Top 20 Ultralight/Light Plane Pilot Mistakes – Humor
Airplane pilots, more than anyone else, must be able to quickly recognize and learn from their mistakes. It may help if you can laugh at your errors and share them with others. This list of common and uncommon mistakes was compiled with help from Steve Bensinger and Denny Demeter. We hope it will help others to avoid these problems. Every one is a true story.
20. Your two-axis ultralight or light plane has a slip/skid indicator.
19. You don’t need to tag your fuel cans. You can remember which ones have oil.
18. You disassemble the carburetor and ignition system because the engine won’t start and then notice the fuel valve is in the off position.
17. The pilot conducts taxi testing on a windy day before the seat belt is installed and with only 2 quarts of fuel in the tank. Yes, it took off.
16. The pilot installs the new prop on backwards and then calls the dealer complaining that it’s noisy and can barely climb out of ground effect. Yes, it will fly that way.
15. On the first flight of your homebuilt ultralight, you discover the Hall airspeed indicator is mounted so close to the prop arc that it indicates rpm instead of airspeed.
14. You make a forced landing into the trees because you hit the kill switch on your Quicksilver while waving at your mom during a low pass. Ouch.
13. You learn that the twin-engine Lazair makes cool double-swirl marks in the grass when it goes up on its nose.
12. Trying to take off with the rear seat belt wrapped around the stick as a control lock. Pre-takeoff control checks anyone?
11. Not checking for varmints in the cockpit before takeoff and having a mouse jump out of your map bag into your lap, or a group of angry wasps tumble out of the air vent. Did you ever try to land with a mouse in your lap?
10. For extra security, you lock the BRS safety pin in place with a plastic cable tie for the trailer ride to the airport but don’t notice it until after you’ve already taken off. And you don’t have a pocket knife.
9. Finding out the hard way that you can’t pull-start your ultralight for a winter flight while standing on a patch of ice.
8. Finding out that P-factor can make a plane spin in tight circles when trying to taxi on ice. But not believing it right away.
7. You get into too big a hurry to taxi to the airport restaurant after removing your brakes to install the snow skis.
6. Scattered ashes from the cremation of a relative and discovered they’re very abrasive. Destroyed the wood pusher prop and had to make a forced landing.
5. Pilot rolls semi-aerobatic light plane to the inverted position and finds the fuel tank cap isn’t fastened securely.
4. Pilot attempts an unsuccessful downwind takeoff because, quote, “The wind seems to have died down now.” The windsock lifted back up the instant he took off.
3. Pilot makes a successful emergency landing with no damage or injuries in a very large field of very tall corn and wanders around for two hours trying to find his way out. Always note your position before you crash.
2. You do a four-turn spin and recover perfectly on final approach for a landing only to have fire trucks, ambulances, and a police car show up at the airport because someone on the highway thought you augured in.
…and the number one ultralight pilot mistake is…
1. You think a “fast pass” down the runway in your FAR 103 ultralight looks impressive.