Critical phases of flights

In flying most of the accidents happen during approach landing and takeoff. Research shows that 83% of the accidents occur during these stages thus it is very important that situational awareness is being observed during these stages of flights. One of the ways to increase situational awareness is by conducting briefing before these critical stages of flights.Training organizations and commercial airlines have a checklist for these stages of flights example before start check list, after start check list, before take off check list, line up check list, after take off check list, TOC ( Top of Climb ) check list and TOD( Top of Descent) checklist. Work load are very high during this period of flight therefore checklist protects us from skipping important tasks required during these phases of flight.

CAR 121.503 (c-d) “ The certificate holder shall not require any of crew member to perform any duties during critical phases of flights except those duties required for the safe operation of the aeroplane.” for the flight crew the critical phases of flights referred are push back, taxi, take-off, approach and landing and any other air operations conducted below 10000 feet except in cruise flight.

According to post1 , a pilot landed with tail wind damaging aircraft and fortunately, with no serious injury. In this situation, he could have used final check from memory where one of the items in the check list could be checking wind sock before landing. This way he could have avoided landing with tail wind. Check list could be some thing like.

P:Pitch: Make sure if it is constant speed pitch,propeller is on high RPM. This is in case you need full power when you go around or say pitch is fixed in case of some fixed pitch aircraft.
U:Undercarriage: Make sure it is down if aircraft has retractable undercarriage and check lights to see it is down and locked.
L:Landing clearance: make sure landing clearance is received if its contolled aerodrome
W:Wind sock. Windsock is checked before landing to determine that you are not landing with tail wind.

According to post2, it was clear that s/he forgot to set the correct flaps for a take off position which was must for this kind of take off. In before take off check list, one item should be checking flaps if required and visually confirming it. It highlights how important it is going through the checklist carefully. Run way was long enough in this case. We are not always lucky enough to have long runways and not selecting proper flaps means matter of crashing the aircraft due to longer ground roll required to Take off.

On post by3 there is a bad habit of student caught by instructor of not conducting proper briefing which is vital in critical phases of flights.

"Lip Service" "(i.e. say the brief just for the sake of saying it) and The instructor highlighted to me how important the brief was as it emcompass things that I would be doing next and also things i would do in the event of an emergency."

Lots of student pilots out there do it. Some times you are told by instructors we have to be back on time and are pressured. Please do not be pressured and rush your check list. It will cost you one day.

This post4 highlights the importance of check list before taking off. One of the items on the check list before line up should be to confirm whether we have received TAKE OFF clearance or not. If that item is added on line up check list many student pilots who took off without clearance might have avoided filling incident form.

As most accidents happens during critical phases of flight, it is vital that we do proper briefing and use checklist that is designed for certain stages of flights which will undoubtedly increase our situational awareness and help us to be safe in the air.

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