January 2001 Issue

Speck in the Windshield

See-and-avoid fails as Cessna, Bonanza meet over Chicago skyline

A safe flight is a puzzle. Put all the pieces together correctly and you can get a pretty picture indeed. If one piece is missing, you can still see the picture, usually. But sometimes, if the wrong piece is missing, the puzzle is ruined. Unfortunately, when a piece is missing from the safety of flight, the price is higher than merely sighing and putting the puzzle box back in the closet.

Pilots love to talk about accident scenarios in terms of chains. Break one link and the chain fails, sending all of the airplaneís occupants home to have dinner with their loved ones. Itís a nice story. It has closure and finality. Itís also a myth.

An accident can also be caused by something as smal...

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