March 1999 Issue

Go With the Flow? Check

Checklists, memory, flow checks all have a place in an effectively managed cockpit

The pilot of a single-engine experimental airplane climbed into the left seat, started the engine, taxied out to the runway at his California home base, and advanced the throttle for takeoff. As the plane left the ground, he discovered the awful truth.

After his last flight, he had wrapped the seat belt on the right seat around the right yoke, using the belt as a gust lock. Somehow, he’d forgotten to release the belt before takeoff. The airplane stalled and veered left of the runway. In the crash, the pilot was seriously injured.

You’re laughing now, wondering how someone could be so, well, careless as to take off with the seat belt wrapped around the yoke. This is an extreme case of f...

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