First Drone-Caused Aircraft Accident?!
Mar25

First Drone-Caused Aircraft Accident?!

According to media reports, a helicopter crashed near Charleston South Carolina, whilst avoiding a drone. If these reports prove to be accurate, this will be the first drone-related aircraft accident. It is reported that the helicopter was involved in an instructional flight when, “a white ‘DJI Phantom quad-copter drone’ came close to the helicopter.” The instructor took control of the helicopter and attempted to avoid the drone, but...

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Achtung Mobile Phone: Loose Objects
Mar14

Achtung Mobile Phone: Loose Objects

I was several hours into a tail-wheel conversion course with my instructor at my flying club. During taxi to the runway hold point we heard a ‘thump’ in the aircraft. My mobile phone had fallen out of my back pocket and onto the floor space at the instructor’s feet (the seating configuration of this aircraft type means the occupants sit in front/behind each other rather than side by side). The instructor picked up...

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Wishful Thinking, Darragh Owens
Feb24

Wishful Thinking, Darragh Owens

Confirmation bias is insidious and dangerous – and we all suffer from it. The detail was a long cross-country navigation exercise.  My student Neil had planned a triangular VFR flight of some 200nm, landing at two distant airports, then back to home base. At the end of the day he was hoping for a ‘sign-off’ in his logbook, which would permit him to make the same journey solo, thus fulfilling one of the experience requirements for...

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Kick the Tires… James McBride
Feb17

Kick the Tires… James McBride

Before the flight of every aircraft there is a procedure carried out by the crew. In commercial aviation it is commonly referred to as ‘the walk round’. The function is to act as a final visual inspection of the airframe and engines prior to flight; there will be no further opportunity to inspect the ship. Given the importance of such a task, it is worrying that some pilots appear to treat it so casually. Of course those pilots are...

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Iced Up – Going Down! James McBride
Jan22

Iced Up – Going Down! James McBride

‟London Control, Grosvenor Zero Three Bravo, request descent!ˮ my voice on the R/T may have sounded calm, but I felt far from it. The reassuring voice in my headphones returned with; ‟Standby Grosvenor Zero Three Bravo, maintain Flight Level Niner Zero…ˮ My situation was not good and I knew it. At cruising altitude, nearly nine thousand feet above the Pennines in solid clag. I looked again at the Airspeed Indicator, hmmmm… nearly back...

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Why do we do it? By Darragh Owens
Dec04

Why do we do it? By Darragh Owens

Complying with rules and checklists is a good idea, but we must understand the reasons why they are there In a flying club I instructed in some years ago I was taxiing out towards the runway one afternoon with a PPL student I hadn’t previously met, Chris. As we trundled along, a glance at the windsock told him which way the wind was blowing. Seeing that we were experiencing a head wind coming from the right, he moved the controls...

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