Confessions of an Airline Pilot – Why Planes Crash

Confessions of an airline pilot by Terry Tozer - book cover

Incorporating Tales from the Pilot’s Seat

Guest post from Terry Tozer

Most will think of poor maintenance, bad weather, old aircraft among other obvious reasons, yet none of these reasons are common; it is more subtle than that.

Could airlines be delivering the same awful standards that we experience in other areas of life? Could the corporate culture be behind accidents? Are they accidents at all in fact? Or simply crashes brought about by a chain of human induced events.

The answers are all in this book, presented in a readable form for anyone to enjoy. It is light on the technical jargon, but focuses on the human element in safety – or the lack of it.

The reader is offered a ride on my and other flight decks, turning dull accident statistics into readable detective stories. In addition to the main core of the book – why planes crash – are some anecdotes from my own experience that in the main, focus on what it is like in the cockpit

It may dash the commonly held notion that pilots live the life of luxury sunning themselves by a foreign hotel pool and partying with attractive crew members. Life at the pointy end is often a wonderful picture show of stunning vistas and night skies but it can also be a bit tougher when it comes to fatigue and time zone changes – could your pilots be sleeping while the aeroplane cruises on, on autopilot?

Corporate structures are profit driven and those who run them are not pilots. As with the medical world, the bosses could not do the job that those at the coal face do every day. Fatigue is an issue and is seldom recognised as such in the boardroom. Sadly, this is also true of the industry regulators.

Post Covid, lockdowns and “furloughs” mean that crews are rusty and have flown little. In responsible airlines – and the book tells how to choose those – recurrent simulator training and careful scheduling will get pilots back up to speed carefully. Others are less responsible.

Some airlines have made scores of pilots redundant and so as things open up, they are now pushed for crews. The result is overwork and fatigue. There have been two studies that equate fatigue with alcohol consumption and the shocking fact is that with poor scheduling a crew can be tired enough to be effectively, “over the limit,” were their impairment be down to drinking.

That said, flying is safe with a good airline and driving to the airport is far more hazardous, so don’t lose sleep, just read and understand what the priorities are and who applies them properly.

Oh yes and we can discuss Turbulence, which is most passengers’ pet hate.

Happy Landings


Pre-order direct from the publisher

See publisher’s blog for photos, and more from Terry.

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