Top Letters And Comments, March 19, 2021


Crash Videos: Horror For The Click

“Myriad unpredictable variables legislate against unyielding rules applied ahead of the fact.”

Absolutely correct. As many have already pointed out, depends on airplane make and model, weight, wind, altitude, location, current pilot proficiency, the pilot’s ability to recognize and accept an engine failure/emergency, process with a fast enough reaction time to actually do something, combined with knowing the true performance of their airplane with a wind milling prop will determine whether a turn back is an option or not. Addressing correctly all of the above will offer the best potential outcome which is still no guarantee one will not die. Any lack of correct answers to all of the above further deteriorates the best possible outcome.

I am firmly convinced, unless one is a test pilot, who is daily mentally prepared for less than ideal aircraft performance with a detailed knowledge of both aircraft systems and test cards, knowing full up the purpose of that particular flight, the average pilot has a very difficult time dealing with the denial of an off airport, emergency landing. Denial, process, acceptance, followed with decisive action based on knowing exactly the correct action for that moment is not something we do well as a rule. None-the-less, every emergency will require dealing with the denial, processing that to acceptance, followed with decisive action based on knowing exactly the correct action for that moment for the most favorable outcome.

Many have survived inflight emergencies that have led to an off airport landing, me included. But gained knowledge from that experience makes me realize each one of these events cannot be handled in a one size fits all package. I managed to do enough right things for the moment in addition to the Grace of God that allows for this post. Does this mean I will do equally well in any other emergency? Maybe, maybe not. Depends…based on all of the above.

I hesitated to view this video for a while. I am not curious to see how violent an accident looks. I know the sound of silence when the fan quits. I know the denial followed by the feeling of abject fear. I know the mental fight, as brief or as long as it was, to fly the airplane. I know how poorly an airplane glides with a wind milling prop. I know the sight picture in the windshield when there appears no options, combined with the sounds, very noisy sounds an airplane makes when making an off airport landing, and the violence of a sudden stop. I, like many other commentators, knows these processes. It’s not something I enjoy revisiting…which those who have similar experiences naturally do over and over again without the aid of a video.

But eventually, I have seen the video, and have commented on it with the hope that my experiences and resulting comments helps another pilot consider all of the human processes that will have to be dealt with for that particular moment. It has led me to be far more intentional in my flying and life in general.

Jim Holdeman

Why Helicopters Get Away With Running Scud

Good article John. It is not the weather (or moonlight) that kills pilots in either type of aircraft, it is pilot decisions that kill. Human Factors kill, and there are a bunch of those to be concerned with. Ego, over-confidence, the need to succeed, the need to complete the “mission,” the need for money, the need to be recognized etc., etc., etc. CRM, plus veto power at all levels, fixed (well mostly fixed) the accident problem for 121. SRM, ADM, and more regulations will not fix the human factors accidents for 91 and 135 ops, especially single pilot ops. System Safety programs at the 91 and 135 levels are only as good as the managers and most of those managers have financial influences guiding their decisions. The Colgan accident at KBUF was the wake-up call for 121. What will it take for 91 and 135 to wake up? We already know that 10 more Kobe accidents won’t change the trajectory for GA.

Jeff Welch

As a still-fairly-new fixed-wing convert to helicopters, I only recently (in the past 3 years) learned about the differing rules for helicopters. Unfortunately, the fixed-wing training world doesn’t provide much information on helicopters other than “yeah, they’re different,” so it’s no wonder that fixed-wing pilots think helicopter pilots are breaking all the rules and getting away with it when the reality is that they’re exactly following the rules. I’m still getting used to being able to use taxiways as “runways,” or even ignoring runways all together and just taking off from present position on whatever heading I wish to depart.

Gary Baluha

Poll: Post Pandemic, Will There Be a Real Pilot Shortage Again?

  • The pilot shortage never went away. The effects of the shortage are going to become brutally apparent after all of the airline salary offsetting to eliminate the highest paid group of pilots on their books. With reduced enrollment in flight schools because of the pandemic the pilot shortage will be more evident than ever going forward.
  • There is a shortage of pilots aged 25-50 years old with decent experience. These are the individuals targeted by the large 121 carriers and corporate flight departments.
  • Yes. Military is very short on pilots.
  • Already here because of early retirements.
  • There will never be a shortage of pilots. There will only be a shortage of good candidates who are willing to fly for low pay (for the fun of it). – David B.
  • Shortage is a ways out but when and if there is another pilot (cockpit manager) shortage it might help move the industry towards the long overdue single pilot cockpit within those aircraft now capable of flying themselves.
  • The demand for qualified pilots will increase. That does not necessarily mean that the “shortage” of pilots will be any more or less “real” as a result!
  • Yes, it’s beginning to start already.
  • Never has been a pilot shortage in this country, never will be in my lifetime. Only a shortage of pilots who want to be paid real wages. – Matt W.
  • Reduced SIC requirements will help ease shortage.
  • Top-class aviation professionals will be hard to find as many leave the industry, or are no longer attracted. Top-ranking employers that invest in their flyers and appreciate their loyalty will have no problems.
  • Yes, but at the lower end of flying jobs only.
  • In 6 months.
  • There was never a pilot shortage, just a pay shortage.
  • Yes, there will be.
  • The airlines are not all of aviation. We need millions of pilots to fill the demand today.
  • Will show up within 18 months.
  • There is extreme hiring and shortage.
  • Yes. 3 months.
  • More than ever before.
  • The problem is qualified pilots that will fit the company dynamics. There will always be a pilot shortage for that.
  • “Pilot Shortage” is not a real issue. GPS jamming IS a real and huge problem!
  • Yes, within 6 – 9 months.
  • Very soon.
  • Yes, in the next few months.

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