Stupid pilot tricks
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Stupid pilot tricks. (featuring a cast of thousands). What is the stupidest trick of them all?. Hint: all in this room are performing this trick right now. It can happen to me. It might? It will. Two ways to stay safe.

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Stupid pilot tricks

Stupid pilot tricks

(featuring a cast of thousands)

What is the stupidest trick of them all
What is the stupidest trick of them all?

  • Hint: all in this room are performing this trick right now.

It can happen to me
It can happen to me

  • It might?

  • It will

Two ways to stay safe
Two ways to stay safe

  • Be really smart: Think of all the things that can go wrong, and figure out ways to prevent them

  • Be rather stupid: Pay attention to the problems other pilots encounter, and learn what you can from them.

  • Goal: Make it a bit less likely that you’ll fall into the known traps.


  • Face it: This is a really bad pastime for anyone with a big ego.

  • You will look foolish - regularly

  • People can be bluffed; weather, gliders, air, gravity etc. remain quite unimpressed

  • Ego interferes with perceptions that help you succeed

  • EM: “Soaring is about seeing things as they are, not as we wish them to be.”

Case study the r 101
Case study: The R-101

Conclusion: Human nature is complex and not especially rational. It intersects with aviation and its hazards in many strange ways.

Mental rigidity
Mental rigidity

  • The monkey trap

  • The pilot trap

Case study final glide at 2005 senior contest
Case study: Final glide at2005 Senior Contest

Conclusion: Pilots can have trouble letting go of the rice. EYA!

Can do
“Can do”

  • A positive, confident attitude is expected of pilots

  • But it isn’t the best approach in every situation

Case study aero retrieve at new castle
Case study: aero retrieve atNew Castle

Conclusion: Your response should be appropriate to the actual problem at hand. EYA!

Other cases:

Problem early in tow

Tail dolly left on

Margin for error
Margin for error

  • Form the habit of thinking about how close you are to a problem

  • Experiment with “virtual” limits

    Final glide to a point above the field

    Landing at a chosen spot

Case study tree landing at 2005 senior contest
Case study: Tree landing at2005 Senior Contest

Conclusion: When you plan a maneuver with a low margin for error, don’t expect to get away with even a small mistake.

Assembly problems
Assembly problems

  • If it can be done wrong, it’s only a matter of time until it is done wrong

  • Your job is to postpone that problem

  • Other pilots will show you where your time & attention should be spent

  • PCC vs. CAC

Case study asw 20
Case study: ASW-20

Why does this problem keep happening?


  • Proven value

  • “Proper & purposeful prior preparation persistently prevents poor (perhaps pitiful & painful) performance”

  • Often ignored, skimped, skipped

  • Standard vs. customized

Case study gear up landing
Case study: gear-up landing

Conclusion: A “nearly correct” checklist “sort of” properly applied isn’t worth much.

If problems form a pattern, it’s time to pay attention.