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Immediate Care for the Private Pilot

  • Peter J.F. Baskett (a1)

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Private aviation being popular, there are many light planes in regular use. Several of these are operated by pilots in training through local flying clubs. There is naturally a risk every time a plane takes to the air, but the statistics show that the risk is actually quite small. Most insurance companies do not increase their premiums for private pilots flying for pleasure. The most common emergencies which arise in light aircraft are caused by deteriorating weather conditions, fuel shortage, engine failure or pilot error.

Accidents caused by the inept pilot usually occur during take-off or landing. Gusting wind conditions can produce an unexpectd stall position when there is inadequate height to recover. The strong vortices generated in the wake of high powered jet engines can turn over a light plane which is following too closely at take-off or landing in the circuit. Accidents may also occur during flight because of the pilot's failure to fly at the correct height on the correct course and communicate properly to the local air traffic control. Fear of being made to look incompetent often results in the inexperienced pilot failing to ask for help when he is in doubt or in trouble.

If problems such as engine failure or fuel starvation occur, however, all is not lost since, unlike their enormous commercial counterparts, light planes have excellent gliding characteristics and can usually make an emergency landing. Requiring only a relatively short landing run if full flaps are used, they can often find a suitable site free from buildings and people.

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Immediate Care for the Private Pilot

  • Peter J.F. Baskett (a1)

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