10 Worst Distractions For Pilots

Distractions inside the cockpit aren't just annoying, they're dangerous. Do everything you can to avoid these 10 distractions...

1) Traffic You Hear, But Can't See

There's nothing more unnerving than a traffic report close to your position. Your eyes instantly move outside the cockpit, scanning the sky for visual contact. Whilst scanning outside is important, so is flying the aircraft. Don't make an uncomfortable situation even worse by forgetting to manage flight parameters.

2) "Bad" Passengers

Loud kids, passengers talking nonstop over the intercom, and seemingly endless questions are typical when flying people around in a small GA aircraft. Remember the "isolate" switch is there for a reason!

3) Back Seat Pilots

With any passenger, lay down the ground rules before you start the engine, and make sure they're comfortable with what you've assigned them responsibility for.

If your passenger starts going off-script in the air, be clear with them. Let them know they're distracting and not helping, and tell them what they can do to help, even if it's uncomfortable to say.

4) Unfamiliar Aircraft

Can't find a switch? Don't know how to follow the checklist flow? What's that speed limitation?
None of these are questions to be answering in the air. Before you get into an unfamiliar aircraft, make sure you've done some armchair flying!

5) Unfamiliar Airspace

We didn't get our pilot's licence to fly round in circles over our house all day long. Inevitably, you'll fly into unfamiliar and busy airspace somewhere in the country. Know the regulations, airspace type, dimensions, and procedures before you take off.

6) Non-Essential Electronics

Limit the use of personal electronics as much as possible. If it's not flight-critical, ask yourself, "is this something that can wait until I'm on the ground?" Most likely, the answer is yes. If you're flying with mounted cameras, have them set and filming before the engine starts. Don't touch them until you're on the ground. Don’t fumble around continuously with Sky Demon either, remember, looking outside is what counts.

7) Unnecessary Radio Congestion

There's nothing worse than a radio hog. It's distracting for other pilots that might be in a critical phase of flight or need to make an announcement. Avoid unnecessary radio conversations.

8) Cluttered Avionics

De-clutter your avionics so only relevant information is shown. Too much clutter could result in you missing something important.

9) Foreign Object Debris

FOD, or Foreign Object Debris, is distracting and dangerous. Quite a few accidents have been caused by loose items in the cockpit getting jammed into flight controls, like coins, batteries and pen tops. They can be deadly!

10) Open Doors And Windows

As you accelerate down the runway, you notice the loud rush of air entering the cabin. Somewhere, a door or window is open. If you weren't able to abort the takeoff or can't shut it in-flight, circle and land to fix the problem.

Fly safely!