Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

March 30– The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and General Aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign aims to educate GA pilots on the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

 Message from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta:
The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our #FlySafe campaign. Each month on, we provide pilots with a Loss of Control solution developed by a team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions – some of which are already reducing risk. We hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.

 What is Loss of Control?
An LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

  Maneuvering Flight: Low-Level Safety
This month we’re focused on how to maintain safety during the maneuvering phase of flight: during take-off, landing, and while you are maneuvering in the traffic pattern. Other examples of maneuvering flight include aerobatics formation flight, turns around a point, and aerial application.

 Did You Know:

  • Maneuvering flight accidents can result in fatalities, serious injuries lost wages, severe damage to the aircraft, insurance claims, and lawsuits.
  • More than 25 percent of general aviation fatal accidents occur during these flightsbelow 1000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL).
  • Most of these accidents involve stall/spin scenarios and buzzing attempts.
  • Many occur before you’ve left the traffic pattern.

Relative Wind and Angle of Attack

Pilots learn during flight training that the relative wind is opposite the direction of flight.

  • Any discussion of relative wind should include Angle of Attack (AoA), the angle between the chord line of the wing and the relative wind.
  • When the aircraft exceeds its critical angle of attack, it will stall in nose-up and nose-down flight attitudes.

Training and technology are available to help pilots avoid exceeding the critical AoA. An AoA indicator warns when you are about to exceed a wing’s lift capacity. Consider adding one to your safety toolkit!

A pilot can stall at any flight attitude and airspeed. However, most fatal stall/spin accidents occur at low altitudes, when recovery is unlikely.

  • Stay safe by practicing stalls, or approaches to stalls, at a safe altitude with an experienced instructor.
  • Remember that turns, either vertical or horizontal, load the wings and increase the stall speed dramatically.
  • Be aware of how stall/spins happen and how you can get out of them.

Traffic Pattern Rules
In the pattern, you’re flying at low altitudes, low airspeeds and high angles of attack. Know your aircraft’s limitations and remember these simple rules:

  • Base to final: “Cheating” on the turn after overshooting final is very dangerous. Keep a normal turn going. If the approach is not salvageable once you roll out, go around!
  • Stabilized approach: Airline crews stop maneuvering 1,000 feet above when on approach for landing. For lighter aircraft, 500 feet could be the maneuvering “hard deck.” This means the flight is on airspeed, at the right altitude, with the appropriate descent rate and aligned with the runway. Not stable on approach? Go around!
  • Before-landing checklist: Complete your checklist, with the possible exceptions of landing flaps and props full forward before turning base. If you are interrupted, run the checklist again. It’s better to take your time than to miss an important item. Don’t have time? Go around!

Target Fixation
Each pilot has practiced turns around a point to build skill in wind compensation, aircraft ground track control, orientation, and division of attention.

However, you will increase your risk for stalls if you do this maneuver while close to the ground. They are called “moose stalls” in Alaska and “coyote stalls” in Arizona because the pilot is focused more on the target point than flying the aircraft. Bottom line: focus on your flying, and not an object outside of the cockpit!

Formation Flying

It’s critical that you know the skills of the pilot next to you. A miscommunication or lack of skill can be deadly. Practice, practice, practice before attempting this type of maneuver.


Buzzing over your friend’s house to show off your plane or flying skills is NEVER a good idea. It’s reckless, and could lead to a violent AoA stall. Buzzing accidents account for many maneuvering accidents and are preventable. No amount of skill will allow recovery from a spin below 1000 feet. Be safe and don’t do a buzzing stunt!

 Canyon Flying

Experienced mountain pilots are trained to fly in canyon conditions, are familiar with the terrain, and make sure they always have an out. Following a river at low altitude, with terrain on either side, can turn into a dangerous situation. Surprises can be around the next bend including wires, hills, or another aircraft. If your aircraft is not capable of making a 180-degree turn in the confines of the canyon, don’t go there. Do not fly below canyon rims!

More about Loss of Control

 Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
  • Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
  • Intentional failure to comply with regulations
  • Failure to maintain airspeed
  • Failure to follow procedure
  • Pilot inexperience and proficiency
  • Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol

Did you know?

  • In 2015, 384 people died in 238 general aviation accidents.
  • Loss of Control was the number one cause of these accidents.
  • Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
  • There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.

Learn more:
Take the FAASTeam Online Course, Maneuvering: Approach and Landing.

Able Flight scholarship recipients revealed

General Aviation News

Able Flight has awarded nine flight training scholarships to aspiring pilots from across the country.

This year’s class will train at Able Flight’s programs at Purdue University and Ohio State University, and includes an Army captain wounded in combat, five people who use wheelchairs due to paralysis caused by injuries, a young woman with diabetes, and a young man who is deaf.

Receiving full flight training scholarships are Brice Lott of Maryland, Chris Corsi of North Carolina, Melissa Allensworth of California, Zackary Kukorlo of Washington, Kathryn Brenner of Illinois, Kunho Kim of Massachusetts, Benedict Jones of Indiana, and Captain Ferris Butler (US Army-retired) of Colorado.

Receiving a “Flight Training Challenge” Scholarship is Steven Martinez of Wisconsin.

“For years, our 2017 scholarship recipients have faced living with physical disabilities that present daily challenges, and now, they will face the challenge of becoming a licensed pilot,” said Able Flight’s Charles Stites. “During their training they’ll learn what it means when we say our program is intensive and demanding. And when they are successful, they will have earned the privilege to share the wonder of flight.”

This is the eighth consecutive year of Able Flight’s partnership with Purdue University, and the first year of its expansion to Ohio State University.

Graduates of the “Class of 2017” will be guests of honor when they receive their Able Flight Wings on stage at EAA AirVenture, just weeks after becoming licensed pilots.

FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education

“CFI Open Forum – Open to ALL Pilots”
Topic: Preparing for the Unexpected and BasicMed Regulation.
On Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 18:00 Eastern Standard Time
Smith Reynolds Airport
3801 North Liberty Street

Winston Salem, NC 27105

Select Number:


Flight instructors must recognize what is happening internally with students, and either reinforce positive reaction strategies and attitudes, or identify where restricted thinking exists, in order to optimize the students’ capabilities. At this FAASTeam Flight Instructor Open Forum we will explore this complex topic to better prepare our students.

Flight Instructors, Ground Instructors, Designated Pilot Examiners, Instructors-in-training and all pilots are welcome and encouraged to attend! Join your fellow aviators and take an active role in improving aviation safety!  Click on the link below and register TODAY!

To view further details and registration information for this seminar, click here.

The sponsor for this seminar is: FAA Safety Team

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) is committed to providing equal access to this meeting/event for all participants. If you need alternative formats or services because of a disability, please communicate your request as soon as possible with the person in the ‘Contact Information’ area of the meeting/event notice. Note that two weeks is usually required to arrange services.

The following credit(s) are available for the WINGS/AMT Programs:

Master Knowledge 2 – 2 Credits

Click here to view the WINGS help page

Record Setting Scholarships Awarded by NC Company


Ableflight, the NC based organization that supports flight for people with disabilities, has entered its 10th year and has awarded a record-setting 8 scholarhips for 2016.  The recipients come from throughout the country and face challenges from a variety of physical disabilities – seven people who use wheelchairs because of the effects of injuries, and one who is deaf.

Receiving scholarships are Johnny Ragland and Justin Falls of North Carolina, Ethan Daffron of Indiana, Scott Earley of Florida, Shafeeq Moore of Georgia, Bernard Dime of Arizona, Trevor Denning of Texas, and Shavon McGlynn of New York.  They will train at Able Flight’s campus at Purdue University.

“When I have the pleasure of calling to notify applicants of their awards, I tell them that they are about to embark on a journey that will change their lives forever”, said Charles Stites of Able Flight.  “Our program is demanding and challenging, and that’s because we work with our partners at Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology to make it so.  When our students become licensed pilots, they know they have earned it.”

Graduates will be awarded their Able Flight Wings at EAA Airventure July 26.



Instrument Ground School July 16 and 17

·        What: Instrument Ground School

·        When: Saturday, July 16, 2016, & Sunday, July 17, 2016, 8AM to 5PM

·        Where: 534 Air Harbor Rd., Greensboro, NC 27455

·        Guarantee:  We guarantee students pass the instrument written; if they don’t pass, we          work with them one-on-one until they do pass

·        Items to Bring: An E6B, pocket calculator, and something to write with. We do have             E6Bs for sale at our cost of $11.00

·        Extras: We provide doughnuts and coffee for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch,             and we also have soft drinks and water

·        Cost: $300.00 Cash or Check: Make checks payable to: Zenda Liess, sorry I DON’T                take credit cards!

·        We collect the fee the first morning before class

·        To Register: Call or e-mail (see contact information below)

Zenda Liess
534 Air Harbor Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27455
Home: 336 286-5218
Cell: 336 324-9595

Director of Triad aviation academy to retire

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business Journal

Cynthia Waters, director of Andrews Aviation Academy in High Point, will retire from the position after five years of leading the effort designed to create a pipeline of new workers for the aerospace industry.
Waters said she will stay on the job until June 10. The academy plans to hire a new leader, but that person has not yet been identified, she told the Triad Business Journal.
Andrews Aviation Academy graduate Charlie Davis is pictured here at an internship with Carolina Aircraft.

The academy, which is housed within T. Wingate Andrews High School, launched in 2008 and is expected to have 160 students by the 2016-17 school, which begins in August. That’s up from 140 in 2014.

It’s “going to be very difficult to leave,” said Waters, who retired from Virginia Public Schools in 2008 before taking the academy director post.

Waters plans to serve as a consultant to other school systems that want to start a similar aviation program. She has 38 years of experience leading teachers and teaching students across Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. She also has 29 years of experience as a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
While she has already been “offered jobs in about six different states,” Waters said she plans to stay in the Triad.

“They all want to hire me away and I say, ‘No, I love it here,'” she said in an interview.
Waters said she will miss the students in the program.

“They are just so much fun. I developed relationships with them. They come to me, and we talk and we discuss their future,” she said between tears. “I know things about them that nobody else knows. It’s just fun to watch them grow, and get excited and talk enthusiastically about what they are doing.”
Under Waters, the academy’s internship program started with three businesses and seven students and grew to nine businesses and 29 students. Participating businesses include HAECO Americas, Aerosphere Aviation, Cessna Citation, Graco Industries and Piedmont Triad Airport Authority.
Students can choose from six aviation tracks, including pilot, engineering, airport management and airframe and power plant mechanic.

To get into the program, students must have at least a grade point average of 2.8, as well as excellent character and attendance record. The average GPA for students within the program is 3.3.

Instrument Ground School November 7 and 8

·        What: Instrument Ground School

·        When: Saturday, November 7, 2015, & Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, 8AM to 5PM

·        Where: 534 Air Harbor Rd., Greensboro, NC 27455

·        Guarantee:  We guarantee students pass the instrument written; if they don’t pass, we work with them one-on-one until they do pass

·        Items to Bring: An E6B, pocket calculator, and something to write with. We do have E6Bs for sale at our cost of $11.00

·        Extras: We provide doughnuts and coffee for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, and we also have soft drinks and water

·        Cost: $300.00 Cash or Check: Make checks payable to: Zenda Liess

·        We collect the fee the first morning before class

·        To Register: Call or e-mail (see contact information below)

·        Directions: provided if needed

Zenda Liess
534 Air Harbor Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27455
Home: 336 286-5218
Cell: 336 324-9595


Flight school offers online ground school

BURLINGTON, N.C. – Elon Aviation at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport (KBUY) now offers live online video-based ground school, enabling students to learn in the comfort of their own home.

“Students’ time is valuable, and ground instruction often goes to the back burner even when weather prevents us from flying,” said Elon Aviation Chief Flight Instructor Chris Whittle. “We want our students to continue to progress through their training by offering real-time ground instruction they can access in their home, office, or even while traveling.”

Through live online ground instruction, students can immediately respond to and ask questions of their instructor. It provides an interactive element that’s not found in pre-packaged training sessions, and personalized training that group courses can’t provide.

Sessions typically last one to two hours.

You can find a sample lesson here.

Elon Aviation also expects to expand its reach beyond the North Carolina Triad and Triangle areas.

It will continue to provide in-aircraft training in its facility at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport, but its online ground school is available to students across the U.S.

Students can call 336-221-9393 or email to schedule a session.

Wildlife-hazard training at Asheville Regional Airport June 25

By Margaret Williams – Mountain Xpress

On Thursday, June 25, Asheville Regional Airport personnel will receive training for handling wildlife hazards to aviation. The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation is leading daylong workshops across the state. While the sessions are free for airport personnel, “any aviation users” are encouraged to attend.

Here’s more information:

Division of Aviation to Sponsor Free Wildlife Hazard Training Sessions for Airport Personnel 

RALEIGH – Wildlife can wreak havoc for airports and their staff. Birds and other animals can damage planes on the ground or cause accidents by flying into the engines or roaming on airport grounds. To increase awareness of these concerns and to improve safety for all, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation will offer free training sessions for airport operations personnel.

“This training is extremely beneficial for airport owners and operators as we all try to deter wildlife strikes at airports,” said NCDOT Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston. “A lot of very practical information and hands-on training is provided at these sessions, so we encourage any aviation users to attend.”

These sessions are open to N.C. airport personnel that are tasked with handling wildlife hazards to aviation.  The sessions will be hosted:
•    Wednesday, April 8 Statesville Regional Airport (SVH)
•    Tuesday, May 19  Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ)
•    Thursday, June 25 Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
•    Wednesday, December 2 Moore County Airport (SOP)

The sessions typically run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch at local restaurants. There is no cost for attendees of this training. Seating is limited; please register early, registration is on a first come first serve basis.

The NCDOT Division of Aviation in cooperation with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service- Wildlife Services will provide technical outreach and other services designed to increase safety at N.C. airports. Topics that will be discussed include:

•    Topics contained in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-33 will be discussed
•    General overview of wildlife hazards to aviation in our state and nationally
•    Review of the Wildlife Hazard Assessment and Wildlife Hazard Management Plan Process
•    Rules, regulations, legal reminders, wildlife permits
•    Basic bird and mammal identification
•    Wildlife attractants and habitat management
•    Integrated management of wildlife hazards
•    Record Keeping and communications
•    Safety issues with equipment and procedures

To pre-register call:
Contact Jennifer Fuller NCDOT Division of Aviation
(919) 814-0560 or email

For information about the training please call:
Mark Lowles (336) 668-2859 or email

GTCC aviation testing on hold

By Richard M. Barron/News & Record

Administration has suspended its testing at Guilford Technical Community College for popular aviation mechanical courses because the agency has questions about the equipment the school uses for the tests.

The FAA action is an obstacle for those GTCC students ready for federal certification that shows they are fully qualified mechanics. The FAA administers tests with FAA-approved instructors at the school.

It’s an unusual glitch for the GTCC program, which has grown in prestige as economic developers put more emphasis on the local aviation industry.

Initially, the action taken on March 12 affects a small number of students in one program who will be eligible for the hands-on part of the test by the semester’s end on May 2.

Those students will have to travel to colleges in eastern North Carolina to take the FAA tests.

That number could grow the longer the FAA’s suspension continues.

Carla Kucinski, a spokeswoman for GTCC, said the college is investigating how it fell short of the FAA’s standards, although she said the agency conducts frequent evaluations.

GTCC’s aviation program is considered essential to Greensboro’s prospects for full economic recovery after thousands of jobs were lost in manufacturing.

“There was a recent FAA inspection of our FAA maintenance program, and the FAA inspector did raise questions about the equipment and a tool listing,” Kucinski said. “That’s what it amounts to — that we have the right tools that match the equipment.”

After the News & Record first asked about the FAA’s action, GTCC’s administration issued a memo to students on Tuesday.

According to the memo, the college will pay expenses for those students who must travel for the exam.

The FAA requires students to complete about 2,100 hours working on planes and know about 40 related subjects before they can take the FAA exam. It involves a written test along with an oral and practical test.

“What we’re talking about here are FAA exams, not GTCC exams,” Kucinski said. “The issue the program is currently facing has nothing to do with the standard college curriculum. It’s just a matter of us being able to show we have the equipment and tools on hand in the right locations for FAA testing by FAA-approved instructors.”

The specific GTCC programs affected are airframe maintenance and power plant maintenance, which allow students to work as mechanics on aircraft parts ranging from the fuselage to the jet engine.

Such major local aviation employers as HAECO depend on certified graduates or graduates from the GTCC program who are not yet certified to maintain and repair hundreds of aircraft a year at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

About 40 students are enrolled in certification programs in the college’s four aviation systems and technology programs, many of whom seek FAA certification in the airframe and power plant programs.

The FAA’s action could potentially affect three students in the next couple of months, Kucinski said. She added the program is 40 years old and has a long record of placing graduates in good jobs.

For that reason, the school already is talking to companies that hire its students to tell them about the FAA’s action.

“We can’t administer this maintenance certification test until we can verify that the equipment meets the standards of the agency’s requirements,” Kucinski said. “In the grand scheme of things, we don’t anticipate this to be a significant impact.”

The FAA doesn’t release details on such cases, so it issued a terse statement Wednesday: “The FAA has not taken certificate action against GTCC. It would be inaccurate to say that the school is decertified. The FAA informed GTCC in a March 12 letter that it cannot test (airframe and power plant) certificate applicants.”

Kucinski said administrators are talking with the school’s finance department so it can spend the amount needed to meet FAA requirements.