August 2013 Issue

Safer By The Hour?

Does more experience result in greater safety? Basically, yes, but it’s because experienced pilots do things differently, not necessarily because they’re more skilled.

Earlier this year, I passed the magical 1000 hours total time. I suspect I am safer. But whenever I read NTSB reports, they seem to cover the full range of pilot experience, so I have to question that assumption. Am I really safer or am I just likely to perform a different set of stupid pilot tricks to which pilots of my experience are prone? I certainly feel safer than I did at 100 hours, when I was still intimidated with how to enter the pattern at an unfamiliar airport. I also feel safer than I was at 500 hours, when my big concern was being able to fly an approach in actual IMC and how to properly enter a holding pattern using my fresh instrument rating. I know I can do these now, so I am a bit less intimidated.

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