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.