines and general aviation operates, but I think there are some parallels that you can draw to make GA safer.

First, 121 captains must undergo proficency checks every six months, SICs every 12. As a GA pilot you are PIC, so train like one. Regularly visit a CFI to brush up on your basic techniques. A BFR is not sufficient in my opinion.

Second, airlines use standard procedures for everything. As a GA pilot, develop a set of standard procedures. Make sure they cover everything that needs to be. Use your flight schools procedures, use Cessnas, make your own. But use them everytime you fly.

Some other things, if you are operating in or near a terminal environment, take advantage of flight following. If ATC tells you there is traffic and you don't see it, ask for vectors. Use your lights, all of them, when at low altitudes or in congested airspace. I know many flight schools discourage using landing lights. Use them!

John King is entirely correct in his campaign to educate people that flying is not safe. It is made safe by people being dedicated to safe practices and quality training.
Re: I\'m sick of this

I have always been of the opinion that flying is as safe as you chose to make it. Do all you can to minimize risk but don't waste your time worrying about things that are outside your preventitave scope (i.e. if you're IFR in IMC don't lose any sleep over the jacka$$ VFR pilot who COULD be cruising the pattern at your destination uncontrolled airport).
Re: I\'m sick of this

If ATC tells you there is traffic and you don't see it, ask for vectors.

[/ QUOTE ]

Not to be picky, but If I'm VFR, I can't ask for vectors when out of the Bravo, can I? That would imply separation which I don't get outside their airspace. But could I request a specific heading?
Re: I\'m sick of this

Sure you can. If they have time, they'll help you out. ATC is generally very good at helping everyone who asks. We get vectors all the time in Charlie when we go out VFR, but coming back into the sun, we can't see the airport because of the reflective haze.
Re: I\'m sick of this

Right, but you were in Charlie. I'm talking about VFR outside of the Bravo. May I still ask for vectors?
Re: I\'m sick of this

OH and if you are in C airspace you can't be in B at the same time... AND radar contact is possible in A, B, C, D, and E airspace
Re: I\'m sick of this

OH and if you are in C airspace you can't be in B at the same time

[/ QUOTE ] I know. The other poster was the one who was in C.