to the Basics
aviation accidents and incidents are the direct result of
not using basic skills and procedures learned as a student
pilot. Just as in many athletic activities, flying proficiency
is dependent upon mastering a core set of basic skills. It
is only after these fundamentals become second nature that
the finer points can be addressed. But professionals also
recognize that the basics are more than a foundation for greater
proficiency. In aviation, where the consequences of neglecting
the basics can be severe, these fundamental priciples must
be incorporated as ongoing, integral aspects of the profession.
sports, the losing coach's lament, "We need to get back
to basics and focus on the fundamentals," is heard so
often that it has become a cliché. As the following
ASRS reports show, the same sentiment is also expressed in
thorough preflight is fundamental to a safe and successful
flight. As this E145 Captain found, a thorough (and persistent)
preflight can save the day when another member of the team
forgets the basics.
preflight... there was something visible in the left logo
light area. We requested maintenance to check it out. Maintenance
told us that there was nothing wrong, that it was just the
logo light housing. I have done numerous preflights and had
never seen this before. I demanded that a lift be used to
inspect the area. A maintenance technician and I went to the
top of the tail where we found a bucking bar used for riveting.
Who knows how long this tool was there. If it got lodged in
the control cables, a fatal accident could have occurred.
The tool could have been left there from manufacturing, but
I doubt it. There were no identifying marks on it. Our maintenance
and quality assurance people need to be a little more careful.
Keeping track of tools is basic.
pilot of this C182 learned the hard way that there is a basic
principle that should be followed when starting any aircraft:
No aircraft engine should be started or allowed to run unless
a competent operator is at the controls.
engine would not turn over. The prop was probably up against
the compression/power stroke and either a weak battery or
starter was unable to move it "over the hump." This
had happened before, so I turned off the ignition, battery,
and alternator switches and got out to hand pull the prop
through.... When I pulled it, I heard the engine fire up.
I jumped and ran from the prop before it could hit me. The
plane began to move forward. I ran around to get in and shut
it down, but the door had blown closed. I was unable to open
the latch while running and holding the strut. I finally fell
down and did a flip on the tarmac. The plane moved across
the airport about a half-mile to the airport boundary....
There was a drop-off along the fence line... where the nose
dug in. The airport manager was jumping in his truck as I
ran up, so we followed the plane until it stopped. The ditch
had about a foot of water in it. I waded out, got in to ensure
the switches were off and turned the fuel tank selector off....
had not set the parking brake nor chocked the plane. The throttle
was cracked for start.... Don't trust the ignition to be off
just because the switch is in the OFF position. More obviously,
set the parking brake prior to a "pull through"
as well as before start. Basic stuff.
course the pilot did not expect the aircraft to start while
he was out of the cockpit, which is why it pays to always
follow basic prop procedures: Before
moving a propeller, ensure that the mixture is at idle cutoff,
the magnetos are off, the key is removed, the master switch
is in the off position, the parking brake is set, and the
aircraft is chocked.
technological advances introduce new procedures, most of the
basic principles of aviation remain the same. As this CL65
crew learned, those quaint old basics that applied to 20th
century flying machines and airmen still apply in the 21st
Captain was the pilot flying. We were cleared by Ground Control
to taxi from Gate 1 to Runway 20. I reviewed the airport diagram,
advised the captain of the taxi route, and then proceeded
to input takeoff data in the FMS. The next thing I heard was
ground calling for us to, "Stop right there." I
looked up and saw that we were headed to Runway 14 and were
about to cross Runway 20 at Taxiway D. We should have been
on Taxiway N. Fortunately, there were no other aircraft around....
We turned the aircraft around then used the correct taxiway.
The Captain had not been here recently (neither had I), but
it really isn't that complicated. I was pretty busy with my
head down loading data into the FMS (no excuse). But for a
very alert ground controller, we would have taxied across
an active runway.... Things get pretty busy in 21st century
aircraft, but you still need to pay attention to the basics-
what you are doing, and where you are going!
C310 pilot's experience shows just how easy it is to let a
preconceived notion and a bit of complacency interfere with
basic operating procedures.
landed on Runway 1...dropped someone off, and immediately called
the tower to say that I was departing again. I was expecting
Runway 1 and began taxiing toward the end of the ramp. The tower
gave me taxi instructions which I read back (still mentally
fixated on Runway 1). Although I read back the taxi instructions,
I didn't really listen to them.... As I approached Taxiway A
(which was on the way to Runway 1).... The controller said to
stop right there and hold short of Runway 25, which I did....
The controller then said, "Cleared to depart Runway 25
at Taxiway A." I was mentally sorting out my confusion...
saw that a left turn onto the runway was aligned with my landing
on Runway 1, proceeded to turn left onto Runway 7, and departed.
Once airborne, the controller informed me that I took off from
the wrong runway. This is the second time I've noticed that
I "let my guard down" on the Part 91 leg of a Part
135 day. This incident has reinforced my efforts to "get
back to the basics," the same basics that I learned as
a private pilot and the same basics that should apply no matter
who you are, what your level of ratings, experience, or the
immediacy of the mission.
the following report, two pilots allowed training environment
distractions to cause their departure from the basics.
departure, my student did not level off below the overlying...Class
B airspace and I did not catch it. At 4,300 feet MSL, the tower
said, "Maintain clear of Class B." We descended back
down below 4,000 feet immediately.
was paying attention to my student's handling of the aircraft.
I did not remember that we were under the...Class B, which
I know begins at 4,000 feet MSL. My student knows this also
since he is based there....
In the training environment, we must both pay attention
to the basics!
multi-tasking helicopter pilot demonstrated that, no matter
what the mission, the number one priority has to be accomplishing
everything related to safely flying the aircraft.
landing I began to think about the [clearance] the controller
had given me.... I think he may have said that he needed me
at 500 feet while enroute for passing under the Runway 33 approach
course. If that was true, I should have descended to 500 feet
and then proceeded on course. The bottom line is, I should have
known exactly what he wanted, but I did not. I believe that
I made a mistake in not giving 100% attention to the ATC instructions.
When flying a multi-task job, i.e. [media], EMS, power line
[patrol], lift work, etc., there can be many distractions from
the customer that have little or nothing to do with the immediate
job of flying the aircraft. In the future, I will lock out the
[company] radios while receiving a clearance or ATC instructions....
I am going back to the basics- first the aircraft and ATC, then
I'll take care of any company business.
what seems like a rather extreme case of failure to learn
fundamental phraseology, this Air Traffic Controller points
out the need for flight instructors to cover all of the basics
before releasing a student for solo flight.
was working local control and ground control. I had a line
of arrivals on Runway 9, and a C172 approaching Runway 36.
The air carrier that was number one for Runway 9 did not accept
LAHSO (Land and Hold Short) clearances, so I instructed the
C172 to make a low approach at or above 500 feet. He asked
me to repeat. I did, and he said, "Roger." The C172
then landed and held short of Runway 9. The pilot called the
tower and said that he did not know what a low approach was.
The air carrier aircraft did not comment about the C172 landing
on an intersecting runway. It seems to me that students are
released too soon before they fully learn the basics.
instructor and student duo teams up to drive home the point
that distractions are a common hazard in the training environment.
was teaching a student pilot night landings. We were on a
visual approach and cleared to land on Runway 7. We were having
a difficult time finding and identifying the airport because
of all the city lights and didn't see the runway until we
were only two miles out. We began a quick descent and set
up for landing .... Because we got a late start on the approach
and because I was distracted with instructing a student, I
did not realize we were landing on the wrong runway.... Had
this happened during a busy time, it could have been a dangerous
situation. This was definitely a wake-up call for me. It's
time to get back to basics. I am ultimately responsible for
what happens in the airplane and I must always be completely
aware of where I am and what is going on.
Alerts Issued in April 2005
or aircraft equipment
facility or procedure
procedure or equipment
April 2005 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots