Several classic operational pitfalls have been discovered over time. These pitfalls try to trap every pilot at one time or another. Knowing these common behavioral temptations gives the pilot the ability to better recognize and counteract them with the right decisions.

Peer Pressure—Poor decision making may be based upon an emotional response to peers, rather than evaluating a situation objectively.

Mind Set—A pilot displays mind set through an inability to recognize and cope with changes in a given situation.

Get-There-Itis—This disposition impairs pilot judgment through a fixation on the original goal or destination, combined with a disregard for any alternative course of action.

Scud Running—This occurs when a pilot tries to maintain visual contact with the terrain at low altitudes while instrument conditions exist.

Continuing Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Conditions—Spatial disorientation or collision with ground/obstacles may occur when a pilot continues VFR into instrument conditions. This can be even more dangerous if the pilot is not instrument-rated or current.

Getting Behind the Aircraft—This pitfall can be caused by allowing events or the situation to control pilot actions. A constant state of surprise at what happens next may be exhibited when the pilot is getting behind the aircraft.

Loss of Positional or Situational Awareness—In extreme cases, when a pilot gets behind the aircraft, a loss of positional or situational awareness may result. The pilot may not know the aircraft's geographical location, or may be unable to recognize deteriorating circumstances.

Operating Without Adequate Fuel Reserves—Ignoring minimum fuel reserve requirements is generally the result of overconfidence, lack of flight planning, or disregarding applicable regulations.

Flying Outside the Envelope—The assumed high performance capability of a particular aircraft may cause a mistaken belief that it can meet the demands imposed by a pilot's overestimated flying skills.

Neglect of Flight Planning, Preflight Inspections, and Checklists—A pilot may rely on short- and long-term memory, regular flying skills, and familiar routes instead of established procedures and published checklists. This can be particularly true of experienced pilots.

All experienced pilots have fallen prey to, or have been tempted by, one or more of these tendencies in their flying careers.