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I learned about flying from that…..

Fatal Traps

You don’t really learn to fly until after you’ve passed your test and gone off and done some things – and even then you need a few close shaves to build up your experience.

In my time I’ve had warning lights and strange noises requiring me to make precautionary landings in a field. I’ve done weather diversions, had doors open in flight, a few close calls on start-up and recently I started the engine with one of my inlet covers still in. Thankfully none of these are too serious but I’ve learned something from all of them.

I regularly read the AAIB reports to try to get a feel for what others may have done wrong and I make a mental note if I think it’s something that I should consider in detail. There is, however no substitute for regular continuation training, which I do a lot of, and also general flying experience.

But extra reading is an excellent compliment to experience and the  book Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots is therefore an absolute must read. It’s not a book that you are likely to read cover to cover, it’s more of a reference book, that you can pick up, put down, and start anywhere.

It is divided into sections relating to the typical problems that have occurred over the years and usually has 2 or 3 real examples of incidents that have occurred. Essentially it is a compilation of AAIB/NTSB reports but extracted form a range of countries reports.

Some of the chapters cover :-

  • Ground resonance
  • Vortex Ring
  • Fuel Starvation
  • Dynamic Rollover
  • Ditching
  • Weather
  • Overloading

I regularly throw this book in my hand luggage as I travel extensively and I often find my self re-reading chapters I have read before just to remind myself of things that can go wrong.

If you only learn one thing from the book, it will be the cheapest way of learning it and might hopefully save you from making an expensive (or worse) mistake during your flying career.

Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots is available online from places like Amazon or from most aviation stockists such as Flightstore.

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