The Friday BizAv Blog - Loss of Control Accidents

NTSB Safety Forum - an opportunity for pilots to ask and learn

Dave Higdon  |  09th October 2015
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Dave Higdon
Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon is a highly respected, NBAA Gold Wing award-winning aviation journalist who has covered all...

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Pilot Safety

Safety. Nothing holds a higher priority in aviation, summarizes Dave Higdon. Yet with Loss of Control accidents proving stubbornly resistant to efforts to improve, NTSB is offering a free forum next week for anyone wanting to become a safer pilot…

While we've become better at flight safety over the hundred-plus years since the first powered flight, some accident types continue to frustrate efforts to reduce or eliminate them. Loss-of-Control (LOC) accidents are high on the list.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), losing control mid-air presents unique - and at times - fatal challenges. By NTSB records more than 40 percent of fixed-wing General Aviation fatal accidents between 2001-2011 occurred because pilots lost control of their aircraft – and a stronger focus on the issue hasn't resulted in the reduction in LOC accidents the Board had hoped to see.

Some of the more-recent business aircraft accidents have involved crew losing control, with runway overruns being one form of LOC.

So on October 14, NTSB is offering members of the aviation community an opportunity to ask questions and hear expertise on LOC accidents in a forum titled, 'Humans and Hardware: Preventing General Aviation Inflight Loss of Control'.

The LOC Dilemma

Inflight LOC accidents remain a focal point in Business & General Aviation because they represent an area of safety that has so far been resistant to technological solutions. Look at NTSB's most-wanted safety items; check AOPA's annual Nall Report - LOC accidents are too frequent and too frequently deadly.

These types of accidents prove stubborn for two notable reasons:

• With the few exceptions of auto-landing situations, pilots hand-fly all takeoffs and the vast majority of landings; and
• It's when flying close to the ground that human error most likely results in an accident.

NTSB's forum, announced just last week, offers an opportunity to input questions and hear from experts within flight safety. “Understanding questions that pilots have will be critical to the forum’s success,” notes NTSB Member Earl Weener, who will chair the event. The forum will include panels on four broad areas of discussion:

• Industry & Government Perspectives and Actions;
• Human Performance & Medical Issues;
• Pilot Training Solutions; and
• Equipment & Technology Solutions.

Opportunity to Improve

“We've added the new digital functionality to make it easy to share the event with other pilots,” outlines Weener. The forum webpage ( includes links to add individual panel sessions or the entire forum to calendars on computers and mobile devices. Pilots can also share the forum page with other pilots or student trainees through email or social media.

Scheduled to be held in the NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center in Washington starting at 9:00am-5:00pm EDT, the forum includes an end-of-day roundtable beginning at 4:05pm in which panelists from throughout the day will discuss crosscutting issues and the day’s takeaways.

This forum is free, and open to the public, with hopes that pilots and others within the aviation safety community will participate. Questions related to inflight loss of control issues can be sent to, but to be considered for inclusion, those questions must be emailed not later than 3:00pm EDT, October 13.

This is an excellent opportunity to help yourself or someone you fly with to become a safer pilot and to learn what makes LOC accidents so persistent, courtesy of our independent transportation-safety board. After all, there is no happier post-flight report to file than this single-word one: ‘Uneventful’.

Help yourself to this event and help your flights stay uneventful!

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