What Happens in Vegas…

October 12, 2011 by Bruce Landsberg

I spent this past Sunday in Las Vegas at the Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, held in conjunction with the NBAA Convention. There were presentations on how to fly single-pilot better. Dr. Earl Weener, a NTSB Board Member, recounted an accident of an overloaded PC-12 that crashed in Montana because the pilot neglected to use anti-icing additives in the fuel and then delayed way too long in diverting to another airport when it became obvious that the aircraft would not stay aloft to the destination. There were 13 fatalities.

My presentation was on runway excursions, which was discussed in last month’s AOPA Pilot. One area that we talked about, and was a recurrent theme in most of the presentations, was the ever-present human factors.

Here are some for your consideration:

  • Ignorance
  • Fatigue
  • Skill
  • Distraction
  • Complacency
  • Arrogance

As I thought about it, these elements are present in every flight to varying degrees. Not every one, every time but at varying times – it’s part of the human condition.

They are most certainly present in accident flights in different amounts. Have you thought about which one might be prominent in your cockpit as you fly along, and how you would compensate?

I hadn’t looked at these attributes quite that way before and I can think of circumstances in my own flying where there was perhaps just a bit too much luck involved.

How about you?

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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