Minimize Distractions

When we talk about risk management, there is a lot of focus on the preflight and making sure you're fit to fly. But it is equally as important to make sure your focus is on safety of flight while in the air. Flying requires a combination of many complex tasks and you need to have your head in the game. And in order to keep focused, you must minimize distractions.

When flying with passengers, make sure that you pre-brief them about the importance of them being quiet during busy times such as the takeoff and landing phases and instrument approaches. If you're having trouble controlling your passengers' chatter, your audio panel or avionics may allow you to isolate yourself from them, or isolate you and your copilot from the rear passengers to allow them to keep talking.

If you're using an iPad or other electronic flight bag, make sure that it is well organized to allow you to keep your focus on flying rather than finding the charts, instrument procedures, airport diagrams or whatever else that you need for the trip. Don't tempt yourself to play around with game apps or other things that are loaded on the tablet while flying.

It's also best to put your phone away. There are several reports of airline incidents being caused by cell phone use in the cockpit. Texting is particularly distracting.

Some people get distracted by all the interesting things you can see from the air. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy watching things that pop up in the air on the ground, but make sure that most of your attention is directed toward flying the airplane. Use a scanning pattern, just like you would during flight with reference only to the instruments.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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