Sometimes, complacency and inexperience causes us to make less-than-stellar decisions. Thankfully, early experiences and failures in my personal career never led to a loss of life or equipment damage. What it did lead to, though, were lessons in the Army aviation safety risk management process.
Fatigue, minor errors and simple miscommunication is a dangerous combination. I know because it happened to me and could have resulted in a midair accident.
Army aviation is a demanding profession. You quickly learn how important it is to recognize and control situations that can cause problems, like being in a hurry. My story happened during routine flight operations.
About a year after graduating from flight school, I was conducting instrument meteorological conditions training at my local airport with an instructor pilot. It was early spring and weather conditions were cloudy, with temperatures hovering at the freezing point.
All too often in aviation we are hesitant to admit when we don’t know something or, even worse, that we made a mistake. This is not surprising considering that, as a community, we are mostly Type A personalities.
A fellow Army aviator once told me that after making pilot in command, it’s only a matter of time until a pilot scares you more than you’d like. For me, it was about four months after getting my PC orders.