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Fri, May 03, 2019

FAA Points Out Problems Of Aging Pilots And Aircraft

FAASTeam Representative Speaks At EAA Chapter 534 Monthly Meeting

Mark Laughridge, a representative for the FAA’s FAAST Safety Team, was the speaker at the monthly meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 at the Leesburg International Airport on Saturday, April 25, 2019. He pointed out that both pilots as well as aircraft suffer from aging problems. If these issues are not addressed, they can result in accidents.

Reaction times of younger pilots tends to be faster than older pilots. However, the past experiences in flight that the older pilot can draw on can be a compensating factor. That means the more hours of flight time as “pilot in command” he or she has, the better the decision making.

Pilots must continue to learn. Just because one acquires a private pilot’s license, does not signify the end of their flying education. In actuality, it is the beginning. Pilots must continue to stay current by flying, periodic flight reviews, and utilizing many of the on-line courses the FAA offers such as the Wings Program.

One of the problems some pilots have is that of complacency. For example, they become so sure of the condition of their airplane that they either short- cut the pre-flight or skip it entirely. Mark mentioned that 60% of general aircraft accidents can be attributed to this.

The average age of the general aviation aircraft is 50 years old. Some of these airplanes were built in the late 40s and 50’s. They have been flown for years, overhauled several times and may have changed ownership many times with some owners taking better care of them than others. Planes are subject to annual inspections, but some of these may be better than others.

Laughridge mentioned that one of the big problems these older aircraft have is corrosion. This is a problem that all aluminum aircraft have and one really has to inspect the airplane carefully to make sure this insidious issue is not occurring.

Just because you see shiny aluminum in one place does not mean there won’t be corrosion somewhere else. This tends to be more of a problem in those states that border oceans or in airplanes that may have spent much of their lives in these areas.

(Source: EAA Chapter 534 news release. Image from file)

FMI: eaachapter534.org

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