Those are not good words to hear from the left seat of automobiles or aircraft because it usually means the software is about to do something stupid. It seems to be happening less than it used to but the incidents of low level maneuvering, aka buzzing, are one of the most publicly irresponsible acts pilot do. Flying over a friend’s house with a sharp pull up or tight circles, all done at low altitude, are popular forms of foolishness. Obviously, it’s annoying to people on the ground and things can spin badly out of control, if you’ll pardon the pun, when there’s a crash.
Roseville, California, a suburb of Sacramento, witnessed a particularly egregious accident in 2006 when two pilots in a Glassair spun into a subdivision incinerating themselves and a sleeping college student in one of the houses. The media attention was massive and unfortunate for GA.
ASF followed up with a safety seminar within two weeks on the hazards of maneuvering flight. We did not comment on that particular accident but addressed maneuvering issues in general. Over 400 pilots turned out and it took some of the sting out of the media response. BUT, the people who most needed to be there weren’t. They are, of course, the ones who are so sure of their skills and judgment that training and safety discussions are for all the lesser pilots.
Preaching to the choir is not bad because the choir is gradually growing and we all need guidance, but how should we reach those who don’t think they need it? Pilot Safety Announcements (PSA) are modeled after public service announcements – short video clips that run a minute or less. It’s a new concept for ASF and we tried it out on fuel mismanagement first first. Now we’re going after the buzzers. You’ll start to see these PSAs and others popping up in various places on aviation websites to “ambush” the non-believers who way on their way to some other place on the web. Cynics will doubt that this will make a difference. I’m curious at this point — Let’s see what happens.
The PSAs are deliberately edgy. A little dark humor may be just what’s needed to get the medicine to go down but give us your comments. And please pass these along to those who may be prone to say ” Watch this.”
Real Aviation Heroes