Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents
January – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and #FlySafe, the general aviation (GA) group’s national safety campaign, aims to educate the GA community on the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.
What is Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM)?
When you climb into the cockpit, the FAA expects you to have full knowledge of your personal minimums and physical and mental readiness. You need to be on top of your game. Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) is the art of managing all onboard and outside resources to ensure a safe and successful flight.
The Five P Approach to SRM
A good approach uses the regular evaluation of Plan, Plane, Pilot, Passengers and Programming.
Plan: Plan your flight using the basic elements of cross-country planning including weather, route, and fuel. Make sure you consider any events that could affect the flight. Review and update your plan at regular intervals during the flight and keep in mind that the plan could change at any time.
Plane: The plane includes the airframe, systems, and equipment, including avionics. You should be comfortable using all installed equipment, and be familiar with your aircraft’s performance characteristics and limitations. As your flight continues, keep an eye on your systems and instruments so you can detect anything out of the ordinary as early as possible.
Pilot: YOU need to pass the “I’M SAFE” checklist. This handy list will help you determine if you are truly fit for flight:
- Illness: Do I have any symptoms?
- Medication: Have I been taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs?
- Stress: Am I under pressure from work, or am I worried about money, health or family?
- Alcohol: Have I been drinking within eight hours?
- Fatigue: Am I rested?
- Emotion: Am I emotionally upset? Some pilots may wish to include eating as well – are you properly nourished?
In addition to some of the physical and mental hurdles an airman faces, pilots also need to consider the legal and experiential aspects associated with being fit for flight.
It boils down to three basic questions you should ask yourself before any flight: Am I healthy? Am I legal? And, am I proficient?
Passengers: Your passengers can help you but they can also distract you. Their needs, including a desire to reach the destination quickly, can create potentially dangerous distractions.
If your passenger is a pilot, it’s important to establish who is doing what.
Programming: Know your equipment. Today’s electronic displays, moving map navigators, and autopilots can reduce your workload and increase your situational awareness. But, the task of operating the equipment can create serious distractions. Know your equipment before take-off and plan in advance when you’ll be programming for approaches, route changes, and airport information.
What is Loss of Control?
A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.
Contributing factors may include:
- Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
- Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
- Intentional failure to comply with regulations
- Failure to maintain airspeed
- Failure to follow procedure
- Pilot inexperience and proficiency
- Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol
Message from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta:
The FAA and industry are working together to prevent LOC accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our Fly Safe campaign. Each month on FAA.gov, we’re providing pilots with a LOC solution developed by a team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions — some of which are already reducing risk. We hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.
Did you know?
In 2015, 384 people died in 238 general aviation accidents.
- Loss of Control is the number one cause of these accidents.
- Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
- There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.
You’ll find helpful information in the FAA Advisory Circular 120-51E, Crew Resource Management Training.
This FAA Safety Briefing Safety Enchancement Topic fact sheet (PDF) has more information on SRM.
The January/February 2017 issue (PDF) of FAA Safety Briefing focuses on aviation risk management and aeronautical decision making. Featured content follows the framework of the PAVE checklist, covering a pilot’s decision making process to mitigate risks in terms of the: Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, and External Pressures. You may find the following articles particularly helpful in reviewing principles that support a sound approach to SRM:
- Risky Business – The What, How, and Why of Risk Management
- Say Ahh – A Pilot’s Guide to Self-Assessing Risk Is My Aircraft Right for Flight? — The Importance of Preflight Prep
- The Wild (Not So Blue) Yonder – Mitigating Risk in the Flight Operating Environment (https://adobe.ly/2hus9AX)
- Are We There Yet? – How External Pressure Can Affect Your Flight
Chapter 6 (PDF) of the FAA Risk Management Handbook (FAA 8083-2) covers Single-Pilot Resource Management.
Learn more about flying in all types of weather through “Whither and Whether of Flying in Weather” in the July/August 2010 edition (PDF) of FAA Safety Briefing.
The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.
The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.
The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of accidents in GA.
An FAA fact sheet outlines GA safety improvements and initiatives.
The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers across different parts of the FAA, several government agencies, and stakeholder groups. The other federal agencies are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which participates as an observer. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also participates as an observer.