Checklist Usage for Single Pilot Ops

(This information is an excerpt from a recent Black Belt Aviator email.  Please feel free to share!)

Please read this information about a crash that need not have occurred.

This June 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 401. Injuries: 3 Serious. Location: Plymouth, Mass. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The airplane was returning from a three-hour aerial mapping mission and was lined up for a straight-in, five-mile final approach for landing. About three miles out on final approach, and prior to performing the before-landing check, both engines stopped producing power, one almost immediately after the other.

The pilot said that by the time he completed his remedial actions, the plane had descended to about 200 feet above the ground and the engines would not restart.

The auxiliary fuel tank gauges were bouncing between two to five gallons and the main tanks were bouncing around at 25 gallons per side. The pilot then selected a forced landing site between two large trees.

A detailed examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of pre-impact mechanical anomalies.

According to information contained in the aircraft manufacturer’s owner’s manual, the auxiliary fuel tanks are designed for cruising flight and are not equipped with pumps. In addition, operation near the ground below 1,000 feet the use of auxiliary fuel tanks is not recommended. The first step in the before-landing check was to select the main fuel tanks on both the left and right fuel selectors. The pilot indicated that he should have selected the main tanks sooner and performed the before-landing check earlier in the approach.

Probable cause: A total loss of engine power during final approach due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s delayed configuration of the airplane for landing.

So, “Why do we teach checklist usage the way we do?”

The checklist does NOT fly your airplane.  You, the pilot in command, are responsible to know your aircraft, know your systems and to command the condition of your aircraft at the appropriate flight segment.  The checklist simply CONFIRMS that you have already taken the appropriate actions.  If not, referring to the checklist allows you that “second chance” to correct the situation.

Fly the airplane….don’t let the checklist do it for you!

….Fly Safe…..

To schedule your aviation coaching…..800-707-4071

Very Respectfully,
David Costa
Black Belt Aviator

Professional Pilot Services
Advanced Pilot Critique and Instruction

Tesla Crash Lawsuit: Low visibility take offs

Is the take off legal?

Is the take off safe?

Just because a take off is legal under the regulations, does it mean that it is safe?

How does a pilot make a sound decision when the weather is not optimum?

These questions and more will be hot topics for those involved in this case….


“Green” Solution Returns Historic Aircraft to Flight

Reno, NV.  25 June 2010 – The High Sierra Squadron, Commemorative Air Force is operating and restoring two historic aircraft.  They have partnered with eCycleBEST to promote the recycling of eWaste while at the same time raising necessary cash to support these two examples of aviation history.

The High Sierra Wing is restoring the F-86 Sabre Jet

High Sierra Squadron has two classic and spectacular examples of World War II and Korean era aircraft under maintenance and restoration. They are flying a U.S. Navy N3N-3, two-seat, open cockpit, biplane trainer, built in 1941 by the Navy.  The team is also restoring to flight status, a U.S. Air Force single-seat F-86F Sabre Jet fighter, built in 1952 by North American.

“The Commemorative Air Force (CAF )was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans”, stated Colonel Charles Gillespie, High Sierra Squadron Commander.  “We rely on donations to maintain these historic aircraft and receive no government funding.”

David Costa, CEO, Renegade Concepts, Inc. has been contracted by eCycleBEST to manage the program.  “We saw an opportunity to serve many people with this fund raising program”, states Costa.  “Everyone wins with this simple concept.  The civic organizations raise money with a simple system.  Businesses and individuals can easily transfer their unwanted or unused qualified devices.  Everyone wins, including the environment, with our recycling efforts at eCycleBEST.”

The High Sierra Squadron has these historic aircraft available for public display at the Reno Tahoe Stead Airport.  They meet each week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Anyone with an interest in the preservation of historic aircraft is encouraged to become a member.

About the High Sierra Squadron: This Reno, NV-based organization is comprised of pilots, mechanics and aviation history enthusiasts.  All members are volunteers and the High Sierra Squadron is a 501(3)c not-for-profit organization. ( )

About Renegade Concepts, Inc.: This Reno, NV-based organization offers business sales, marketing and business development solutions.  What is your biggest business challenge?  Contact Renegade Concepts, Inc. for a FREE Business Development Mastermind Consultation.  ( or call 800-707-4071

For information and interviews:

David Costa, CEO, Renegade Concepts, Inc.


Overview of Qualifications

Pilot Expert, Litigation Support

Renegade Concepts, Inc.

9900 Wilbur May Parkway, #2203, Reno, NV  89521




David Costa, is a pilot expert who combines more than 20 years of flying experience with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with a diverse group of people.

This experience can provide you with consulting, expert opinion or litigation support that can make an objective review of the facts while also providing clarity and simplicity in testimony.

Contact David Costa to arrange a telephone interview.

Highlights of Qualifications:

David Costa is a pilot expert with diverse experience in a wide variety of aircraft types.  This professional aviation experience includes Part 91, 121, 125 and 135 operations. Total time is approximately 10,000 hours.

Flight instruction experience focused on the owner/operator (includes), and focused on operations in real world conditions:


Technically Advanced Aircraft

Complex and High Performance


Single Pilot IFR

David is a former check airman for a Part 135 operator.  Current flight instruction activities focus on the safe, single-pilot operation of high performance aircraft under all weather conditions.  Aerobatic, unusual attitude and tailwheel operations are also areas of specialty.

David is an air show pilot, touring the USA with “Race 707” a modified L-29 Delfin Jet.  This aircraft is a Reno Air Race aircraft in the jet class.  See more about air shows by visiting,

David is a Colonel and pilot with the High Sierra Wing of the Commemorative Air Force flying the Navy N3N and rebuilding an F-86 Sabre Jet.  He is also a former instructor pilot, mission check pilot, SAR pilot, and drug interdiction mission pilot with the USAFA(CAP).

Over 20 years of safe aircraft operations in all weather conditions.  Skills include operating aircraft both as a part of a crew and as the pilot in command in single pilot operations.

Tailwheel experience in aircraft from the J-3 Cub to the DC-3.

Aerobatic experience in aircraft like the L-29 Delfin Jet, Pitts, Extra and T-6 Texan.

Flight experience with aerobatic and tailwheel aircraft includes both pilot in command and as the flight instructor.

Light Sport Aircraft experience.

The list of aircraft owned and/or operated includes:

Military Jet Aircraft

Pitts Special

North American AT-6

Twin Commander

Piper Apache (currently owned)

(and extensive flight experience in many other makes and models of aircraft)

David combines executive level business management experience, consulting and public speaking in both aviation and busines.  These skills provide you with someone who can communicate clearly to a wide and varied audience.

Other projects include the establishment of new standards in patient safety in the medical industry using the proven techniques and initiatives already successful in commercial aviation.  These projects include the appropriate use of automation, situational awareness and human factors issues to change the paradigm of patient safety.