Archive for the CFIT Tag

Re-Thinking Risk Assessment

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T12:51:16+00:00

Assessing Risk, image from Risk Management HandbookThe best tool available for pilots to quantify overall flight risk is the form found in the FAA’s Personal and Weather Risk Assessment Guide.  However, that form is more than 10 years old and needs many improvements.  It is based on the “PAVE” method or checklist, and enables a pilot to assign a predetermined point value to each area of risk.  This helps to minimize subjectivity and encourages detailed preflight planning.  Using this process in connection with Aeronautical Decision Making is a great idea, but I want to illustrate several ways to make it more complete and hopefully more accurate.

PDF Icon Flight Assessment Form Download (29 KB)

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1 Feb 2015

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Aeronautical Knowledge

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CFIT Training Aid

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T15:14:24+00:00

Controlled Flight Into Terrain Education and Training AidControlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) prevention is one of the main topics of Single-pilot Resource Management (SRM).  As a pilot, I do want to avoid flying into terrain!  I also enjoy studying any aspect of aviation.  Sometimes this means tracking down an obscure publication, and I do enjoy that challenge as well.

I found several mentions of a document named Controlled Flight Into Terrain Education and Training Aid from around 1996.  However, something has gone buggy in the FAA website, and there is no obvious way to find the document.  It looks like someone copied an old CD-ROM to the website and expected it to work without any modernization.

As a service to the aviation community, I have painstakingly reverse-engineered, scraped, edited, and re-assembled the more than 500 individual files to create an easy-to-download version on a single link.

PDF Icon CFIT Training Aid (40 MB)

Important note: The original document was approximately 914 pages long and I have been unable to find at least nine of those pages.  I am also missing the original video.

21 Aug 2013

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Aeronautical Knowledge

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St. Ignace Fatal Flight of Amazon.com Exec

Robert Chapin
2014-01-31T12:41:02+00:00
VFR navigation chart excerpt showing St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.

From the Michigan Aeronautical Chart

Airplane crashes often make sensational headlines in the news, yet thousands of them go mostly unnoticed by the media.  Consider the count of fatal accidents in the United States during 2011.  There were 285 investigations initiated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), or about one crash every 30 hours (NTSB, 2013).

On 7 March 2013, one month ago, the NTSB published a factual report on the St. Ignace, Michigan accident of 3 December 2011.  Amazon.com executive Thomas Phillips and his pilot were killed in this accident, which garnered national headlines in 2011.  In contrast, there was only one article about the recent factual report in The Detroit News (Miles, 2013), plus an Associated Press article that appeared sporadically in newspapers such as the Wisconsin State Journal (“Bad Weather”, 2013).

I have followed this investigation since 2011 when I was coincidentally in contact with a relative of Mr. Phillips.  I was not personally acquainted with Mr. Phillips, but I learned that he was a cousin-of-a-cousin to me.

While speaking with this common relative, I reviewed the NTSB preliminary report available at the time and explained my opinions:

  1. That the investigation would be a very long and potentially painful process from the family’s perspective.
  2. That the circumstances of the accident strongly suggested poor decision making by the pilot and the airline, which likely involved violating multiple Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR).

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8 Apr 2013

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Accident Reports

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