November 2000 Issue

A Game of Inches

A flight into terrain misses being merely a close call by the barest of margins

A look at accident statistics can be a bit haunting. The NTSB has determined that about 80 to 85 percent of general aviation accidents are caused by human error. While some kind of equipment failure or weather problem may contribute to the accident, the fact remains that bad judgment and lousy decisions are what usually lead to bent metal and broken lives.

Many times the pilotís mistakes are induced by outside pressures. The desire to get home, make a meeting, meet a schedule, beat weather or impress someone can lead to shortcuts and risky maneuvers. Often the pilot gets away with it, which reinforces the possibility that it will happen again. Sometimes, however, the pilotís luck runs ou...

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