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(article) Improper Use Of Flight Controls

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Last on the FAA's list of the Top 10 contributors to pilot-error mishaps is "improper operation of flight controls." It's fairly rare when stick-and-rudder ability alone result in an accident; in most cases pilot distraction plays a part even in these basic-skills events.


Flying to distraction


From the NTSB:


The pilot had just departed when the cowling came open and he elected to return to the airport. During the landing roll he lost control of the airplane, ground looped and departed the runway to the left, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing. A post-accident examination of the airframe and airplane's systems revealed no anomalies. Probable cause: the pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane resulting in a ground loop. Contributing factors include the inadequate preflight inspection, the pilot's failure to properly latch the cowling, and the pilot's diverted attention to the open cowling


"Braking" ground


From the NTSB:


During a soft field landing the airplane contacted a bump in the terrain and the airplane bounced into the air. The pilot applied aft elevator control and used rudder to maintain directional control. He inadvertently applied the brakes while attempting to maintain rudder control. When the airplane came to a stop, the tail lifted and the airplane nosed over. Probable cause: the pilot's inadvertent excessive use of the toe brakes during the landing roll


Don't "over" do it


From the NTSB:


While practicing soft-field takeoffs a student pilot flying with a CFI over-rotated causing premature flight. The CFI attempted to correct the situation but the aircraft settled into an uncontrolled descent beyond the airport boundary where it struck terrain.</BLOCKQUOTE>


Aero-tip of the day: Practice basic flying skills so that your stick-and-rudder responses are almost instinctive. Pay special attention to the adage "fly the airplane" when presented with distractions.



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