Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

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By Paul Van Brunt
FAASTeam Rep. CFI 


Safety in Aviation


December 1, 2019

How do you approach safety while flying? As a flight instructor we get to see and hear lots of issues that come up at the airport and try to be a sounding board for the issues that pilots bring up, but really what is safety? Is it being right or doing the right thing? You can be right and end up with a damaged airplane or worse.

The days of going out and starting your plane and dusting off the cobwebs are gone (well for most people). With the high demand for pilots it can get very busy at most airports with flight schools. Pilots are trying to get all the flying they can get into a short amount of time and sometimes they get short tempered or annoyed at other pilots who are not as current. If you’re rusty, stop by and see if you can get someone that is current to go along as a second set of eyes or maybe give you some pointers. Of course, a flight instructor is always a good choice to take with you for some take off and landings, plus you can get Wings credits!

Recently, there was a situation where a plane in the pattern making all the calls correctly turned final and another plane pulled out in front of the landing aircraft. The pilot in the landing plane called out that he was on final but the other plane continued his take off causing the landing plane to do a go around. Lesson learned right? Nope. The landing pilot was upset at the situation. The pilot that pulled out may have not had a radio on, or it didn’t work, or who knows what. It does not do any good to be mad about it. Instead be happy that you were alert and able to go around and avoid something much worse

Courtesy to others is very important in flying. When a person is coming in for a practice approach, talk to each other and extend the downwind if needed. Or if someone accidentally enters the wrong runway, a quick reminder of the correct procedure is helpful and most pilots are happy to have the information so they can make the correct choice.

These are just some examples. I am sure all of you have seen these type of situations occur. Sometimes I will sit with a student and watch planes in the pattern and ask the student to comment on what they notice. This is a good and inexpensive way to see and recognize things that could go wrong. Stay alert and involved and be safe!


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