It's All About the Brown M&Ms


It's All About the Brown M&Ms~Guest Blogger Randall Williams, CFII/MEI

If you grew up in the time of Van Halen, you heard the urban legend about the band breaking out in a fit if they got to the dressing room and found the big bowl of M&Ms they required had any brown ones in it.

Apparently, the deal is that the stage requirements on that tour were really complicated. If the band got to the dressing room and found brown M&Ms, they could assume that a bunch of other potentially show impacting details had been overlooked as well.

Thankfully to date I’ve never landed gear up, but I’ve certainly landed and forgotten to bring my props forward. I guess the brown M&Ms are symbolic of our attention and commitment to details - and by default, safety.

A fellow pilot came to pick me up one day in my airplane. I observed him fly left traffic instead of the requested right traffic and during landing he forgot to put the flaps down which caused him to go around on the short strip.

After landing, we debriefed his flight. I pointed out that while mistakes happen to even the most experienced pilots, it was his lack of attention to detail in not checking the chart summary (Airport/Facility Directory) and his relaxed usage of checklists in flight that resulted in those issues. The errors were of course COMPLETELY preventable!


Unfortunately, my friend didn’t take this lesson to heart. The next time he came to pick me up in a retractable gear airplane, it involved a call to the NTSB that nobody wants to make.

If we can catch the little things early, maybe it puts us in a better position to catch the bigger ones before they happen. Safety requires vigilance. As instructors, recognizing complacency in ourselves and in our students should always be a top priority.


Randall Williams NOTAMSRandall Williams, CFII/MEI
NAFI# 222907







Blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent, professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinions or position of the National Association of Flight Instructors. NAFI does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Readers should note content may appear in various media, including print, email, enews without further notice.
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