Southwest Aviation Report

- and how to avoid them
by David L. McKenzie

The video series is an important safety work that needs to be viewed by all of us on a regular and repeat basis. Buy them.

If you knew me personally that would be enough for you to know that I must have been really impressed. I ordinarily hate videos. I like to read about flying,. I can then use my own experience and imagination to understand the concepts. Mainly, however, I like to fly. I have 4000 logged hours over 17 years and not one of them is in a simulator. I would like to fly the modern, motion simulators but I don't have easy access. Videos normally lose me because they either arc boring lecture-type presentations with visual aids or they are so poorly produced and edited that they are distracting in the extreme. The 17 Most Popular Ways to Fall Out of the Sky suffers from none of these infirmities.

First of all, the writers and producers took the AOPA Safety Foundation data on accidents in the last 6-7 years and categorized them into the top 17. Then they wrote and produced 17 short dramatic presentations or vignettes to illustrate them in the real world.

The four tapes are organized into (1) Pre-flight Preparation and Take-off. (II) Cruise and En route, (III) Approach and Landing and (IV) Your Body in Flight. They cost $39.95 each or $139.95 for a single tape with all four segments on it. Buy the single tape, it saves you $20.00 and lets you watch the 2 hours 25 minutes straight through if you want with no hassle.

The vignettes are introduced by Bob Hoover, as are the instructors. The intro is watching Bob Hoover put his Shrike Aero Commander through its air show paces, both from the ground and from the cockpit. I might have bought the tape just for that. The instructors that narrate and interpret the vignettes arc from the Air Force and Navy test pilot programs.

Your are shown a 172 trying to get off the ground at Big Bear under conditions that made it impossible. It would lift off, the stall horn would blare, it would settle back to the runway, it would lift off again. You listen to the pilot's thinking process. You hear the instructor's explanation of what's going wrong. All you miss is seeing the actual crash. They had a big budget for these tapes but not that big.

I'm multi-engine rated but am not current since I own a single and fly it exclusively. I especially enjoyed the vignette and computer graphics explanation of the engine loss on take-off scenario using a twin Cessna. Vmc was explained better that I ever heard it in my training.

I was also impressed watching a pilot trying to get an overgrossed and aft loaded Saratoga off the runway at Mojave. They really did it and you got to watch as the nose over rotated a couple of times and then the bird waddled into ground effect before the pilot aborted, too late.

Here's my point: these are real-life scenarios designed to teach current and licensed pilots what's killing their contemporaries. High time, current pilots and low time rusty pilots alike make mistakes. These tapes are a refresher course or wake-up call, whatever you want to call them.

The tapes have been purchased by the U.S.A.F. civil air Patrol Headquarters for each of its Air Force liaison Officers and the FAA National Safety Office purchased 95 copies for their FSDO people. CFI's should purchase a set and require every Biennial Flight Review candidate to watch them and discuss them with the instructor. FBO's should require that renters of aircraft watch the entire series as a condition of renting a plane from them.

If you've got the guts, show the tapes to your regular passengers or flying companion. This will allow them to understand what you're doing, why you're doing it and make them a bit more patient with all details. It will also allow them to participate in guarding against complacency, teaches them how, where and why to watch for traffic with you and why you won't let them take that lug of tomatoes from the garden to cousin Matilda. It may also show them what a careless and cavalier pilot you are and they won't want to fly with you anymore. Oh, well.

You can order you copy directly from the producers, FLYRIGHT PRODUCTIONS, 1-800-201-5002, or I'm sure you'll find it in your favorite pilot supply shop. If not, ask for it.

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