March 2008 Issue

How Not To Get Experience

For the new private pilot wanting to use an airplane for personal transportation, getting experience is critical. How to get it is even more important.

Itís said we learn to make good decisions by experience, and that experience results from making bad decisions. The flaw in this plan is that in flying, bad decisions can have awful consequences. How can we learn to make good flying decisions without exposing ourselves and our passengers to undue risk? What are we as an industry doing wrong, that pilots regularly make such poor decisions about safety of flight? After all, as much as 80 percent of all aircraft mishaps result from a chain of poor decisions on the part of the pilot, with actual mechanical issues being secondary if they indeed are a factor at all. I think whatís going on is the whole culture of how we "learn to fly."

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