Point Of Diversion 5 — In The Dark

Should the title of last week's accident report be, "When you gotta go, ya gotta go." Or, "Always know where the nearest airport is." A pilot who needed to make a restroom stop crash-landed instead of landing at an airport 2 miles away. The pilot was not thinking straight -- but he was dealing with a big distraction.

The Point of Diversion (POD) – 1

My previous series of articles was written to help pilots stay "ahead" of the airplane, but if you are a pilot I'm confident you have at some time felt "behind" the airplane. I remember my first takeoff in a complex airplane. Between the landing gear retraction, faster speed, manifold pressure adjustments, and propeller control settings, I never looked outside the airplane once. I thought, "I'm glad this flight instructor is in here taking care of everything." I was so far behind the airplane, it felt like I was sitting in the back seat! The real problem is that "behind the airplane" feeling is a sure sign that situation awareness is gone or on its way out.

Trying not to be an “Old-Fogey”

I'm really not trying to be an old-fogey about this, but I guess I can't help myself. My flight school has just purchased 25 brand new airplanes and each one has a fully IFR capable GPS moving map system. The systems are wonderful, and I should be happy that students will have a very hard time ever getting lost again. I should be happy that calculating an in-flight intercept angle on a vectored NDB approach is a thing of the past. I should be excited that holding patterns are now drawn out for us, but I still have to pause and reflect on what we're giving up.