Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

student pilots: more structured ground school necessary?

Yesterdays New York Times: An article that two student pilots flying together in an airplane in Phoenix crashed midair into another plane. The other plane landed safely. The plane with the two students crashed; one died. My questions: Is the focus on learning charts and basic navigation geared more towards instrument ratings? Do flight instructors stress all the principles of reading charts, and following proper small plane radials, and so forth? Seems possible, these student pilots made the fatal mistake of thinking Arizona is full of empty wide-open airspace. seems to me if the pilots of both planes had a clearer understanding of certain fundamentals, there would have been no crash. aka "rules of the road."


...."WHAT SMALL PLANE AIRWAYS?" I was referring to "Victor airways" which are VOR radials from 1200 to 18000 feet altitude. but I realize that doesnt solve anything, because Victor airways are not one-way lanes!!!!

Update 2:

I guess some of these student pilots figure if their eyes are inside the plane, then they assume the other guy heading towards them will take evasive actions. But I agree: the other big thing to watch out for, that nobody has mentioned: those 1,000 foot radio towers!

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The number one rule in flying VFR, especially in busy airspace is to look out the window 95% of the time and only look at your charts and instruments 5% of the time. Even when IFR, it is contingent upon the pilot to keep a lookout for other aircraft when in the clear. Quite often, the problem with modern teaching methods and modern aircraft with cockpits chock full of gadgets is that students forget - or don't learn - the basics and get blindered by all the gadgetry, particularly the GPS. More ground school wouldn't cure this problem. Anyone who doesn't constantly keep their eyes moving and their head on a swivel is asking for the same fate. I'm sorry it happened, but flying is extremely unforgiving of the inattentive or unaware. I have flown that route dozens, if not hundreds of times. It is very busy with small aircraft due to all the training in the Phoenix-Tucson area.

    And to the others reading this, don't speculate and jump to conclusions before the NTSB report is released. Just because they were students at a flight school does not mean they were flying on student pilot licenses. They very likely already had their PPL's.

    Source(s): Professional pilot for 24 years
  • 1 decade ago

    This accident raises several questions in my mind.

    1. What were 2 STUDENTS doing in one plane without an instructor? This is probably a "reporting error" Please tell me its a reporting error and not a true fact!

    Students aren't allowed to carry passengers and one of the two would be a passenger! Therefore that raises question number one!

    2. The flight school that "rented" the aircraft, were they aware 2 students were in the aircraft or did these 2 do that on there own?

    3. What "small plane radials"? Aircraft on VFR flights have a "see and avoid" requirement there aren't really any roads to follow between two local airports! Thus "reading charts" had nothing at all to do with the accident! The pilots of both aircraft in this instance have to be constantly looking out for traffic particularly around a busy air traffic area. However, a classic high wing / low wing issue comes to my mind.. If the low wing Aircraft is above the high wing one it is very difficult for the pilots to "see" the other one. It is very easy for the wings to block the view.

    Reading charts may be one of the issues, if the pilot was busy looking at a chart instead of out the window he failed a big test.

    One of the reasons that you don't allow a student pilot to carry passengers is that distractions from "FLYING THE AIRPLANE" lead to errors, in this case a tragic one!

    Now at this point, no one really has any answers for the accident. It will take TIME to know what happened. NO ONE SHOULD JUMP to any type of CONCLUSION! There are simply questions and lots of them to be investigated. Would a clearer understanding of "Rules of the Road" prevented this - maybe.

    But if there were two students in that aircraft there were rules which were broken before the aircraft ever left the ground.

    Source(s): TL - FAA REGS
  • T.J.
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Number 1, the fact that two student pilots were flying a plane together is highly illegal. If by student you mean they were both in training after their Private Certficate, that is another story. Secondly, being able to read a chart has nothing to do with your ability to see and avoid. I guess you're saying both aircraft were on a Victor airway? The purpose of hemispherical cruising altitudes is designed to keep aircraft from converging head on at the same altitude.

    This is just another example of why you should always be looking out for other aircraft.

  • 1 decade ago

    The collision had absolutely nothing at all to do with VOR radials or victor airways. You're not required to be on them at all if you're flying around VFR. You can pretty much go wherever you want mostly.

    The accident probably had everything to do with looking out the window and not hitting anybody else. So no, more structured ground school isn't necessary. Basic heads up old time VFR flying should be emphasized. Charts, GPS, and all of the gee whiz stuff only serves to keep your head in the cockpit and your eyes focused no further than about 18 inches.

    We've all seen this before and it won't be the last time either, unfortunately.

    Ahh, Ben Dere's answer is pretty much spot on. He beat me to it.

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  • Gypsy
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Vip has an excellent point.

    How do you prove that the classes were even remotely at fault? Maybe the students had bad info. Maybe they simply didn't pay attention either in the class, or in real life.

    Who's to say the classes aren't doing a perfectly fine job, the teachers are perfectly fine, and this was simply a bizarre fluke.

    After all, if the classes were that bad, wouldn't people be crashing into each other, all the time? Nevermind how rare of an occurance that is in the first place.

    I've also seen 40 year olds, who have been driving for 20 years, get into fender benders, or more serious accidents. Surely they're experienced enough? Surely they know "the rules of the road"?

    Honestly, I think your argument is incredibly weak, at best. At worst, it's downright ridiculous.

  • 1 decade ago

    As is the case anytime like this happens, you're overlooking one major key factor:

    Classes, regardless of how amazing they are, do not stop student error.

    You can have someone in 5 years of classes, and still make a mistake, and die.

    Whether it's driving classes, piloting, whatever.

    But the immediate reaction is to always increase classes, whenever something like this happens. The blame always gets pushed towards the teachers for not being thorough, or not covering a specific material.

    Ask yourself this: Have you tripped and fallen any time recently?

    If so, does that mean you need classes on how to walk? Does that mean your parents didn't provide proper instruction on walking?

    And if people can trip, while performing an action they have done for years and years, on a regular basis; why would it be odd to think that a mistake can happen during something you are new at?

  • Rob G
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    There will always be mid air collisions. More classroom time does not fix that. Stressing the importance of not staring at the instruments (force students not to by covering all the instruments up) and getting better technology into all airplanes (traffic awareness and avoidance systems) will help reduce them. Even with that, there will always be freak accidents.

    Anybody who immediately thinks these pilots are idiots because they hit another plane is a moron. Every pilot has close calls. If you haven't yet, it's only a matter of time. Even the best of pilots, that do indeed spend most of their time properly scanning for traffic, have close calls. All it takes for one of those close calls to end in a tragedy is for them to get distracted for not even a second. Having good visual scanning techniques will keep you safe most of the time. Having traffic avoidance systems in your plane will save your butt those few times when you get caught off guard or are 'looking at the wrong place at the wrong time'.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    don't blame the school just because of a one-off freak accident....a student pilot should know that whilst flying, they must ALWAYS keep a look out for other aircrafts and therefore avoid collisions. ATC might help now and again to state the position of in-coming traffic (depending on the class of airspace) but that doesn't mean a student should let their guard down once that aircraft passes.

    It's very unfortunate about what happened but it did. Everybody makes mistakes, and unfortunately this mistake was fatal, but don't go pointing fingers just to blame somebody.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    A good ground school is well worth the time. While additional outside information is helpful, if you "train yourself", how do you know you have learned all the relevant information? Also, depending on how old your dad's books are, the information could be outdated. A good instructor in a quality ground school puts the pieces together in a logical manner, and allows you to ask questions and receive answers rather than form incorrect opinions on your own. Also, hearing other students' questions improves your understanding of the material.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can't fix stupid.

    It is sad that someone died, but at least it wasn't an innocent. In flying, as in life, ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES...

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