Today I've got a useful tip for all the active fliers out there.
It was told me by a wise pilot (Tom Knight, who happened to be my hang-gliding instructor) and it remains as valid today as it ever was.
Tom said, "There are three variables in flying, the rig (aircraft), the site (airfield) and the weather. Never change more than one at a time."
So, if you're trying out a new type, fly it from a known airfield in benign weather; or if you're going somewhere new, do so in a familiar aircraft on a nice day. If you insist on flying in poor weather, only do it in your usual aeroplane, over a well-known area.... and so on
With hindsight, I would add a fourth variable: the type of flying you intend doing.
So, if you want to fly formation, or aerobatics, or cross-country, or at night but you're new to it, or with a passenger when you don't usually do so, please do it somewhere you know, in an aeroplane you know well, and on a nice day.
You can mix and match as well as I can to see the various permutations and combinations.
The essence is: only change one thing at a time.
Please don't do what a friend of mine recently did, and fly a new type, with a passenger, on a cross-windy day, cross country to an unfamiliar airport. You can guess the outcome.
I just thought I'd share that thought with you.
Enjoy your flying.
SABC Safety Committee