Do You Know Where You Are?


In 2008, no less than four air show performers experienced some form of engine failure in flight. Of those, two occurred during performances and two occurred during transit home from the show. Fortunately, all four aircraft landed on airport with no damage beyond that related to the engine failure itself. 

It is very easy with GPS navigation to lose track of your location and forget to have that alternate in the back of your mind. For the two aircraft in transit, both pilots found themselves less than 10 miles from a suitable airport.  In one case, the pilot orbited over a road verifying that the engine would continue to produce power before proceeding to an airport. His engine continued to function. In the second case, the pilot immediately turned for the emergency airport. With failing oil pressure, he, too, managed to make the airport as his oil pressure dropped to zero. 

Know where you are.  Know how to quickly pull up that nearest airport information. Set up your GPS to identify all the airports you might need, not just the ones with 5000 feet of pavement. Most air show pilots fly single engine aircraft. The rules and good judgment haven’t changed with the advent of GPS.  Be ready to divert all the time.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.