How To Avoid These
Common Pilot Mistakes!
Some things are better learned by NOT experiencing them. This audio program contains valuable lessons learned that will keep you out of trouble.
Taught by NAFI "Hall-of-Fame" Flight
Instructor Tom Turner
Simple tips to avoid 61 common errors
Loaded with stories and personal accounts
Short audio segments hold your attention
Listen on your phone, tablet or computer
Simple Mistakes Are Often The
First Link In An Accident Chain!
Loss of directional control during takeoff and landing (especially in crosswinds), fuel mismanagement, overdependence on automation, failure to respect the hazards of weather, failure to observe aircraft limitations, failure to recognize and adhere to your own limitations. These are all common pilot errors that contribute to aircraft accidents with amazing frequency.
These are also preventable errors, if the pilot knows what to look for, takes active steps to avoid them, and recovers swiftly and correctly if avoidance fails.
The 61 audio segments in this program review how pilots find themselves making these errors, how to recognize if you're in a similar situation, and how you should react once you've found yourself flying down a similar path.
Frequently we'll cite accident history to help you understand how to better manage the risks of flying. Throughout this program, we revisit several themes...we'll attack them from different angles, citing different experiences and expanding your understanding of a topic or mitigation. The sum total of each individual look at an issue will give you greater understanding of how it can unfold, and how you should respond.
The great news is that, if you learn to avoid these common errors, you'll avoid the vast majority of all general aviation accidents. You'll be a far safer pilot in your normal flying, and be prepared to handle unusual situations or emergencies if they arise.
Lessons Learned For All Pilots!
If you are a new pilot, chances are you haven't made many of the mistakes covered in this program (at least we hope). Still, it's important to know where pilots struggle so you have a better understanding of the risk areas and take appropriate action to remove them from your flying. Many of these lessons focus on flying fundamentals that are important to all pilots.
If you are an experienced pilot, you are not immune to making mistakes. Even experienced pilots struggle with the basics at times, so it's important to build a solid foundation and eliminate simple mistakes that can lead to bigger problems. The biggest risk with experienced pilots is often complacency and this program helps eliminate it.
Covers VFR and IFR Flying. Many of the critical mistakes in this program are important to pilots flying IFR. Icing, thunderstorms, proper use of cockpit automation and preflight planning are important topics addressed. In addition, there are many lessons that focus specifically on instrument procedures and common errors that pilots struggle with when flying IFR such as instrument approaches, departures, missed approaches, holding, and IFR emergencies.
Regardless of your experience or hours flown, it is important to understand the mistakes that pilots make in all phases of flight so you can avoid making them yourself.
Convenient Audio Format
Audio programs are the ideal way to make productive use of your time. Listen while driving, working out, waiting, or whenever you've got a few extra minutes. Turn downtime into productive time as you sharpen your aviation knowledge.
Each of these audio lessons are short and focused...they get right to the point. They are based on actual stories that make them enjoyable to listen to and more memorable.
We've made 61 Critical Pilot Mistakes easy to listen to whether on your computer, tablet or phone. You can log in anywhere you have an internet connection, or grab the USB drive so you can listen anywhere, connected or not. Either way, this is a convenient way to improve your pilot knowledge and pick up some valuable lessons learned.
Meet Your Instructor - Tom Turner
Master CFI Tom Turner holds an ATP certificate with instructor, CFII and MEI ratings and a Masters Degree in Aviation Safety. He was the 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year and the 2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year and has 4,000 hours logged, including more than 2,500 as an instructor. In 2015 Tom was inducted into the NAFI Instructor's Hall of Fame.
Tom was a Captain in the United States Air Force and has been Lead Instructor for the Bonanza pilot training program at the Beechcraft factory. He now directs the education and safety arm of a 9000-member pilots' organization. He writes, lectures and instructs extensively from his home at THE AIR CAPITAL - Wichita, Kansas.
Includes 61 Common Pilot Mistakes
And Simple Tips To Avoid Them
#1: Failure To Properly Estimate Crosswinds - 6:28
Almost nobody seems to stress the need to evaluate crosswind conditions as part of a prelanding briefing, to decide whether or not to attempt a landing.
#2: Fuel Mismanagement - 8:34
Fuel mismanagement, resulting in fuel starvation or fuel exhaustion, is entirely avoidable.
#3: Not "Feeling" Your Airplane - 5:46
Instructors generally don't do a good job of teaching how to recognize a mush, or why "mush awareness and recovery" is as important as that of stalls and spins.
#4: Failure To Maintain Minimum Flying Skills - 6:40
A common error is failing to remain current in the FAA's list of the minimum flying skills it considers necessary before we can even solo an aircraft.
#5: Not Commanding An Emergency - 8:35
There is no more appropriate time to exercise your pilot-in-command authority than when you're facing an emergency with passengers aboard while in the clouds.
#6: Too Much Heads Down In The Cockpit - 6:29
Many pilots focus too much attention inside the cockpit, to the detriment of looking outside for traffic and terrain avoidance.
#7: Not Managing Passenger Expectations - 6:04
If your passengers are more familiar with the capabilities and limitations of personal aviation, they may place less stress on you to make a trip on schedule.
#8: Not Doing A Proper Control Check Before Flight - 9:44
Not only is it vital to perform a controls check before takeoff—a common omission— it's equally important to perform the check correctly.
#9: Failure To Plan Maximum Range Flights - 11:58
There are many considerations—some objective, some subjective—when you're planning a maximum-range flight.
#10: Underestimating Fuel Burn - 4:47
It's a common error to estimate endurance based solely on the airplane's published cruise fuel burn.
#11: Failure To "Know" The Plane You're Flying - 7:55
Don't assume the way you fly one airplane is the way you should fly another.
#12: High Density Altitude Takeoffs - 5:23
It's a common error to fail to achieve a climb after takeoff on a hot day or a high field elevation.
#13: Too Tired - Fatigue And Duty Day - 4:01
Pilot fatigue is the "great unknown" factor in airplane accidents.
#14 Missing An Item On A Routine Inspection - 7:12
Increase the dispatch reliability of your airplane and have some fun in the hangar at the same time.
#15: Botched A Go-Around - 5:58
It takes just a little preparation, and occasional practice, to make the go-around maneuver just another routine procedure.
#16: Blindsided By Turbulence - 6:08
It's a common error to discount the impact turbulence can have on making it safely to destination.
#17: Not Honing Your Skills On Every Flight - 3:32
The key to confidence and safety is to continually practice before you need to put your skills to the test.
#18: Engine Failure That Leads To Pilot Failure - 11:49
Surviving an engine failure comes down to meeting three objectives.
#19: Loss Of Directional Control During Landing - 6:20
Even if we remain below the demonstrated crosswind component of the airplane, history shows we don't do a very good job of landing in crosswinds.
#20: Not Turning Around In Time - 5:13
It's a common error to fail to watch the weather closely, and to delay making a decision to divert until that option is no longer available.
#21: Takeoffs And Landings With A Tailwind - 6:01
A little tailwind is far more detrimental to performance than headwind helps.
#22: Deferring Maintenance - 6:35
"Flying to failure" is an ill-advised attempt to shortcut the true cost of flying.
#23: Buzzing And Other Low Altitude Tricks - 4:02
When it comes to low-altitude operations, we need to "just say no."
#24: Not Being Prepared For A Rejected Takeoff - 6:16
You need to be mentally prepared for a Rejected Takeoff every time.
#25: Not Being Prepared For Engine Failure On Takeoff - 6:56
If you lose power at a high angle of attack close to the ground, you won't have time to think about what you must do.
#26: Hydroplaning - 8:23
Landing even just a little faster than "book" on a wet runway can be disastrous.
#27: Not Knowing Your Systems - 6:33
Your airplane's systems may not be complex, but you need to know all about them to keep your passengers and yourself safe.
#28: Bad Instruction - 8:26
Instructional hazards include CFI complacency and "instructor-induced stupidity." Learn how to avoid both, whether you're receiving or giving instruction.
#29: Not Knowing Your Airplane's Limitations - 5:46
Most pilots have learned some of their airplane's limitations indirectly. But it's the rare pilot who has actually taken the time to read Section II of the Pilot's Operating Handbook.
#30: First Flight After Maintenance - 4:29
Returning an airplane to service as it comes out of the shop is a team effort.
#31: Partial Power Loss - 9:24
Most Pilot's Operating Handbooks have no checklist, and most pilots have no procedure, to detect and respond to a partial loss of engine power.
#32: Exceeding Maximum Braking - 3:22
Many runway excursions may be the result of excessive braking by the pilot.
#33: Midair Collision - 7:45
Don't shirk responsibility for actively scanning for other airplanes in all phases of flight.
#34: VFR Into IMC - 7:54
The ultimate VFR error is to attempt visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions.
#35: Not Maintaining IFR Currency - 7:14
Risk management at times boils down to a cost/benefit analysis—is the practice you need to be safe, worth the cost of getting that practice? At least when flight in instrument conditions are concerned, the accident rate suggests that it is.
#36: Failure To Fly IFR Departures - 9:06
It's a common IFR error to assume we are fully protected when departing on an instrument clearance into instrument meteorological conditions.
#37: Making A Bad "Go" Decision - 7:01
Don't let concern for aircraft utility negatively affect good decision-making.
#38: Not Knowing Your Airplane's "Numbers" - 10:01
Only by knowing what to expect can you detect when something is not trending in the way you'd like.
#39: Failure To Brief The Missed Approach - 5:55
How can we make certain we are properly briefed for the missed approach, so we know how to fly it correctly? What can we do to reduce pilot workload while flying the missed?
#40: Too Busy To Debrief - 10:02
To get the full benefit of the experience you just had, to learn from every flight, you need to spend just a few moments debriefing your flight.
#41: "Not Authorized" - 7:28
What does it mean when a procedure is marked as "not authorized"? Doesn't the controller protect you by refusing to clear you for an unauthorized procedure? Thinking otherwise is a common IFR error, but the answer is "no."
#42: The Duck Under - 9:47
Flying "just a little bit lower" to try to find the runway in the murk can be tempting. But ducking under is not always intentional—even a conscientious pilot may be susceptible to the common IFR error of ducking under in some circumstances. So how can you avoid the traps?
#43: Keep Me (And My GPS) In Suspense - 5:57
Even pilots with a great deal of instrument time often don't demonstrate mastery of the GPS' "Suspend" function, or know how vital its proper use is to safely executing a missed approach.
#44: Airframe Icing - Failure To Take Immediate Action - 10:17
Many myths persist about the capability of airplanes to fly in ice. These myths appear to support techniques for ice avoidance or landing an ice-laden airplane that make ice accumulation seem acceptable. Like any myth these are rooted in truth, but they are common IFR errors not necessarily true themselves.
#45: Caught By Surprise - "In-Close" Approach Changes - 9:28
What can you do to handle ICACs? The keys are preparation and flexibility.
#46: Too Much Reliance On Your Autopilot - 4:33
It's a common IFR error to engage the autopilot and then divert your attention away from the flight instruments.
#47: Failure To Properly Respect Thunderstorms - 5:56
You can "stack the deck" in favor of an informed go decision if you really understand thunderstorms and how they will impact your route of flight.
#48: Panic With A Lost Comm - 10:08
My experience as a CFII tells me it's a common IFR error for a pilot to be unclear about how to respond to a "lost comm" situation.
#49: Too Fast: Turbulent Air Penetration - 3:48
Most pilots know that there is a "turbulent air penetration speed" (Vturb) for their aircraft. But many do not to know what the speed really means, or that it is not a fixed value, but a range of airspeeds.
#50: Cockpit Resource Mismanagement - 5:29
As Pilot-in-Command you must be "a crew of one." It's entirely up to you to evaluate the factors affecting the safe completion of flight.
#51: Too Many Approaches - 6:42
We know how to fly an approach to minimums and then, if the runway environment is not visible, fly the missed approach procedure. When is it a good decision to try the approach again? When is it advisable to go to an alternate airport?
#52: Failure To Recognize An Instrument Failure - 9:19
Research by AOPA and the FAA tells us we don't do all that well at identifying failed instruments, or flying by reference to a partial panel after an instrument quits.
#53: Making Real Time Decisions With Uplink Weather - 6:04
It appears that pilots take more risks with weather uplinks aboard than they do without.
#54: Taking Chances In Ice - 6:24
Airframe ice is the big "unknown" in aviation weather hazards. Even the latest ice prediction products cannot definitively tell us whether ice will form on a given airplane at a given altitude. Nor does it definitively predict the type or rate of ice accumulation should icing begin to form.
#55: Failure To "Visualize" The Runway Environment - 5:49
When visibility drops or the environment throws in optical illusions, our safe arrival depends on knowing beforehand what to expect.
#56: Departing Into Low IMC - 10:01
In the first minutes of a flight, when the airplane is barely off the ground during a departure in IMC, the flight ends abruptly when an experienced pilot becomes disoriented, or the aircraft collides with terrain or an obstacle. How does this happen?
#57: Botched Holding Pattern - 9:29
Holding is a basic skill, but it's also something I commonly see done incorrectly when I conduct IPCs.
#58: Getting Behind The Airplane - 6:11
Holding patterns and hold pattern entries take some mental bandwidth, but there are a few techniques you can use to reduce the workload.
#59: Descending Too Early/Late - 7:03
As an instrument instructor I've learned one of the most common topics of confusion among pilots is: "When is it safe—and expected—to descend in the process of an instrument arrival?"
#60: Not Stabilized On Approach - 4:48
One of the hardest parts of flying instruments is making the transition from on-the-gauges to visual flight at the missed approach point. One way to make safe, consistent landings, and to fly to tighter instrument tolerances, is to fly a stabilized approach.
#61: Going When You Should Delay - 6:19
Let's look at the major causes of airline delays, and whether they would have a similar impact on general aviation flight schedule.
"First Flight After Maintenance"
Returning an airplane to service as it comes out of the shop is a team effort. Tom Turner explains steps you should take in this 4:29 sample audio segment.
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