General Aviation News will often print excerpts from USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports, including a September 2009 report about a Cessna 150 incident that involved an 84 year old pilot in Rosedale, Michigan that should serve as a warning to other pilots.
According to accident report, the 84-year-old pilot did not hold a medical certificate and neither he nor the aircraft had flown for the three year period prior to the accident. When the pilot attempted to take-off, he noticed that the Cessna 150 did not appear to have enough power to clear the brush or trees at the end of the runway. Hence, he was forced to veer the Cessna into the brush on the right side of the aircraft – resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft but no injuries to the pilot.
The pilot’s wife later told investigators that he had suffered a fall three years before and that both his physical and mental capabilities were such that he should not have been attempting to fly an aircraft.
In other words and as with driving, every pilot will probably (eventually) need to stop flying at some point in time for physical or mental reasons. And while making the decision to stop flying will be a difficult one, it will be the safest and best decision an older pilot ever makes.
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