UK CAA issues pilot guide to counter loss of control risk

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Commercial air transport's greatest risk is loss of control in flight, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which has cited global airline fatal accident statistics as proof of this.

The CAA's reaction to this statistical truth has been, in association with the Royal Aeronautical Society and Flight Safety Foundation, to issue a guide entitled Loss of Control: Aircraft upset recovery, a user's guide. By pilots for pilots.

Pilot knowledge and awareness of the risk, and refocused pilot training, are the keys to in-flight loss-of-control risk reduction, says the guide, explaining: "We should dispense with the common psychological barrier to action represented by the belief that 'it won't happen here', because this is dangerous complacency.

"Anything less than than a professional and active training programme is no longer acceptable. To do otherwise would create the conditions that increases risk and could lead to a disaster. Training for flight upset should be as much part of a business model as anything else related to training and safe operations."

The guide's primary methodology for raising pilot knowledge and awareness is a list of real, named airline loss of control accidents complete with details of how each upset occurred. That is followed by a description of the aerodynamics of a number of exemplary upset scenarios.