Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3- The FAA and general aviation (GA) groups’ #Fly Safe national safety campaign aims to educate the GA community on how to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents this flying season.

What is Loss of Control (LOC)?
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 regulatory non-compliance, low pilot time in aircraft make and model, lack of piloting ability, failure to maintain airspeed, failure to follow procedure, pilot inexperience and proficiency, or the use of over-the-counter drugs that impact pilot performance.

Current topic: Flight Risk Assessment Tools

What is a Flight Risk Assessment Tool?
A Flight Risk Analysis Tool (FRAT) is an easy to use, visual tool that helps pilots proactively identify hazards. It helps pilots make better go/no go decisions for every flight.

Did you know?
Every flight has some level of risk. Federal regulations require pilots to acquire information relevant to proposed flights and plan for how to deal with any identified hazards. Government and industry safety experts highly recommend that pilots use FRATs to reduce risk.

Using a FRAT to put everything on paper allows you to graphically depict risk limits free from the pressure of an impending flight or maintenance task. It also provides perspective on the entire risk picture and sets the stage for managing risk through proactive mitigation strategies that are documented.

There are many FRAT options available for mobile devices and apps for flight planning, weather briefing, and flight monitoring/tracking. More robust, complex apps can also help you think through a more complete range of hazards and risk factors.

What can GA pilots do to best manage an unexpected event?
Don’t let an unexpected event become an unexpected emergency! Training and preparation can help pilots manage the startle response and effectively cope with an unexpected event.

Tips for pilots
Take time to stop and think about hazards.

  • know, in advance, the difference between a low-risk and a high-risk flight;
  • establish a review process; and
  • develop risk mitigation strategies.

How does a FRAT work?
You will create realistic, numerical thresholds that trigger additional levels of scrutiny prior to a go/no go decision for the flight. These thresholds should ensure that the safety standards for each operation are maintained.

The FRAT should have three possible score ranges

  • Green: Go fly!
  • Yellow: Try to mitigate some of the higher score items.
  • Red: No-Go.

Message from FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker:
The FAA and industry 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 the 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?

  • Approximately 450 people are killed each year in GA 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
FAASTeam FRAT tool flyer

FAASTeam Learning Center Library FAAST FRAT

You Can Take it With You, FAA Safety Briefing, July/August 2012 (PDF), page 4

The Voice of Reason: Partnering for Safety and Risk Management, FAA Safety Briefing, July/August 2014

Aircraft and Owner’s and Pilot’s Association (AOPA) Flight Risk Evaluator Tool.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Flight Risk Analysis Tool.

AOPA online course: do the right thing, decision making for pilots.

FAA’s Aviation Risk Management Handbook (PDF) (FAA-H-8083-2)

FAA Information for Operators (InFO) (PDF) 07015 on Flight Risk Assessment Tool

Watch an FAA video “Taking control: How we can address the leading cause of general aviation accidents.” (4:47).

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

Check out the 2015 GA Safety Enhancements (SEs) 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 Fly Safe campaign partners are: Air Bonanza Society (ABS) Air Safety Foundation, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), FAA Air Transportation Center for Excellence (COE) for General Aviation, FAASTeam, GA Joint Steering Committee, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO), 1800wxbrief/Lockheed Martin, National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI),National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), Soaring Society of America (SSA), Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), and the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).