A high percentage of accidents in aviation occur during ground operation of aircraft and equipment. Failure to observe rules of safety is certain to cause problems. The old saying that "safety is no accident" is more than a cliche - it's an axiom. Observance of common sense rules is generally sufficient, but there is little chance that pilots will comply with rules, however reasonable, if they are not sincerely concerned with safety.
Pilots should be familiar with safety measures relative to fire and contamination hazards during fuel servicing, precautions for walking on parking ramps in close proximity to aircraft, taxiing and parking aircraft, entering and leaving aircraft, preflight and postflight procedures such as the positioning of switches and controls, the use of tiedowns, and the proper installation of fuel and oil tank filler caps, etc. (Fig. 1-4). It is recommended that a checklist which includes preflight, in-flight, and postflight operation, including emergency procedures, be immediately available and constantly used. Checking important items by rote is not an acceptable substitute for checklists. Many of the items which should be checked will be covered in more detail later in this handbook.
A flight training program that ignores, or only pays lip service to ground safety, is lacking in one of the elements requisite to good training.
The most conscientious preflight planning and careful compliance with ground safety rules will in no way compensate for a lackadaisical attitude toward safety in flight. Since safety in flight relates to a great many things, no attempt will be made to cover them all in this chapter. There are, however, certain practices relative to flight safety that must be stressed at this time. Good habits established early and continually reinforced throughout a training program are habits that the pilot is likely to follow faithfully throughout his or her flying career.
When operating in the seemingly limitless space of the sky, it is easy to forget that many other aircraft are flying in today's airspace, especially in airport traffic patterns and along busy airways (Fig. 1-5). The pilot MUST maintain a continuous vigilance for other aircraft around, above, and below. Though a pilot may have a high degree of skill in aircraft control, excellent coordination, and faultless execution of pilot operations, when one fails to maintain a constant and careful watch for other aircraft, that person is a dangerous pilot - dangerous not only to one's self but to passengers and all others in the immediate vicinity.