Features August 2016 Issue
CFIT on Departure
ATC departure instructions can be a set-up for a run-in with obstacles. Knowing your responsibility within those instructions will help keep you safely above the obstacles.
Pilot responsibilities differ from a controller’s. The regs state, the “pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.” This authority and responsibility is granted with the intention that it’s used to ensure safety—a pilot’s primary obligation. Yet, pilots keep having controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents, often with fatalities. It’s the second leading cause of commercial aviation fatalities worldwide. NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt described CFIT as “the problem that never went away.” CFIT frequently occurs at night or in IMC.