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The 10 Worst Distractions For Pilots

Distractions inside the cockpit aren't just annoying, they're dangerous. Do everything you can to avoid these 10 distractions...

1) Traffic You Hear, But Can't See

There's nothing more unnerving than a traffic report close to your position. Your eyes instantly move outside the cockpit, scanning the sky for visual contact. While scanning outside is important, so is flying the airplane. Don't make an uncomfortable situation even worse by forgetting to manage flight parameters.


2) "Bad" Passengers

Loud kids, passengers talking nonstop over the intercom, and seemingly endless questions are typical when flying people around in a small GA airplane. Remember the "isolate" switch is there for a reason!

Colin, however, is a good passenger. Bringing water for your pilots is never a bad thing!


3) Back Seat Pilots

Pilots can be terrible passengers sometimes... Click here to find out why.


4) Unfamiliar Aircraft

Can't find a switch? Don't know how to follow the checklist flow? What's that speed limitation?

None of these are questions that are good to be answering in the air. Before you hop into an unfamiliar airplane, make sure you've done some chair flying.


5) Unfamiliar Airspace

We didn't get our pilot's certificates to fly circles over our house all day long. Inevitably, you'll fly into unfamiliar and busy airspace somewhere in the country. Know the regulations, airspace dimensions, and procedures before you take off. Click Here to check out an airspace training course we developed to help you out.


6) Non-Essential Electronics

Limit the use of personal electronics as much as possible. If it's not flight-critical, ask yourself, "is this something that can wait until I'm on the ground?" Most likely, the answer is yes. If you're flying Part 91 with mounted cameras, have them set and filming before the engine starts. Don't touch them until you're on the ground.

Swayne Martin

7) Unnecessary Radio Congestion

There's nothing worse than a radio hog. It's distracting for other pilots that might be in a critical phase of flight or need to make an announcement. Avoid unnecessary radio conversations, or switch to a discreet frequency... Give 123.45 a try!

8) Cluttered Avionics

De-clutter your avionics so only relevant information is shown. Too much clutter could result in you missing something important.


9) Foreign Object Debris

FOD, or Foreign Object Debris, is distracting and dangerous. Quite a few accidents have been caused by loose items in the cockpit getting jammed into flight controls.


10) Open Doors And Windows

As you accelerate down the runway, you notice the loud rush of air entering the cabin. Somewhere, a door or window is open. If you weren't able to abort the takeoff or can't shut it in-flight, circle and land to fix the problem. Could an open baggage door take down an airplane? In this accident, it's most likely the primary cause.


What else has distracted you? Tell us in the comments below.

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