2 Posts In 1

Good morning world!

Today I am trying hard to stay motivated. It’s one of those days with regard to getting things done that need doing. Trying not to be moody is making it harder to get going on projects. I am hoping to break this by doing some writing, so here are a couple of posts wrapped up under one roof.

Post The First…

The weight loss stuff is going reasonably well. Today is the fifth day I have been tracking and so far so good. Since there is not much to say about how great or how hard the last WHOLE FOUR DAYS have been I guess I can leave it at that. 😉

Post The Second…

Last night I went to an FAA Safety Team meeting for CFIs. It was a good meeting and it was really nice to be around folks who are interested in aviation. Hanger Talk is always one of the highlights of being around aviation folk for me. To the rest of the world it’s like water cooler talk, but with pilots it’s a little different. We often talk about accidents and the stupid stuff “other” pilots do as well as our own harrowing stories of adventure. It sounds a little morbid, but we talk a lot about accidents.

I spend most of my hanger talk time around career pilots, people who fly for a living or are working at making that the case. It has been my experience that this segment of the pilot community definitely has something in common with the early aviators. It is a cultural thing that has many aspects but when you think “barnstormer”, “WWI Ace” or Fighter Pilot” you get close. There is a little of that in every career pilot I have met.

On the surface it’s a dare devil attitude, a “kick the tires and light the fires”, “need for speed” appearance, beneath that however, there is a very sober, meticulous even retentive attention to detail that keeps career pilots alive. There is a line in the sky, a line between life and death, if you blink you can easily miss the line. The “line” is that attention to detail, knowing your personal limitations, the limitations of your aircraft, and the environment around you. Early in my flight training an instructor I knew was talking to some other students about career pilot mortality, “sooner or later, a friend will die in a plane, and it will have been his fault.” Harsh words, but true. I have been flying since 2003, I have been acquainted with three pilots who blinked. All of them CFIs, all of them doing something they knew was stupid, but for whatever reason, they did not take their responsibilities seriously, at least once, and thats all it took.

That’s why we talk about accidents, it reminds us that it only takes one mistake or over site to start the “accident chain” rolling. It’s rarely just one thing that brings about an accident. It is inevitably a chain of events, errors and over sites, that bring about bent metal or the demise of a fellow aviator. We talk about those errors and over sites to keep them top-of-mind. Accident chains are usually fairly long, 10 or so links, often several of those links are check list items. Some times if a pilot had just read through his check list, instead of skipping it because he was used to the plane, the chain would have been broken early and the event wouldn’t have been one at all.

Not using checklists properly and weather account for nearly all of the General Aviation accidents in the United States. Vigilance, professionalism, and a meticulous attention to detail are required skills for a career pilot, and should be for all pilots. Using a checklist is such a simple task and not doing it can be so costly.

For those who are now scared to fly, remember this… Pilots on their own time sometimes ease up on their vigilance and blink, thats when they make the news. Flying is not dangerous, there is however inherent danger in the act of flying. ALL career pilots and ALL air carriers do what they can to mitigate the risks involved in flying. Commercial flying is still one of the safest modes of transportation, it just gets more press when things go wrong. Just ask Capt. Sully.