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How To Fly Safely in 2010

by John M. White |

As we reach the end of 2009 we can look back and reflect upon how well we kept our passengers and aircraft safe last year. Looking forward we need to focus on how we can improve upon 2009. We can start our review by looking at the multi-engine airline category to see if there are any trends we should be aware of. For 2009 there have been 30 airline accidents with 757 fatalities, which compares to the 10 year average for airlines of 32 airline accidents per year and an average of 802 fatalities. In other words, airline safety hasn't changed much in the last 10 years.
If you are curious about which segment of aviation has the best safety record, you need only take a quick glance at the following chart: Which type of flying is safer?
Type of Flight Fatalities per million flight hours
Airliner (Scheduled and nonscheduled Part 121) 4.03
Commuter Airline (Scheduled Part 135) 10.74
Commuter Plane (Nonscheduled Part 135 - Air taxi on demand) 12.24
General Aviation (Private Part 91) 22.43
As you can see the airlines continue to have the best record, while general aviation has the worst record. Another interesting chart is this one, which shows the percentage of accidents and fatalities by phase of flight: Accidents By Phase of Flight All of this information, I am sure, is interesting to those of us who venture into the wild blue yonder, but perhaps there is more we can do to improve the numbers. For example, here are 5 things you can do to improve your very own safety quotient:
  1. If you own an airplane, take the holiday and spend some time reviewing the material in your aircraft manual. You may be surprised at what you learn!;
  2. Grab your copy of the Airman's Information Manual and spend some time refreshing yourself on the information it contains concerning your typical aircraft operations;
  3. If you don't have an instrument rating get a few refresher hours of flight time under the hood with an instrument instructor;
  4. Visit with some of your fellow pilots at the airport and see what is going on that everyone is concerned about, and then try to do something about it;
  5. Set a goal for yourself for the new year to become a better pilot by really spending some time with a local flight examiner or instructor to make sure you are familiar with current rules and acceptable operating practices.
Each of us needs to make our primary goal the safety of our passengers and ourselves first. Don't just wait two years for that biennial flight review, make it a goal to get a flight review more often and rid ourselves of those bad habits we may have picked up along the way. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 "The best safety device is the pilot, who, deep down, regardless of the aircraft, retains a sense of fallibility and vulnerability. No system can ever substitute for that." — Arnold Reiner, retired airline captain and a former director of flight safety at Pan Am, end of 'Pilots on Autopilot' op-ed, 'The New York Times,' 16 December 2009.

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