The number one rule in aviation: Fly the aircraft

Tracy, the blogger behind the Around the Pattern Blog, has recently written that in his 40+ years of flying, he has seen his share of aviation accidents unfold before his eyes. And in all of the fatal accidents that he has witnessed, pilots always violated the number one rule in aviation: Fly the aircraft.


Tracy then noted the above image listing five steps in an emergency that appears at the top of every emergency checklist found in aircraft flown by major airlines and he asked why its not used by general aviation pilots as it can work in any aircraft. He also made the important point that the closer to the ground that you are flying, the less important are the four steps listed after step number one. He also added:

Twice I have seen engines fail completely on takeoff.  In both instances the accidents were fatal – taking a total of five lives. In one instance gliding straight ahead or turning ninety-degrees would have landed the aircraft in the water off a rocky coast rather than stalling nose-down into those rocks. Another could have made a ninety-degree turn to an intersecting runway, but the aircraft stalled and the wreckage landed next to the runway. They didn’t follow aviation’s number one rule.

Tracy then told the story of an incident he heard over the radio during a recent trans-pacific crossing where a fight had apparently broken out in the passenger cabin. When the controller tried to get more specific information, a harried and frustrated co-pilot simply told him that he will call back later as they had a plane to fly – Advice worth following.

One Response to The number one rule in aviation: Fly the aircraft

  1. Frank Van Haste October 26, 2010 at 16:14 #

    Bravo, sir! I believe that I will shamelessly appropriate the graphic in this post and splice it into the next revision of my own checklists. Thank you.


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