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Five Mile Final | A Flight Instructor's Sandbox

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge


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.


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.

The most important key to risk management is management of external pressures.

One purpose of crew resource management (CRM) is to give crews tools to recognize and mitigate hazards.

The lighter workloads associated with glass (digital) flight instrumentation may lead to complacency by the flightcrew.

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.

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.

In the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process, what is the first step in neutralizing a hazardous attitude? Recognizing hazardous thoughts.

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.

Name some hazardous attitudes that can affect your judgment during the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process. Antiauthority, impulsivity, and resignation.

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.

Risk is increased when flightcrew members fail to monitor automated navigation systems.

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.

What is the antidote for a pilot with a "macho" attitude? Taking chances is foolish.

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.".

Success in reducing stress associated with a crisis on the flight deck begins with assessing stress areas in one's personal life.

Robert Wederquist   CP-ASEL - AGI - IGI
Commercial Pilot • Instrument Pilot
Advanced Ground Instructor • Instrument Ground Instructor