Skip to page content

Fly Safe: Prevention of Loss of Control Accidents

Fly Safe: Prevention of Loss of Control AccidentsJuly 25- The FAA and general aviation (GA) group’s #FlySafe national safety campaign aims to educate the GA community on best practices in calculating and predicting aircraft performance, and in operating within established aircraft limitations.

Transition Safely
The lack of or poor transition training has been cited as a causal factor in many general aviation accidents. Pilots think they only need transition training when stepping up to a high-performance or complex airplane, from single-engine to multi-engine aircraft, or even from tricycle gear to tail wheel. But they can also benefit from transition training when moving from traditional aircraft to amateur-built or light-sport airplanes, as well as from steam gauges to a glass cockpit.

The goal of transition training is to make sure you have proper training in the specific systems and operating characteristics of every airplane model you fly. Transition training focuses on those areas where you might encounter something unique to the airplane – whether as a normal procedure or in an emergency.

How Do I Train?
The quality of your training could save your life! Choose wisely, and as you do so, think “Structure,” “Specifics,” and “Quality.”

Transition training should be conducted in accordance with a written training syllabus, which is a checklist for training. Your syllabus should provide a logical, systematic and comprehensive approach to ensure you cover all the basics. You’ll also want to review the applicable practical test standards (PTS) or Airman Certification Standards (ACS) that are appropriate to the certificate and/or rating that you hold.

The goal of transition training is to teach you what is different about the aircraft and the equipment onboard. The syllabus should address the basics of the aircraft’s systems (fuel, electrical, control, hydraulic, avionics, environmental, etc.), but with the emphasis on how characteristics of the new aircraft differ from those you already know.

Your training should cover normal, abnormal and emergency procedures. It should also cover performance characteristics – including what to expect on takeoff and landing, climb, cruise, descent and glide. Finally, it should address limitations, such as weight and balance, speed, wind limits and more.

Qualified Instructor
To get the greatest benefit from your transition training, you need to hire an instructor who is current and qualified. He or she needs to thoroughly understand the airplane and equipment you want to master. Your instructor should follow a syllabus, and he or she should be able to shift the emphasis to fit your qualifications and goals, as well as the characteristics of your aircraft.

What is Loss of Control?
A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment/aeronautical decision making,
  • Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action.
  • Intentional failure to comply with regulations,
  • Failure to maintain airspeed,
  • Failure to follow procedure,
  • Pilot inexperience and proficiency
  • Use of prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs or alcohol.

Message from FAA Administrator Michael Huerta:
The FAA and the aviation community are working together to prevent Loss of Control accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our Fly Safe campaign. Each month on, we’re providing pilots with a Loss of Control solution developed by a team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions – some of which are already reducing risk. We hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.

Did you know?
Last year, 384 people died in 238 general aviation accidents.

  • Loss of Control is the number one cause of these accidents.
  • Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
  • There is one fatal accident involving LOC every four days.

Learn more
FAA Advisory Circular 90-109A, Transition to Unfamiliar Aircraft,  and the Airport Handbook (FAA-H08083-3A) Chapters 11 to 15, have the basic information you need to know.

“Shifting Gears–Tips for Tackling Transition Training” is on page 16 of the March/April issue of the FAA Safety Briefing. Whether you’re transitioning to LSA or Experimental, this article has handy tips.

The website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.

AOPA, Transitioning to Other Aircraft, features helpful courses, quizzes and more.

The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements.  It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.

Understand what makes every airplane tick by taking the online courses and safety quizzes offered by AOPA

The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of accidents in GA.

The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers across different parts of the FAA, several government agencies, and stakeholder groups. The other federal agencies are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board,  which participates as an observer. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The European Aviation Safety Agency also participates as an observer.

An FAA fact sheet outlines GA safety improvements and initiatives.


Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: