The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

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HAPPYDAN
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The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby HAPPYDAN » Tue May 10, 2016 10:56 am

I wanted to share this article, regarding a very unfortunate (easily preventable) aviation accident.

http://innerairmanship.com/blog/2016/05 ... -distance/

Checklists. There for a reason. As a jury member, I could not find the school or CFI liable for the accident if they had followed accepted training protocol in the insistence on use of checklists. Also, checking up on the student pilot before T/O would no doubt have caught the error and prevented the accident, but as the author points out could have been regarded as a betrayal of trust. I hope some of our CFIs here can offer comment. Many shades of grey.

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drseti
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby drseti » Tue May 10, 2016 11:13 am

I just posted in the "buying your own plane for training" thread my school's policy that all solo practice is supervised solo, and then read this. Sadly, it kind of underscores my point.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby Merlinspop » Tue May 10, 2016 12:17 pm

Agree... I would have a difficult time finding them (wholly, at least) liable. My training was in the PA-38. The school's policy was to fuel aircraft before flights (not after, unless you were down to minimums and then only order half tanks), so as to accommodate W&B and fuel planning for the next pilot. I was taught to check the tanks immediately upon arrival, so that I could call for the truck before even starting the pre-flight. The checklist (as most do) has a "fuel selector to fullest tank" language in multiple places that he should have been using. Any one of those would have given him the opportunity to break the chain of this accident.

This is tragic, without doubt.
- Bruce

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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby SportPilot » Tue May 10, 2016 12:20 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun May 15, 2016 2:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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designrs
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby designrs » Tue May 10, 2016 12:30 pm

I concur. At the flight school that I trained at, it was always the student's responsibility to preflight and fuel the plane. Instructor supervision and/or assistance would be reduced over time. By the time the student solos he/she has been doing preflight alone for quite some time.

Still, it's surprising and sometimes tragic to learn what some people miss on preflight.
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby Flocker » Tue May 10, 2016 12:44 pm

HAPPYDAN wrote:Checklists. There for a reason. As a jury member, I could not find the school or CFI liable for the accident if they had followed accepted training protocol in the insistence on use of checklists.


"Check fuel" appears 4 times on the 162's checklist before takeoff. Sad story for sure.

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MrMorden
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby MrMorden » Tue May 10, 2016 1:59 pm

If he was solo, he was PIC. That means he's responsible for the airplane being in safe condition for flight. I'm sure he was taught this or he would have never made it to solo. That's the way the FAA has drilled this into all our heads from the moment we started flight training.

This is tragic, preventable, and the pilot's fault.

I'm empathetic to the family, and this happened right in my back yard. I remember the day it happened. But people make mistakes, and sometimes they are made by people we love.
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby SportPilot » Tue May 10, 2016 2:10 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun May 15, 2016 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FastEddieB
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby FastEddieB » Tue May 10, 2016 2:13 pm

This is being discussed on POA as well.

For the flight school, I can see fueling procedures as "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

IOW, if they always kept their planes topped off, two heavy pilots could jump in and crash and they might be sued for leaving the plane in a state where just two heavy pilots could render it unsafe.

This strikes home. I used to rent out a Citabria which had long range tanks. As such, we usually kept it at about 1/2 fuel. A renter called to schedule a long crosscountry, and asked me to top it off for him, which I did. Weather did not cooperate, and he cancelled.

Next renter took off with himself and a teenager and crashed and they both died. Several other contributing causes, but being over gross certainly did not help.

Most here are aware of this incident, but I'll link it for our newcomers.

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=41309

Link to full NTSB report contained therein.

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MrMorden
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby MrMorden » Tue May 10, 2016 3:12 pm

SportPilot wrote:It's possible a jury will assign some of the blame and liability to the instructor and flight school. A jury of non-pilots might do anything. I find it strange that his first solo flight was an hour and his second solo flight was unsupervised.


If they do, it will turn the entire FAA concept of "PIC" on its head. I'm not saying it won't happen, just that any jury that does so doesn't understand how aviation works from the FAA's perspective. Once the idea gets in court that somebody besides the PIC is responsible for making sure an aircraft is safe immediately before a flight, the liability floodgates will flow fast and wide.
Andy Walker
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby SportPilot » Tue May 10, 2016 3:40 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun May 15, 2016 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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designrs
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby designrs » Tue May 10, 2016 3:58 pm

Reminds me of one particular "lawyer" pilot that attempted to sue the flight school and the airplane manufacturer after being a total bonehead by refusing a refuling opportunity and then having to do a forced landing after running out of fuel. I believe the case was thrown out for ridiculous allegations.

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drseti
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Re: The Importance of a Thorough Preflight

Postby drseti » Tue May 10, 2016 4:04 pm

Yes, it was, but not before the dealer, mechanic, flight instructor, FBO, importer, and manufacturer had to spend an obscene amount of money on lawyers to launch a defense against that frivolous lawsuit. My wife believes the accident and subsequent suit were actually the lawyer/pilot's retirement plan.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying


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