A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard
this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer
statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of
"there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation
so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it
all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as
representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have
heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we
might never have considered before, or something that didn't
"stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for
the practical test.
It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers
become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our
ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those
strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow
them to soar magnificently through it.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you
through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are
always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips.
Remember... when it comes to being better pilots, we're all in this
Yesterday we reviewed seat
belt requirements for passengers in aircraft (except free balloons
and older airships). In a nutshell, the pilot-in-command is
responsible to brief passengers on the operation of seatbelts; tell
passengers seat belts and, if installed, shoulder harnesses must be
worn for taxi, takeoff and landing; and ensure all passengers are
actually wearing seat belts and (again, if installed) shoulder
harnesses before setting the airplane into motion.
This inevitably brings up a discussion of seat belts and
shoulder harness rules for pilots. The rules are just a little
different for the pilot and any required flight crewmembers. FAR 91.105 tells us that
each required flight crewmember must:
- Be at his or her crewmember station unless necessary to perform
duties in connection with aircraft operation (and physiological
breaks as needed).
- While at crewmember stations, to keep seat belts fastened at
- If shoulder harnesses are installed at the crewmember's seat,
he or she must wear shoulder harnesses during takeoff and landing
unless doing so renders the crewmember unable to perform required
I'll repeat something from yesterday's Aero-Tips, because it
bears repeating: Aircraft accident investigators have told me
repeatedly that seat belts and especially shoulder harnesses save
lives if an airplane makes a hard or off-airport landing…and
conversely, that lack of shoulder harness use (especially by
front-seat occupants) very often turns a "minor injury" mishap into
a fatal wreck.
Aero-tip of the day: Understand crewmembers'
required use of seat belts and shoulder harnesses—and follow
the "best practice" of wearing them during all phases of