Even the most seasoned pilots have been known to make mistakes while flying. A lot of experience can give many pilots a false sense of confidence, while more inexperienced pilots may not fully appreciate the danger posed by a particular set of circumstances. While fewer pilots are currently flying, now is a good time for a reminder on how to fly safely when you’re back in the cockpit.
Here are the 4 Most Common Mistakes Pilots Make While Flying. (And how to avoid them!)
Like we mentioned in the article about Common Mistakes made during planning, checklists play a key role in assuring a trouble-free flight. After flying the same kind of aircraft a few times, pilots tend to remember most items by heart. But nobody’s memory is perfect, and pilots can often fail to remember a critical element that can be vital for the safe continuation of the flight. There is a checklist for every phase of flight, so be sure and physically grab the checklist and go through each element. Make sure that you are not running through it just for the sake of it. Instead, take you time to assess that everything is in the right position.
Inexperienced pilots tend to look at the instrument panel too much and forget about all the information outside the aircraft. For example, items such as weather, and situation awareness, including traffic are all there to see. Remember, if you are flying VFR, make sure you are spending most of your time looking outside and that the best attitude indicator (AI) is the horizon in your windscreen. If you find it tough to not keep looking at the instrument panel, simply cover up the screens of your instruments. That way, you’ll be forced to look outside.
While communication is critical, especially in busy airspace, miscommunication is quite common between ATC and pilots. While in flight, be sure to actively listen to what ATC is saying and try not to anticipate an answer to a request you would have made. Have them repeat what they said or ask for clarification if needed. When talking, be concise and speak as clearly and directly as possible. And try not to speak too fast. That can just lead to confusion. Communications begin even before you take off. For example, you can learn a lot by listening to frequencies while on the ground like https://www.liveatc.net/ which features live air traffic.
No, this doesn’t mean sitting in the last row of the aircraft. Falling behind the aircraft refers to not being ready for what comes next and experiencing a general feeling of being overwhelmed in the aircraft. This usually happens in phases of flight were pilots are busy such as arrivals and approaches. To ensure you stay ahead in the game, make sure you are well prepared. Review the approach plates and airport diagrams during pre-flight planning or times en-route when you are less busy. If you find you need more time, slow the aircraft down and notify ATC. You could, for example, ask for a delaying vector or a hold while you are getting reorganized and catching up on a checklist.
The next time you fly, keep these 4 key common mistakes in mind and enjoy a safe flight!
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