Letter from the Safety Manager - Summer Flying

Niclas Eriksson

Every month, the safety department of OSM Aviation Academy sends out a Safety Letter to all flying personal and students with information on how to stay safe in the air and ground.

In this month's Safety Letter, you can read some of the essential safety concerns that pilots need to keep an extra eye on during the summer period. Sit down for 5 minutes, relax, and get ready for a smacked letter, full of interesting and tasty learnings.

Summer Flying

For most people, summer means vacation and ice cream. For us pilots, it is a whole different story, mainly more safety concerns.

Here are a couple of things we want you to think about a bit extra during the summer weeks ahead. During the summer there is a lot more traffic in turns of regular GA traffic, sailplanes, skydive operations, balloon pilots, etc. The small flying clubs are as alive as ever and there is a lot of people we must cooperate with and share the wonderful summer sky. Summer days normally also offer massive CB’s around 12-15 o’clock in the afternoon together with dramatic showers and wind gusts. Worth mentioning is also the small but many mosquitos which like to stick to the front of our wings and windshields, which results in that we must regularly clean our beautiful aircraft.

Be prepared

Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, extra water, some food, and maybe a cap. If you suspect a CB (Cumulonimbus/Thunderstorm cloud) over the airfield or strong winds, try to park the aircraft inside the hangar, or park it into the wind.

Check, double-check, and triple-check!

Communication, a key factor for safe operations.

Imagine that you are coming into an airfield, you have dialed in the correct frequency and made your calls, but no one is answering. As you are coming closer to the overhead re-join you spot an aircraft flying in the traffic pattern, but he is not responding. What can be wrong with this situation?

There are many possible answers to that question. Let us rephrase that question to:

What do we do in this situation?

Let us start with our own position, first, we can start with double-checking the radio frequency, not only to check if we have dialed in what we have noted down, but we can also check the airport map or relevant charts if we have the correct frequency. We can also check the volume on our radio transceiver, worth noting is that we can also check if we are using the correct radio as well, check our headset connections, etc. Check the TS/RS symbol on the radio while transmitting. Perform a radio check on another radio frequency, the list goes on and on.


Things to think of as well is that there can be a mistake between the controller and the pilot:

  1. The controller assigns incorrect frequency
  2. Pilot mishears frequency assignment (perhaps due to radio interference)
  3. The pilot hears frequency correctly but makes an error when setting it
  4. The pilot sets frequency correctly but fails to select the radio
  5. Pilot misses volume or squelch control
  6. The pilot anticipates the next frequency (expectation of clearance) and selects it on the panel, but ATC assigns another frequency
  7. Pilot accepts frequency assignment intended for another aircraft (due to call-sing similarity)


Contributing factors:

  1. Frequency congestion
  2. Radio interference
  3. Call sign confusion
  4. Language barrier
  5. Pilot workload (read more)


What can we do?

1) Always follow standard procedures for copying, setting, and cross-checking RTF frequencies. As soon as a loss of communication is suspected, check radio equipment settings and audio panel settings and carry out a radio check.

2) If any part of a message for you is garbled or unclear, request confirmation or clarification.

At present, good radio discipline is the best defense against loss of communication following frequency change.
Anticipate the worst, not the best. Always double-check your own actions, even if you are sure, you have done everything correctly, check again and again and again.

Read more about the subject of communication in this article: Core Competencies for Pilots - Communication.


Three quick ones

1) Touch and go landings

Summertime can possibly also include some changes regarding when we are allowed to operate, and sometimes also whether we are, or not allowed to do TGL’s at some airports. Make sure to check the national AIP for the airport you are planning to operate from or visit. Normally you will find the information in the national AIP section aerodrome, Local traffic regulations, or on their own website.


2) MEL/HIL/Remarks

If there is an active MEL/HIL in the tech log, you as PIC are responsible for check-in POH or operating handbook if the MEL/HIL is okay to fly with, and for how long or until how many hours you are allowed to fly.


3) OA (Operational Acceptance)

When deemed necessary, the CAMO can issue an Operational Acceptance that permits a flight with a lower technical standard than the one established in the MEL, but never lower than the MMEL. The OA should be placed together with the aircraft documents and may specify different operation limitations.


That is all for this month.

Have a great summer and as always fly safe!

Best regards,

12. Niclas Eriksson

Niclas Eriksson
Safety Manager at OSM Aviation Academy


Interested in learning more about the role as a Safety Manager?

Continue to read the interview with Niclas Eriksson, where he talks about the importance of having a high-quality safety culture, his role as a Safety Manager in aviation, and what defines a safety-minded pilot. 

Read it now: Safety Manager - Niclas Eriksson

Ferry flight pilot, Niclas and Jesper

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