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10 Mistakes That Could Cause You To Crash

If you avoid the following mistakes, you'll significantly reduce your chances of a crash.

Jim Raeder

1) Restarting an engine after you've stopped an engine fire.

Since the engine fire is usually started by a broken/cracked fuel line, oil line, or cylinder, you should never restart the engine. You'll only introduce more fuel flow to the fire, making your situation even worse.

Swayne Martin

2) Flying VFR into IMC.

It's the leading cause of fatal general aviation accidents, VFR pilots flying into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

Chris Hsia

3) Scud-Running.

Scud-running is when pilots try to fly underneath low altitude weather in order to maintain VFR. Remember, if the layer drops or it starts to rain, you'll quickly find yourself in IMC.

Swayne Martin

4) Not doing a performance calculation.

Combine a soft field, a hot day, and a heavy plane, and you'll find a pretty challenging takeoff. This was one close call...

5) Not calculating fuel requirements.

Make sure you have enough fuel to make it to your destination. It sounds simple, right? Surprisingly, fuel exhaustion is a leading cause for general aviation accidents.


6) Failing to communicate.

Are you lost or need help? Don't be embarrassed if you've made a mistake or got yourself into a difficult position. Communicate your situation or emergency to air traffic control. They're there to help you and to keep you safe.

Jim Raeder

7) Having no personal limits.

Can you state your personal flight limitations? Know what windspeed and cloud level you can handle before you go flying. If you're not sure, pick a windy day and go flying with an instructor to see how much crosswind you're comfortable handling.

Jim Raeder

8) Not doing a proper pre-flight check.

The easiest way to avoid a system failure in-flight is by doing a thorough pre-flight check. Don't cut corners before you go flying. It's much better to discover on the ground that your fuel gauge is malfunctioning, than in the air, once your engine has quit.

Swayne Martin

9) Choosing a long diversion instead of a forced landing nearby.

In September of 2009, a Piper Saratoga (N2467Y) crashed in Florida, killing all four onboard. The pilot in command opted to continue flying towards his home airport (which was in-sight) during an engine fire situation. If he had performed a forced landing in the flat everglades below, or on a nearby highway, disaster could've been avoided. Remember, your life is more important than your airplane.

Jeffrey DelViscio

10) Not going around during a bad approach.

It's simple: when in doubt, go-around. Hundreds of crashes during approach and landing could have been avoided with a simple go-around procedure.

Saint Barths

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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