Features

October 2007 Issue

Why Can’t We Maneuver?

Low-level maneuvering accidents are increasing. Why many of them can be traced to poor decision making and what we can do about it.

Most airplanes spend the vast majority of their lives in straight and level flight; climbing, turning and descending only as necessary to get on and off a runway. Itís when pilots start yanking and banking, however gently and smoothly their control inputs, that problems start to ariseóand the accident rate starts to increase. And when the yanking and banking takes place close to the ground, any error margin becomes slimmer still. In fact, according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation (AOPA ASF) and its 2006 Nall Report, "maneuvering flight accounted for one-third of all fatal accidents" in 2005, the most recent year for which complete data is available.

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