Friday, 27 February 2015


PASSENGER CARE (from CAA Safety Sense leaflet 2)

Those more used to holiday jets may find a light aircraft a very different experience. No one wants an early return with a sick or frightened passenger, so chat to them beforehand about:
a) The higher noise level - headsets, ear defenders or cotton wool in the ears may help.
b) Turbulence - a light aircraft will be more affected. Don’t fight it, relax and go with the motion.
c) Pressure changes and the ears - most light aircraft are un-pressurised and climb quite slowly so the ears automatically compensate. Plan to descend at about 300 ft. per minute. However, during fast descents, holding the nose and attempting to blow with the mouth closed will equalise the pressure. Alternatively, hand out a few chewy sweets.
d) Stall and other warnings - Mention horns and bells, the sudden unexpected noise on landing may startle nervous passengers.
e) Lookout - discuss the usefulness of extra pairs of eyes throughout the flight, particularly when joining the circuit. Agree on how passengers should attract your attention. Explain the blind spots. Tell them that high flying traffic can be ignored.
f) Motion Sickness - What to do if feeling unwell, but don’t mention the word ‘sick’. (Make sure there are sick bags handy.)
g) Toilets - The lack of a toilet.
h) Children - Special care is needed so that they:
• do not touch the controls, door release etc.
• keep their legs clear of the controls when sitting on a booster cushion
• keep quiet when the pilot is talking on the radio or is very busy
• tell the pilot if they see another aircraft (keeping their eyes outside helps prevent air sickness)

It helps if you can :
• keep talking to them during the flight, pointing out landmarks etc.
• avoid turbulent or windy days so that they remember their flight with PLEASURE.

Have you told your passengers how to use:
       seats/locking mechanism
       seat belts/harnesses
       door/emergency exit release
       front seat-back release
       fire extinguisher
       life-jackets/life-raft if carried
       where to find the first aid kit
       what to do in a forced landing or a ditching 


Thursday, 5 February 2015


(The FAA GA Joint Steering Committee Safety Enhancement Topic of the Month)

Focusing on establishing and maintaining a stabilized approach and landing is a great way to avoid experiencing a loss of control. A stabilized approach is one in which the pilot establishes and maintains a constant angle glide-path towards a predetermined point on the landing runway. It is based on the pilot’s judgment of certain visual clues, and depends on the maintenance of a constant final descent airspeed and configuration.

One area where airmen seem to be experiencing loss of control is while flying in the pattern. This can be exacerbated by the effect of wind during the turn from base to final. Pilots tend to over shoot the extended centre-line and increase bank to realign with the runway. This bank is combined with increased back pressure which is needed to maintain the desired descent rate. The increased bank and back pressure can put the airplane dangerously close to exceeding the critical angle of attack. To prevent this there are a few things we can do.

  •          Create your own personalised guidelines for a stabilised approach based on your skill and your aircraft (i.e. approach speeds, wind limits, a predetermined point to be stabilised on final).
  •          Take care to note the winds around the airport and consider how they will affect your pattern and approach.
  •      Try to get the aircraft properly configured for landing as early in the approach as practical.
  •             Try to focus on making only small corrections to get on and stay on finals.
  •         Set a point on the approach by which time you should be at a predetermined speed and altitude.
  •    If something’s not right, at any time, GO AROUND! There’s no shame in going back up to take another shot at it.