Resource Spotlight: Open in Case of an Emergency—The Lakes Region Flying Club Develops a Mishap Guide

We’ve all watched the news and seen a story about an airplane that lands in a field or on a road, or something worse. What if that plane was from your flying club? Would your club officers or members know what to do and who to call?

The Lakes Region Flying Club is developing a Club Mishap Guide that will provide a standardized process to follow so all club members know what to do immediately after an incident.

“I’ve wanted to have something like this Mishap Guide for quite a while,” Club President Jeff Davis said.

Jeff has been in the club for eight years and has 30 years of aviation experience as a CFI, an airline pilot, and corporate pilot.  He was safety officer for a few years at a corporate flight department that had two planes, eight pilots, and an emergency response plan that was 20 to 25 pages long just in case something were to happen. His idea was to “tear off a page here and there and bring it into our flying club to make it safer.”

When Allen Epps joined the club after moving to New Hampshire earlier this year, Jeff knew he had the right person to help draft the guide. Allen spent 20 years as a Naval Flight Officer in EA-6B Prowlers. “I was a graduate of the aviation safety officer school at the Naval Post-Grad school and was a safety officer in a squadron,” Allen said. “That included, unfortunately, several mishap investigations. Fortunately, none of them fatal.”

Although he has experience in aircraft investigation, the Club Mishap Guide is not meant to be an investigation guide. “It’s meant to be a guide for Stage-1, when discovering the plane has an issue,” Allen said. “If something happens to the airplane, especially away from the field, there needs to be some guidance as to what data needs to be collected so we can talk to people and determine what needs to be done.”

The Lakes Region Flying Club has 15 members and operates a 1981 Piper PA-28-181 Archer II out of Laconia Municipal Airport (KLCI) on the western edge of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. The club has a strong safety culture and keeps the aircraft well maintained. A few years ago, they upgraded the avionics with the installation of two Garmin G5s and the GFC 500 autopilot to improve the safety and reliability for cross country flights and flying in IFR conditions.

Being a small club where the members are all quite close, the possibility of an incident with several members on board the aircraft is real. “These are some of our best friends, we hang out together. It would be a very hard thing to experience,” Jeff said. “Allen drafted a nice, concise plan for us to interact with the authorities and the people that would call us to tell us that we’ve had an incident. This way we can maintain some composure and have something to go step-by-step through the process.”

Hopefully the club never experiences something that serious. What is more likely to occur is a dinged propped or a blown tire. The goal is for the Mishap Guide to be short enough “so members would actually read it and keep a copy with them in their flight bag,” Allen said.

It’s still in a draft form with Allen, Jeff, and Operations Director Bob Stephens working on revisions. Once they feel good about what they have, they’ll present it to the board for approval and then all of the members.

The current version is eight pages with appendices and focuses on gathering and managing information, as well as communications. It designates the Operations Officer as the primary point of contact for outside agencies, the media and family, followed by the Club President. One of the appendices is a contact list of club members in order of who should be contacted.

The guide also has a form to gather basic information of the incident, including:

  • Name, contact, agency and title of the person reporting the incident
  • Verify emergency responders are on scene and their names, contact, and agency information
  • A description of the incident, including date, time, location, injuries, who has been notified and what happened

Other appendices include a page with links to FAA or NTSB reporting requirements, and a public statement/press release template. “What you say in the first few hours is critically important,” Bob said. One idea is to explain in the guide that the dissemination of information should be limited to certain aspects of the incident. As is common with many club documents, they expect it will evolve and change over time.

“It’s a great start for what we want to put out there to all the club members so if something happens, whether they have to make a precautionary landing or something much more tragic, we’ll be able to handle that as a club,” Jeff said. “All the people in the club will know what to do and it will help make sure the club is in the best position to overcome an incident.”

Once it is finalized, the club plans to share it with the Laconia Airport manager, the two FBOs on the field and the local fire department, so they know who at the club they should call, and what information the club might need.

“The Mishap Guide just seems like the logical extension to make our club function better,” Jeff said. “It will get members thinking about what to do and how to handle an incident and keep the club on going in the face of something like that. Continuity is important.”

No one expects to have an incident or accident. One of the best ways to prevent something from happening is to have a strong safety culture and be prepared. In the event your club is faced with the unexpected, a Club Mishap Guide could go a long way in making sure club members know what to do to get through what could be a challenging time.



Lake Region Flying Club


Laconia Municipal Airport (KLCI)

Gilford, NH



[email protected]

Year formed



1981 PA-28-181 Archer ($115/hr)

Rates are Hobbs time, wet

Joining fee

$3,500 non-refundable


$135 per month


15 (capped at 15)


Flight Schedule Pro

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