Most important safety item in cockpit?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Arnold, Apr 6, 2006.

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What is the most important safety item in the cockpit?

Poll closed Apr 16, 2006.
  1. Flight Instruments

    2 vote(s)
    2.2%
  2. Communications Equipment

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  3. Navigation Equipment

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. PIC Attitude

    80 vote(s)
    88.9%
  5. Other

    7 vote(s)
    7.8%
  1. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    A good friend once asked me what I thought the most important safety item in the cockpit is. His answer made me think and ultimately I found it to be a true top contender for the prize. So now if care to play along it is your turn. If you select other then please explain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2006
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  2. HPNPilot1200

    HPNPilot1200 En-Route

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    Great poll, Arnold. I agree with FlightSafety on this one:
    ...I think the PIC [and SIC] is [are] the most important safety item in the cockpit. There are many others behind it, but I strongly agree with the above motto.

    Jason
     
  3. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    Thank you Jason. There are of course no truly "right" answers, just strongly held opinions on this one. I think my answer was close to yours.
     
  4. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The nut connecting the yoke to the rudder pedals. :D
     
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  5. RotaryWingBob

    RotaryWingBob En-Route Gone West

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    I voted attitude, but I think the answer is broader than that -- PIC attitude, skills, condition, -- all the things which affect the way the PIC (and other crew members) are able to function.
     
  6. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    Unfortunetly that one item is often the one that breaks and has yet to be the subject of any AD until it is too late.
     
  7. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    Wow Pretty clear results so far!!
     
  8. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    No doubt about that.
     
  9. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Who listed communications? I'd be interested in reading your thoughts on that.
     
  10. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    I dont' know who posted that, but one can certainly make the argument that if you can communicate you can always get help from ATC. Of course there is no right or wrong answer, only strongly held opinions. BTW my friend's answer is an "other" item.
     
  11. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    The first 3 are just optional tools that aren't even necessary. You can fly all day long anywhere on the Earth without any of those. Hardware is useful to make life easier, sometimes much easier, but that's the extent of it.
    PIC attitude is good but being humble only goes so far.

    The ability to think and pull the millions of little bits of (sometimes otherwise unrelated) information and practical experience together into a workable solution then apply that solution properly into a dynamic environment to make the plane do what you want and need it to do is essential.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2006
  12. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was gonna say, the interface between the panel and the interior! :rolleyes:

    Of course, everyone knows that the most important safety item is a handheld GPS. :rofl:

    Otto Pilot, maybe?
     
  13. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    I do think Otto is a pre-requisite to single pilot IFR for the casual aviator - this now must regrettably include me - it is a valid alternative answer. Not my friend's answer though.
     
  14. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    I think you have hit upon a useful distinction between attitude and smarts. Not my friend's answer though he would like it if he read it.
     
  15. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I did that once in a car. I was on a four lane highway after a heavy snow, and the road had been well plowed and salted, thus it was just wet. I was exiting onto another four lane road via a right ramp, and went busting aound the ramp at a good clip. To my horror, I noticed the new road was unplowed (maybe 6in of wet snow), and I was going waaaaaay too fast. This was not good.

    I hit the unplowed part, and the rear end kicked out, so I cranked the wheel over hard in the direction of the slide. As you would expect, the car's rear then whipped around hard the other way, so it swapped side to side several times, but the amplitude of the swing was getting greater with each swing. Again, not good.

    But, I noticed the trajectory of the car was straight up the road, so on one of the swings, I punched the brake pedal with as much speed and strength as I could muster. All four locked (days long before ABS), and the car spun multiple times about its axis, but the trajectory continued straight up the road. Gaurd rail on the left, ditch on the right, and I should have hit either.

    I held the brake pedal tight until I stopped, then got the car pointed in the right direction and slithered off with my tail between my legs.

    Slamming down the brake pedal is totally unconventional, but did the job at the time. Just a few weeks earlier in freshman physics, we had learned an object in motion stays in motion unless disturbed by an outside force.

    Applied physics!
     
  16. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    I agree. I've been thinking about this for quite some time, and have decided that I will not fly my family single pilot IFR (when I get the ticket) without a good auto-pilot I know how to use. I'm well aware that there are plenty of pilots who do just fine without otto, but for me I think this will be one of my limits.
     
  17. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think I'm on board with this, too. Although I still practice many many hand approaches in the 172, I really like the coupled Otto's in the other club planes. What a great workload reducer.
     
  18. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    VMC under the hood Otto, or George as I like to clal him, seldom gets engaged. ALthough I will fly a coupled approach just for practie form time to time. In IMC I fly with George on all the time. I have flown some single pilot IFR in IMC without it but man! I get tired quick. The first time I did it was my wife's first time in IMC. She chose that time, I suppose because she could not see outside, to start asking me all kinds of questions about the instruments and what they do, how I knew where we were, etc. I calmly said to her, "Honey, it may not look like I am busy but I am working my arse off and would you please hold all question until we are on the ground".
     
  19. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    Dang! I've done very similar things before. :yes:

    One sort of exciting one was landing on a narrow runway coated in black ice. It looked like dry pavement on short final. Shortly after touchdown it started tracking sideways to the ditch with the xwind. The only sensible solution was to go faster and get it back in the sky.

    You ride motorcycles too. :cheers: That's a whole bunch of non cager type maneuvering techniques. The one that gets my non rider friends the most: If you're going to blow through a turn at speed and the force vectors are going to take you into the guard rail, the solutions is to NOT let off the throttle and get on the brake. If you do, it'll stand up and go in a straight line. You have to get on the throttle and roll further into the turn.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2006
  20. AdamZ

    AdamZ Administrator Management Council Member

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    Uh Arnold I beg to differ I have spoken to your lovely wife and I am pretty sure if you ask her she will tell you she has all the right answers:rolleyes:
     
  21. GaryO

    GaryO Pre-takeoff checklist

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    None of the options seemed correct so I chose "other". The PICs attitude comes closest but the PIC also needs to bring his brain along too.
     
  22. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Boy, I'd hope I'd have the presence to recognize that solution. Good job!

    Like these? (Me playing at Deals Gap)
     

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  23. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    I don't know about everyone or under all conditions but when it happened that time, there wasn't a huge list of possible solutions to think about for half the day before coming up with a wishy washy idea. Time did that slow down thing it does on occasion and the thought process was more like "UH, WTF? OH $*#&! SIDEWAYS! DITCH! SLIDING! GO FASTER RIGHT NOW!!" 1/1000th of a second later the throttle hit the panel stops. Sometimes you just know the correct solution.

    You're scum only because I haven't been there yet! The Dragon is on my list of mandatory mecca missions in the near future. Any chance you've been to the Cherohala Skyway? I've heard that's a nice fun ride.
    Hmmm. Are those killboy pictures?
     
  24. Frank Browne

    Frank Browne Final Approach

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    Nice ride there Bill! When I first read the thread title, the first answer that popped into my head was...a brain. Then I saw PIC attitude and voted for that.
     
  25. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Been to the Cherohala more times than I can count, and it is a wonderful ride. Lots of great lesser known roads in the NC mountains as well. I live 70mi from the start of the Cherohala, and it's another 70mi to the store at the Dragon. I've done that many a Sunday. If you ever do get up here, I'll be happy to show you around. That goes for any other pilot riders here on the board.

    Indeed. I saw them roadside, and checked their web site when I got home, and sure enough, they had these three good shots of me. $15 later, they were mine! (I have to give it to them, a great idea to earn a living taking professional pictures of riders.)
     
  26. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Thank you, sir! The RT is the best bike I've owned thus far, a great all arounder.
     
  27. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    Thanks!
    I'll get there, no question about it. When it happens, I'll definitely hit you up for a pirep during final planning stages. Growing up we use to drive through the region every summer.
    BRPW, Smoky Mtn NP, Deals Gap, Cherohala and a couple days on the coast is the current plan.

    I thought so. It screamed their style. Those guys are good. They could sell their pictures for a lot more but I bet they make an absolute killing doing low price high volume instead.
     
  28. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    I think my ANR headset made me a better pilot and a safer one. All things being equal in the list, attitude and training count high in my book.
     
  29. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Most accurately, I'd have to choose "other" because safety is primarily the good attitude of the PIC combined with true possession of competent cerebromuscular flying capabilities.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2006
  30. igottafly

    igottafly Pre-Flight

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    POH, and or checklist.
     
  31. Graueradler

    Graueradler Pattern Altitude

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    I suppose its like happy or glad but I vote for Pilot Judgement. Pilot attitude is just one factor affecting judgement. About 50% of fatal accidents involve pilot judgement (continued visual flight into IMC, low level manuevering, fuel exhaustion).
     
  32. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    That falls in the extra tools category.
    If you're flying Soyus or a B747 air freighter, yes definitely.
    Anything in the practical flight applications sections of a POH/checklist for a garden variety stuck gear fix pitched Cherokee or Cessna you should pretty much know cold by the time you get into the plane for a routine flight. The beasties really are not all that complicated.
     
  33. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    Very interesting to see the responses so far. I venture to say this is a much more sophisticated flying community than most.
     
  34. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    Any obscure hints what your friends answer might be in the direction of?


    A couple other very basic things come to mind:
    A seat. Without it, flying is kind of annoying unless you're in a hang glider or the Lunar Module. It's doable without the seat but definitely not the safest thing to leave behind.
    Basic flight controls to make the plane do what you want.
    Then there's the old 100% guaranteed flight safety standby answer - knowing when to NOT get into the cockpit to start with and having enough sense to not change your mind after making that decision.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2006
  35. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    A hint, okay - it is a safety of flight item in that it effects the pilots judgment but it is a tangible thing with intangible properties. :dunno:
     
  36. igottafly

    igottafly Pre-Flight

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    Mag switch
    Clock
    Fire extinguisher
    fresh air vents. for those that are not flying a Jenny
    H2O
    CO Detector
    Door locks
    Seat belt/Harness
    Your Uncles phone number so you can call him when you are landing off airport. Why? 'cause he has never seen a plane crash.
     
  37. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    Oh sheesh. That statement is right out of my old philosophy class. This is now becoming fun. It's making me think.


    Thinking through my keyboard while sitting in a chair pretending I'm in a plane (where's a real plane when you need one?):

    There's a lot of tangible stuff even in a stripped down cub that affects my behavior (control input/feedback, diversions, WX, needles pointing where they should or shouldn't, terrain, floating off the seat, etc) but not a lot of what's there actually affects my judgement. Matter of fact, very little of the physical aircraft or physical environment around the plane affects my judgement on it's own.

    On the judgement side is, oxygen (not an issue in most situations) and physical contact (pax throttling my throat while screaming don't crash or instructor wacking my head with a sectional or turbulence excessively bouncing me around inside), CO makes one completely stupid but that's an anomoly situation and definitely not a safety item beyond helping the propeller whirl around.
    My derrier has affected my judgement on occasion but mostly that's sorting out what is going on and how to react properly to it.

    I'll tell you the one thing above all else that affects how I analyze things and how I proceed with something. It's somewhat tangable but the process on how it works is very intangable. It's gut instinct. I can't even start to count the number of times it's saved me from certain doom in the air and on the ground. Training, knowledge, skill, understanding, experience and equipment only go so far. When that instinct says do something NOW, you do it right then without question or further discussion because it is the right thing to do under the circumstances even if your rational brain is confused or thinks otherwise. It's the one safety system that when it goes full on, it filters through all the fluff when something isn't right. It may not tell you what is fluff vs poop but it definitely sets off the warning system and starts coming up with a solution to get away from the poop. If there's any one thing in the plane or anywhere else that I happen to be, in any situation, that will alter my current judgement pattern, it's instinct.

    I must think on this puzzle further...
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2006
  38. wesleyj

    wesleyj Pre-takeoff checklist

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    i don't know if you can pick one single safety item. Pilot attitude can kill as easily as it can protect, the rest are just mechanical items,

    a well trained pilot, using his superior judgement to avoid situations requireing the use of his superior skills, is probably the best thing to have ina the cockpit.
     
  39. Michael

    Michael Pattern Altitude

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    Rudders are for tail wheels, silly.
     
  40. Michael

    Michael Pattern Altitude

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    I agree with most here. The pilot is the most important item in the cockpit. without him there wouldnt be any trouble to begin with.