Declaring an In-Flight Emergency Can Save Your Life – Episode 208

Most general aviation pilots hesitate to declare an in-flight emergency fearing negative consequences. Greg Feith, John Goglia and Todd Curtis use a Beechcraft Bonanza plane crash to illustrate how declaring an in-flight emergency can be the safest move.

The fatal Beechcraft Bonanza accident in the spotlight of this episode is featured in the book, “Single-Pilot IFR Pro Tips” written by 2019 National CFI of the Year Gary “GPS” Reeves. Known as The Guy in the Pink Shirt, Reeves uses examples from several incidents to illustrate good general aviation pilot habits.

Reeves uses the Beechcaft Bonanza event to highlight the advantages of not waiting to declare an emergency. The Flight Safety Detectives find that this crash is also a classic example of how oversights and bad habits by the pilot in command can lead to an avoidable accident.

They offer life-saving insights into this aviation disaster. The NTSB found that the cause was an improperly positioned fuel selector lever. Greg shares his own experience dealing with an improperly positioned lever. John recounts accidents involving fuel selector levers, including the crash that killed John Denver.

Amazingly, John’s experience is that many general aviation pilots have problems with the fuel sector due to not using them at all and never getting a feel for how they operate.

“It’s not like jumping in the car to go to the grocery store,” John says. “Flying is not that simple. You need to do a thorough preflght, every time.”

If the accident pilot had followed Gary Reeves advice to declare an in-flight emergency when problems first develop, the pilot would have been able to land safely at an airport. The FAA would have looked at the scenario as prudent decision making and would likely not have taken any action against the pilot.

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Greg Feith and John Goglia, the Flight Safety Detectives

World-renowned aviation industry consultants and former NTSB investigators John Goglia and Greg Feith have 100 years of worldwide aviation safety experience between them. In this hard-hitting podcast series, they offer the ultimate insider view of everything aviation safety including behind-the-scenes facts on deadly air crashes and issues impacting general aviation and the commercial airline industry.

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