Familiarity Kills Pilots - A Lesson for us all!

We’ve all done it and if you haven’t you probably know someone who has.

You're having a conversation, driving home from work or watching TV when you suddenly realise that you can’t remember the last 5 minutes of what you’ve been doing.

A recent survey suggests that 23% of all car accidents happen within 1 mile of the owner’s house and over 50% within 5 miles.

It's fairly obvious that familiarity is causing problems for drivers and, the resulting inattention, costly insurance claims.

It's no different with pilots either but the results can be a lot, lot worse.

In aviation, inattention is often referred to as ‘low-arousal’ and is an issue that has caused many a pilot's demise. I was recently caught out by this and it made me realise that I needed to re-evaluate my approach to flying.

I’ve been flying for 17 years and have over 2,500 hours, mainly fast jet. To an airline pilot this figure would be laughable but, as any Service pilot knows, the variation of content in military fast jet flying makes this number significant.

But although the content on each flight might be diverse, the departure and recovery to the airfield can become very routine and it was on one such recovery that I was caught out.

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