Saturday, July 22, 2017

A closer look at safety after three student pilots crash in South Florida this month (with video)

BOCA RATON, Fla. - July has been a dangerous month for student pilots in South Florida. The federal government launched investigations into three crashes this month, including one Thursday night.

From the minute the hangar opens, Captain Charles Brady has safety on his mind.

“We’ll check the other side also,” he said after inspecting a fuel tank prior to an instructional flight.

From fuel to electronics, the flight instructor at Beach Aviation in Boca Raton checks it all before take off.

His lesson is especially poignant this time. One person died and three planes on instructional flights crashed this month in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. None of the crashes involved Beach Aviation.

“It came right over me and I thought it seemed weird it was so low,” said one man who witnessed Thursday’s crash near Coral Springs.

“The pilot community worldwide is so small. It’s a fraternity almost. And we all know one another,” Brady added.

Data from the National Transportation Safety Board shows the number of instructional crashes in Florida rose over the past 2 years. From 15 between July 2015 and July 2016, to 25 between July 2016 and July 2017.  

“It’s a shame,” Brady said. “The worst part about it is the public now has a perception that planes are falling out of the sky and that's not the case.”

Brady argued flying still remains one of the safest modes of transportation. He added he takes extra strides to keep his planes in the air. His team designed a pre-flight risk assessment to complement the federally required regulations.

“If it's high risk, the lesson is not going to happen,” Brady explained.

If you want to learn to fly, Brady’s advice is to check the experience of the instructor, request logs for maintenance on the plane, and ask around the pilot community about a school’s reputation. 

Watch video:

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