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Personal procedures you've introduced to your flying as a result of reading accident reports

Great thread. Some things on my list, probably obvious:

  1. Restart walkaround if I get interrupted
  2. Use the same “procedure” each time I prepare the aircraft
  3. Check fuel every flight, always be there during fueling
  4. Formal takeoff and landing briefing – main focus is airspeed, AoA, engine failure, and “Sum Ting Wong”
  5. No rolls after takeoff – this has killed more pilots than you would image
  6. No showing off to people on the ground – it feels like it looks more amazing than it does
  7. Fly with time options – always expect the trip to take a week extra – avoids “get-there-itis”
Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

I brief every departure and approach and call out every checklist out loud, whether alone or not. I do this as if I had a copilot next to me who was expecting to acknowledge every callout. This prevents me from getting lazy and shortcutting something like an approach briefing or checklist I know by heart. For my approach and landing checklists, I have altitude-based for IFR and non-standard VFR approaches and position-based for standard VFR circuits.

EHRD, Netherlands

Re towbar.

Last thing before I get in the plane is stand in front and look back – check towbar off, pitot covers off, tyres, etc. Is a good way to doublecheck the walkaround but from a different perspective.

Upper Harford, United Kingdom

VFR basic PPL. Fixed undercarriage. One tank, and cannot dip it. Have taken-off with pitot cover on. No problem, long runway, landed straight ahead. Did get into cloud below hills in the Great Glen soon after revalidating my PPL in 1987, on first trip to Glenforsa with student PPL pax. Did a 180, she monitored my flying, we got clear and continued to Mull.
Flew 1000 hours in a Jodel with no AI. Was very careful to avoid cloud forming situations, and no horizon over sea.
I have a handheld radio, a knife to break the canopy, a PLB with GPS, wear a lifejacket, carry a basic survival kit, have a CO alarm, check aircraft before flying, am careful with weight and C of G, check forecast and observe actual weather on flight.
I often change my plan in flight.
I read NTSB reports, and this year the number of “Loss of Control” fatalities near or on the airfield is surprisingly large. Including lack of climb performance for the conditions.

EGPE, United Kingdom

I think you have misinterpreted the OP with regards to looking at the airlines.
Your suggestion to improve the statistics is exactly what the OP ment. Find out why past accidents have happend and learn from them.

And even if GA pilots don’t get paid to fly as a professional doesn’t mean GA pilots can’t have a professional attitude.
Always trying to improve in avery aspect is the main one for me


As @eurogaguest1980 stated above, I keep an eye on „sterile“ preflight. No chatting, no interruptions.

Based on personal experience with an unreliable baggage door lock leading to door opening during T/O from that day on the door is either wide open with key remaining in the lock or closed and locked.

I am especially cautious or better suspicious after maintenance. Do a more than detailed preflight and watch all parameters even closer than usual.
Examples of post maintenance issues:
- Oil dipstick missing, was found on top of engine when looking into cowl from the front
- GS (GPS) consistently higher than IAS, found a pitot leak after avionics update due to improper reuse of old and brittle tubing by installer

EDAQ, Germany

IMO the OP is absolutely right when he relates changes in personal procedures due to accident reports.
At the risk of hijacking this thread I hope it is not going off topic to demonstrate one way in which the FFA REX, does exactly what the OP suggests except that it is not an accident report.
Below I give a translated precis of a recent reported event.

Warning this is not for Skygods with nothing to learn.

“Flight on 23/07/2021 at LFXX for TDP. After doing my pre-flight and checking the weather forecast, I noticed a ceiling of 2000ft. Being a young patent and seeing that the weather conditions were starting to deteriorate, I decided to seek advice from an instructor to find out if my flight was feasible. Following this exchange, I decided to leave in flight. After listening to ATIS, I take note that the ceiling has dropped to 1700ft. I’m not really worried because the TDPs are at 1600ft and I stay close to the track if the conditions get worse. So I put my DR401 on and rolled to hold point XX. Then, I take off runway XX. After performing my actions after takeoff. I started a right turn, continuing my climb towards 1600 ft. Seeing some barbs on my right, I tell myself that it will not be a problem to continue my crosswind. As I continue to climb, I end up entering a more dense and dark layer. I’m starting to worry but always with the idea that I’ll end up quietly getting out of this layer. Suddenly, I realize that my lean has gone from 30 ° lean to 45 °. This was when I felt a big rush of adrenaline. So at this moment I quickly put my wings flat while maintaining my altitude (1400Ft) and my heading. I finally get out of the diaper. I arrive in an open area where I can see the ground, but no longer the airstrip. I lost my bearings. I can’t figure out where I am. So I put myself on hold by doing 360s from the left. Air traffic control tells me that I am number two and that I have to call back once in the final. So I explained the situation to him, I put myself on hold until it cleared up a bit. The air traffic controller then gave me a course to follow to find my tailwind. I then decided to follow the given course, quite hesitant because I did not want to return to the layer. I am then on that heading and then I use my GPS to find my location. A short while later, I saw the control tower and therefore the track on my right cross. The air traffic controller regularly informed me of my position in relation to the runway. I finished my lap calmly and then landed safely.
What I remember. I have blindly trusted METAR and ATIS. I should have taken a critical approach to shared data, including checking when it was released. I should have stayed below the layer, given some leeway, and done a low height TDP. I also neglected tools like GPS, which could have reassured me and especially given me my position in relation to the track. Indeed, not thinking I would use it, I had not fixed it. I found myself in a situation of great uncertainty and stress. A situation in which I lost my lucidity, because I was surprised and tunneled. So I relied on what I was taught during my PPL training and during the VSV session, which is to put the wings flat, keep your altitude and wait to get out of the layer. I have already experienced the feeling of being in a cloud, because my VSV session was done in IFR. Honestly, being a young card holder, without this experience I probably wouldn’t have had the same reflexes and this flight wouldn’t have had the same end.

Summary of the action plan:
Corrective actions: pilot debriefings with his IF and the SV manager, navigation with his IF in demonstrative weather conditions.
Preventive actions:
Taking into account in training the recommendations appearing in the above summary; moreover, pilots will be encouraged to carry out training flights in real IMC conditions with an FI-IR (by separating VFR and IFR students)."


That’ll teach me to get lazy and rely on Google translate.
TDP=Tour de piste= A circuit
VSV = Vol sans Visibilité = the 5 hours training under goggles for PPL ie on intruments.
Last line should read “by sharing VFR and IFR student flights.” I think.


LeSving wrote:

My experience is that ATPL pilots are considerably better with the basics than the average PPL pilot. They simply are better at handling the aircraft. Why? because they have more hours or has had better training? I don’t know. It’s rather funny actually. I used to be of the impression (for no good reason actually) that airline pilots only were good at pushing buttons They are all good pilots, at least that is my personal experience. If PPL pilots on average were this good, the accident statistics will plummet for sure. Lots of very good PPL pilots also, it’s just that the average gets pulled down by many not so good.

One of the subject at a recent meeting within the Swiss homebuilder’s association was accident rate reduction. One of my colleagues, also retired ATPL, mentioned: “well, in the airlines selection starts at the assessment”. I think he was right in that to become a “Button Pusher” (I prefer “Aircraft Flight Manager” ) for an established airline, there are many hurdles to jump. Many a wannabe does not make it…
Another thing that helps is the constant training, and checking the airline environment provides.
Last but not least, Big Brother, aka FDM (flight data monitoring), achieved strides in aviation safety. Hundreds of parameters recorded during each leg are dumped and sent to the safety dept after every landing. Any exceedance is flagged, and if severe enough, might even ground you on the spot… but I digress.

In a nutshell, the ATPL has been selected, trained, and is usually proficient. Unfortunately there were, and will be, some very unfortunate FU performed by ATPLs, but the chances of those happening has been reduced by the means at disposal as of today. Fully automated flying looming…

Life's short... enjoy!
LSZF, Switzerland

gallois wrote:

That’ll teach me to get lazy and rely on Google translate.


What are the “barbs”?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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