Safety 'Stand-Down'

I had the beginnings of a discussion with the factory the other day on this matter (recent Cirrus accidents), and wanted to suggest the same concept to you all. When the military experiences a series of accidents without definite connection/correction, they often announce a “Safety Stand-Down.”
What this means, basically, is that for a day all normal flying stops. A series of seminars, lectures, checkrides, sim evals, and the like, takes place and a bit of soul-searching is done to see what might be down to take an otherwise unconnected series of accidents and incidents and minimize the possibility of their reoccurence. The programs have been very successful in focusing attention on possible safety issues and changing mindsets to take on more safety oriented attitudes that, in the long run, produce safer pilots. I know its a bit demoralizing for Cirrus flyers at the moment but Alan and I had a conversation a few years back in which I noted that he was building an aircraft that would be flown hard, over long distances, and in a number of conditions that older airframes avoid. You own one of the most heavily utilized single engine airplanes in the business. Accidents were bound to happen… especially in light of the fact that this new breed of aircraft has capabilities and equipment that has, here-to-fore, been unavailable to the GA fleet… making all those trained in less capable aircraft an accident waiting to happen unless they realized that they were taking on a new degree of capability and complexity when they strapped on a Cirrus. Mind you, its a hell of an airplane–one of my favorites–but what’s happening now is perfectly predictable… and preventable. As a community, you now have an opportunity to reverse the accident trend by making yourself the most safety conscious and prepared flyers in the air… but only if you look at the “highly capable” aircraft you own and fly them as “highly capable” pilots.
Might I suggest that a “Safety Stand-Down” is in order for the near future and that COPA put together pilot programs around the country (with factory help) to look at what is happening and seek a consensus to avoid future tragedies. If I and the Aero-News Network can be of service, please let us know… we are at your disposal.
My best to you all…


Excellent ideas.

And some of them have already been discussed on the COPA Members forum (see my summary of COPA Members’ reactions posting). The safety stand down has been suggested and several members described what they would be doing. Also, the COPA Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP) contains a safety element that we are discussing how to expand to address some of these concerns. But your suggestion has more structure to it and I for one will be very happy to advocate a greater COPA community commitment to that kind of group reflection.

Aero-News Network can help by sharing the “inside story” of a pilot club working hard to do just the things that you suggest. I’m certain that some of your favorite sources in COPA would be happy to provide examples and quotes for how the COPA community has responded. One frustration we have is our inability to reach those who don’t read or participate in these discussions.

With the larger ANN audience, this safety perspective may be an effective tool to reach beyond “the choir” and engage more pilots to make a personal commitment to increased safety. Thanks for the offer.