I’m going to borrow a play from the John King playbook.  I know that in recent years, John has been an anti-safety advocate.  I’m on board with his philosophy.  You may be wondering why the Director of Safety is anti-safety.  Great question.

I analyze a lot of accidents.  Many of them hit close to home in the San Diego aviation community for one reason or another.  My first exposure to Plus One Flyers was in 2004.  I was called out on a mission on February 17th of that year with the Civil Air Patrol to look for an aircraft that had dropped off RADAR near the NV/CA border around Jean.  My team and I spent nearly three days in the field, driving nearly a thousand miles and sleeping in my truck looking for the missing Piper.  The plane was operated by Plus One Flyers.

The missing Club aircraft departed North Las Vegas (VGT) airport mid-afternoon on the 16th and was en-route to Montgomery.  There was no flight plan filed.  The wreckage was located 17 mi from that last RADAR return.  Digression:  17 mi translates to 289 square miles of search area.  On average, a 7.5 nm by 7.5 nm search grid yields an approximate probability of detection of 15-25%  after many, many hours of searching.  Think flights plans are a good idea yet?

When the wreckage was located, it was located in steep canyon facing Southeast.  The wreckage was located about 600′ from the top of the mountain.  600′ between life and death.  The last RADAR return 17 mi behind showed the aircraft at 100′ AGL.  

Do you think the pilot was safe when he took off?   

Webster’s dictionary defines Safe as:

  • 1free from harm or risk UNHURT

Free from harm or risk?  Where are you right now as you read this?  If you’re like me, you are probably driving up the 5 freeway, doing 70 MPH, changing lanes, listening to a Podcast and reading the Rotating Beacon.  Seriously, don’t do that!  Unless you lock yourself in your bathroom, crawl into a porcelain tub and throw a bomb blanket over you, you aren’t safe.  At least according to Webster.

Aviation is an inherently risky endeavor.  We are breaking the law every time we takeoff.  The law of gravity anyway.  When we break laws, there are consequences.  In our case, the consequences can range from an ah ha moment to a FAR violation to death.  Every time we think about taking a flight, we throw safety out the window and invite risk in.

So Now What?:
Manage risk.  You’ve likely heard the acronym ADM or Aeronautical Decision Making.  This can be broken down into a simple phrase.  Risk Management.  EVERYTHING we do in aviation involves risk.  I want you to manage it wisely.  Do you read the “I learned about flying from that” or “Aftermath” columns in your favorite aviation magazines?  You are managing risk.  Do you frequently attend aviation-related events?  You are managing risk.  Do you read the musings from a Director of Safety with nothing better to do?  Probably still managing risk.  

  • Weather briefings = managing risk
  • Filing & activating a flight plan = managing risk
  • Performing a thorough pre-flight = managing risk
  • Using a taxi diagram even at your home airport = managing risk
  • Deciding to fly at 2,000′ above those mountains = managing risk

NAS Whiting Field (Helicopter Training Sq 18) uses this accident as a Case Study for managing risk when flying in canyons or rough terrain.  The effects in the military helicopter community no doubt had long-lasting effects. 

Every decision you will make in your flying career likely involves some form of risk management.  When I was flying passengers around the country, I would think about the accident report for my flight.  I did it on every flight.  I would say to myself “The NTSB determines the probably cause of this accident to be the pilot’s failure to…”  If there was ever a time I could fill in that blank with anything, I would think again, until I was satisfied that I was making the right decision.

Let me teach you one more acronym, CRM.  Many of you are saying “Mr. Safety guy, I already know what Crew Resource Management is.”  Or, if you’re an IT guy, you’re probably saying “01001101 01101001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01010011 01100001 01100110 01100101 01110100 01111001 00101100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01000011 01010010 01001101 00100000 01101101 01100101 01100001 01101110 01110011 00100000 01100011 01110101 01110011 01110100 01101111 01101101 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110010 01100101 01101100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 01110011 01101000 01101001 01110000 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101110 01100001 01100111 01100101 01101101 01100101 01101110 01110100 00101110.”  Yeah, that’s how they think.  Translated, that means “Mister Safety, I know that CRM means customer relationship management.”

Wrong on both accounts.  My version of CRM means Certified Risk Manager.  Starting the day you receive your pilot certificate, you get a silent CRM certificate.  Take good care of it.  The penalties for not could be pretty steep.

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Plus One Flyers - Membership Agreement

Section A:  Agreement

I hereby certify that all the information on this membership form is true to the best of my knowledge.  I understand that any falsification shall be grounds for disqualification or forfeiture of my membership.  I have received, read, understand, and agree to abide by the Plus One Flyers, Inc. (the “Club”) Bylaws and Operational Rules.  In particular, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8 of the Bylaws, which states that I shall be responsible for any damages or abuse to an aircraft that I am using.  I also acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8.3 of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall not seek to hold Plus One Flyers, Inc. legally responsible for my acts while operating a Club aircraft which results in damages or injuries, whether to myself or others. I further acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Article VII of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall be fiscally responsible for my dues, timely flight payments and any collection fees.

In the event that any damages are assessed against the Club as a result of my acts or negligence, I shall be solely responsible for the payment of those damages and for any legal fees or costs incurred by the Club in defending itself.  As set forth by Article VII in the Plus One Flyers Inc. Bylaws, each member, and their heirs, successors, personal representative and assigns, release, acquit, and covenant not to sue, and  shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Club, its officers, directors, agents and employees for any liability, losses, or damages that I or the Club may suffer as a result of an act by, or negligence of, the member while operating a Club aircraft. Each member must acknowledge and agree that he or she is accepting and using any and all Club aircraft in a used, “as is” condition and that the Club does not and has not repaired, reconditioned, or maintained any Club aircraft.  Each member must agree to assume all risks, and assumes full responsibility for risk of bodily injury, death or property damage associated with any Club aircraft and not to seek to hold the Club legally responsible for any such defects in Club aircraft before being allowed to use and fly Club aircraft.

Finally, I understand, should I resign from the Club, my resignation notice (form) must be given in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to leaving the Club and that I will return my club key(s) on or before my resignation date, which is effective the 1st day of the next month following that 30 day period. Membership remains effective until terminated under the terms of this Agreement.

I also agree and understand that:

A.     I will not allow non-members, whether pilots or not, to operate Plus One Flyers Aircraft because they are not insured through Plus One Flyers.  All flight instructors instructing in Club Aircraft must be members of Plus One Flyers, Inc., and be authorized by the club’s Safety Program.

B.     I will not operate Club Aircraft if my FAA medical or Flight Review is not current.

C.     I will not operate Club Aircraft for hire, either under Part 91 or Part 135 of the FAR’s, because the Club’s insurance does not cover such operations.

D.     I, alone, am personally and financially responsible if I participate in any uninsured operations of Club Aircraft.

E.     I will maintain and promptly notify the Club of any changes to my telephone numbers, billing address, email, and credit/debit card(s) information by updating this information myself in Schedule Master.          Initial here_________

F.     I will promptly notify Plus One Flyers if I am involved in an aircraft accident, even if it is not a Plus One Flyers Aircraft.

G.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make monthly or yearly (as specified in Section B) payments to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.                               

H.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make payments for possible collections for errors or non-payments of flights to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.

I will promptly and regularly submit updated copies of my Medical Certificate and Flight Review to the Club’s Membership Officer.


Section B:  Automatic Payment and Credit/Debit Card(s) Guarantee

The credit/debit card(s) you provide on this form and/or in Schedule Master serve as your payment guarantee and is required in your Schedule Master Membership account to enable and maintain your airplane scheduling privileges. Plus One Flyers will charge your card(s) and email you an invoice for any payment shortages.  Any dispute regarding a charge can be handled by the Club Membership Officer.  If an error results in an amount owed you, Plus One Flyers will credit your Schedule Master account balance unless you request a refund check.

Membership Dues are $29.00 monthly, charged to your credit/debit card(s) or if available, against a pre-paid credit balance.  Paying Annual Dues means you maintain a pre-paid credit balance that is reduced by $31.00 monthly until zero and if you elect to continue to pay Annual dues, you are responsible for pre-paying the appropriate amount each year.  There is a $129.50 initiation fee for new members and renewing members, except for those members renewing while serving active duty in U.S. Armed Services.  If there is a change in dues you will receive a thirty day notice by email and a message will be posted in Schedule Master. Your account will be charged on the 1st of every month if you choose the monthly option.  An email invoice will be sent to you every month.  It is your responsibility to view your invoices/account to verify that your payment has been made.  You are responsible for ensuring your card(s) remains current and that if it expires or your billing address changes you alone are responsible for updating that information in Schedule Master.  If your bill has not been paid your scheduling privileges will be automatically suspended until it is paid.  If three consecutive dues invoices remain unpaid your membership will automatically terminate and a $99.00 initiation fee plus the past due balance will be required to reinstate your membership.  If you take no action your account may be sent to a collection agency.

Keep your billing address and email address and card(s) current in your Schedule Master Membership Account. Plus One Flyers is not responsible for ensuring your email system allows Schedule Master or other Club emails to reach you.  You will receive an automatic email one month prior to the expiration of your card in Schedule Master.  Plus One Flyers is a PCI-DSS-compliant e-commerce and POS credit card processing merchant.  See the Club’s Privacy Policy for more about how we protect your private information.                                                                                              

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