Contributing to Safety

From NAFI's Chair

Contributing to Safety

During the General Aviation Awards webinar this week, Greg Feith, former Senior Air Safety Investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, observed, sadly, that this has been a tough month for aviation. Unfortunately, this is true. Losses ranged from a California accident on Super Bowl Sunday that left a pilot and four people on the ground dead, to the Texas crash of an Atlas 767 flying cargo for Amazon a few days ago that left its crew of three dead.   All of these have been tragic and our hearts go out to the families of the lost.

The temptation is always strong to try to figure out what went wrong. That seems to be particularly true with pilots. Perhaps it is because we tend to be analytical or perhaps, to borrow a page from Ernest K. Gann, we try to understand why something about which we are so passionate has caused such grief. Or, most likely, it's a combination of both. I don't know for certain. What is certain, though, is that it is far too early in the investigative process to speculate. The NTSB and FAA will likely find answers and, hopefully, make recommendations that will help prevent future tragedies.

One more thing is certain: these accidents are a somber reminder of the roles and responsibilities we have as flight instructors. Each of us has an obligation to all of the people we touch, whether directly or indirectly, to ensure our students have the tools, knowledge, and judgment to minimize risk and avert accidents. This in no way is meant to imply that a lack of skill or training had anything to do with any of the aforementioned accidents.

The point is that each one of us touches other lives in an environment that is unforgiving of lack of judgment or skill. If we do everything we can to help ensure that pilots are well trained and have the tools they need to survive, and to grow and flourish, we will have contributed that much more to aviation safety. And we will have honored those who have gone before us.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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