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Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control AccidentsThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)and the general aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign is designed to educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

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

Types of Enhanced Vision Systems
Our five senses – vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch) – are key to keeping us safe. Vision is especially important to a pilot. Vision at night and in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) can be improved with technology, such as Enhanced Vision (EV) and Synthetic Vision (SV) technology.  

Enhanced Vision (EV) uses sensors on your airplane to provide a better view. These sensors can be infrared or radar. They are very useful in seeing terrain in weather, or on a dark night. The sensors help you see what is actually in front of the aircraft.

Synthetic Vision (SV) doesn’t use sensors. Instead, it relies on GPS information and a database to create a virtual landscape. SV can create a picture of the flight environment and overlay that picture with aircraft instrumentation. The result is a single image that contains the information you need for safe flight operations. Since this information is not based on direct observation, you’ll need to keep your software and databases up to date.

Display Choices
Most GA systems are displayed through a cockpit Multifunction Display (MFD), or a Primary Flight Display (PFD). A Head Up display (HUD) is a great way of displaying EV/SV information.

Regardless of which display you choose, be sure to become very familiar with it before you use it in real time. It’s a good idea to schedule periodic proficiency training with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who knows the equipment. These training and review sessions will give you the confidence you need to use the equipment effectively.

Message from FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell:
The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our #Fly Safe campaign. Every month on FAA.gov, we provide pilots with Loss of Control solutions developed by a team of experts – some of which are already reducing risk. I 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.

More about Loss of Control
Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment or 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 prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol

Did you know?

  • In 2016, 413 people died in 219 general aviation accidents.
  • Loss of Control was 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 Loss of Control every four days.

Learn more:
Read more about Enhanced Vision Systems in Brushing Back the Dark: A Look at the Latest in Night Vision Technology. FAA Safety Briefing Jan/Feb 2014, p. 20.

FAA’sAdvisory Circular 90-106, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems, has valuable information.

T=Terrain Avoidance: What does it Take to Use NVGs? FAA Safety Briefing Nov/Dec 2015, p. 28

You can learn more about Enhanced Vision Systems in this GA Safety Enhancement fact sheet

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

Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the main FAA Safety Briefing website, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.

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.

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 GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups. 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 National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.