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Section 6.  Potential Flight Hazards 



1.  Accident Cause Factors 


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. 


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. 



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


15 , Radar Traffic Information Service 



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 

Potential Flight Hazards