NTSB Reminds Pilots: Fly-In Arrivals Require Preparation


Just in time for Sun ‘n Fun, the NTSB has issued a new Safety Alert aimed at pilots planning to fly in to an aviation event. “Arrivals at major fly-in events … pose unique challenges for pilots (and air traffic controllers),” the NTSB says, “including extremely high-density traffic, special flight and communication procedures, a rapidly changing environment, and changes to air traffic control separation standards.” Accidents have occurred, the NTSB says, when pilots were too slow and used an excessive bank angle (resulting in an accelerated stall), or overshot the runway when turning to final from a base leg or downwind leg (resulting in a cross-control stall).

Other issues that have contributed to accidents in the past include a lack of adequate preparation in reviewing the FAA’s NOTAM prior to the event. “These NOTAMs are critical to ensuring flight safety because they contain special operational procedures, including arrival and departure routes, communication procedures, and other crucial safety information,” the NTSB says. In addition, the environment of a major fly-in event, with crowds of people watching, may create pressure for pilots to continue an approach they are uncomfortable with rather than go around. “Several preventable loss-of-control accidents have occurred on arrival to such events because pilots have inadvertently exceeded their own performance limitations or those of their aircraft while operating in these unique environments,” the NTSB said. The Safety Alert includes several tips to help pilots ensure they are prepared, as well as links to additional information.

Pilots can review and download the entire text of the Safety Alert here (PDF).
The Notam for Sun ‘n Fun is posted here (PDF).