A Pilot’s Guide to Safe Flying

                                                            By Sander Vandeth





Sander Vandeth’s A Pilot’s Guide to Safe Flying (mCOVE Resources, Mt. Eliza, Victoria Australia 2003) is subtitled “A Manual for General Aviation Pilots,” and the subtitle accurately describes this compilation. 

This aviation handbook is so highly regarded that Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is sending a FREE copy to all student pilots in Australia!


Flying truly defies borders and spans continents…so this Australian publication is relevant and instructional to pilots around the world.  That’s because the theme of this Guide is universal—aviation safety depends on the pilot.

Vandeth very effectively answers the question he poses in his introductory pages: “Why do pilots make errors, and what can be done differently to avoid them?”

Chapter headings reveal the pilot-oriented focus of this book:

·         Minimizing Risk

·         The Right Mental Approach

·         Being Well Prepared

·         Avoiding “Cockpit” Errors

·         Avoiding Fuel Mismanagement

·         Avoiding and Handling Weather Hazards

·         Avoiding and Dealing with Icing

·         Takeoff and Landing Risk Minimization

·         Guarding Against Illusions

·         Mid-Air Collision Avoidance

·         Avoiding Engine Failure

·         Ground Operating Hazards

·         Managing Health Risks

·         Handling Emergency Situations


There are also several appendices:


Each chapter and section of the Guide expands on topics vital to mishap avoidance with tips for real-world flying.  If the U.S. Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is a compilation and expansion on rules and regulations for personal flight—how to keep yourself out of trouble—then A Pilot’s Guide to Safe Flying is the AIM’s companion volume on accident avoidance and risk management—how to keep yourself from hurting people and bending metal (or shattering composites).


If I have one suggestion for a future edition of this tremendous book, it would be that Vandeth include case study accident reports for each major category of accident avoidance technique.  This would show how the decision-making process can (and does) trigger a chain of events that may ultimately bring about the very mishaps Vandeth’s book seeks to help pilots avoid.


With approximately 200 pages of text, copious black & white illustrations and diagrams, and a good topical index, A Pilot’s Guide to Safe Flying serves as a superb primer on aviation risk management, is great preparation to take (or give) a Flight Review or checkride, and if you heed its lessons will indeed make you a safer pilot.


A Pilot’s Guide to Safe Flying is available through most aviation book outlets or www.mcove.com.


Full disclosure statement: Vandeth honors me by quoting some of my research in his book.  It plays a very small part in his work, and its inclusion in no way affects this review.


Thomas P. Turner, Mastery Flight Training, Inc. www.thomaspturner.com