Goodwood Aero Club Member Max Tams gives an insight into the GASCO safety evening talk on 'You wouldn't bet your life on it'
The GASCo safety evening was a very thought-provoking experience, it really made me think about how I can improve as a pilot. Michael Benson was a fabulous presenter, putting across important and sobering information in such a way which made me engage with the subject and want to learn more.
He asked the question ‘what MIGHT happen’ as a good start to pre-flight planning and flight safety. When really engaging with that question, it is fascinating to see what one considers a threat and how those threats became errors and how those errors can become an unwanted outcome.
The talk was a stark reality check, and the theme for the evening was ‘Perception V Reality’ – how in a number of aircraft accidents and near misses the pilots perception of what they were expecting or indeed experiencing was divergent from the reality of the situation. This chasm of the differentiation between reality and perception was an interesting question to answer in relation to our own experiences. Our knowledge was tested on the night via a high tech, anonymous voting system. This highlighted gaps in our knowledge, uncomfortable as this brutal self-evaluation was, it gave us all food for thought and this method was put forward as a good way to discover what further training and study may be useful.
One or two of the many areas covered were for example, the quickly escalating Bubble that is caused by Airspace Infringements, where the controllers must quarantine the infringing aircraft within a 5nm wide by 5,000ft tall area. This has led to an upcoming campaign called ‘Take 2’ pertaining to avoiding the edge of airspace by 2nm horizontally and at least 200ft vertically. The use of listening squawks was discussed and the fact that this system is so useful for the controller was illuminating.
Loss of control in flight came out as a leading cause of aircraft accidents; and the aircraft proximities that have occurred were explored in detail — being aware of events that will increase the danger of an AirProx such as gliding championships, low flying areas and other events that are often overlooked in pre-flight planning.
The evening was well attended and there were some excellent questions asked. I hope to attend annually to make sure I continue to learn, and hopefully, avoid any of the situations discussed in detail on the evening!
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