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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Preventing Helicopter Accidents, Helen Krasner
Nov20

Preventing Helicopter Accidents, Helen Krasner

Despite how it often looks at the time, few helicopter accidents are the result of only one factor. Many are said afterwards to have happened due to human error, pilot error, or whatever term you prefer, but they actually tend to occur because a number of things go awry at the same time. Poor weather, navigation problems, fatigue, stress, distraction – all of these are contributory factors in many rotary accidents. Yet most helicopter...

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HELICOPTER INSTRUCTOR – PILOT OR SOCIAL WORKER?
Nov01

HELICOPTER INSTRUCTOR – PILOT OR SOCIAL WORKER?

Teaching students to fly any type of aircraft is probably as much about people skills as it is about flying. You have to relate to all types of individual and must often adapt your teaching style to their aptitude, previous life experience, attitude to flying, and so on. Perhaps this applies particularly to helicopter flying, which can be very difficult for many students, at least in the beginning. I’m sure all rotary...

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