FAA #FlySafe Campaign: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents – Vision

The Elbit Systems ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision (FalconEye Falcon 8X Image courtesy of Dassault).
The Elbit Systems ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision (FalconEye Falcon 8X Image courtesy of Dassault).

By the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign is designed to educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight.

LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin.

It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

(With loss of control in flight (LOCI) accidents resulting in more fatalities in business and commercial operations than any other category of accident over the last decade, reducing LOCI is a priority of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aviation professional organizations across the globe. The NBAA Safety Committee Single Pilot Safety Working Group produced this video and story of John, a single owner-pilot who finds himself in a loss of control situation. Courtesy of NBAAvideo and YouTube. Posted on Nov 16, 2015)

Types of Enhanced Vision Systems

Our five senses – vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch) – are key to keeping us safe.

Vision is especially important to a pilot.

Vision at night and in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) can be improved with technology, such as Enhanced Vision (EV) and Synthetic Vision (SV) technology.

Enhanced Vision (EV) uses sensors on your airplane to provide a better view. These sensors can be infrared or radar.

They are very useful in seeing terrain in weather, or on a dark night. The sensors help you see what is actually in front of the aircraft.

(For example, Rockwell Collins unveiled the new EVS-3000 enhanced vision sensor at NBAA 2013, along with the capability to display both synthetic vision and enhanced vision in a head-up display. Courtesy of Rockwell Collins and YouTube)

Synthetic Vision (SV) doesn’t use sensors. Instead, it relies on GPS information and a database to create a virtual landscape.

SV can create a picture of the flight environment and overlay that picture with aircraft instrumentation. The result is a single image that contains the information you need for safe flight operations. Since this information is not based on direct observation, you’ll need to keep your software and databases up to date.

(Also for example, see how Garmins SVT makes flying safer by using sophisticated graphics to create a 3-D display of ground, water, airports, obstacles and traffic. Courtesy of Garmin and YouTube)

Display Choices

Most GA systems are displayed through a cockpit Multifunction Display (MFD), or a Primary Flight Display (PFD). A Head Up display (HUD) is a great way of displaying EV/SV information.

Regardless of which display you choose, be sure to become very familiar with it before you use it in real time.

It’s a good idea to schedule periodic proficiency training with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who knows the equipment.

FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell

These training and review sessions will give you the confidence you need to use the equipment effectively.

“The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and save lives,” explains FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell.

“You can help make a difference by joining our #Fly Safe campaign.”

“Every month on FAA.gov, we provide pilots with Loss of Control solutions developed by a team of experts – some of which are already reducing risk.”

“I hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

“I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.”

(Learn More. Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents continue to occur in general aviation despite enhanced technologies available in the cockpit. Watch this video to learn more about the causes and potential mitigation strategies for addressing these accidents and improving safety in the national airspace system. Courtesy of Federal Aviation Administration and YouTube. Posted on Mar 25, 2016)

More about Loss of Control

Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
  • Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
  • Intentional failure to comply with regulations
  • Failure to maintain airspeed
  • Failure to follow procedure
  • Pilot inexperience and proficiency
  • Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol

Did you know?

  • In 2016, 413 people died in 219 general aviation accidents.
  • Loss of Control was the number one cause of these accidents.
  • Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
  • There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.

Learn more:

Read more about Enhanced Vision Systems in Brushing Back the Dark: A Look at the Latest in Night Vision Technology (PDF). FAA Safety Briefing Jan/Feb 2014, p. 20.

FAA’s Advisory Circular 90-106 (PDF), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems, has valuable information.

T=Terrain Avoidance: What does it Take to Use NVGs? (PDF) FAA Safety Briefing Nov/Dec 2015, p. 28

You can learn more about Enhanced Vision Systems in this GA Safety Enhancement fact sheet (PDF)

The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.

Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the main FAA Safety Briefing website, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.

The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements.

It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.

(The FAASTeam describes the process for requesting credit for WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program activities. “Let’s Take a Minute for Safety” is a series of short general aviation safety video messages produced by FAASTeam volunteers from southern California. It covers GAJSC loss of control safety enhancement topics and use of the FAASafety.gov website. “As the educational outreach arm of the FAA, the FAASTeam is committed to serving the General Aviation community, and making our skies even safer. Courtesy of the FAA Safety Team Central Florida and YouTube. Posted on May 14, 2017)

The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents.

General Aviation Joint Steering Committee logo

The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups.

Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.