At Hartzell Propeller, we manufacture propellers, but our top priority is always safety. We’re passionate about proficiency and believe that ongoing training and education will help keep the skies safer for everyone.
We recently asked our followers on social media, “What’s a tip that made you a better pilot?” Gathering their input, we put together this list of the top flight safety tips that have resonated with the general aviation community.
#1. Any successful flight starts with thoughtful and precise preparation. Inadequate preflight planning and inspections can lead to disaster. Follow your preflight checklists carefully and pay attention to easily overlooked items, such as the aircraft propeller. Resist the urge to rush through your checklist, take shortcuts, or become complacent in your preflight routine.
#2: Prioritize your tasks. Task saturation is a common problem for general aviation pilots, especially when dealing with inclement weather. When your task load gets too high, especially in an emergency, remember to “aviate, navigate, communicate.” First and foremost, fly the airplane. Then, only once the airplane is in control, turn your attention to navigating and communicating with ATC or passengers.
#3: Fly the airplane as far through the crash as possible. This piece of timeless advice originated from Bob Hoover, who was instrumental in the field of air safety. Hoover’s wise words remind us that when faced with an emergency, always maintain control of the airplane for as long as possible.
#4: If in doubt, there is no doubt: Don’t risk it. Before you take to the skies, give yourself an assessment to determine your overall readiness to fly. Run through the “I’M SAFE” checklist, which stands for illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue, and emotion. If you have any doubts about your mental or physical health before a flight, don’t risk it.
#5: Don’t let get-there-itis get the best of you. Even the most experienced pilots can slip up and disregard warnings, instinct, and common sense in an effort to reach their destinations on time. If you find yourself in this situation, remember another common pilot tip: It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground. There will be another day to fly.