Safety Spotlights

runway safety

Runway Safety

General aviation pilots of all experience and certificate levels account for the majority of runway incursions each year—usually caused by miscommunication, failure to comply with signs and markings, or simply getting lost. As a result, not being in the right place at the right time can spell disaster for pilots and passengers. Be sure to review runway signs, markings, and taxi diagrams prior to your next flight with the resources provided in this safety spotlight.

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operations at airports

Operations at Airports

By definition airport is a place where aircraft can land and take off. And, it so happens there are more than 5,000 public-use airports available in the United States. Although most are categorized as non-towered airports, there are some 600 airports that have an operating air traffic control tower. Do you worry about communicating with the tower or do you have trepidations about self-announcing on the Unicom? Whether you’re new to these environments, or just need a review, this Safety Spotlight can help refresh your knowledge and improve your knowledge of airport etiquette.

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Getting a handle on aerodynamics doesn’t have to involve dry textbooks and dense equations. But it does require a thorough understanding of aerodynamic performance during critical phases in flight. You may know an airplane can stall at any airspeed or pitch attitude, but do you really understand why? Get to know the true meaning of “Alpha” and “critical AOA” and learn need-to-know concepts that will help you avoid unintentional stalls and spins.

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aeronautic decision making

Aeronautical Decision Making

Poor decision making is the root cause of many—if not most—aviation accidents. Good decision making, on the other hand, is about avoiding the circumstances that lead to really tough choices. The goal is really very simple: Learn to make good choices every time you fly. This safety spotlight brings together relevant safety courses and quizzes to help you hone this single most important safety skill.

bird strike

Bird Strike

Inflight emergency training generally deals with unusual attitude recovery, engine failure, and smoke or fire in the cabin, to name a few scenarios. But one that cannot practically be practiced is a collision with a bird. So what should you do when you unexpectedly pick up an uninvited feathered passenger?

Be prepared: Check out ASI’s Bird Strike spotlight.

"The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It's the one you can't train for that kills you." – Ernest K. Gann

ifr flight

IFR Flight

Whether you have hours of instrument flight experience or are new to flight instrument meteorological conditions, you'll want to plunge in to this Safety Spotlight.

Pick courses, quizzes, presentations, and publications relevant to your next flight. Then come back for additional IFR topics you'd like to brush up on before your next instrument proficiency check.  Thoroughly review and understand critical IFR topics without the hassles of searching numerous Web pages to find important answers to your instrument flight questions.

cold weather operations

Cold Weather Operations

As snow blankets airplanes, tarmacs, and runways, you might wonder when you'll be able to fly next.  Cold temperatures, low clouds, and frozen precipitation present unique challenges during the winter season, but don't let this discourage you.  Winter often yields the best chances for a glassy smooth ride and a picturesque landscape to boot! But you'll want to be well-prepared to reap winter's flying benefits.

That’s why you’ll want to get up to speed quickly with award-winning courses on cold weather flying to enjoy the winter season. You’ll understand why IFR winter flights present their own challenges after you experience the riveting Real Pilot Story of a brand-new IFR-rated pilot, who got more than he bargained for when confronted with a winter storm over Pennsylvania mountains.

Don’t wait for the snowflakes to come down: Get prepared now.

night vfr flight

Night VFR Flight

Once the sun has set and the night sky alights you’re in for a mostly magical and peaceful time aloft. But night VFR flight has some unique challenges and planning takes on another dimension—well beyond your usual VFR daytime flight planning; if not it should. The GA night VFR accident record—as revealed by the Air Safety Institute's accident database—clearly shows proportionately many more VFR accidents at night than during the day. This is not to scare you away from enjoying an exhilarating night flight. Quite the opposite, but please be safe, bolster your knowledge, and fly prepared—brush up now.

summer weather

Summer Weather

Summer can be great for flying, whether in search of the elusive $100 hamburger, or to just spend some quality time aloft. On the flip side: The sweltering heat that sometimes accompanies summer weather can throw a nasty wrench in the works by creating severe thunderstorms, high density altitudes, and visibility-reducing haze.

Check summer weather safety tips, brush up on your weather knowledge, and test your newly acquired skills with ASI’s award-winning courses. Make it a summer to remember.

vfr into imc


In most years, nearly half of all weather-related accidents happen as a result of continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC)…and sadly, the vast majority of those accidents are fatal. Don’t be the next pilot to fall prey to descending ceilings and deteriorating visibility: Check out these free resources.

thunderstorm awareness

Thunderstorm Awareness

It’s simple: Airplanes and thunderstorms don’t mix. These convective beasts can produce airframe-shattering turbulence, damaging hail, sudden and dramatic wind shear, blinding downpours, and strong, gusty winds—sometimes as much as 20 miles from the edge of a cell. The good news is that it’s not difficult to avoid these violent storms—if you know how to use the tools at your disposal.

electronic system know how

Electrical System Know-How

When was the last time you curled up with the POH to devour intricate schematics of electrical switches and circuit breakers? Seemingly benign electrical malfunctions can blossom into full-blown disasters, and you’d better be familiar with your aircraft’s system when that happens. How would you react to an in-flight electrical failure? What are the first signs of an electrical fire? Would you reset a popped circuit breaker?

Don’t rely on what you think you should do—know what to do. What you don’t know may hurt or even kill you, like it did the NASCAR crew on July 10, 2007. Read on to understand how the accident could have been prevented, and tap additional resources to tackle electrical issues.

spring preflight

Spring Preflight

Like people, flying machines need regular exercise to stay in shape. Unfortunately, the cold, ice, snow, and darkness of winter mean that many airplanes sit idle for months at a time, and bad things tend to befall pilots who just "kick the tires and light the fires" on the first warm day of the year. Check out this Safety Spotlight for tips on getting your airplane ready for the spring flying season.



Like it or not, there's no avoiding airspace. Whether you're planning a quick hop to a nearby strip or an epic cross-country voyage, the regulations and common sense both require you to be well versed on any type of airspace that lies in your path. In addition, since Sept. 11, 2001, the nation's airspace has become considerably more complex, and the penalties for careless mistakes are much more severe. Large Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) can pop up anywhere, anytime. And, of course, there are plenty of restricted and prohibited areas out there, just waiting to snag the unwary.

Need an airspace refresher? Review the basics (and not-so-basics) in this Safety Spotlight.

pilot proficiency and the flight review

Pilot Proficiency and the Flight Review

It's a beautiful Saturday morning, the airplane's practically begging to be flown, and you can hardly wait to get off the ground—at least until you remember that your flight review expired two weeks ago. Oops!

It's important to maintain currency, but it's more important to stay proficient. This Safety Spotlight is just what you need to keep your skills sharp and brush up before the next flight review.

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fuel management

Fuel Management

No one expects or intends to run out of fuel in flight. And yet, in the United States alone, an average of more than three accidents per week result from fuel exhaustion, starvation, or contamination. It can happen to you. Read on to learn more about avoiding these easily preventable accidents.