Flight Hazards & Safety


  • Flying is inherently dangerous which is why a good pilot is always challenging themselves to learn new skills and perfect old ones
  • Pilots must have an solid understanding of hazards to flight in order to safely mitigate them
  • Flight hazards can manifest themselves in many different forms including environmental, man-made, and mechanical
  • Despite the numerous hazards that may exist, accident causal factors remain relatively static, and so special attention must be paid to these conditions

Hazards to Flight:


  • Training for emergency situations is a large part of flight training because its a matter of what and when, not if, you'll experience some sort of procedure requiring emergency action
  • Declaring an emergency:
    • Pilots always have a tool in their back pocket, the declaration of an emergency
    • Declaring an emergency will generate priority handling until the situation is resolved
    • When you declare an emergency you may inconvenience other pilots but if the pilot believes the situation calls for it, don't hold back
    • ATC will ask you for some information to include nature of the emergency, souls and fuel on board, as well as your intentions
    • Lastly, remember that you tell ATC/other pilots if you are an emergency aircraft... it is not a request!

Hazards to Personnel and/or Property:

  • Pilots must never forget that aircraft can cause a threat to personnel and/or property on the ground
  • The FAA in conjunction of the DoD and DHS has the responsibility to protect people and locations of national interest
  • Pilots, for one reason or another, who find themselves in violation of secured airspace are at risk for government intervention:

Handling Emergencies:

  • While every emergency is unique and requires individual attention pilots must maintain control of the aircraft, determine the precise nature of the problem and then execute the appropriate procedure
    • Said another way: Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate
  • Not all emergencies are avoidable which means pilots may find themselves faced with tough, time critical situations
  • Flight training, practice, and maintaining a safety mind set allow for pilots to apply Aeronautical Decision-Making
  • Pilots who deviate from the provisions of an ATC clearance must notify ATC as soon as possible and obtain an amended clearance
MIG-29 Emergency
MIG-29 Emergency

Safety Resources:

Forms & Reports:

Additional Aviation Safety Resources:


  • Safety is paramount no matter how many times the eyes may roll when you hear that word "safety"
    • Think of it this way: you were probably afraid, or at least had a high level of stress, when you were getting ready to take-off on your first solo, so why would you take risks in situations you know are unsafe?
  • Challenging yourself in training and planning for the worst allow for you to best prepare for whatever situation that may arise
    • Emergency procedures should be a regularly practiced through scenarios or focused thought throughout a flight
  • Many resources exist throughout the web such as the AOPA Air Safety Institute and Aviation Accident Database & Synopses which help you learn from the comfort of your own home
  • In keeping with the FAA's belief that safety is a learned behavior, the FAA offers many courses and seminars to enhance air safety
  • The FAA puts the burden of instilling safe flying habits on the flight instructor, who should follow basic flight safety practices and procedures in every flight operation he or she undertakes with a student pilot
    • Operational safety practices include, but are not limited to, collision avoidance procedures consisting of proper scanning techniques, use of checklists, runway incursion avoidance, positive transfer of controls, and workload management
    • These safety practices are discussed within FAA handbooks
  • Safe flight also depends on Scenario-Based Training (SBT) that teaches the student pilot how to respond in different flight situations
  • The FAA has incorporated these techniques along with decision-making methods, such as aeronautical decision-making (ADM), risk management, and crew resource management (CRM), which are covered more completely in Chapter 2, Aeronautical Decision-Making
  • Learn from others every chance you get with resources like: https://lessonslearned.faa.gov/index.cfm
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