July 2008 Issue

Proper Maintenance of Your Aircraft

When little things start piling up, itís time to listen to that inner voice telling you to step back and troubleshoot the situation.

We all have had a life experience or two in which we "should have known" about the results of a decision and could kick ourselves for not heeding our instincts. When it comes to flying safely, the need to follow those internal alarms is all the more important. For example, there is a big difference between instrument flying where we need to faithfully heed the data on the panel in spite of our inner ear sensations and the attention we should pay to our "sixth sense" of self-preservation when we get hints from the aircraft systems that something isnít right. We often fly with other pilots and, depending on our role in the cockpit, we may notice more or less about the aircraft or environment. When a system offers up a hint, we analyze it and take some action, but do we take enough action or give enough credence to our sixth sense of feelings about the potential impact on the flight? Can that inner warning be "waived off" by a casual remark from the other pilot or a controller? Letís look at some instances and examples.

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