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Of the millions of GA flights every year, only a few end with unplanned off-airport landings. But even though the odds of a crash are slim, the potential consequences are harsh—which is why smart pilots prepare and take basic precautions.
That’s where our seminar comes in. From route planning and emergency rations to signal mirrors and sat phones, our presenters take a user-friendly, common sense approach at maximizing your chances of survival and rescue after a crash. We’ll talk about:
The seminar covers challenging questions about specific VFR and IFR charts, real-world procedures and decision making, analysis of tragic accidents caused by chart misinterpretation, and important “gotchas” that all pilots should be aware of.
The “big sky” can get awfully small when multiple aircraft are in the vicinity. Even with ATC support and traffic displays, near misses happen too frequently and midair collisions still happen. Advanced technologies which ensure more precise course and altitude tracking and more aircraft converging on fewer airports all work to shrink the “big sky”. This seminar looks at the problem from a risk management perspective. We identify high-risk scenarios and locations, then lay out strategies for avoiding them. From congested corridors to frenetic fly-ins, we talk about:
When we talk about safety, we normally tackle one issue at a time—thunderstorms one day, taxi clearances the next. But out in the real world, any given flight can bring together a whole range of interconnected safety issues:
We spend time training for them, but real-world emergencies are rare enough that it’s easy to get complacent. They don’t always happen to “other pilots,” though, and preparation can make a big difference when things don’t go as planned:
Especially in light aircraft, flying after dark comes with real trade-offs. Smooth air, better performance, and stunning views are great—but they’re offset by trickier landings, invisible terrain, and limited emergency options. So what’s the key to staying safe after sundown?
This seminar looks at night flying from a risk management perspective. Using decades of accident data, we identify common problems and recommend the best ways to avoid them. Along the way, we cover::
Flying at nontowered fields is a balancing act. Especially on busy days, they demand concentration, communication, sharp eyes, solid stick-and-rudder skills, and the ability to improvise at a moment’s notice. Sometimes the margin for error can be very slim.
With that in mind, ASI’s seminar turns a spotlight on real-life accidents in the nontowered environment. Together with our expert presenters, you’ll play the role of accident investigator—starting at the crash scene and working backwards through physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and other leads to figure out what went wrong, and why.
Flying in the backcountry is an exciting and rewarding challenge with little room for error. It's an exacting environment that demands sound decision making, stellar stick and rudder skills, a thorough understanding of the weather, and an intimate knowledge of the airplane. Whether you're a seasoned backcountry flyer or flatlander, you'll enjoy this new seminar, which delves into conditions, challenges, and accidents unique to backcountry flying. Together with your seminar leader you'll examine lessons learned to fly safely in any operating environment.
Radio communication is one of a pilot's core skills—and a cornerstone of safe flying. This course covers both VFR and IFR radio operations and will help you communicate properly, efficiently, and effectively from the cockpit.
Are you part of a flying club or other aviation organization? Download the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s new Scalable Safety Framework (SSF) presentation– a PowerPoint with a supporting PDF –to help your group formulate, implement, and sustain a safety culture.
Sure, you know lots of important stuff about flying…but how sharp are your trivia skills? Join us for our latest seminar and find out! We’ll test your knowledge of the arcane while also exploring the safety issues behind the trivia. For example, do you know:
From vintage navaids to aerodynamics and little-known aircraft, we’ve put together a collection of questions sure to put your knowledge to the test—and make you a safer pilot.
In this seminar we'll look at one of the fundamental elements of flyingweather. By quizzing the audience on various aspects of weather resources, theory, decision making and flight planning, we'll hopefully provide a good refresher and teach folks a few new things (and have a little fun along the way).
Sometimes the cause of an aircraft accident is obvious. Other times, it takes everything from CSI-style forensics to old-fashioned sleuthing to figure out where things went awry. This seminar looks at general aviation accidents through the eyes of the investigator--starting at the scene and working backward to reconnect the shattered links of the accident chain.
Having trouble gauging your touchdown point on the runway? Check out this handy trick for helping you stay on target during short final. ASI Safety Tip: Aiming Point teaches a simple technique for touching down at the right place at the right time.
In this video, we'll show you a quick technique for making sure your flight controls are ready to go when you need them.
Do you know what to say before keying the mic? Safety Tip: Four Ws of Communication will help jog your mind. Whether you’re flying at a non-towered field or communicating with ATC, concise communication improves safety.
Struggling to nail the perfect landing? Whether you’re having trouble timing your flare, or managing your airspeed, try this quick technique – and you could be landing like a pro in no time.
Do you struggle with hot starting an airplane? You’re not alone. In this video, we help demystify hot start procedures, and give you a peek at what’s happening under the hood – in your airplane’s fuel delivery system.
As pilots, we should be familiar with the reporting language used to describe runway landing surface grip. Learn how the RCAM can help you anticipate your airplane's braking performance in bad weather.
If you get confused about positioning the flight controls while taxiing, Safety Tip: Taxi Controls can help. Learn how consistently practicing the proper control placement in crosswinds on the ground builds an excellent habit that will kick in when the winds kick up.
Are you guilty of rudder neglect? Check out this quick reminder on the importance of yaw recognition and coordinated flight.
Midair collisions fall into that “low probability, high consequence” category, but the topic still brings a chill to most pilots. In this video, we discuss areas where the risk of a mid-air is greatest as well as strategies for minimizing the chance of having one.
Datalink weather ranks as one of GA’s great technological advances. But clear information about datalink service options can be hard to find, and there’s sometimes confusion about the 2020 ADS-B mandate (which does not require pilots to use ADS-B In/FIS-B weather). This video takes a detailed look at the two providers—SiriusXM and ADS-B In/FIS-B—comparing modes of delivery, weather products, and other pros and cons to help pilots of all aircraft types decide which best fits their needs.
By bringing up-to-the-minute weather into the cockpit, datalink has increased the utility of our aircraft while making weather flying safer and easier. In this video, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the “datalink revolution” as told by the people who made it happen.
What causes density altitude and how does it affect my airplane? Find the answer to these questions and learn a quick and easy step to ensuring maximum aircraft performance when density altitude is a factor in your area.
Responding to a simulated engine-out during training is one thing. Responding to a real engine-out is another, and as pilots we should know how to respond to ensure our chances of a safe landing. In this video, we discuss best practices for responding to an engine failure in cruise and on takeoff, as well as ways to help prevent an engine failure from happening in the first place.
British warbird pilot, Mark Levy, was part of a 21-airplane formation in the annual airshow at Duxford, England when the P-51 he was flying had a partial engine out. Levy recorded the entire event on a pair of point-of-view video cameras, and he shared the images, as well as his lessons learned, in a candid discussion with Richard McSpadden, Executive Director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute.
Hear from weather expert and AOPA Pilot Magazine writer, Tom Horne, on the dangers of flight into “known icing” conditions and what you can do to escape those conditions with your life.
Early detection of ice accumulation is critical to the safe outcome of a flight—even for pilots flying in aircraft equipped with de-icing equipment. In this video, Tom Horne talks about what to look for, and where, to determine if your aircraft is starting to pick up ice.
AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discuss some of the strategies they used to navigate around thunderstorms during a recent flight.
Fuel mismanagement continues to be a problem among GA pilots. At nearly 70 fuel-related accidents per year, according to the latest Nall Report, it's a trend that warrants concern. In this video, we review various techniques to avoid fuel mismanagement – both on the ground and in the air. We look at sensible approaches to flight planning, as well as best practices in fueling and how to spot fuel contamination. Learn how to properly monitor fuel consumption, ensure correct operation of fuel systems, and combat unsafe mindsets and habits.
Since the 1980s, zebra mussels, quagga mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, and other non-indigenous aquatic plants and animals have been rapidly taking over many of our freshwater lakes and causing billions of dollars in damage. These invasive species are primarily transported by watercraft, and once established can be impossible to eradicate. By following a few simple guidelines outlined in this video, seaplane pilots can help stop the spread of these aquatic nuisances.
For many pilots, accidents involving terrain and obstructions fall into the "can't happen to me" category. But getting caught in a tight situation is easier than you think, and escape can be difficult or impossible. This video aims to raise awareness of the risks and help pilots recognize potentially dangerous situations before it's too late.
This video takes a look at the benefits of angle of attack indicators, and how they provide pilots a visual reference on how close their wings are to stalling.
Year after year, unintended stalls are among the leading causes of fatal aviation accidents. The "departure" or "power-on" stall is practiced during flight training, but in a controlled, coordinated scenario at a high altitude. Unexpected stalls during takeoffs or go-arounds are sudden, sharp, and frightening. At low altitude, even a brief loss of aircraft control may be unrecoverable. This video explains the differences in power-on stall training versus real-world scenarios, the aerodynamics of how stalls occur during takeoffs and go-arounds, and techniques pilots can use to prevent them.
Despite repeated practice of stall recognition and recovery in primary training, unintended stalls continue to be a leading cause of fatal accidents among GA pilots. One major reason is that the stalls we practice in training often look and feel different than stalls in real-world scenarios. In this video, we discuss the various complexities of the traffic pattern, and the ways in which distraction, poor pattern discipline, and sloppy stick-and-rudder flying can land you in hot water – all at an altitude where an inadvertent stall or spin may be unrecoverable.
Maneuvering an aircraft at low altitude is something we do on every flight, without giving it much thought. While it’s not much different than maneuvering at altitude, the slow speed and low altitude decrease the margins for error. In this video, we’ll talk about how to safely maneuver aircraft down low.
Living with the consequences of an aircraft accident is hard. Living with the loss of a son is excruciating. In this special video presentation we take a sobering look at one pilot’s personal tragedy, the devastation it wrought, and the lessons all of us can take from it.
To err is human. If you make a mistake, let ATC know as soon as possible. On the airport, even small delays can make a world of difference. Watch the video to see a real-life incident in which a runway delay led to an incursion.
This video is a stark reminder of what can happen when pilots lose situational awareness.
Beautiful VFR days are nice...but it's the dark, foggy nights when pilots and controllers really earn their keep. December 6, 1999 was one of those nights in Providence, Rhode Island.
A communication breakdown starts a chain of events that ends with a collision and 14 fatalities.
Overshooting that base-to-final turn can be a problem. Trying to get back on course safely can be dangerous.
Every pilot learns the technique for a proper crosswind landing, but this skill requires more than knowing the proper control inputs.
When it comes to making a safe takeoff, there are simple rules of thumb we can all live by. Knowing when to abort a takeoff is one of them. Learn how to choose an abort point if your takeoff roll isn't going as planned.
A "normal" takeoff is what pilots use for the majority of their departures. But it often doesn't get the attention it deserves.
While the checklist is important for determining how to perform a short field landing, sometimes it helps to think about why we do what we do.
A good landing generally starts well before the wheels touch the ground.
Multiengine airplanes offer better performance and greater safety. Those benefits, however, come with strings attached. In this video, we explore some of the proactive things pilots can do to ensure a safe outcome on every multiengine flight.
Unfortunately, accidents happen—and when they do, a little information can sometimes make a big difference. The Air Safety Institute’s new video covers often-overlooked items that should be part of every preflight passenger briefing. You’ll also get helpful survival tips from NTSB and CAP experts, and learn the single best way to increase your odds of rescue.
Weather is the biggest variable we face in flying. It’s also one of the things pilots find most challenging to handle out in the real world. With this eight-part series of short videos, we aimed to take a fresh, user-friendly approach to the topic of weather decision making, from the earliest stages of ground planning all the way to challenging in-flight situations.
Backcountry flying is mesmerizing and rewarding, but it also presents unique challenges. For example, exploring a remote airstrip—especially a no go-around field surrounded by high terrain—requires that pilots conduct thorough briefings and perform extra planning before committing to the flight. Join the Air Safety Institute’s executive director Richard McSpadden in "No Go-Around" as he speaks with four experienced pilots who discuss lessons learned from a flight that went terribly wrong.
On December 19, 2015, a Piper Lance carrying five occupants departs from San Jose, CA, en route to Henderson, NV. Despite a poor weather forecast, the pilot and his family are flying to their old hometown for a friend’s surprise party that evening. As conditions worsen along the route, the non-instrument rated pilot presses on, and eventually accepts an IFR clearance to fly into IMC – a decision that clinches the fate of the five on board.
On February 29, 2012, a Cirrus SR22 plunged to the ground just seconds before what would have been a normal landing at Melbourne, Florida. In this case study, we reconnect the links of the accident chain, and search for lessons in the tragedy.
Experience the chilling reality of an ill-fated VFR flight from Chicago to Raleigh, North Carolina. Cross-Country Crisis examines the pilot's actions as weather deteriorates and fuel becomes critical in this gripping video-recreation.
On December 20, 2011, a Socata TBM-700 impacted the southbound lanes of I-287 near Morristown, New Jersey after plunging nearly 18,000 feet in less than a minute. In this case study, we piece together the events that led to the tragic loss of an entire family, and discuss what we as pilots can learn from them.
On December 16, 2012, a Piper Cherokee impacted terrain during an instrument approach to Fayetteville, North Carolina. In this case study, we use ATC audio and radar data to reconstruct the tragic flight and find out what went wrong.
Accident Case Study: Everyone’s Problem, takes a look at a flight training accident in Texas that killed a flight instructor and two students on November 15, 2007. The video was originally developed for ASI’s new online Flight Instructor Refresher Course, and holds lessons for all of us--not only as pilots and CFIs, but as friends, peers, and co-workers.
On January 13, 2013, a Piper Arrow collided with trees during an emergency approach to Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base. Come along as we re-create the pilot's final flight, and seek to understand the circumstances that led him down a path to disaster.
On November 26, 2011, a Cirrus SR-20 plunged to the ground in suburban Chicago, killing its four occupants. What went wrong? Using audio of the pilot’s discussions with ATC and factual information from the NTSB report, we piece together the story of the flight and look at what may have motivated the pilot to continue past the point of no return.
For most pilots, the world of helicopter search and rescue is a far cry from everyday flying—but the fundamentals of aeronautical decision making still apply. Come along as we re-create one pilot's final mission, and seek to understand the circumstances that led him down a path to disaster.
A vacuum pump failure on a sunny day is no big deal, but in IMC—and especially without backup instrumentation—it’s a serious emergency. To see how a Bonanza pilot coped with that situation, and learn how you can do better, watch this video.
One of the great advances in general aviation in recent years has been the widespread availability of datalink weather. Like any technology, though, it can be used improperly. Come along as we examine a tragic accident that highlights an important and often-overlooked limitation of datalink radar.
On a June afternoon in 2016, a Cirrus SR20 carrying three occupants arrived in Houston’s busy Class B airspace to land at William P. Hobby airport. Miscommunication in the traffic pattern, three go-arounds, and ultimately, a departure from controlled flight resulted in a fatal crash near the airport.
Repetition can increase complacency. Performing the same tasks in the same way may lead us to overlook things we take for granted, potentially ending in disaster. In this accident case study, we look at why a twin-engine airplane impacted a mountain at night on what should have been a routine flight.
For Dean Clark, the flight was old-hat: a familiar route, a trusted airplane, and no serious weather in the forecast. But that didn’t keep him from picking up enough ice to nearly bring down his Cessna 182. Climb in the right seat as he recounts the tale of his unexpected struggle in ice-filled clouds, and review some critical facts before venturing anywhere near ice.
It was a nice VFR day—not a cloud in the sky—as the twin climbed out of the pattern at Casa Grande, AZ. The pilot was settling down on the last leg of a long cross-country flight from Bartow, Florida to Camarillo, California when he noticed the birds... Experience the pilot coming eye to eye with a four pound red-tailed hawk and how he dealt with the ensuing mayhem his uninvited feathered passenger caused.
On the night of October 9, 2009, a Mooney pilot and his two passengers experience engine failure over the Gulf of Mexico. The pilot, realizing he won’t be able to reach land, has only one option—ditch his aircraft in the rough dark waters below. But, did he prepare adequately for a night flight over water?
When you hear the word “emergency” in an IFR context, what comes to mind? A vacuum pump failure, or perhaps an encounter with freezing rain? As pilot Robert Schapiro discovered, sick engines pay no heed to the weather. Climb in the co-pilot’s seat as an instrument proficiency flight becomes a harrowing search for a landing spot.
Ask any pilot for a list of nightmare scenarios, and this one is bound to rank pretty high. It's also extremely unlikely—but, then, statistics are cold comfort when you're trying to land an airplane with your feet on fire and a cockpit full of smoke. Ride along with flight instructor Jade Schiewe as a routine training flight becomes a desperate struggle for survival.
Watch as a series of delays, poor decisions, and lack of preparation turns a four hour cross-country flight into a 30-hour survival crisis for a pilot and his family in the unforgiving Idaho backcountry.
An instrument rated, commercial pilot flying through thick IMC at night experiences a full electrical failure. Through creativity and some rule breaking, air traffic controllers are able to get in contact with him, but will he be able to find the airport and land in the current conditions? Hear the story first hand from the pilot and controllers involved.
We tend to think of emergencies as one-at-a-time events, but as pilot Ken Lawson discovered, bad things sometimes come in pairs. Imagine yourself as a non-current instrument pilot dealing with an unexpected IFR descent—then add a failed engine to the mix. How would you cope? Listen as ATC mounts a heroic effort to get the pilot down safely.
For many pilots, the prospect of crash landing in water is one of the most terrifying things in aviation. Bryan Webster has been there, done that, and says they’re right to be afraid. Listen as he tells the tale of a wild flight that ended in the drink, and shares some of the knowledge he’s gained in 15 years of teaching water egress techniques.
Flying VFR into IMC can be deadly. Don't be lured into the trap.
Don't try this at home!
They’re just trying to save the planet. What’s your excuse?
Cockpit distractions can be deadly. Fly the airplane, not the panel.
Sometimes it's not smart to dress in layers.
Don't let convective turbulence bring you down.
It won't be a pleasant conversation.
This is one hero you don't want to emulate.
Being distracted while taxiing can have devastating consequences.
Just when you thought it was safe to sleep through ground school...
What if the airlines handled fuel management the way some GA pilots do?
Air traffic controllers "clear the air" regarding when and how you can enter Class Bravo airspace.
As a student pilot, do I have to accept the assigned runway?
Air traffic control specialist Sarah Patten debunks the notion that talking to flights squawking 1200 is an inconvenience for ATC.
When tuning into a busy frequency, what’s the most important thing to tell ATC? In this video, Indianapolis Center Air Traffic Control Specialist Bob Obma offers VFR pilots advice.
Air traffic control specialist Sarah Patten gives practical advice for pilots who are worried ATC will speak too quickly for comprehension.
You don't have to call up flight service to file a pirep, you can give that information right to ATC.
Should I bother calling for flight following services if ATC is busy?
Listen as air traffic controllers discuss what flight following can, and can't, do for you when transiting different airspace.
You’ve filed a VFR flight plan. Do you also need VFR flight following? Air traffic controllers explain the difference between the two VFR services. Learn why it makes sense to also request flight following.
Can I assume the IFR flight plan I filed will be the one I am cleared for?
There are plenty of good reasons to request VFR flight following services, even if your on-board equipment displays traffic. Hear different controllers give their insights.
Do multiple IFR practice approaches at towered airports burden ATC?
How do you handle minimum fuel versus a fuel emergency?
What can ATC tell me about the intensity of precipitation?
What's the most common mistake pilots make while taxiing?
What can ATC do en route if there are thunderstorms?
Air traffic control specialist Sarah Patten explains VFR and IFR traffic separation.
Should you turn your transponder to "standby" when changing codes?
If I'm a student pilot, should I let ATC know this upon initial contact?
If I file a VFR flight plan, will controllers know my route?
What's the best way to request and receive VFR on top?
Should you turn your transponder to "standby" when changing codes?
Should I bother calling for flight following services if ATC is busy?