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To the letter - Re: Pilot Decision Making

Every time I read the Aviation Safety Letter, I wonder, "What can we do to improve safety in aviation?" Sometimes, I cannot believe the stories, and I think about how simple it would be to avoid accidents.

I think we would do a lot better if we got rid of the "macho" attitude. I am a woman with a private licence. I have just over 100 h flight time, and I do not think that I am God just because I can fly an aircraft.

At an uncontrolled airport, I refused to obey one of my instructors when he wanted me to land over top of an aircraft that was holding on the runway for takeoff. Not having had any contact with the other pilot, I believed that the manoeuvre was too dangerous. Was my instructor testing me, or did he just want to get on the ground as soon as possible because his next student was waiting?

I rent aircraft from various flying clubs. I have often refused to fly planes that have worn-out tires or that produce unusual vibrations during the run-up. I inspect the aircraft before a flight and I am not afraid to consult with a more experienced pilot or the aircraft maintenance engineer when in doubt. I always brief my passengers and make sure that they know what to do and what not to do during regular flight or emergencies. If I feel that I will not be able to land the plane within a safe distance on the runway, I simply go around. I do not think about how I look as a pilot, but about how safe I am on the ground and in the air.

Some people think that I am going overboard about safety, and I have been laughed at many times, but so many simple precautions can be taken. I still do not understand why pilots with many hours under their belts would do so many "stupid" things, thinking that they and their passengers are immortal.

Thanks for the Aviation Safety Letter. I hope that this letter will make some pilots think a bit more.

France Bergeron
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Originally Published: ASL 3/1997
Original Article: To the letter - Re: Pilot Decision Making

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