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Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
TEM Series: Threats to Safety | Unsafe Acts | Intro to TEM | Error Management | Integrating TEM | Countermeasures
Sometimes I just want to go out and fly. No structure, no TFR briefing, no flight plan, no student, nothing specific to do. I just want a CAVU day, a full tank, and a few spare hours to go out and fly low and slow.
Whoa wait a minute. No structure? No briefing? No planning? Maybe I'm referring to the carefree days of 1976 when flying was relatively carefree and we were naive about some of the threats to safety. Just think about today's pressures, struggles, and distractions. We're only human, so we're taking these into the cockpit.
Consider these threats to safely conducting a flight:
Threats are defined as "events that occur beyond the influence of the pilot and increase operational complexity." Such threats must be managed to maintain the safety margin we consider so critical to flying. These additional complexities certainly involve the factors in the graphic above, but also include errors that others make which affect your flight.
These threats are a natural part of life and a natural part of flying. These overt threats to flying safety come from people inside or outside your cockpit, or they are factors that affect your life and flying. What's so dangerous about these threats is that they affect our ability to fly without giving us the chance to consider the consequences. As such, these threats to safety can easily factor into the chain of errors leading up to the accident. Threats do not necessarily lead you directly to an error although they could. Consider threats as red flags which should increase your situational awareness.
Avoiding threats is the key to preventing these threats to flight safety from becoming errors that would take more effort to fix. While we will talk more about this in the next article, there are simple avoidance tactics you can use to increase safety during your next flight.