September 1999 Issue

Tiny Errors

Minor mistakes are often forgiven, but sometimes they’re not

All pilots have had them, those flights where you make a little mistake and it goes unnoticed for a long time.

Maybe it’s leaving the gear down until you get to cruise, and only then figuring out why the airspeed is so low. Perhaps you left the transponder on standby and didn’t correct it until a gentle reminder crackled over the headset. And some people have been known to forget to turn off the autopilot, which makes a traffic pattern a difficult thing to fly.

The point is that minor problems rarely turn into major ones, because usually they’re caught in time. And even if they’re not caught until the airplane lands, there are few such mistakes that carry severe penalties. Occasional...

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