Episode 55. Why airplane accidents are not just stories, with Steve Green

Steve Green in cockpitPilots think about accidents all wrong, according to author and retired airline captain Steve Green. In this thought-provoking episode, he explains why you can't predict every accident, why protecting margins is the key to safe flying, and why pilots must have an overarching strategy beyond just following the checklist. He also argues for more detailed systems knowledge and for maintaining two situational awarenesses (one for the pilot and one for the automation). In the Ready to Copy segment, Steve talks about surviving an airplane crash, whether ice bridging is a myth, and what to carry in your survival kit.


  • “We think of accidents in a storytelling form… the accident that actually happens to you isn’t a story until it’s all over with, so you’re never really going to see it coming.”
  • “We operate in a world that’s constructed of margins… The number one job of the professional pilot is to protect those margins.”
  • “We have a new situational awareness, which is: where does the autoflight system think we are?”
  • “When you tell me how much ice your airplane will carry, I know right away you don’t understand the lift curve.”
  • “We have very little knowledge about what is done right every day, because nothing happened.”

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