Aviation insurance company Avemco teamed up with the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) last week to discuss some of the common safety issues and pilot personality traits highlighted by the types of insurance claims filed after aircraft accidents. Presented by pilot and head of Avemco’s underwriting operations Mike Adams, the seminar focused on data collected and analyzed by the Airmanship Education Research Initiative (AERI), a study that evaluated “claim files of fatal accidents, [and] talked to pilots, instructors, and insurance underwriters to see what common traits accident pilots possessed vs. traits of pilots that had not had an accident.”
Adams noted that AERI’s findings suggest the industry is, in general, doing a good job passing along the practical experience necessary to promote accident-free flying. “We found that doing was important and that the industry overall teaches us what to do,” said Adams. “The thing that was surprising was that often we as pilots know what to do, we just fail to do it.” The discussion reiterated much of what is already known about personality traits associated with those failures, emphasizing that pilots who can compartmentalize, exercise professional detachment when making decisions, demonstrate a commitment to doing things right, know their boundaries and admit their shortcomings are significantly less likely to be the subject of accident-related insurance claims than those who do not display those traits.
A willingness to engage in training activities was also noted in pilots with lower accident rates, with Avemco data showing that pilots who were involved in landing accidents averaged 373 days from their last flight instruction experience. Addressing risks of aircraft damage, Adams identified some incidences of claims filed with Avemco resulting from leaving towbars attached, unsecured pets in the cockpit, improper hangaring procedures and gear-up landings. He stressed that such occurrences are often the result of pilots rushing or getting distracted. The presentation was given as part of NAFI’s Mentor Live program, which hosts free webinars on the third Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m. Eastern on a wide range of topics of interest to the flight instruction industry (and other aviators, too). It can be viewed at https://www.mentorlive.site/program/24.html. AERI was led by Dr. Bill Rhodes and partially funded by Avemco.