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Potential Flight Hazards

Section 5. Potential Flight Hazards

7−5−1. Accident Cause Factors

a. The 10 most frequent cause factors for general

aviation accidents that involve the pilot-in-command


1. Inadequate preflight preparation and/or


2. Failure to obtain and/or maintain flying


3. Failure to maintain direction control.

4. Improper level off.

5. Failure to see and avoid objects or


6. Mismanagement of fuel.

7. Improper inflight decisions or planning.

8. Misjudgment of distance and speed.

9. Selection of unsuitable terrain.

10. Improper operation of flight controls.

b. This list remains relatively stable and points out

the need for continued refresher training to establish

a higher level of flight proficiency for all pilots. A

part of the FAA’s continuing effort to promote

increased aviation safety is the Aviation Safety

Program. For information on Aviation Safety

Program activities contact your nearest Flight

Standards District Office.

c. Alertness. Be alert at all times, especially

when the weather is good. Most pilots pay attention

to business when they are operating in full IFR

weather conditions, but strangely, air collisions

almost invariably have occurred under ideal weather

conditions. Unlimited visibility appears to encourage

a sense of security which is not at all justified.

Considerable information of value may be obtained

by listening to advisories being issued in the terminal

area, even though controller workload may prevent a

pilot from obtaining individual service.

d. Giving Way. If you think another aircraft is too

close to you, give way instead of waiting for the other

pilot to respect the right-of-way to which you may be

entitled. It is a lot safer to pursue the right-of-way

angle after you have completed your flight.

7−5−2. VFR in Congested Areas
A high percentage of near midair collisions occur

below 8,000 feet AGL and within 30 miles of an

airport. When operating VFR in these highly

congested areas, whether you intend to land at an

airport within the area or are just flying through, it is

recommended that extra vigilance be maintained and

that you monitor an appropriate control frequency.

Normally the appropriate frequency is an approach

control frequency. By such monitoring action you can

“get the picture” of the traffic in your area. When the

approach controller has radar, radar traffic advisories

may be given to VFR pilots upon request.


AIM, Paragraph 4−1−15 , Radar Traffic Information Service

7−5−3. Obstructions To Flight

a. General. Many structures exist that could

significantly affect the safety of your flight when

operating below 500 feet AGL, and particularly

below 200 feet AGL. While 14 CFR Part 91.119

allows flight below 500 AGL when over sparsely

populated areas or open water, such operations are

very dangerous. At and below 200 feet AGL there are

numerous power lines, antenna towers, etc., that are

not marked and lighted as obstructions and; therefore,

may not be seen in time to avoid a collision. Notices

to Airmen (NOTAMs) are issued on those lighted

structures experiencing temporary light outages.

However, some time may pass before the FAA is

notified of these outages, and the NOTAM issued,

thus pilot vigilance is imperative.

b. Antenna Towers. Extreme caution should be

exercised when flying less than 2,000 feet AGL

because of numerous skeletal structures, such as radio

and television antenna towers, that exceed 1,000 feet

AGL with some extending higher than 2,000 feet

AGL. Most skeletal structures are supported by guy

wires which are very difficult to see in good weather

and can be invisible at dusk or during periods of

reduced visibility. These wires can extend about

1,500 feet horizontally from a structure; therefore, all

skeletal structures should be avoided horizontally by