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Pilot Decision Making


Lindell Wilson, WVFC CFI

The Landing Challenge


It seems that 2013 is the year of the Landing Challenge with several recent Landing accidents occurring at our local airports including KSFO. Why do we have such a problem with Landing?

The Nall Report* (published 2012) concludes that Landing accidents are about 30% of all general aviation accidents, and fortunately only several percent of Landing accidents are fatal (orange). General aviation Landing accidents are often caused by pilot error and not by mechanical problems.  The graph below clearly shows Landing is the Challenge! Wow 361.


Landing accidents are classified into seven areas as the graph below illustrates, but the top three areas are;

1.     Loss of Control                         2.   Stalls         3.   Long Landings

I found it interesting that the recent KSFO landing accident might be classified as a Short Landing which statistically represents the lowest percentage type in the Nall report.


A bright note is that the report indicates that student solo Landing accidents fell 40% compared to past years. Student pilots practice takeoff and landing over-and-over, so practice is definitely one of the keys to mitigating Landing accidents. In addition, the FAA and the aviation community have  programs focused on  Landing practice, technique, and safety.

Ask yourself… how many takeoffs and Landings have I done in the last month?

*Source for figures 15 and 35 is the Nall Report 22nd edition