Chapter 2: Aeronautical Decision-Making
It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of all aviation accidents are related to human factors. The vast majority of these accidents occur during landing and takeoff. Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) is a systematic approach to risk assessment and stress management
Crew Resource Management (CRM) training for flight crews is focused on the effective use of all available resources: human resources, hardware, and information supporting ADM to facilitate crew cooperation and improve decision-making. Since 1987, ADM training has reduced accidents within General Aviation and airline operations. ADM decreases the probability of human error and increases the probability of a safe flight.
The goal of risk management is to proactively identify safety-related hazards and mitigate the associated risks. The fundamental principles of risk management are:
Many CRM concepts apply to single-pilot operations. Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) is defined as managing all the resources available to a single pilot to ensure the successful outcome of the flight.
Risk is an assessment of the single or cumulative hazard facing a pilot. Pilots with different levels of experience will evaluate hazards differently, and thus arrive at different risk-assessments. Differences in decision-making are referred to as human factors. This can lead to pilots being overly cautious or overly hazardous.
Studies have identified five hazardous attitudes that can interfere with the ability to make sound decisions. Recognition of hazardous thoughts is the first step toward neutralizing them.
The risk matrix assesses two items: the likelihood of an event occurring and the consequence of that event. Connecting the two factors may require the pilot to find a way to mitigate the risk, or simply to not fly.
One of the best ways single pilots can mitigate risk is to use the IMSAFE checklist.
By incorporating the PAVE checklist into preflight planning, the pilot divides the risks of flight into four categories.
Human factors directly cause or contribute to many aviation accidents and have been documented as a primary contributor to more than 70 percent of aircraft accidents The successful pilot possesses the ability to concentrate, manage workloads, and monitor and perform several simultaneous tasks.
Steps leading to a decision constitute a decision-making process.. The ”Five Ps” asks the pilot to evaluate the plan, plane, pilot, passengers, and programming. The ”Three Ps” asks the pilot to perceive, process, and perform during all phases of flight. The ”CARE” checklist calls out consequences, alternatives, reality, and external pressures. The ”TEAM” checklist emphasizes risk management via transfer, eliminate, accept, or mitigate.
The ”DECIDE” model promotes Detection of an event, Estimation of the event, Choosing a course of action, Identifying solutions, Doing an action, and Evaluating the result.
Operational pitfalls are classic behavioral traps that come with the development of pilot experience:
Learning to recognize resources found inside and outside the flight deck is an essential part of ADM training. Internal resources may include the person in the right seat. Solo pilots may also read checklists aloud. ATC and flight service specialists are the best external resources during flight.
Situational awareness is the accurate perception and understanding of all the factors and conditions within the five fundamental risk elements (flight, pilot, aircraft, environment, and type of operation that comprise any given aviation situation) that affect safety before, during, and after the flight. Fatigue, stress, and work overload can cause a pilot to fixate on a single perceived important item and reduce an overall situational awareness of the flight. Effective workload management ensures essential operations are accomplished by planning, prioritizing, and sequencing tasks to avoid work overload. The task load may increase during the final phase of a flight, while the pilot’s capabilities may decrease. When a pilot understands what is going on and has an overview of the total operation, he or she is not fixated on one perceived significant factor.
Pilots should look upon unfamiliarity with the aircraft and its systems as a hazard with high risk potential.
Several ADM questions on FAA written tests are tricky and easy to get wrong. This is because the language used for the test question and possible answers is very specific, and the distractors offered look plausible. Questions can refer to "aeronautical decision making," "crew resource management," and "risk management," which have distinct definitions.
Other ADM questions present no challenges for pilots studying to pass the Commercial or CFI test. These include questions on the five hazardous attitudes, as well as questions related to over-reliance upon automated systems.
Flight instructors should begin teaching ADM after the student learns basic maneuvers — which is to say, the discussion should start right away, not later in the learning process.
Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) is a systematic approach to the mental process used by pilots to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances.
Risk Management is a sub-category of ADM. Rather than being an overlying system of processes, it is specifically concerned with situational awareness, problem recognition, and good judgment.
Crew Resource Management emphasizes the need to use "all available resources" to complete the flight in a safe manner. It encourages flight crews to recognize and mitigate hazards.
ADM and CRM are especially concerned with hazards, pressures, and stress. The correct answers to several test questions include one or more of these words.
Commercial Pilot & Flight Instructor Test Questions
Aeronautical decision making (ADM) can be defined as a systematic approach to the mental process used by pilots to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances.
— All distractors look plausible with ADM questions. Watch for keywords such as "structured" and "systematic."
Risk management, as part of the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process, relies on which features to reduce the risks associated with each flight? Situational awareness, problem recognition, and good judgment.
— "The mental process of analyzing all information in a particular situation and making a timely decision on what action to take" is an attractive distractor. However, the question asks for "features," not a process. The answer must be plural, not singular.
In the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process, what is the first step in neutralizing a hazardous attitude? Recognizing hazardous thoughts.
The most important key to risk management is management of external pressures.
The aeronautical decision making (ADM) process identifies several steps involved in good decision making. One of these steps is identifying personal attitudes hazardous to safe flight.
Success in reducing stress associated with a crisis on the flight deck begins with assessing stress areas in one's personal life.
One purpose of crew resource management (CRM) is to give crews tools to recognize and mitigate hazards.
Name some hazardous attitudes that can affect your judgment during the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process. Antiauthority, impulsivity, and resignation.
What should a pilot do when recognizing a thought as hazardous? Label the thought as hazardous and then correct that thought by stating the corresponding antidote.
What is the antidote for a pilot with a "macho" attitude? Taking chances is foolish.
What are the four fundamental risk elements in the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process that comprise any given aviation situation? Pilot, aircraft, environment, and mission.
Examples of classic behavioral traps that experienced pilots may fall into are to complete a flight as planned, please passengers, meet schedules, and "get the job done.".
All experienced pilots have fallen prey to, or have been tempted by, one or more of these dangerous tendencies or behavior problems at some time in their career. Select the answer that best describes these tendencies. Peer pressure, loss of situational awareness, and operating with inadequate fuel reserves.
The lighter workloads associated with glass (digital) flight instrumentation may lead to complacency by the flightcrew.
Risk is increased when flightcrew members fail to monitor automated navigation systems.
When a pilot believes advanced avionics enable operations closer to personal or environmental limits, risk is increased.
Automation in aircraft has proven to present new hazards in its limitations.
When should a flight instructor begin teaching aeronautical decision making (ADM) to a student? As soon as the student is able to control the aircraft during basic maneuvers.