Features

October 2013 Issue

Flying Defensive Patterns

Mid-airs usually happen in the traffic pattern. Be where you’re expected, and expect the other guy to do it wrong.

All pilots fear mid-air collisions (MACs), even though they’re relatively rare. The AOPA Air Safety Institute’s 2011 Nall Report, an annual look-see at general aviation’s safety record in the U.S., found only four of them. That means the other 1373 accidents occurring in the U.S. during 2010, the year examined, involved other causes, including the always-interesting stupid pilot tricks. Of the four mid-airs in 2010, one of them involved no fatalities; in only one MAC did everyone aboard both aircraft suffer fatal injuries.

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