Learning Experiences

December 2018 Issue

Learning Experiences

Have you encountered a situation or hazardous condition that yielded lessons on how to better manage the risks involved in flying? Do you have an experience to share with Aviation Safety’s readers about an occasion that taught you something significant about ways to conduct safer flight operations? If so, we want to hear about it.

We encourage you to submit a brief (500 words) write-up of your Learning Experience to Aviation Safety for possible publication. Each month, Aviation Safety publishes a collection of similar experiences sent to us by readers. Sharing with others the benefit of your experience and the lessons you learned can be an invaluable aid to other pilots.

You can send your account directly to the editor by e-mailing it to avsafetymag@gmail.com. Put “Learning Experience Submission” in the subject line; add your name and daytime telephone number at the bottom of the e-mail.

Your report will be considered for publication in the Aviation Safety’s readers’ forum, “Learning Experiences,” and may be edited for style and length. Anonymity is guaranteed if you want it. No one but Aviation Safety’s editor is permitted access to the reports. Your name and telephone number are requested only so that the editor can contact you, if necessary.

While we can’t guarantee your submission will get published, we can guarantee that we’ll closely review and consider using it.

All Learning Experience submissions become the property of Aviation Safety and may be republished.

Who’s In Charge?

I started my lessons (at 50 years old!) at an airport called Howell-New Lenox in Illinois. On my first solo, I had to go around due to a back taxi by another student with his instructor (my first exposure to being PIC in a two-pilot operation. But I was cool; I also learned that I was pretty calm in an abnormal situation—when I’m alone.

A few weeks later, after the runways had been plowed after a recent snow, my instructor and I were on short final when she thought I was not going to stay between the snow banks on the sides of the runway. She took control—but didn’t say anything, so I didn’t relinquish control. We did land on the runway, but on rollout we swerved at the runway intersection and nosed into snowbank. We were at very low speed, so we just pulled the plane out and taxied back to the FBO. No damage—just snow under the cowling.

The owner and the chief pilot were livid; however, they immediately berated the instructor. I pointed out that I was PIC; they in turn pointed out that the instructor has ultimate responsibility for safety.

These days, I fly a lot of Young Eagles and I’ll give a ride to anyone who is interested in aviation. And I let them take the controls (above 1500 agl and with my fingers on the edge of the yoke). But I always (always!) insist on the FAA’s positive exchange of controls discipline: “Your airplane—my airplane—your airplane.” When I fly as a safety pilot, or when I have a safety pilot with me, same rule. It’s worked so far!

— Jerry Ossowski