Pilots and air traffic controllers are just as susceptible
to distractions while flying or directing flight traffic as people are when
driving vehicles. But distractions
on a plane or the control tower can create consequences even more dramatic than
those on the road
. The National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reported many instances of cell phone
usage causing distracted flying accidents including a “… bantering personal
phone call about a dead cat while directing traffic.” The NTSB report noted
that during the time the controller was on the phone, he made several errors. For
example, after he made the handoff of the Piper to Newark tower for flight
following, he failed to provide the pilot the new frequency for two minutes.
When he finally did call with the new frequency, he spoke very quickly; the
pilot then read back an incorrect frequency to the controller, but the
controller did not notice the error. Because the pilot was on the wrong
frequency, no one could warn him about the approaching collision.

Pilots are not supposed to use cell phones in the cockpit
and as a result there are few reports of problems caused by cell phones in
airplanes. One case that was reported, however, involved an Airbus A320 captain
landing at Singapore Airport who had left his cell phone on. As they descended
through 2,000 feet on approach, he heard multiple alerts as the phone began
receiving all of the text messages that had been sent while they were out of
range of cell towers. The captain retrieved the cell phone, either to read the
texts or, as he claimed, to unlock and turn off the phone. Whatever the reason,
he made numerous errors during this time and finally aborted the landing at 392
feet because the landing gear was not extended.

Aviation fatalities

There are significantly more general/private aviation
fatalities than there are commercial air carrier fatalities. In
2010, there were just two aviation fatalities for commercial air carriers and
taxis versus 410 general aviation fatalities.
Loss of control in flight is
the leading cause of death, accounting for 41 percent of fatal personal flying
accidents.

Calls for safety guidelines
to curb distracted flying

After four small-plane collisions that caused eight deaths,
the NTSB issued an official "safety alert" advising pilots to
maintain fundamental "see and avoid" vigilance by scanning for
traffic throughout a flight, using lights and clearly communicating their
intentions. The
presence of technology has introduced challenges to the “see-and-avoid”
concept. Aviation applications on portable electronic devices such as cell
phones, tablets, and handheld GPS units, while useful, can lead to more
head-down time.

In 2015, U.S. safety officials reminded pilots to look out
for other planes and make their own aircraft known during flights, saying air
collisions are more likely to occur if pilots are distracted by cell phones,
tablets or other wireless devices as they are not maintaining adequate visual
lookout.

Software makers have produced a host of pilot applications
for phones and tablets used for general and commercial aviation that offer
radar and navigation services, approach charts, terrain awareness and weather
graphics but these devices are not allowed for personal communications or
activities. It is the pilot’s responsibility to determine whether a device’s
electronics will interfere with flight instruments.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have
enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident
attorney
fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not
uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten
times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in
Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing
residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County
since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we
recover damages for you!

Pilots and air traffic controllers are just as susceptible
to distractions while flying or directing flight traffic as people are when
driving vehicles. But rel=”nofollow” >distractions
on a plane or the control tower can create consequences even more dramatic than
those on the road.

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Michael John Tario

Licensed since 1980

Member at firm Tario & Associates, P.S.

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