The Air Safety Institute's Safety Briefs are short publications designed to offer practical guidance and useful tips for every pilot.
As the population of birds has increased in North America, so has the number of reported aircraft bird strikes. But in all of the data that is published, not much is said about how to handle one. Fortunately, a little preparation, common sense, and thoughtfulness can help you avoid a “fowled-up” flight. Download it! (PDF file—1.52MB)
Have you ever tuned in the ATIS at your favorite airport only to hear "...braking action fair" and wondered exactly what it meant? These reports highlight one of the hazards of winter flying—taxiways and runways covered in snow, ice and slush. These conditions should not always deter pilots from taking to the air in winter. This season offers some of the best days to fly—smooth rides, great visibility and excellent aircraft performance. Download it! (PDF file—293KB)
Ever flown passengers to raise money for charity? Whether you know it or not, you've accepted a greater level of responsibility. Sadly, over the years, a few pilots have failed to take that responsibility seriously, and lives have been lost as a result. Fortunately, though, the risks of charity operations are fairly predictable. Download it! (PDF file—194KB)
During the last 10 years, there have been over 30 accidents on takeoff as a result of wing contamination by snow, frost, and ice. A few simple steps during preflight could have easily prevented these accidents. Download it! (PDF file — 75KB)
Chilly outside temperatures with moist air are telltale signs of icing potential, so certainly icing couldn’t occur with temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, right? Wrong. This Safety Brief examines the dangers of carb ice, providing the keys to understanding and combating this year-round icing risk. Download it! (PDF file — 390KB)
An overwhelming desire to sleep is the most pronounced symptom of fatigue, and it's a decidedly uncomfortable feeling when you're at the controls of an airplane. In reality, though, there's a lot more to fatigue than the risk of dozing off in the cockpit. This Safety Brief looks at some of the things that can lead to fatigue, and some ways to keep it from catching up with you in the cockpit. Download it! (PDF file — 149KB)
Although in-flight electrical fires are extremely rare, they can happen at any time — and they can be disastrous, as proven in the 2007 fatal accident involving a Cessna 310 in Sanford, FL. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and take action if you experience this type of event. Download it! (PDF file — 487KB)
When we think about the risks associated with aviation fuel, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the possibility of a fuel exhaustion incident — an engine failure and subsequent forced landing. That concern is not unwarranted: An average of nearly three aircraft per week suffer damage due to fuel exhaustion or starvation. Running out of gas is not, however, the only fuel-related worry for pilots. Download it! (PDF file — 88KB)
Pneumatic systems, commonly known as vacuum or pressure systems, power the heading and attitude indicators in most general aviation (GA) aircraft, and in some aircraft, also power the autopilot and de-ice systems. For pilots who regularly fly at night or in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) these systems are essential. This Safety Brief explains how the pneumatic system works, how to recognize a system failure, and system redundancy options. Download it! (PDF file — 132KB)
Knowing what will keep you and your passengers safe is the key to conducting each flight safely. Because the ramp area can be full of hazards, educating yourself about some of the common dangers on the ramp will help you navigate to and from your aircraft without incident. This safety brief examines some of the things you can do to protect yourself, and your passengers, each and every time you go flying. Download it! (PDF file — 596KB)
Since 1993 there have been over 380 fatal night VFR accidents. This Safety Brief explains how you can use readily available information on VFR and IFR charts to avoid obstacles and terrain when flying. Learn more about the Terrain Avoidance Plan. Download it! (PDF file — 106KB)
Good operating techniques for landing and take off at off-airport sites. Operating off-airport can be done safely, with proper instruction and guidance. This guide, prepared by the Alaskan Region FAASTeam shares tips from expert Alaskan pilots who have years of experience flying in and out of unimproved landing areas. A must read for any pilot anywhere who plans off airport landings. Download it! (PDF file — 737KB)
The Air Safety Institute is happy to make Safety Briefs available to you at no cost, but we need your help! We rely on tax-deductible contributions to fund our pilot training programs. Your contribution today, whether it's $25, $50, $100, or whatever you can send, will help us educate pilots. Help the Air Safety Institute to make a difference in improving general aviation safety.
Updated October 1, 2010