What Can You Do To Avoid an Incident or Accident?

FLYING’s Pia Bergqvist explains the best strategy for avoiding a disastrous aviation event.

An instructor and a student preflight a Cessna 152 before a lesson. [Credit: Richard Steiger]

Question: What can you do to avoid an incident or accident? 

Answer: The best way to prevent disastrous aviation events is to plan for anticipated threats. 

It all starts with a thorough preflight. Then, before you taxi out to the runway, mentally brief the takeoff and climb. If you’re flying VFR, make sure to stay out of airspace or communicate with ATC. If you’re on an IFR flight plan, verify each fix in the flight management system or GPS. An erroneous route could lead to a violation, which probably won’t kill you, but could jeopardize your certificate. 

Visualize each step of the flight and think through possible threats. What’s your plan for weather events, engine trouble, busy traffic patterns, terrain, etc.? If you only have one engine, where is the best place for an emergency landing? What’s the minimum altitude for returning to the field? What are the odds of a diversion? Do you have enough fuel for a hold or lengthy reroute? Finally, always plan for a go-around or missed approach. 

Do you have a question about aviation that’s been bugging you? Ask us anything you’ve ever wanted to know about aviation. Our experts in general aviation, flight training, aircraft, avionics, and more may attempt to answer your question in a future article.

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.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter