CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 3 - 18

ASI Message

A 90-Percent Solution
in a general aviation (GA) aircraft (often referred
to as Time Machines) is one of the primary reasons
non-pilots want to learn to fly. But these "magical
powers" must be grounded in reality. In reviewing
GA accident data, the common theme is that pilots
either pushed themselves or their aircraft beyond its
capabilities. It's easy to determine what an aircraft
is capable of doing; that information is found in chapters five and six
of the aircraft's Pilot's Operating Handbook. It's much harder to teach
risk-managing personal capabilities after pilots get their license.
Let's talk airplanes. Within the general aviation fleet there is a
spectrum of aircraft, each with an assortment of capabilities. Some
are better suited than others for a VFR hop around the patch or a long
distance, all-weather flight. When considering whether or not your
airplane is well suited for a flight, the answer is, "It depends." There


are lots of factors that may influence that decision: piston versus turbine
aircraft, single-engine versus multiengine aircraft, and equipment such as
flight into known icing systems, advanced avionics, and autopilots all play a
role. Any way you slice it, there's no boilerplate template for what will and
will not work well. Bottom line-it's a judgment call and only the pilot can
determine if his or her airplane is suited for the flight and conditions.
Let's talk pilots. Since judgment is important, the choices a pilot makes are
the most significant contributors to a flight's safe outcome. Good decisions
begin with the correct mindset. All too often I hear general aviation pilots
talk about their "flight mission" or how they intend to get from point A to
point B. Instead, a safety-focused mindset is a much better goal. I'd offer
that when flying a light aircraft, pilots do not have a mission!-a desire
perhaps, or preference for how the flight should transpire-but never a
mission. Teaching ourselves not to have a mission mindset opens up our
ability to think critically and evaluate a situation on its merits-not a wish to
accomplish the flight at all costs.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 3