by Christopher Roy
MnDOT Office of Aeronautics
The holidays are here and we are firmly in winter’s grasp. Ice and snow are the norm, and temperatures that are never even fun to talk about, have settled into the region. But it is still a great time to fly, and it is also a great time to begin improving our safety practices.
In about 80% of aircraft accidents, the aircraft itself is working fine until a runway incursion accident, controlled flight into terrain, stalls, spins, or loss of control happens. Through all of these situations, there is one very important and common link. That is the “pilot.”
The pilot is the one in charge of the flight. He or she is the one who, from the moment they climb into the aircraft until the moment their flight is completed and they climb out, remains the person responsible for the safe operation of that aircraft. From walk-around, to taxi, to flight, to landing, to shutdown and securing the aircraft on the ramp, the pilot-in-command IS the responsible party.
Everything related to the safe operation of that aircraft in all phases of its operation, must be done with forethought, intelligence, sound judgment, and care. It matters little whether you are flying a J-3 or a G-650, the principles and rules are the same. You, as the pilot-in-command, are responsible! Thus, you are the key to safety in aviation.
Please be sure to plan well before you fly, and stay alert when you fly. Remember to close your flight plan, and before you shut down, check 121.5/406 MHz to be sure your ELT hasn’t accidentally turned on.
Enjoy the winter season and the spectacular vistas it has to offer.