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Complacency kills. Gravity just helps.

"The air is an extremely dangerous, jealous and exacting mistress. Once under the spell most lovers are faithful to the end, which is not always old age. Even those masters and princes of aerial fighting, the survivors of fifty mortal duels in the high air who have come scatheless through the War and all its perils, have returned again and again to their love and perished too often in some ordinary commonplace flight undertaken for pure amusement." - Sir Winston Churchill

From years ago Sir Winston Churchill has made a great observation as to why we pilots fly. In his last sentence he brings to mind that pilots perish during ordinary pleasure flights, most likely when we relax and let down our guard or personal guidelines.

Forgetting to switch the fuel tanks and running out of gas on final is one thing that comes to mind that may cause a flight to end less than well. Passenger distractions, not using the checklist, not checking the engine gauges, not scanning, the list can go on infinitely. We recently had a club member observe high oil pressure and make a precautionary landing (JFK of all places!). He was paying attention.

If oil pressure is dropping and oil temperature is rising, that greatly raises one's heart rate. What would you do? An emergency landing will be necessary as a serious oil leak is responsible and engine stoppage is not far along.

JAC pilots have had a great safety record in the 44 years I have been in the Club. Sure, we have had a few incidents but no serious injuries. Our currency rules, JAC Pilot Annuals and experienced CFI's dedicated to tweaking our skills are largely responsible for this good record. We own the aircraft and take care of them as we take care of ourselves.

Go flying and bring along another Club Member (Breakfast flight) you'll both learn something from each other. It's even more fun to sit in the back seat and play "back seat" driver for the front pilots! You'll have to buy the breakfast.

See you on the Flightline.

Greg Hill

JAC Chief Instructor 2023

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