Unicom

July 2004 Issue




Unicom: 07/04

Who’s Safer?
As a lifetime subscriber to your magazine I just want to tell you what a great job you are doing. Your magazine has made me a much better pilot. I do have a question, though: Have you done any studies regarding high-time pilot accidents vs. low-time pilot accidents (GA only)? Are high-time pilots safer (or at least involved in fewer accidents) than low-time pilots? Seems to me that for every 200-300 hour pilot who has an accident, there is 2000-3000 hour pilot who has an accident as well.

-Kevin Hughes
Via e-mail


We’re glad you keep coming back, Kevin.

To answer your question, we turned to the NTSB, and its “Annual Review of Aircraft Accident Data, U.S. General Aviation, Calendar Year 1999.” According to the NTSB, there were 1874 accidents in 1999 for which the pilot’s total flight time is available. Of those accidents, 47.9% involved pilots with fewer than 1000 hours of flight time. The largest percentage of accident pilots in this group had between 100 and 200 hours total time. A total of 446 pilots had 300 hours or fewer. When compared to all accident pilots with available data, approximately 24% of accident pilots had 300 hours of flight experience or less. So, according to the NTSB, experience matters.

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Slip-up?
I have been an advocate of Aviation Safety for a long time and promote it to fellow pilots. I have a question about the picture on page 9 in the April issue. The lower picture depicts a slip to the right but it appears the rudder is also to the right. What is going on here?

I fly an A-36 Bonanza when I have to get there, but enjoy my PA-18 Super Cub for real flying. The slip is a must, especially with a no-flap aircraft and, quite frankly, they are fun to practice and master. Putting the aircraft where you want it on the runway should be a priority for all pilots, both professionals and weekend warriors.

It’s been a while since I went through training—are they teaching slips in the private pilot programs?

-Jay Wyatt
Via e-mail


Jay, you’re right—the lower image should depict the rudder deflected to the left. Our graphic artist has been taken out and flogged with an aileron from a run-out Cub.

Meanwhile, the FAA still has the forward slip in its latest version of the Practical Test Standards for the Private Pilot-Airline certificate, so somebody is still teaching them.

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TAAs
Mr. Haberman’s comments regarding the need for transition training for technically advanced aircraft (TAA) like the Cirrus and others is well-taken. The FAA, in partnership with Cirrus, Cessna, Embry Riddle, University of North Dakota, National Association of Flight Instructors and others, has developed transition training plans for teaching pilots to master the new technology coming down the pike. You can find information about this training on the FAA’s Web site.

Mr. Haberman’s comment regarding accidents being caused by (pilots’) lack of knowledge of installed GPSes and autopilots and thus implied that manufacturers were responsible for not informing pilots how to use them is way off base. The PIC is responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft.

Information on how to operate the autopilot and navigation equipment is found in the supplements section of the aircraft flight manual. Lack of skill or knowledge required of a pilot to safely operate an aircraft rests solely with the pilot.

-Jeff Edwards
2003 National Flight Instructor of the Year
Via e-mail


The “General Aviation Technically Advanced Aircraft FAA – Industry Safety Study” you referenced, is available on the FAA’s Web site at www.faa.gov/avr/afs/FITS/documents/TAA Final Report.pdf.

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Strapping In
The staff report entitled “Strapping In” (April 2004) was most interesting to me as it related to my flying as well as my other hobby of vintage automobile racing, where even my 76-year-old car is closely scrutinized as to belt locations, buckle and attach points. The front lap belts on my 1980 Mooney, which I believe are factory issue, are attached to the seat frames, and the detachable shoulder belts, without inertial reels, are attached to the roll cage above the occupants’ outboard shoulders. Both ends of the lap belt can be adjusted as to length and it is thus possible to locate the buckle anywhere from the left hip to the right hip. I have flown many pilots in this aircraft, and have noted a general tendency to center the belt buckle in the midline before attaching the shoulder strap.

With a single shoulder strap, the only satisfactory location for the main buckle, to which the shoulder strap attaches, is at or very near the bony prominence of the pelvic bone, opposite the side of attachment of the shoulder belt to the roll cage above the shoulder. The buckle and excess belt should be clear of the trim wheel or other controls. Any possible submarining is minimized, and the shoulder belt, when attached, covers the largest possible diagonal across the torso.

-Cordell Bahn
Via e-mail