Pilot gives tips on safe flying - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Pilot gives tips on safe flying

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Many questions remain in the wake of the Highmore plane crash - why was pilot DJ Fischer flying so low?

Was it too foggy to be flying?

Does flying a small aircraft in rural areas present any unique challenges?

Local pilot and Civil Air Patrol Cpt. Neil Schmid said he has been flying for many years and experience has the biggest impact on being safe.

He said the two most important things to remember is to stay at altitude and do not fly in conditions that need more experience than you have.

Flying is considered the safest way of travel, but there can still be room for errors, which is why Schmid said the best thing you can do is avoid unnecessary risks.

"My sense is that it's a very safe mode of transportation, but you do have to be careful," he said.

When you are in flight, Schmid said you need to know what is around you and to stay high in the sky.

"Most people flying would generally fly at altitudes of 1,000's of feet above the ground. So, 5,000 to 10,000 is common for a light aircraft like our Civil Air Patrol, so it's well above any structures," he added.

The industry is heavily regulated to keep pilots and passengers safe.

Including how close structures can be to a runway.

"In order to put any obstruction near an airport it has to be approved by the FAA and all safety considerations are taken into account. So if they wanted to locate an obstacle right on the airport it may be difficult to actually do," Schmid continued.

But, if something does go wrong and there is a loss of power, Schmid said there are still ways to steer the aircraft to safety.

"If you had an emergency situation, you'd look out the window first of all, and identify an area to land. You'd go through a procedure to try to recover from the failure of the aircraft and if nothing else, find a clear place to land," he explained.

Schmid added flying in rural areas is sometimes easier than in populated ones because there is less air traffic.

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