A pilot’s fundamental responsibility is to prevent a loss of control (LOC). Loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) is the leading cause of fatal general aviation and commercial aviation accidents worldwide. LOC-I is defined as a significant deviation of an aircraft from the intended flightpath and it often results from an airplane upset. Maneuvering is the most common phase of flight for general aviation LOC-I accidents to occur; however, LOC-I accidents occur in all phases of flight.
To prevent LOC-I accidents, it is important for pilots to recognize and maintain a heightened awareness of situations that increase the risk of loss of control. Those situations include: uncoordinated flight, equipment malfunctions, pilot complacency, distraction, turbulence, and poor risk management – like attempting to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) when the pilot is not qualified or proficient. Sadly, there are also LOC-I accidents resulting from intentional disregard or recklessness.
To maintain aircraft control when faced with these or other contributing factors, the pilot must be aware of situations where LOC-I can occur, recognize when an airplane is approaching a stall, has stalled, or is in an upset condition, and understand and execute the correct procedures to recover the aircraft.