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Vectors for Safety-October 2020

Safety Initiative Update

Avemco Pilot Talk Series of Webinars Resumes October 8, 2020

Attendance at each event is valid toward the Avemco Safety Rewards Program and also for FAA Wings credit. The October 8 presentation is titled, "Autumn Scenery Safety" and will be run live at two different times to be more convenient for people in the various time zones. For more information and registration links, visit the Pilot Talk section of the VectorsForSafety website.

Northeast Virtual Aviation Safety Stand Down

Our event was held live on September 12. We express our thanks to our attendees, sponsors and presenters for a terrific event. If you missed all or part of the event or if you would like to see it again, visit the event website for a link to the recording. Please note that Wings credit cannot be issued for viewing the recording.

New Video Added

The first of a three-part video series is now available. "Sometimes It's the Little Things" looks at things that are easily missed or overlooked, but can cause problems for pilots. Each "Little Thing" is illustrated by an accident example. Check out Part 1 here.

Updated Runway Safety Simulator

The FAA's online Runway Safety Pilot Simulator has recently been updated with new scenarios. If you have never used this tool or if it has been awhile, it is definitely valuable. Check it out at

A Government Watchdog Questions the FAA's Oversight of BasicMed.

In a recent report prepared for Congress, the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recommended that the FAA improve its procedures for verifying a pilot's eligibility for the BasicMed program, as well as its measurements of the effects on aviation safety. It will be interesting to see what, if anything comes out of this. Click here to read the full report on the USDOT website.

Gene's Blog

I want to go on record in saying that this month’s blog is environmentally friendly. We are told to reuse, recycle, and repurpose. Those of you who attended the recent Northeast Virtual Aviation Safety Stand Down know that we were running a bit late so, as host, I decided to forego doing my presentation. Therefore, I am repurposing some of the material from that unused presentation into this article.

The title of the presentation, and of this repurposed blog is “Sometimes it’s the Little Things.” Most safety articles tend to focus on the big things that can cause big problems. We learn about weather hazards, stall/spin avoidance, collision avoidance and other big, important things. But sometimes it is the little things that can cause problems and sometimes those little things can even cause big problems. So, we are going to look at some of those little things and see what little lessons we might learn from them.

But first we must recognize the influence our humanness has on our ability to address what we consider to be little things. The inexperienced pilot my suffer from a lack of awareness and not recognize the importance of some little thing. The experienced pilot might see something as being important but might fall victim to optimism bias or complacency. Regardless of our experience level, we can always use a reminder about paying attention to the little things.

So, in that spirit, I have divided the presentation into three parts and I am creating a video of each part. Part 1 is available now and I will complete Part 2 and Part 3 soon.

Our Accident Analysis comes from Part 1 of "Sometimes It's the Little Things."

Accident Analysis

Accidents discussed in this section are presented in the hope that pilots can learn from the misfortune of others and perhaps avoid an accident. It is easy to read an accident report and dismiss the cause as carelessness or as a dumb mistake. But let's remember that the accident pilot did not get up in the morning and say, "Gee, I think I'll go have an accident today." Nearly all pilots believe that they are safe. Honest introspection frequently reveals that on some occasion, we might have traveled down that same accident path.


Actual Accident Airplane

This accident happened in March of 2016 in West Virginia. It was an instructional flight in a Cessna 172N. The flight instructor was killed and the student pilot was seriously injured. The NTSB accident report includes the following. "The flight instructor, who was controlling the airplane, and the student pilot were conducting an instructional flight. During the takeoff the airplane lifted off about 1,000 ft down the runway, pitched nose up, and rolled left to an inverted attitude before it impacted terrain next to the runway in a nose-down attitude. The student pilot recalled that as the airplane rotated during the takeoff, he heard the flight instructor exclaim, but could not recall any subsequent events."

The following is also included in the NTSB accident report. "Examination of the wreckage revealed witness marks along the flight instructor's seat tracks that corresponded with the seat in the nearly full-aft position. Given the flight instructor's stature, it is unlikely that this position would allow her to fully actuate the flight controls, and it is therefore unlikely she purposefully initiated the takeoff with her seat in this position. While one of the two locking pins that would have secured the seat from sliding fore and aft was found fractured, it is likely that the jockeying of the seat during the victim extraction process resulted in the fracture of the locking pin, and left the witness marks observed on the seat track. Examination of the wreckage and maintenance documents also revealed that the airplane was not equipped with a manufacturer-recommended secondary seat stop mechanisms for either of the pilot seats."

broken image

The NTSB Probable Cause finding states, "The flight instructor's failure to ensure that her seat was properly secured before initiating the takeoff, which resulted in a subsequent loss of control. Contributing was the lack of an installed secondary seat stop."

We have two "Little Lessons" that we can take away from this tragedy. First, always make sure seats are properly latched before takeoff. and second, comply with manufacturer recommendations regarding any secondary seat stop.

Click here to see the accident report on the NTSB Website

Safety Initiative Support

There are many costs associated with the operation of our Safety Initiative. Those costs include a webinar subscription, website hosting, commercial email service, software subscriptions, and more. We want to thank our readers who have made financial contributions to help defray expenses and we also especially thank those of you who have set up a monthly contribution through PayPal. We want to thank and applaud Avemco Insurance for their support of the FAASTeam and also for their sponsorship of our recent Pilot Talk webinar series which will resume in October.

But more support is needed if we are to continue providing and expanding quality content not littered with annoying ads popping up. We need the help of our readers. Please consider a donation to help us in our efforts to make general aviation safer for all. The link below will take you to PayPal where you can make a one-time or recurring donation to our Safety Initiative.

Donations are not tax deductible.

Get a Jump on Holiday Shopping and Help Support the Safety Initiative!

All proceeds from book sales are used to support our important safety work.

Books by Gene Benson

Or get a signed paperback copy of ""Fifty Years of Flying Insights"

with a custom inscription! Great gift for any pilot!

Fifty Years of Flying Insights - Signed Copy