It sometimes seems that the world is rushing by. We rush to work. We rush to get home. We rush to the air show. We even sometimes rush when we’re preparing to fly. In flying, rushing sometimes has a place: to get there well before the storm or nightfall perhaps. But rushing has a down side, too.
A Spanish Air Force F-18 took off to fly its demo and couldn’t get the left main gear to retract. The gear pin was still in. The pilot landed uneventfully. His crew pulled the pin and he went on to fly his demo.
Not too many years ago, an accomplished aviator and veteran air show performer was in a hurry to take-off and beat some incoming weather. He left a baggage compartment door open. When he took off, some flight manuals fell out and were ingested into his jet engine. The aircraft crashed and he was killed.
The purpose here is not to point fingers or lay blame, but to use real-world examples to drive home an important point. We have all experienced the need to be a little further along than we are. The typical response is to work faster. At some point, the quality of the work starts to suffer as the speed increases. Throw in a distraction or an interruption and the recipe is finished. The gear pins get left in. The compartment door is not closed and secured. The fuel cap doesn’t get put on properly. The charts for the trip home are left in the baggage compartment.
An air show can be a tough environment in which to fly. And not just the 30 minutes before you perform and the performance itself. It can also be tough when you’re trying to fight weather and get to the show site on time, or when you need to leave the show to get somewhere else. Time is the one thing that PICs have ultimate control over. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. Rushing only leads to mistakes and we know what mistakes lead to.