Controlled Flight Into Terrain Essay

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The aviation community generally defines CFIT as "…any collision with land or water in which there was no detectable mechanical or equipment failure, where the pilot was in control of the aircraft but lost situational awareness and flew into terrain." (Bensyl, Moran, Conway, 2001, pg 1037) According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), CFIT can be caused by many factors. Nevertheless, it is primarily caused when a pilot or flight crew is unaware that a dangerous situation exists. Problems such as bad weather, information overload, instrument confusion, night flight, poor air traffic control communications, or malfunctioning ground
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These procedures or checklists are designed to ensure that all possible dangers are addressed by the flight-crew in a given situation making them aware of those dangers so they may avoid them. Shortcuts or omissions of these procedures may allow for a potential problem to go unnoticed resulting in the development of a dangerous situation that may jeopardize flight safety.
• Situational Awareness (SA): A flight-crew's loss of situational awareness is identified when a pilot controls an aircraft to the wrong parameters. Doane states that "SA has been highlighted in the aviation domain as an important precursor to performance failure." (Doane, Woo Sohn, Jodlowski, 2004, pg 92) An example of loss of SA is a flight-crew descending an aircraft below 3,000 feet prior to being established on the Localizer (an electronically provided extended runway centerline that allows pilots to use instruments to line up on the runway). These types of errors are extremely dangerous since aircraft may be close to terrain or obstacles and the flight-crew is generally unaware that a problem exists until it is too late.
• System Operation: Improper operation of engines, hydraulics, brakes and/or fuel systems; misread and improperly set instruments or disabled warning systems are all examples of improper system operation. Aircraft systems and instrumentation are vital to a pilot's ability to accurately fly the aircraft. The failure of a
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