GalaxyFlyer wrote:Today, there’s little excuse for an IFR-equipped plane not to have highly reliable electronic instruments, a second attitude indicator and an autopilot. He’d be saddened deeply by crashes like this one. We keep crashing planes the same way despite training opportunities, lessons learned, better equipment. The weather here wasn’t challenging he was , from what I gather, this pilot was fairly current, if not perhaps in basic instruments. Lacking FDR and CVR data, it’ll be tough to figure out.
I think you're absolutely right - the underlying current of most of his columns was that if you're prepared and have the right attitude, most of these incidents are 100% preventable. I tried to take a lot of that spirit to heart, especially in my first couple hundred hours, and looking back that prevented a lot of stupid decision-making one would be prone to in their early 20s. I distinctly remember a flight where I was heading over to KMRY, things were peachy on my side of the mountains, but as I closed on the Salinas valley the marine layer was just starting to break up yet still blowing inland. The next time I looked up from my chart an area that looked okay had become very patchy and that was my path to the field. I could see a couple mountaintops poking through patches to the left and decided it just wasn't my day to get MRY in my book, and headed home. The next time I was on with ATC they said 'we're still MVFR but several other guys are getting out of here' and I felt justified the more experienced saw it the way I did.
I never finished my IFR rating due to funds, but when I get back in the saddle and finish that, I'll certainly retain those attitudes and build on them.