Friday, 7 November 2008

Westline, Aviation Thoughts


Westline Aviantion, although also a charter operation with two of their helicopters permanently based at Dragons Peak in the Drakensberg, specializes in helicopter and fixed wing aircraft pilot training.

While visiting their website I stumbled across a newsletter that was posted on the 31st of July which made for very interesting reading. Unlike my business partner Gary and his dad who are both pilots, I am not a huge aviation enthusiast yet everything the article conveys, makes perfect sense and is best described as logical.

The author Charlie Marais expresses his deep concern regarding accidents that have marred the aviation fraternity over the past year and poses the question of how it is possible for some of these accidents to have happened.

He says to venture one magic solution to this problem is unfortunately not possible, but he goes onto list what he says is for sure, and draws attention to some non-approved practices that is surmountable to negligence. Here are 3 of the points he raises.

1. If you venture there where you are not properly trained to venture, you will surely pay a price. Aviation is too complex and dynamic an environment to get the hang of it as we go, formal training and controlled exposure is the only stepping stones towards competency.

2. Getting home-ites. What is so important that you would bet your life on it, very well knowing that the odds are stacked against you? Logic must somehow feature somewhere in all of this. Why is it that this phenomenon is so potent that one would do things willingly and knowingly that is outside the rule book, or outside our scope of capabilities?

3. How come we do not believe the cautions of our fellow man and trainers? How come you can know better than those with experience?


He goes into more depth and makes mention of a few other thoughts he has, all pertaining to aviation safety and not taking unnecessary risks. Reading it, I couldn’t help but feel that the same logic applies to motoring; respect for the rules, sticking to the basics, and resisting all temptation to be bravado, would bring road incidents down considerably.

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