Complacency Has no Place in Aviation

G1000 Training in Simulator

One of the sim instructors was working with a pilot in the PA-46 Malibu/Mirage sim recently.  It was what we consider an “intro” flight as the pilot was going to do a lot of training to get back to proficiency.  On all of our pilots we do a first flight analysis to see some of the characteristics of the pilot and to allow them comfortably to get use to the sim.  The instructor, Bert Botta, was using our full motion sim as it give the best realism for high performance aircraft.

One of the things I like to do is to sit at the instructor station and watch the student on the monitor through our cabin cam.  I also just love to get a little sneaky and start throwing weather at them and then I become really devious and start giving them equipment problems.

I started failing fuel pumps and the pilot failed to pickup on that.  I failed one mag and he failed to pickup on that.  The reason he did not notice was he was new to the model aircraft and he was carrying on a conversation with the instructor. This is a distraction we use in our Loss of Control program.  So here he was IMC with a low fuel pressure and a dead mag.  I realized I had to get their attention.

Finally, I killed the last fuel pump and of course the inevitable happened.  The pilot did not know what to do and the instructor said, “you have lost it.”   On the monitor I did not see the pilot doing anything to relieve the situation.

Even though this was just an intro flight I paused the sim and open the sim door and said “if you don’t get anything out of this in a piston powered aircraft there are two memorization items to engine failure.”  I call it the FF problem that being fuel and fire.  That is an automatic reaction.  You do what it takes to make sure it has “fire” and you do what it takes to restore “fuel.”   It is that simple and if it does not work or restore the engine you then use the emergency checklist.

We have a large amount of problems we throw at the pilots and keep a record of the results at the beginning.  At the end of the instruction or program we repeat the same problems and see the results.  Did they get it?   If they did we did our job.

The bottom line is you cannot train enough and that is what aircraft safety is all about.  Complacency has no place in aviation.

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