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Living with Mistakes
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Contents : 1.35
Pilot Classes; ...Doing Wrong; ...Making Mistakes; ...Learning from Your Mistakes; …Accumulative Mistakes; ...Dealing with Delays; ...Preparation; ...Decisions, decisions, decisions; ...About Questions; ...It's about judgment; ...Never Light Three Cigarettes on One Match; ...Visualizing Your Training; ...Side Notes; ...On Checklists; ...Mad as Hell and Taking It; ... Student Certificates; ...Medical Certification; ...Medical Certification Changes; ...Not making progress?; ...Recipe for Failure; ...Quitting Training; ...Those Who Quit; ...Areas of Failure; ...Organizing Flying; …Conquering Fear with Knowledge; …The Two-way Street of Flight Instruction; …Learning Based on the Mistakes of Others; …Changes That Are Among Us; …Anger and Learning to Fly; …Flying the Good Flight; …Landing Advice to Student; …Advice to Student; …Advice to a Pilot; …I Am Afraid to Fly Alone; …and Sin No More; …More about Accidents; …Success; …VFR into IFR; …Mistakes; …Times When What You Do Will (May) Be the Wrong Thing to Do; …The Nature of Fear; ...Pilot Personality; ...Pilot Weaknesses; Things to Worry About;
---Those who make things happen
---Those who watch thinks happen
---Those who wonder what happened.
--The making of mistakes is a part of living. Your solving the problems created by your mistakes is what separates you from everyone else.
--Accept the things you cannot change, you will feel better.
--26 percent of all accidents occur during the minute after initial landing touchdown.
--The problem facing installation of a new piece of avionics is how to get it to work with what you have.
--The use of better aircraft and avionics to fly into worse weather is not going to lower the accident rate.
--The best teacher is also a student. (My fortune cookie 11-2-01)
--Remembering what you forgot is harder than knowing what you don't know.
--Pilot errors are either judgmental, skill deficiencies or a combination.
--Most pilots are unlikely to ask about what they don't understand.
--What you don't say to ATC/FAA you don't need to take back at an enforcement hearing.
--When on instruments, one peek is worth a thousand scans.
--Like pregnancy, for icing and thunderstorms there is no 'just a little bit'.
--Some aviation standard radio terms are unfamiliar at certain stages of pilot training. Ask when in doubt.
--Examples are "low approach', "go ahead", MORE
--How can you prove meeting your flight requirements without signatures in your logbook? Buy gas.
--Actual IFR is easier than under the hood.
--Partial panel flying with uncovered failed instruments is extremely difficult. Keep covers handy.
--Keep a frequency log on your cross-country flights so they can be used next time.
--Flying is done in as is, not as should be situations nor as wished for, make decisions accordingly.
--A pilot must have as much pride in his good judgment as he has in his flying well.
--An essential of learning to fly is asking critical questions and getting crucial information
--Jeppesen warns that there is no substitute for current aeronautical charts.
--Early in their training, students do not know enough to complain about poor instruction.
--I’ve had a perfectly wonderful flight. But this wasn’t it
---What you are seeking is experience that will increase your capacity for surviving with mistakes.
--The ideal would be to get all your new experiences without making mistakes. Won't happen. Fact is you will learn more from the making of mistakes.
Making Mistakes (Opinion)
As an instructor, I noticed a long time ago, that the students learn most effectively when you allow them to continue a mistake until they recognize the mistake themselves. When we get everything right the first time, the knowledge fades quite rapidly. We never forget our embarrassing mistakes! I am glad to see that you can accept it as a learning experience and not as a criticism of your ability. That IS what it is!
Learning from Your Mistakes
A mistake is painful because we have been conditioned to experience humiliation and shame. We expect ourselves to be able to perform. When we don't or can't, our internal critics tell us that we should be able to do better. Where an external critic adds to the internal embarrassment we react with fear that all such mistakes will recreate the emotional trauma. Every flight is an opportunity to learn from you mistakes.
Perhaps the biggest mistake in the exercise of good judgment is a failure to hear the voice of your own experience. Your own experiences are not just what happens to you, it's what you believe about what has happened to you. Your life experience at play or work has prepared you for many of the coming flights. Already you have had to unlearn, practice, study, relearn, and forget. You are about to relive your life experiences again. A mistake is an opportunity to find what works for you--and what doesn't. Recovery from a mistake should give you a good feeling. You have recovered, learned and reflected. All of which will make you a better pilot.
When a pilot enters a situation with uncertainty the chances are that his flying skills will be lessened. He will be spending at least some brain cycles dealing with stress and the fears caused by the uncertainty. Being told to relax by the instructor is not going to help. Your ability to cope will only be achieved by exposure and experience. The unexpected is always present as part of learning to fly. Keep your priorities in order, fly the plane FIRST, navigate and then communicate. You won't learn from your mistakes if you fail to acknowledge it as 'yours'. Denial of your part in creation of a flying mistake will only cause it to be repeated. The most dangerous flying mistake is the one you 'get away' with perhaps by not recognizing it as a mistake.
Flying is an art that takes knowledge, time, intensity, concentration and self-discipline. In the beginning there are likely to be deficiencies in knowledge and self-discipline. There will be excesses of intensity and concentration. A student's perception of success and failure is often based upon erroneous assumptions. Making mistakes is part of the process. Asking questions is part of the process. Being upset with yourself and the instructor is part of the process. A mistake is not a failure. It is a survivable learning experience. The worse thing that can arise from a mistake in judgment or performance is for the person to believe that he can 'get away' with it again.
Making mistakes is the "wake up call" part of the learning/flying process. Mistakes are not an enemy of learning. A recognized mistake is a learning success. Think of a flying mistake as an experiment that failed to produce the desired result. With each mistake/experiment you can eliminate procedures that don't produce desired results. The art of making flying mistakes is to turn them into tools of learning and prevention. Efficiency in learning is through remembering the results of your experiments. Student mistakes are what instructors see best. This instructor critiques student mistakes to make sure the cause, effect, and solution become apparent to the student. Instructor "mistakes" are deliberate efforts to see if the student is paying attention. Yeah!
The opportunity to make mistakes without fear of harm is an important part of the training process. I prefer to let flying mistakes develop in the process of flight training at least to the point of student awareness. I will then, if conditions allow, take a moment to discuss the cause, result and correction. I re-establish the mistake situation and help the student work it out more safely. Otherwise, I save the problem for ground discussion and a next flight review. On occasion, I will deliberately create a situation that calls upon the student to correct a mistake. The safe correction of a potential problem is another essential student skill. All good instructors let their students make mistakes. All good instructors do not allow a specific mistake to become habitual or even occasional.
When an instructor tells you of a mistake, resist the urge to defend yourself or deny that a problem exists. Assume your critic to be right and of having the best of intentions to help you. Learn to live with all your mistakes, especially flying mistakes, without suffering. Use your internal critic to alert you of a coming mistake, but don't allow it to influence your stress level. Always, the instructor's premise is that you can do better next time.
Self-analysis of your flying is important. Develop a curiosity about what part went right until it went wrong. Do this in terms of where you feel weak, deficient, or insecure. Look for your mistakes. A few minutes reading, a short instructional flight, or a solo flight directed to a specific area is money and time well spent. If anxiety exists but you are uncertain as to the area or cause, take a flight review. Proficiency is the best flying insurance policy. You may not know what you don't know, but when you do know there is something you don't know, get help. When you are working to do every-thing right it is never boring.
You will better understand a difficulty or flying mistake by getting feedback from other pilots. Share your experiences and listen to similar experiences shared by others. You will never be able to create a unique flying mistake. Go back to your instructor and review the series of events from beginning to end. This changes a critic into a mentor. In a single-pilot operation, you know there's no one else to remind you so you pay closer attention, or at least you should.
There are good mistakes. A good mistake leads you into finding a better way of solving or avoiding a subsequent mistake. Not every solution will work. Share your solutions. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Seek the opinion of others and alternate solutions. Read as much as your time allows about the experiences and mistakes of other flyers. Read their post-mistake advice. The advice that is given to others is wiser than the advice we give to ourselves. The objectivity of a story about a mistake allows others to see why specific mistakes are made and how they can be avoided. The highest level of learning is when students benefit from the experience of another.
Another quote, from a more contemporary aviation safety expert, C. O. Miller,
goes: "The most egregious error in aviation today is not altitude busts or
CFIT--it is the failure to fully benefit from the mistakes of others."
Every mistake in flying, regardless of its significance is a learning opportunity if recognized as such There's little question we learn best from our own mistakes, provided we recognize and accepted as our mistake and opportunity.
Learning from the mistakes and experiences of others has advantages, first we will not live long enough to make and survive the necessary mistakes, the lessons learned from others are the least expensive available.
I now find it relatively easy to come up with a ‘war story’ for every situation. A good story that fits the learning situation serves as the glue to keep it in the memory bank of the student. A very high proportion of my web site is based upon this premise.
1. Personal Minimums must remain inviolate
2. In an emergency make an independent PIC decision
3. Have a contingency plan before you get into the plane
4. CRM should be a part of every flight
5. Accidents occur because of unrealized expectations by the pilot.
Dealing with Delays
One of the advantages of learning to fly in the fall is the greater probability of weather delays. A pilot learns to live with and accept delays of any kind as part of flying. The pilot who has an attitude problem that makes delay unacceptable is heading for an accident. Some types of delay can be managed by planning time allowances. Knowledge can be helpful, too. A flyer learns to accept that everything cannot be controlled. Don't try to change those things that can't be changed.
In a club, it is not unusual to arrive at the airport and find that the aircraft is not fueled or may be low on oil. Know how to make a quick check and how to make arrangements. What do you do if the aircraft is not there? Call the answering service. Call the scheduling officer or maintenance. How long will it take to get air into a tire? What if the air filter is loose? I lost my sectional. I left my flashlight home. Allow extra time in your flight schedule to flex with unavoidable delay. You must adjust, flex, and give up. On some days you were just not meant to fly.
The success of the instructional program is directly related to the willingness of the student to study and prepare. It takes a minimum of two hours of study for every hour of flight. Trying to learn too much material too fast is wasteful of time and effort. However, it is important to survey all the material to get an overview of what must be covered and eventually learned. We will not purchase the FAA written test questions until after all the material is surveyed and then studied. You want the latest edition of the FAA test to study.
As a student of flying you will learn in several ways, flying is but one of them. You must talk to other pilots and ask questions. Visit ATC facilities and become acquainted with the people you talk to on the radio. It will make a difference in your desire to improve your radio procedures. Communicate with the instructor as to what you have read and heard. Even misinformation has value when it is perceived as wrong. The more you know the better you will be able to control and predict the occurrences of flying. The highest level of learning is making use of someone's prior experience.
The student or pilot having a flying problem will find that the best and safest solution is a specific lesson from an instructor directed toward the problem. However, more often than not, the student is unable to express or identify what the trouble may be. The unconscious realization that a difficulty exists that cannot be explained creates even more tension. The rapport between the student and instructor must be such that even the weirdest concerns are freely expressed. Often the cause of difficulty can be associated with lack of preparation, turbulence, absence of a horizon, low visibility, or student fatigue.
The intellectual/emotional overloading of a student is a very common and enervating event early in flight training. It can occur because of pressures from the instructor. More commonly it comes because of the student not being able to select the important from the unimportant. What has occurred at home, work, or on the way to the airport can affect the readiness of a student for a flight lesson. It is far better for either the student or instructor to cancel a lesson or at least cut it short if things are not going well or not expected to go well.
You are normally capable of driving an automobile through dense traffic while listening to the radio and carrying on a conversation. Preoccupation with one aspect of flying such as one instrument can create problems. Flying requires that attention be divided between inside and outside the cockpit. This attention must never be so concentrated that radio communications are not recognized. A part of the brain/attention effort must always be reserved for the radio. Hearing alone is not enough. That which is heard must be recognized/analyzed for its significance and appropriate action taken. Every communication has some significance to the pilot. A student's ability to discriminate between the important and unimportant spells the difference between safe and unsafe. The competent pilot has developed his flight skills to the same level used while safely driving a car. However, the student pilot is expending so much intellectual and emotional energy into actual flying that it is not unusual for the student to completely miss radio calls or even airports.
A given flight is more than an accumulation of planning facts. A flight is a multiplicity of decisions, options and choices. Safe flying requires judgment that extends beyond the facts and numbers of flying. A proficient pilot has a sense and feel for the aircraft and flight conditions. A proficient pilot is ready to admit insufficient knowledge, seek out experienced help and follow local advice. What you learn in the pilot's lounge is often more valuable than what is available from any other source.
Flight planning becomes a variable after liftoff. Your planning will undergo constant revision. To do otherwise is dangerous because winds are rarely as forecast. Weather forecasts are seldom on predictable time schedules and aircraft performance will vary. You are far better off to adjust the flight to the real time conditions as they occur. Being rigid in holding to your flight plan can be more dangerous than allowing flexibility based on safety options
Mistakes are a part of living. They are endemic to flying. Treat flying mistakes as learning opportunities. Early recognition of a mistake can prevent the progression of wrong choices to an accident.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
Even the best instruction will not suffice if the student does not show good judgment. The student must always be making a series of judgmental decisions at every phase of flight. These decisions are made, just as while driving constantly and instantaneously. This ability to judge is an intangible but essential part of living and flying safely. What can you do to apply good judgment to flying?
1. Learn by the highest application of knowledge. That is, learn from the experience of others. Read, listen, and ask questions. (Year 200 Fortune cookie: A wise man learns from his mistakes; A wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.
2. Fly with other pilots at every opportunity. What you learn not to do is just as important as learning what to do.
3. Gain your experience a little bit at a time. A few 100-mile flights are better than one across the country.
4. Keep studying, learning and flying. Long pauses in studying, learning and flying are quite wasteful of time and money.
5. Don't hurry a new aircraft checkout. Two flights are much better than one. Develop your own checklist.
A friend was hauling a body from a remote location in Canada. Only a caretaker was around the strip. After considering the trees that lined the runway and the fact that it was getting dark and that deer could be a potential problem, he asked the old fellow about the deer. The ole fellow said" Naw! Don't have no deer problem." This made my friend relax. As he was climbing into the aircraft the ole fellow said" No deer but better watch out for the moose." My friend always says " Remember, If you don't ask the right questions how do you expect to get the right answers."
It's about judgment
In flying there are as many ways to gain skill and experience as there are pilots. Time alone is a very poor criteria. Once pilot may gain 100 hours of experience while another may gain twenty hours of experience five times.
It is not enough to have the requisite skill and judgment to perform a particular maneuver, you must also have confidence in your ability to perform it as well. Everyone has a particular confidence level in their abilities to perform certain tasks. Through repetition you do certain rather complex procedures without conscious thought, like driving to a nearby shopping center. We have very little concern in doing this yet; statistically we are more likely to have an accident close to home than while on a trip. Thus it is apparent that familiarity and frequency of exposure reduces anxiety and increases confidence.
I have only one known one person who claimed to have no sense of fear. He was supervisor of a ward for the criminally insane. He might, as well been one of the inmates. Our inbred sense of fear is a survival kit. We do not push our activity envelope beyond our comfort and confidence level. We prefer to test the edges of anxiety under guidance and instruction. The ideal is to gain exposure in relatively small adventures before testing the deeper water for ourselves. Thus, we have a reasonable personal limitation. It separates our comfort zone of experience and knowledge from the anxiety zone. Some flying students know the line between these regions better than others do. Survival is the name of the game.
Instructors set limits for student solo, often without explaining just why. Limitations are part of flying. The setting of personal limits is part of every flight we make for as long as we fly. The best pilots know their limits and abide by them. Hair-raising experiences are best left to those who need hair. (In-house joke.) Experience is just a process of expanding the range of your limits.
We will expand our limits for takeoff conditions, crosswind conditions, and every other aspect of our flying. As we grow in experience so will our limits until they become a coherent image of our own comfort and confidence zone. Still, there will be limits, when a pilot senses that the limits are approaching he had better reach into his bag of alternative options. The best of all choices although a most difficult one is to stay on the ground.
Never Light Three Cigarettes with one Match
This is a truism made famous during WWI when it was discovered that lighting two cigarettes could be safely done before the enemy could detect and aim and fire on a target. The third light meant trouble. Much the same can be said about a succession of flight difficulties. The wise pilot has developed sensitivity to the weather, his airplane and himself. Regardless of the sequence these three elements when any two of them go sour it is time to take action.
When things do not seem right and you have a sense of uneasiness you should not take immediate action. Rather, you should spend a bit of time considering the situation. Few things in flying require immediate action. Seek an explanation that you can relax with. If you are still feeling uneasy, taking some action is next in line. The sense of apprehension that can develop is usually based upon our past experience. If this event is beyond our experience the best option may be to get on the ground.
When a pilot comes under stress mental errors tend to accumulate. It is important that every pilot develop a sensitivity to what can go wrong and the succession of wrong events that can follow. Once you have made your precautionary decision stick to it. Hopefulness always seems to run out of energy at the wrong time.
Visualizing Your Training
A student pilot, or any other pilot for that matter, can practice flying even while not in a plane. A situation can be visualized and simulated actions can be practiced. Flying is not only with the mind but can and should be in the mind. In your mind, plan ahead of a flight for the combinations of controls, attitudes and maneuvers required to put the aircraft where you want it. Skill is best demonstrated by the manner in which a particular maneuver follows your 'in the mind' planning.
At some point in your training the instructor may cover the airspeed indicator and have you "feel", sense and visualize the aircraft as it proceeds. With allowances for the density altitude and wind you should be able to "visualize" the aircraft around the pattern to a landing. Some flying skill will be acquired subconsciously, but in the main the student will need to rely on their physical senses to control the aircraft. Sight will always be the primary sense for your flying. In the beginning maximize your use of the external sight picture. There will be plenty of time to learn to relate the sight picture to the instrument picture. The other senses have information that is available in the noise, smell, and feel of pressure and vibration. We feel changes in vibration frequency and amplitude. The senses combine to give the pilot an over all feeling of what is both right and wrong with the aircraft. Hearing is a neglected sense. A student wants to learn the several 'constants' of engine rpm and airspeed sounds.
The sense of touch is the most neglected sense. You can only 'feel' an airplane when holding it lightly, very lightly. The sense of smell is best utilized as a danger sense. You can learn the smell of the aircraft when it is performing well. Any other smell serves as a warning. A change in your sensory perception of aircraft performance is the first alert to take precautionary action. You should never spell fuel. The last sense to get the fine-tuning required to fly well is the sense of sight. With practice of the right kind, you will begin to see the nose and horizon relationship that exists in every flight situation. It takes time.
Speed is set visually; touch and kinesthetic sensitivity sense speed changes. If you do not sense these changes you are more apt to misuse the rudder. The body can sense, and be ever more sensitive to the side pressures of a slip or a skid. Modern aircraft make it possible for a pilot to fly dangerously well without being sensitive to an uncoordinated rudder.
The ability to anticipate changes in control pressures required for a particular maneuver must be developed. Failure to anticipate the rudder movement required to move the nose as airspeed decreases is a most common flight error. The behavior of instruments such as the airspeed indicator and vertical speed indicator that lag in relation to sound and attitude changes must be expected and understood. Chasing the airspeed indicator is a common student fault. Even worse is not recognizing that the VSI takes about 12 seconds before giving accuracy indications unless the control movements are exceptionally smooth. Starting the trim from a known position and keeping track of its movements in various flight configurations makes possible rapid/correct trim pressure corrections.
You should accept every opportunity to review your basic skills by airwork and ground reference. This is not a waste of time or money. Exercises that improve your ability to make wind-drift corrections and timing will improve your airport pattern work. You need to make adjustments by anticipation. The only reason your instructor 'knows' when you are high. low, wide, too fast or slow is because of his experience in anticipation. Do whatever it takes to place your aircraft where you want it.
Do you fly around, below, above certain areas to avoid communications? Do you try to enter a certain way into an airport and to avoid others? Do you avoid crosswind-landing opportunities when they become available. Do you ignore practice in ground reference, stalls, slow flight, and night proficiency? Challenge your weaknesses until they become areas of strength.
1. The Law of Firsts (Haviland's) , "The first time you do, you shouldn't have, The first time you don't, you should have."
2. Flying is a situation where the pilot is solely responsible for the welfare of the aircraft.
3. Knowledge can be maintained through reading and study. Judgment is best developed through the experiencing and management of actual flying situations.
4. Pilot skill is a product of physical and mental practice in the airplane.
5. Any flying skill acquired can only improve if exercised. Your skills will never remain static. Skills erode from lack of use; they remain relatively constant with occasional use; they improve only with clearly defined goals that have measurable criteria for performance.
6. A refresher lesson should be based upon a single maneuver. This maneuver should contain a wide set of the four basics. It should be fun but challenging.
7. In flying there is only one person responsible for the actual flying of an aircraft and that person is also responsible for the safety of that flight.
8. Having a functional checklist that fits your method of operation is more important than having a one checklist fits all available. Have the checklist, use it at the same place and time; every time.
9. The more unusual your flying situation the more important it is that you slow down the airplane and use the appropriate checklist.
10. You will avoid one potential ATC 'deal' if you take upon yourself the responsibility to clear the final approach course prior to crossing the runway hold bars.
11. As a student or VFR pilot you should know the terms and positions used by IFR pilots flying at airports where you fly. At unfamiliar fields you should query ATC as to IFR reports to your planned route. The lower the visibility the farther away from IFR routes you should stay.
12. One way to detect maintenance oversights is to make regular changes of maintenance facilities.
13. The ability to fly an airplane through all the airspeeds and maneuvers of its envelope is a skill foundation that is
transferable from aircraft to aircraft.
1. Flying an airplane requires that a series of relatively complex procedures. A checklist is most viable if a long series is broken into several functionally related sectors.
2. Any error of a checklist should be studied to determine if the error was one of commission or omission.
3. Procedures can become rituals without the mental alertness to confirm what is being done. This ritual checklist leads to the error of expectation. It is not enough to pretend to use a checklist as a ritual. Such a checklist is often very complete, interesting, and pretty, but without use it is a potential danger.
4. There is more to making checklists than just the making. The usefulness of a checklist is proof that the things on the list are worth doing.
5. Many aircraft have pasted checklists on the panel or commercial lists that are 'universal' for the type but ill suited for the model year. These checklists are technically correct only if they contain everything in the POH checklist. They usually do not cover even the POH requirements nor do they cover all the radio procedures and frequencies.
6. Using a checklist that is not of your own making and practice even for the preflight is VERY poor procedure. Some excellent checklist makers are not very good users.
7. Go to Aircraft folder for sample checklists.
Mad as Hell and Taking It
In flying we react in an emergency as we first learned to react. When we show anger we react as we first learned to react. Just as understanding an aircraft emergency will enable us to cope with it, so will a better understanding of anger help to defuse it. Almost any situation or delay can become an invitation for you to become angry. You are not required to accept the invitation. You may accept the invitation and become angry or you chose to ignore it. It didn't happen. You can intellectually reduce the 'sting' by assuming that you were not the target of the invitation in the first place. Skill in flying will improve most anyone's emotional stability.
You do not need a medical certificate until you fly by yourself. It is suggested that you get your medical before you go to any major expense of time, money or effort. Once a pilot, your concern is not the checkrides. Rather, it is the continuation of your medical that will allow you to become an old pilot.
The medical is used to determine if there is any condition that could impair your ability to fly. There are three classes of medical certification. First Class is good for six-months as for airline transport pilots. Second Class is for one-year as for pilots who fly for hire such as sightseeing flights. Third Class is for 24 months and covers all other pilots. Another Third Class medical includes a yellow student pilot certificate. Glider pilots do not need a medical. These parameters may change in 1995. As of 1995 changes have occurred mainly based on how often a medical renewal is required. Age is the dividing line.
The medical standards are in FAR Part 67. FAA Form 8500-8 is the "Application for a Medical Certificate." All of the information on this application must be answered truthfully and completely. Any change in this information that would affect your ability to fly or pass the medical requires that you ground yourself.
Every medical certificate can have waivers of such things as limited vision, hearing, or color blindness. A certificate may have limitations such as wearing glasses or no night flight. A Special Issue Medical Certificate can be issued if the pilot can prove that it will not unpredictably affect his flying performance. Any medical condition can be certified if it is not a risk to safe flight. One eyed, deaf, one armed, and wheelchair bound pilots have become successful pilots. Some conditions of diabetes and heart disease can be made worse in the flying environment and preclude any certificate.
A student pilot over 40 years of age may find that his medical requirements run out before his student license does. Regardless of the date issued, it is possible that they expire differently. Be sure to check the requirements before you solo or take your flight test.
Medical Certification Changes:
All Classes No vision waiver required if corrected to 20/20
150/95 blood pressure standard will be in effect.
3rd Class Under age 40 exam will be good for three years
40 to 70 good for two years; 70 for one year.
Second Class Electrocardiogram (EKG) at ages 35 and 40 and then
every two years.
First Class EKG required annually after age 40
Cholesterol check after age 50.
Not Making Progress?
I doubt that there is a pilot flying who has not at one time or another felt the twinge of doubt that his learning curve is not going well. The emotions involved can run the gamut, self-doubt, blame, resentment, and anger. Quit, seek support, change instructors, and kick the dog are typical initial reactions.
We begin expecting that flying will be much as we have seen it in the media and read in books. We often assume that our prior experience and even expertise in another field will transfer into flying and expedite the learning process. Not so. A very important part of learning to fly is to unlearn all the preconceptions we have acquired since childhood. It is very difficult to overcome first learned ideas. We are very used to adding power to go faster. Yet, just adding power to an airborne airplane makes it go slower. Pointing an airplane up does not mean that it is going or will go up. Instinctive reactions can be very dangerous when applied to flying airplanes. Illusions exist and will be believed by even the best of pilots.
Much of the difficulty in giving flight instruction arises from communication problems. The instructor has acquired an experience 'bank' from his own training and teaching. The instructor's problem is to fit his knowledge and presentation of it into your learning requirements. The student is not a blank slate. As the previous paragraph indicates the student is loaded with flying information. The student doesn't know what he doesn't know. What he knows he knows may be all the way from totally correct in concept and application to just the opposite and anywhere in between.
This is the 'playing field' of flight instruction. The student and instructor must communicate information and understanding back and forth. This communication can be verbal, demonstration, emotional and even extra-sensory. Instructors want every student to be a successful student. Every student wants to succeed. When it doesn't work out it is most often a failure to communicate.
Recipe for Failure
The unsuccessful student has several deficiencies:
1. Lacks motivation and commitment. Expects flying to be all fun. Learning to fly is hard work.
2. Unwilling to put in the time or do the homework.
3. The lesson is not just to perform a maneuver. The student fails to know why the maneuver is required in the first place.
4. Gets angry when things don't go well. Tends to blame others for his failures. Resents test requirements as well as knowledge requirements.
5. Expects instant and continuous success. Has a rationale for every lack of preparation or knowledge.
6. Unable to maintain a schedule for a successful training program.
7. Using flying to overcome a personal or emotional difficulty. May have a feeling of personal superiority that makes flying come naturally.
8. May be perfectionist so that flying is too stressful because he can't reach his standards from the beginning.
9. Lacks ability to exercise good judgment.
Students do not quit flight training because of student failure; rather it is because of instructor failure. Students want very much to please their instructors. When a student senses that the instructor is unhappy this serves as a form of discouragement. Students need encouragement and a sense of progress. Both of these are easier for the instructor if flights are scheduled several times a week. Flights only once a week are less likely to show progress. It is my opinion that false praise is worse than no praise at all. I am not given to false praise.
A student senses when there has been a good lesson. An emotionally draining lesson can still be satisfying to a student. I am currently teaching a student who having made one very good solo flight has been reluctant to go again until all the possible hazards to another flight have been mastered. Two flights ago we did slips until they became enjoyable. One flight ago we did crosswind landings left and right in 12 knot 90 degree winds. I mentioned to here that she was to call me for a flight the first indication that she had of strong winds because I wished to explore with her the upper crosswind limits of the aircraft and pilot.
Today, after doing three landings into a 20+knot wind we did four 90-degree crosswind landings. Even on a short runway we required an indicated speed of 80 knots in a C-150 just to gain sufficient rudder authority to hold the nose parallel to the runway. One of these landings was to a full stop.
Then we headed home where we had 70-degree 14-knot winds. We did four in the left pattern into a 3000' 75' wide runway and then four into a 5000' 150' wide one. We used everything from partial to full flaps in these landings and after our previous experience with 20+ knot winds the 14 knot winds made the cross-controlling possible at 60 knots. Not all of these landings were great but even the worst of them would have been considered satisfactory for the conditions. This was a heavy dose for a student but I had the feeling that this experience has given her the confidence needed to solo again to another airport.
Often overcoming a training difficulty makes more demand on time and attention than the student has available. Tendency of the discouraged student is to put off such things as solo, written, crosswind landings or the flight test until their 'busy' period goes away. The above story shows that one solution is to proceed with concentrated training to get through a difficult period.
Those Who Quit
---Will power, the desire to proceed, is dependent upon overall health.
---Without health one is disinclined to try since effort requires willingness to achieve.
---The opposite of will is self-pity, feeling sorry for yourself is now called depression.
---Self-pity is a form of surrender since all effective effort ceases.
---Effort requires sacrifice and the exercise of will power to continue.
---Life is made of ‘furtherences’ and "hinderances’ and the way we let them affect our lives is our life.
---Life is made of denials today, denials of food, denials of repose and pleasure to leave room for riches.
---The distinction between willing and wishing is one of effort. One who wills becomes more observant.
---Training of the inexperienced requires the directing of desires so that the will to achieve exists.
---With desire obstacles are overcome, defeat is denied, interest grows and desire is further kindled.
Areas of Failure
Area # 1
The student and instructor must enter into the program realizing that learning to fly has certain parameters that can make the process either easier or harder. Obviously, the more time, money, and resources available the better. A weakness in any of these areas is going to affect instruction, communication, and learning. Over half of all flight students never complete their flight training. The student would be well advised never to start with any of these parts showing deficiency. The instructor performs a disservice to the student and flying by starting someone who is ill prepared and qualified to finish.
Area # 2
Flying is learned best by total immersion. Practical limits prevent most people from this process. The result is a compromise by doing what is possible. Less time, less money and less communication results in less progress. At some point the student and instructor will recognize that the process is breaking down. Lessons decrease in frequency. Repetition creates a sense of no progress. Frustration affects both the student and instructor. The instructor starts pushing, the student feels even more pressured. Unhappiness reigns.
Area # 3
In the beginning the instructor will accept as normal a wide variation in performance. Everything seems to be progressing fine. Then, little by little the tolerance levels is narrowed. Altitude, headings, airspeeds, trim, and attitudes are going through changes leading to landings. Mistakes happen, are created, and are resolved in the process so that safety is not compromised. Student radio exposure increases. During this period student overload often occurs. The failure of a basic skill can bring progress to a halt.
Almost any basic skill can be responsible for requiring a basics refresher flight or two. Airspeed awareness in climb, turns, cruise, and descent has parameters that are essential to safety. Banking limits along with heading interceptions must be performed within relatively narrow limits. Anticipation takes the place of reaction. The time of performance is important many aspects of flight cannot be unduly delayed in the airport pattern know what to do, when and do it. Hesitation, delay, uncertainty, or mistakes must become a non-factor. Any lack of progress requires going back to basic procedures at altitude.
Area # 4
The instructor is beginning to feel the responsibility that goes with student solo. There are relatively few situations where responsibility for life and safety exposure exceeds that of a flight instructor. The student, too, is feeling this pressure from the instructor and is having mental and emotional qualms as the solo day nears. The flying culture has attached far too much emphasis on the solo. While it is indeed a significant step, it really means a change in the number of instructors. The solo student is his own instructor. Where the student fails to plan, take responsibility, practice, and study he fails as an instructor. Progress will plateau just at the time it should accelerate.
Area # 5
When a student is not making expected progress it is up to the instructor to come up with a plan. More frequent flights, more elaborate ground instruction, a revised procedure, a different airport, and partial panel to change visual focus. Don't keep beating the same process when it's not working. Get some variety into the lessons. The instructor may suggest experiments to find how the mental process may be misdirecting the physical performance. Maybe the instructor should demonstrate more frequently. Just perhaps, there is no solution for the existing problem between the student and instructor. Take a week off to concentrate on bookworm instead of flying. Get the written out of the way. The progress may be revitalized by contradictory actions. Taking a week off from flying and study can act as a refresher. Flying three days in a row has been known to get things going again. Just go together for an airplane ride. Every instructor will have his share of failures. Learn to live with this probability.
Make card that covers the flight just flown:
I learned... I feel better about... Worried about...Next time... Enjoyed... Look out for...
Conquering Fears with Knowledge
Fear is a basic part of learning to fly. A trainee is learning to both accept and control fear. He is making progress when he locates the origins of your fears. Fears are important in making it possible for one to become a better (read safer) pilot. Fear is an ever-present by-product of flying. Fear makes a student use a checklist, eyes, mind and skill. If, in the performance of a particular operation, frightens a student use it as a wake-up call that need to be revisited.
The longer the delay in visiting past fears the more hazy the memory will become. Time will dilute both proficiency and memory. Fear that is faced and overcome becomes respect. A pilot must have respect for the weaknesses of the aircraft and himself. It is important that a pilot have fear, controlled fear makes it possible for us to deal with expected problems. Personal limits in facing a problem situation, when exceeded causes a sense of fear. Fear is a limit switch on what a pilot will attempt, or it should be.
When we become fearful we get an adrenaline rush that heightens our awareness and sensitivity to what is happening. The backside of this condition is that we become centered on the most obvious threat. Our performance becomes reactive instead of anticipatory. The situation is just a likely to be a gradual increase of stress as a sudden event. At some point the pilot is faced with an accumulation of options that overload his ability to select and sequence his choices. Fear is instinctive and may not truly reflect actual threat conditions. As the Mercedes TV ad says, Perception is not always reality.
A pilot has several emotional stages that develop during hazardous flight. First comes a sense of uneasiness. This progresses into tension and stress. As stress and tension increase there is a gradual increase in respiration and heart rate. Anxiety sets in with an accompanying increased rate of breathing that precipitates hyperventilation. The final step to panic is when a sense of suffocation exists and aircraft control is not accompanied by the required mental input.
There is a point, prior to an actual accident, when the fear development processes have a moment when avoidance is possible. Once beyond that point avoidance is not possible. This is not a point at which intelligence ends and stupidity begins. It is a point at which a judgment decision in the selection of an option was made. The pilot and flight are then trapped and every option becomes less and less desirable.
The absence of fear and its associated respect may well be why so many accidents by pilot error (mistakes) are made by good pilots. This is a judgment problem of the pilot rather than a performance problem of the aircraft. The pilot must be able to make good and safe decision choices. Poor choices are most likely to occur when the pilot is stressed, fatigued or chemically out of balance. Out of balance?
Apparently, one way to insulate a pilot against stress, fear and panic is by repeated exposure to the situations that lead to them. Any such exposure should be incrementally gathered. With each experience you will be learning to distinguish between resolvable situations and those that must be avoided. Knowing when not to fly is just as important as knowing when to fly.
Good decision making is a function of good health as much as anything else. You're eating habits and lifestyle affect how well your brain functions. The brain is very much impaired if the water level falls too low. Caffeinated drinks and coffee act as diuretic. After the initial pickup of the caffeine the companion dehydration can impair your mental functioning. If you plan to fly over distance, carry water. Just read that parts of the world make a practice of drinking half a cup of olive oil every morning. Not exactly something that I would relish but olive oil contains the kind of fat that is utilized by the brain. A certain amount of fat is needed for best mental function. Pilot error is more likely a pilot deficiency than an aircraft deficiency. (Fits more under health but is common cause of decision making accidents)
The Two-way Street of Flight Instruction
Instructional time is not a display of what the instructor knows. Rather, it is a time spent showing others about what you know. Helping a student to think ahead of the airplane requires that opportunities for that thinking be presented and allowed to grow.
Anticipation is an area of flight instruction where an instructor may be doing a student a disservice by not letting a student get far enough into a maneuver to learn his own outer limits. Instructor intervention, initially, is a guide but continued intervention fails to allow student development. One way to improve this situation is to have the student verbalize his thinking. Keeping the instructor apprised of what is going through the student mind will let the instructor refrain intervention with more comfort. I have found that keeping quiet is very difficult for me. Even when I say I will, I won't.
When a student does not perform as instructed, the correct question should be, "What has the instructor done wrong?" Your instructor's greatest success probability in your instruction is directly related as to what he learns about how you learn. Teaching skill has much to do with the acquisition of sensitivity. A good instructor senses (sees) student tension and frustration. This sensibility leads him to break off into another area. Any given areas of student difficulty requires an instructors willingness to pause in the process and come back another time perhaps in a different way to prod a student on. It is equally important that the instructor inhibit any internal need for student success. Once the student senses impatience on the part of the instructor, stress behaviors arise.
It is not common knowledge among students that instructors suffer their failures and plateaus along with the student. Instructors are aware of the fears and concerns of the student and seek to give exposure that will reduce the pressure. One of the common student difficulties is lack of confidence in the ability of the aircraft to fly hands-off. I like to have the students prove to themselves that, given the opportunity, an airplane will fly more smoothly without student impute. The light touch feels the plane better than the squeeze. Teaching the student to lighten up is one of the more difficult instructional goals.
The direction of flight instruction is to take the student beyond the rote learning to the ultimate of application into an otherwise unrelated situation. Watched a test pilot training program on TV the other night where the pilots were constantly engaged in taking experimental aircraft into previously unexplored regions of the flight envelope. No previous data out there; only the NECESSITY of using previously acquired knowledge and skills in a new context. This is where the instructor's training wants to take every student even though the good judgment part of such training teaches avoidance of such situations.
Learning Based on the Mistakes of Others
I read about hundreds of aircraft accidents every year. I usually read with a marking pen. In every case of an accident I try to mark the one word or phrase that is the 'root cause' of the accident. I do this so that I can build my bank account of things to avoid in my own flying.
With 80% of these accidents related to human factors, the indication is that I am the most likely cause and area of concern. A pilot must know his equipment, especially regions of weakness subject to failure. A knowledge deficiency is the second source of problems. The information you have is NOT all that is available. Flying without the full deck of cards puts all that you do at greater risk.
Every accident is the ball at the end of a chain of decisions. Most accident reports are analyzed by going backwards from the accident through the decision sequence the got to the accident. This second guessing process makes it relatively easy to fix responsibility. The pilot does not have this hindsight so knowing how bad decisions lead to a succession of bad decisions can be a red flag of warning.
Changes that are Among Us:
1. Weather is an area that is NEVER mastered. Having never flown in severe turbulence, icing nor thunderstorms I have no experience with them. Weather knowledge is used for avoidance not mastery.
2. Airspace cannot be effectively learned nor mastered without flight experience. The fact that weather acts as a switch to turn on/off specific airspace requirements, makes it vital that you fly into the airspace in a variety of weather conditions so as to fully understand how airspace works.
3. Few pilots fly with an actual awareness of the aerodynamics that occur during flight maneuvers. Most can get by just fine without technical knowledge. Those into aerobatics had better know the what and why of control forces and aircraft limits.
4. We are in the midst of a dramatic decline in navigational basic skills. LORAN started over 50 years ago in developing reliance on electronic navigation. GPS is the cap-stone. Making things easier is not necessarily making them better.
5. Radio use is best taught in the actual flying environment. Knowing what to say has an additional requirement of knowing where to say it. So knowing where you are is a radio proficiency factor. Your level of radio skill will vary in different flight situations so willingness to admit a deficiency is important.
Anger and Learning to Fly
Anger is normal. Uncontrolled anger is a problem. Anger is uncontrolled when it is inappropriate, prolonged, excessive or out of context. There are people who are in a perpetual state of uncontrolled anger. More often than not, the victim of their outrage is not really the target but is selected as available. If your threshold for frustration is low then, in today's world, you are spending considerable time angry. The angry need a flight or argument to justify their wrath.
Those of us who are prone to displays of anger are ill fitted for flight. Flying, learning to fly, or teaching of flying is subject to innumerable frustrations of delay. Weather, maintenance, medicals, incompetence, malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance all conspire against the making of an individual flight. The internet groups resound with the wails of frustrating anguish of fliers unable to fly. I had my medical problems last year.
The angry pilot is going to press against the source of his frustration. An angry pilot is going to make mistakes. There will be mistakes of judgment, procedure, and decision making. Anger when uncontrolled is expressed in irritability or aggression but not always. Fatigue and depression are symptomatic of some angers. Anger does result in irregular heart rhythms and heart attacks.
Most anger is the outcome of a personality who is unable to get along with his fellow man. Being chronically angry means that you are cynical, demanding, suspicious, defensive and hostile toward any non-submissive person within in range. The chronically angry deals with a world of enemies, constantly attempting to tear down others as a form of self-flagellation as though by making others less one can become bigger.
I am constantly reminded of the years I spent teaching retarded children. They were living in a world of hurt. More often than not, school was frustrating with little opportunity or ability to succeed as did other students. Those who could would physically or emotionally abuse others. Much of my teaching energy was spent in redirecting anger into more acceptable things to do. I remember one child that I gave a hammer and a garbage can. He enjoyed the noise as he beat the can into a pancake. Did it help? Don't know but it took pressure off the rest of the class.
Flying the Good Flight
It is often that a pilot is hard pressed to justify making a flight. Flying cannot be proven to be safer, faster, cheaper, or more practical than getting there another way. The training pilots get does not help making the justification for flying any easier.
Training seldom faces the risks of the most difficult areas of flying. Pilots spend considerable time practicing landings but not much in strong crosswinds. Student cross-country flying deliberately avoids strong winds and turbulence. The question is, how is the student to learn aircraft and pilot limits without exposure to selective flying, avoidance of winds, and crosswind options.
Running away, not being exposed will not always be an option. You cannot always escape the unexpected crosswind landing or turbulence. What you do is dependent upon your training. Not every instructor is allowed by the FBO to expose the student to developing the required flying in adverse conditions. I make a practice of exposing students to SVFR, 90-degree crosswinds over twenty knots, rain and turbulence in graduated doses.
Fuel management and judgment is an important training regimen. The inviolate limits of time and fuel must be trained into every flight and lesson. Training a student for the limits of one aircraft must be emphasized as a procedure to be carried out in every subsequent aircraft. Decisions made in marginal weather occur as a series or chain. A student must be exposed to such situations and show how to break the sequence. Denial of what is known to be true requires strong pre-decided decisions. Mother nature is strong enough to teach even the best of pilots lessons.
Landing Advice to Student
The cause(s) of your problem are all minor but multiple. You are still letting instinct interfere. Instinct would have you keeps the wings level, look at the ground, and not believe that the runway will under the airplane. Landing is very much an act of Faith.
You need to have your instructor take you up and practice several basic landing skills until they become automatic.
1. In two or three minute sessions, practice doing Dutch rolls.
2. Line up on a runway from two or more miles out at an altitude of 2500'. Trim to final approach speed, initially without flaps and later with partial flaps. Now, using your Dutch roll skills lightly, slide the aircraft back and forth across the runway centerline while keeping the nose straight (Parallel) with the runway.
3. Looking close to the aircraft will cause you to fly into the ground with the nozzle. Look at the far end of the runway as you go into the flare and cover it with the nose as the aircraft starts to sink (elevator feeling) will usually give satisfactory landings. Perfect landings are more a matter of luck.
Advice to Student
You will learn something from every instructor, good or bad. You will also learn in proportion to the amount of information you bring with you. A good student makes any instructor look good. Teachers and instructors tend to teach the way they were taught. Another truism I use is, "It is a poor student who does not exceed his teacher."
I know I am not answering your question. I have no answer. There is no one right way to teach or fly. Teaching and flying is just a continuum of options. Ultimately you will take all you have learned and combine them into 'your way'. This is the way you will teach.
Availability of instructor, aircraft and yourself is essential so that you can fly often. A busy good instructor may not do for you what a poor instructor can do just by being available. Do not waste your money on an instructor who cannot be on time. Watch out for instructors who believe that the king is never late. Especially if they think they are the king. Be early yourself for every lesson and listen to other students. You can learn a great deal by listening.
Experience does not make a good teacher. Experience can save you time, however. I always fly into the wind when leaving our home field for airwork. This will keep us closer and get us back quicker. I make an effort to leave the airport in a different manner every flight and come back a different way. I do Dutch rolls on climb-out after the first lesson. This is a basic crosswind skill that takes five three-minute efforts before you get one right. Never hold the yoke with more than two fingers at any time. Practice flying with just the rudder. You are learning to land from your first lesson. If it flies you can learn in it. Unlearning is the most difficult part of flying.
Stay with your current instructor and speed up your lessons so you can have him as long as possible. Reputation is not as important as person to person empathy. You can learn a great deal from an airplane that has problems. As you progress in aviation, flying in a new aircraft is a rare occasion.
Advice to a Pilot
As you age in flying, you have gone through all the different ways of doing things. At some point you make a decision as to what is the best of the 'possibles' and stick with it. Those who become creatures of habit are defined by that habit. The way we hold the yoke, the way we hold and move the throttle.
The best way to break a habit is to do something that is totally out of your comfort zone. The learning of a new way to do something will get new energy flowing and will take years off your thinking. The inability to change the way you have always done a particular thing may be an inhibition that prevents you from making progress.
I Am Afraid to Fly Alone (Opinion)
While I think I am the only one this pathetic, I wanted to see if anyone else out there experienced this or knows of someone who has.
I started flying back in 1997. I was one of those people (probably like most of you) who always loved the idea of flying since childhood. I was never able to really act on it since my parents didn't support the activity fearing its dangers. So, it was not until I was some years out of college that I was finally able to act on my dream. I opted to do one of those demo flights for $30 to see how I would like the real thing (I had been flying PC sims for many years). To be honest, I was scared to death in the thing! I felt like I was in some sort of soup can with wings (Cessna 152). After completion of the flight, I went home to think about it. I decided a day or so later that I need another $30 intro flight before being able to make a decision. I still felt scared on that flight, however, I felt much better about it (experience does that I suppose...even if it is just one experience). I decided at that point to give it a go. I should mention here that I had in fact already picked up the King ground course and watched each tape many times and had gone through the computerized sample tests they provide.
I flew with this particular school at a towered airport for many months. The school wound up going out of business so I transitioned to a different, much larger school at a much larger airport. Had a great instructor who flew with me for about a year before going on to the "big leagues". I soloed during that time after about 22 hours. This was several hours longer than when my instructor wanted to solo me, however, I did not feel comfortable before then. I transitioned to another instructor who I like very much as well. I spent the next year + with this instructor and wound up with about 120 hours total. I did several solos during that time including cross-country, but I did not do my long distance cross-country. My instructor felt I had the skills to take and pass the flight exam somewhere between 65-80 hours. However, I did not have enough solo time and I did not feel "comfortable". Finally it came to the point where my instructor was not going to do any more sign-offs thus I would have to finish up within the period of the last sign-off.
I tried hard to do this, however, my solo confidence got worse with each passing day. If I flew with someone else in the plane, they could take nap and I could easily pilot the plane on any required trip. Solos, however, were a different matter and I found that each solo I experienced more fear and dread and my landings got worse and worse. Again, no such landing problems occurred with the safety blanket on board (i.e. the instructor). Here is where the story turns really pathetic. It came to a point where I would get in the airplane to solo, taxi out to the run-up area and sit. Finally, not being able to convince/berate myself into doing it, I would taxi back, park the plane and make up some lame excuse why I had to terminate the flight and why I no longer had time that day to try again. This went on more times than I would ever like to admit. Finally, telling myself that if I did not do it, that this would be it, the end of my flying, I was able to take-off to do some pattern work. I felt scared to death and my first landing was so bad that I made it a full stop and ended the day.
Well, ending it that day meant really ending it. I did not return and we are now sitting one year later. During that year, I continued getting all of the flying mags, and I even (this is so sad) continued paying dues at the FBO each month. I guess I always felt that I wanted/needed to return to flying and that canceling these things would really mean that my dream had ended. There has hardly been a day that has gone by this past year that I don't think about. This is easily the most disappointing thing I have engaged in my life. I have no other life experiences by which to help guide me in this situation. However, after a year I have actually felt very close to returning to it. I started studying the material again and I almost went down to the airport. I have not thought, as I could not stand the thought of going through this again. I realize, however, that I HAVE to make a decision one way or another. This cannot continue no matter how painful.
If you actually made it through this story, than I greatly appreciate it. Again, I am just curious to know how exactly alone I am with this issue. While I don't expect anyone to have done the ridiculous things I have, I am interested to know if anyone has to perhaps a lesser degree.
…And Sin No More
--Every pilot has a right to be proud of his skills and accomplishments. It is my opinion, that only a poor pilot fails to exceed his instructor. Beware, pride goeth before the fall.
--We who fly lesser aircraft sit in envy of those aircraft that fly higher, faster, longer and with more 'goodies'. Know your personal limits and those of your aircraft. Do not attempt to fly beyond capability.
--Part of your preflight is of yourself. Do not fly when angry. Emotional upset will affect both your skills and judgment. Keep your flying a happy time.
--It does not pay to slack off in your flying preparation. Sloth in flight preparation and training is a high-percentage path to an unexpected end.
--Beware of high expectations, good intentions and grand anticipation. Life and the weather are not fair. Pilots who are too optimistic of what lies ahead are doomed to frequent disappointment.
--As with the human body, an aircraft loaded is not so much a problem as is where the load is carried. Avoid gluttony when filling your aircraft with fuel, baggage or passengers.
--Enjoy your flying but excessive time in the air is not healthy nor wise. Lust not too much for extra time in flight. Make frequent stops for the sake of your health and comfort.
More About Accidents
According to accident statistics, instruction should place more emphasis upon pilot judgment rather than the physical skills of flying. Only 6-percent of a pilots flying occurs in the immediate vicinity of an airport but 57-percent of the accidents occur there. 93-percent of fatal stall spin accident occur below pattern altitude. The stall spin is tied to aircraft design as shown that leading edge cuffs on training aircraft can eliminate 95-percent of pattern spins due to misuse of controls. The same aircraft without cuffs and the same misuse of controls would spin between 88 and 98-percent of the time. Percentage of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) is rising because other accident causes are being reduced. The pilot who cannot assess flight risk is most likely to fly into trouble. 80 to 85 percent of all accidents are the result of pilot judgment. Antihistamines, antidepressants and marijuana on average cause over two accidents every month.
I have always been a teacher. During my elementary and high school days I was always a problem student. I did not take tests well and tried keep my daily grades high enough so that I could pass even though flunking tests. I was a class trouble maker, disagreeing with the teacher, asking questions better not answered in class and often disruptive. I was usually punished by writing lines. I used to pre-prepare thousands of "I will obey." lines just because I would soon need them. At age 26 after several years of college I was told my writing was so illegible that I could never be a teacher. I learned to write all over again with my right hand. In the process I learned what is required to teach penmanship. Teaching penmanship is what I can do best just when there is no longer a demand.
I was refused a teaching diploma on graduation from San Jose State. I had told five successive supervisors that they had wasted years of my life taking useless and nonsensical courses that had little if anything to do with classroom teaching. I did this after they put me into a classroom as a student teacher. I said that the teacher training program violated every basic precept of teaching and learning by putting classroom experience at the end of the program. Five years after my departure from college they began programming teacher candidates into classrooms at the beginning of their teacher training. I had made a difference, belatedly.
As a state credentialed teacher I was never required to take the CFI part of the test that covered learning and teaching theory. After I had been instructing for many years I tried to break down the Instructors Handbook for a CFI candidate. I found that it was an abomination essentially in that it required a learning process that was in complete contradiction with the theories expounded in the text. I threw my work away because I could not ask someone to learn in that manner. I have not looked at the new edition. It can only be an improvement.
I never acquired a graduate level degree in spite of an additional 4+ years of college be cause I refused to change my thesis selection. I felt that teachers should select districts in which to teach rather than letting the districts do the selection. Educational institutions felt that this would antagonize the districts that were providing their teaching candidates classroom experiences. It was only as a California State Teachers Council member that I was able to get a handbook published for teachers in which the districts of the San Francisco Bay Area were compared on over thirity different areas beyond salary. Teachers were finally able to plan their selection of where to teach using an organized data base. My thesis came into existence in spite of the system.
I began teaching handicapped children before there were any courses to take in college. When courses came into existence, I took the courses where I was the only person there with actual experience. I had acquired my teaching skills by overcoming my own difficulties. I was able to help others see their problems. I was able to provide a simplified situation that would provide success in stages. I tried to create 'Ah-ha' experiences where the student really 'learns' what it takes to succeed.
Had an instrument student have such an experience today. We did a pop-up IFR while holding at a fix that would give us a VOR-A approach into an airport. As we arrived at the fix I covered the heading indicator with a 'no-peeky'. It went well until he began his descents. The compass became less reliable and he failed to make the necessary changes in heading to keep the needle centered.
The approach was a bust. I reviewed with him the backwardness of the compass numbers and how the timed heading changes could also be done just by counting into and out of the turn. I had him fly back to the fix with the HI and we flew the approach VFR but under the hood without the HI. What do you know, it worked. He was ecstatic. Some how, in the past, he had missed one or more of of the key learning points in the process. Things fell into place. He is ready for the practical test and he knows it.
VFR into IMC
A student pilot confession
I am getting close to the checkride with two hours of solo xcountry and the three hours of PTS-specific training left. In the last two months I have flown 16 times - nine dual instruction flights and seven solo flights - 21 hours total in the last two months. All of it in a plane I purchased to complete my training.
I planned my second solo x-country flight for Tuesday morning (today). The previous x-country went well not less than a week earlier. I had taken into account some suggestions from my instructor and felt prepared for the morning flight. The general sky conditions seemed similar - there was a small temp/dewpoint spread but increasing with every minute and visibility 6 to 10 miles along the route with those reporting the lower numbers improving by the minute. This was to be a shorter trip (about 60 nm to one airport and back via one VOR).
I noted that the sky didn't look as inviting as the current ATIS stated (7 miles vis, few 1000 ft, 12000 broken. (Note: From now on, any time there are reports of clouds or if I see clouds less than 1500
feet I will reconsider the take-off))
The conditions over the route were improving - I purposely made sure that this was the case, but I neglected the trend at the departure airport. (also the destination airport since it was a round trip). Prior to the departure time ATIS, the METAR was vis 7, sct 8000 - compared with 7, 1000 few, 12k broken earlier. This was not much of a difference but in hindsight it is easy to see. In the future, I will not so easily ignore a report of clouds below 2000 ft.
I chose not to get a briefing from the FSS as I had printed out the weather from online DUATS. (Note: this will not happen again. I am not sure this would have made a difference, but it is hard to tell. I do have a strict rule to stay on the ground if the briefer says "VFR not recommended" or the outlook is MVFR. The rule seems silly when one doesn't even get a briefing... The exception to this is if we choose to do an instructional (perhaps pattern or to demonstrate the undesirable nature of the current conditions) ride during which I inform the instructor that had I been solo I would not fly.
Below is a summary of the DUATS information spanning the area: I only present here the pieces that should have prompted me to reconsider the flight.
1500 scattered, 4000 broken, becoming 3000 scattered, 5000 sct to brk. Outlook VFR.
3000 to 5000 broken. 9000 overcast - outlook VFR
Until 10am Occ vis 3 to 5 sm in mist (my departure was set for about 9:45 am) 11am - 1pm 4000 sct. Outlook VRF
Also, remainder of areas - scattered to broken cirrus, outlook VFR
Here's the big one - Airmet - IFR. Occ ceiling below 1000/vis below 3 sm in mist/fog. Conditions ending 9am to 10am. (My departure was set for about 9:45) I underlined this on the printout. I can only guess now that I thought the conditions were past. (Note: Previous flights had similar conditions and weather improved and turned into exceptional flying conditions. Also note that pilot was a resident of the area for less than one full calendar year and not fully aware of the weather patterns. Should have been a red flag as well.)
Had I not known the specific airport conditions along the route and at the destinations, the content above would have made me stay at home. (One more lesson) The following is the data that I used to justify my decision to fly.
Weather at destination from AWOS prior to takeoff: winds calm, vis 7, clear below 12k, 23/21 At airport halfway on route: calm, 10 miles, clear below 12k 73/69. (This was my alternate airport) Other airports on or near the route were reporting similarly good to great VFR weather.
The small temp and dewpoint spreads are usually a signal to me, but the trend was moving for the good.
Here again is the ATIS at the departure airport: wind 030 at six, 7 miles vis, few 1000 ft, 12000 broken
TAF for departure airport:
6am-9am: wind var at 4, 5 miles, mist, 1500 broken
9am: wind 240 at 9, vis >6 4000 sct, 10000 brk
Next entry is for 5pm.
At a nearby (not over the route, about 20nm away) airport, TAF was 7am wind 260 at 9 vis > 6, 2000 sct, 4000 brk 7am to 9am temporarily vis 4 miles, light rain, mist, 2000 ovc 12noon wind 060 at 9, >6 miles, 5000 sct, 10k brk
I may have chosen to ignore the IFR AIRMETS and possibility of cloud cover due to the airports along the route reporting 7 miles or better and clear skies. Also a factor was that the AIRMETS stated the conditions end 15 minutes after my planned departure. I erroneously assumed that ince all reporting stations I was interested in were VFR that the "ending 9am to 10am" was a binary switch and we had moved to the "ending" part and would not return to possible IFR conditions.
I filed a flight plan and declined a briefing (I had received one from DUATS - that had to be good enough, right?) The tone of the briefer awed at me for a little while - but I shrugged it off.
I then made the decision that the flight was safe to depart at 9:45 am. The sky didn't look as good as the reports said, but hey, I had an endorsement from my instructor (please do not take this as a redirection of responsibility - I was PIC and made the decision), all the observations looked good, and previous experience with this type
of morning weather "proved" it would be OK. I recall thinking to myself, perhaps if I had my certificate and I was going to fly somewhere in weather like this I would wait or not fly. In retrospect all these ignored misgivings have me embarrassed and don't speak well of my decision-making ability.
The rotating beacon was not on and I soon relieved myself of any misgivings about my observations of the current conditions. After all, the ATIS claimed 1000 few, not scattered or broken and visibility was stated to be 7 miles.
The taxi and takeoff clearance were uneventful and I was rather happy with myself for refusing a takeoff clearance in front of a Cessna on a mile and a half final. He was a touch and go. I could have made it,
but decided I didn't need to prove anything. (This might have been a significant factor a short time later. Little did I know at the time.)
(The following narrative may be a little imprecise with regard to specific quotes and timing of events, but I have tried to be as accurate as I can. I got busy very quickly)
The plane I had waited for was practicing instrument approaches. I was cleared to take off. At about 100 feet a passenger jet announced he on the approach for the runway.
I saw the prior departure turn to the left, then he was handed off to approach. (I think downwind after being on left crosswind) I then realized that there were wisps of clouds almost everywhere I looked. My first thought was that it can't be. They shouldn't be there, especially not the severity that I was seeing. I put it out of my
mind for a few more seconds to assess how my departure was going. ltitude, airspeed, heading, climb rate - all were fine. I then let my mind return to the issue of the clouds - still objects I could try to go around, but getting harder to plan at this closing rate. When told I could turn left on course I was about 400 feet and replied that
I was unable at the time because of clouds and was trying to remain VFR. I didn't think we had a BIG problem at this point. I could see holes and was shooting for one. About 5 seconds later (about 500 feet) I realized I was in trouble. The ground was disappearing and the holes were disappearing. I told the tower that I had to do a 360
to remain VFR. They understood. What I meant was a 180. In either case I am sure this caught the attention of those in the tower and the plane on approach.
The ground disappeared as I was trying to figure out if I should pull power and point the nose down to stay under (I was probably about 700 feet then) and try to circle to land or do something else. (If I am going to be
a cowboy, might as well do it in style...)
I lost the horizon and all I saw was grey/white and every now and then some "clear" sky, which allowed me to see clouds further away. I elected NOT to keep turning or descend to land. I leveled the wings, made sure all engine/fuel controls were forward and ignored the windows. I was a potential statistic. I was a VFR student in IMC, less than 1000 feet, 91mph (Vy for my plane). I recalled an article I read entitled something to the effect of "you have 168 seconds to live" - possibly a study of VFR pilot flight into IMC.
"Tower, <callsign>, we are VFR student in IMC, unable to see ground or holes." (meaning how to get down or out)
Tower responded appropriately - I am not sure what - something like "Roger, standby."
I came back with something inane like reporting my altitude and repeating the situation, "VFR in IMC climbing, We're not sure what to do." My voice exhibited signs of anxiety. Hearing that in my voice scared me a little.
Tower said to standby, they were calling approach to find a clear airport to get me to.
A calm professional voice (the ones that make all student pilots immediately envious and embarrassed at their own dealings with ATC) came over the radio - "Stay cool, keep the wings level. You'll be fine." (I think it was a Citrus flight, but I can't be sure) This was like magic to me. It got my attention and reinforced the idea that I
was able to control the outcome and was not just in for the ride. I stopped panicking and stopped thinking of the possible bad consequences. I focused on the instruments and how to make it out OK. AI, turn and bank , altimeter, VSI, RPM, AI, AI, AI.... I can't recall checking the heading too much during the time - the other
instruments were feeding me (thankfully) what I believed to be good status. My scan is not refined, nor was I trying to be perfect. I wonder what might have happened if I had to correct for a condition. Might I have focused only on one or otherwise excluded some? I was trying to remember everything from the simulated instruction time.
(My instructor did a wonderful job and I must thank him for the three hours of simulated instrument training. I was far from comfortable, but I knew my limits and was not about to start a turn or a descent. I was expecting to be able to get on top and then deal with the situation from there. Without that training I think there would have been more trouble.)
My plane has a published climb rate of about 550 ft/min. for max weight. I was about 200 lb shy of max weight.
I was lucky. I was only in the clouds for a minute or two. (I have experienced the sensation of time seeming to slow down before.This may have been one of those situations so I may have only been in clouds for half a minute.) It was hard to tell that I was out at first, and it may not have been longer than a minute. I didn't think it was a good idea to try to use anything outside as a reference until I was certain I was out. It was a good feeling finally knowing I was on top with wings level. However, the sky was overcast BELOW me. My only experience with that was from a window seat as a paying passenger and as a "tsk-tsking" reader of stories
like these. My comfortable home airport was of no use now.
Now that I was out of immediate danger, my mind slipped into analysis and fear mode. How can someone be so stupid to go VFR on top and not have a way down? How can someone be so stupid to take off into IMC as
a student pilot? How do I explain this to my instructor? Will I go to hell for this?
I was passed off to approach. They gave me a x-ponder code and I complied. I told them I had about 3.5 hours of fuel and I confirmed that I was VFR at the moment. They cleared me to an airport reporting clear and 6 to 10
vis. (I cannot recall). I was extremely pleased at this point. My anxiety level decreased and I knew I would come out OK - with my tail between my legs, but otherwise ok. The airport has a VOR located on it. I tuned it in. I made a mistake on the frequency. Thankfully I finally made a habit of what my instructor taught me to do - tune, identify and navigate. I caught the error and fixed it. This was a minor error compared to the BIG ONE, but it may have had me tracking to some unknown VOR for a while until approach finally asked me what I
I did make another goofy error. I was handed off to another approach frequency and given instructions. I repeated what I thought was an excellent read back, especially for a student pilot with a need for a fresh
change of diapers. However, I hadn't keyed the microphone.
I thanked the tower, the jet god and each approach controller for their help as I was passed along. Actually, I think I thanked everyone I talked to a few times for their help. I wanted them to know I knew they had saved the day and that I was aware of the seriousness of the situation. All of the ATC people were extremely
professional and helpful.
About 12 miles out from the new destination the ground became visible and there were no clouds at all. I was cleared to descend when I reported the field in sight and switched to tower. I elected to do a 360 prior to the pattern to lose some altitude and the landing was uneventful. On rollout tower asked me to advise when I was ready to copy the phone number for approach, as they wanted me to call when I landed.
I called approach when I was parked at the FBO. I was very thankful, embarrassed and humble. I informed the person that I knew the gravity of the situation and was very shaken up and appreciative of their quick and professional help.
I then left a message for my instructor and called my girlfriend. I told the nice folks at the FBO that I might be staying for a little while. I wanted sky clear and 10 miles the whole trip back before I would depart. (More thoughtful consideration later would suggest that departing for home might not be a good idea as it was a x-country for which I had no endorsement.)
I called my instructor. He had not received my message and was surprised when I said I was on the ground at a different airport and very shaken.
I told him the story. He said I did a good job. I replied, "I don't think so, I should have stayed on the ground."
He managed to set up a ride for himself with other kind folks doing some IFR work and picked me up later to fly home. We filed IFR and had no problems with the flight back.
While I was waiting, I refueled and pre-flighted about 3 times. I checked the weather every 20 minutes. (Possibly hoping to undo my prior lack of foresight?)
I met a few really nice people (that usually goes without saying at an airport anyway). A few were aware that I was "the guy who was VFR on top." One flight engineer for a Coast Guard C130 that had been practicing in the area, also a CFI, came to chat. He asked me to elaborate for his students' benefit. I was more than happy. He said I did a good job. I again replied that I made a bad decision to go.
Most people I talked to shrugged when I said I should have stayed on the ground. I take that to mean, "yes, you dumb-ass, but I am not going to say that to your face." Many volunteered that I did a good job - especially at how quickly I informed ATC what was happening and choosing to climb straight rather than circle at a low altitude and slow in little or no visibility. (This could just be my interpretation and justification of my decision.)
Later at the airport I spoke with a student (without revealing my adventure) who stated that the weather was fine around and after my departure time, except for a ceiling at 2000 ft. He was planning to do pattern work.
I was extremely embarrassed and very happy to be alive. I considered giving up flying for a while. I dismissed that and resolved yet again to start instrument training shortly after passing the private checkride. (Assuming an instructor and D.E. agree I am safe enough to carry passengers. A scary thought considering I had just proven
I will be filling out the NASA form and this lesson will not be forgotten.
It could have been worse. I would hope that if the conditions had been worse that I would have stayed on the ground. I wonder what sort of decision and pressure I would have put on myself had I been in front of the Cessna practicing instrument approaches and been under a little more pressure to follow normal departure procedures.
Some things I did right:
- Communicated as soon as I could when I got into trouble.
- Kept the wings level. (I am under no illusion that this makes it ok or that I am a super pilot. I am lucky)
- Caught and corrected a VOR tuning mistake. This may not seem like a big deal, but under stress and pretty shaken I followed correct procedure to navigate.
The obvious mistakes:
- Failing to heed airmets by either waiting or confirming that conditions were good at departure airport.
- Assuming past experience with weather trends will somehow make these conditions acceptable.
- Ignoring my observations and reservations about the weather and believiving the reports.
Lessons learned (for me)
- Plan an alternate and confirm weather at an alternate.
- Do not accept reported weather as truth. Believe your eyes more than the reports.
- Fly with lots of fuel - as much as allowable.
- Reconsider the flight if reports and forecast call for scattered/broken/overcast near the route and on the route.
- Don't take off with so much cloud cover.
- Always call a flight briefer in addition to DUATS. (Previously my policy was to do so for possible convective activity and questionable weather en-route.) Use as much help and information available to ensure a successful outcome.
- I am responsible for the safety of the flight -- not the tower, not the instructor, not the briefer, not the weather reporting systems. Act accordingly and make decisions accordingly.
- More weather study is required.
Had I waited about 20 minutes, the sky would have been better and I would have been on my way. Unfortunately I might have been stuck on the ground halfway through, as the home airport later was alternating between 1800 sct and 1800 broken. I hope I would not have continued into that. (However, considering the decision to take off this is an open question.) I may also have run into the cloud layer en route.
What would have happened had I elected to stay low and under the clouds shortly after departure? If I had remained in VFR I would have been at about 300 to 500 ft. This is not a comfortable height for me to be making so many turns around an airport. There was a plane above me and departing - no factor. There was incoming jet traffic. A possible factor - especially for the controller and the arriving traffic. This may have been a viable option, but probably not a good idea. By the time I considered it and started planning it, I was in clouds/fog.
From my comfortable chair right now, I am glad I elected to climb.
It is easy now for me to see that staying on the ground would have been a wise choice. There seems to be conflicting data about the viability of the VFR cross country. Some data supported it and some data made the decision to fly questionable. The questions will remain with me for a while.
For those with a dark sense of humor: I filed a flight plan - so I might have been ok on the accident report. However, I was too busy to actually open it in flight and I diverted anyway. It's a toss-up, your call.
Most likely: (un?)controlled flight into terrain. Pilot error. Continued VFR into IMC. Weather was a factor. Pilot obtained weather from DUATS and declined a briefing when filing his VFR flight plan. Stupidity was a factor.
I visited the tower the next morning, something I had wanted to do even prior to this experience. Now I was determined to thank them in person (for the help this time and for putting up with student pilots in general) The visit was short (unfortunately I had to be get to work, but I did bring donuts and O.J.)
We discussed the weather conditions briefly and talked a little about what happened. The three people there were very friendly and like others have suggested, go visit your local ATC - either a center, tower or other - it is well worth the time.
For now my personal limits are set a bit higher. Some may say something about farm animals having left the barn already.
Until the cows come home, Be safe.
Every flying student arrives with numerous preconceptions as to what flying is like. From childhood on student have seen and played with the landing of airplanes. Unfortunately, these landings have always been flat greasers. This is not the real-world of flying nor landing. I suggest that a duck landing is best.
The student who tries to set his standards of performance is unaware of the learning curve required as well as the unlearning that is needed. Many students who are experienced and skilled in their occupational applications seem to expect that their flying skills will be or should be equally good. Immediately. Won't happen, shouldn't happen. The making of mistakes is an essential learning experience just as is learning not to make mistakes.
In my experience, when I have a student who does not make what I consider a requisite portion of mistakes in learning to land, I create mistakes. As learning experiences high, low, slow, fast, unaligned, downwind and ATC situations are just as valuable as are good landings. Knowing when not to land is more important that knowing when to land.
In my experience most new students have much the same problem avoiding
clouds as with birds. I have had many students continue to fly directly toward
clouds without realizing that it was they who should take the evasive action.
One little realized aspect of cloud avoidance is that you have no visual perspective by which to judge distance until the cloud balloons in size. My advice would be to initiate avoidance sooner than later so as to avoid an unexpected surprise. Any time you can see a cloud move you are too close.
When What You Do Will (may) Be the Wrong Thing to Do
--Full rich mixture on short final at a high altitude airport.
--Using boost pump for rough-running engine
--Going to full rich mixture
--Applying power to a failing engine,
--Low altitude return to departure runway
--Departure into deteriorating weather
--Departure with rough engine or one magneto
--Using POH performance numbers on less than new aircraft.
--Failure to plan for engine failure on takeoff, final, anytime.
The Nature of Fear
--Without the presence of fear in our minds we exist as a constant hazard to ourselves.
--Every time a flying event occurs that indicates our lack of control, a fear-seed is planted.
--Whether the seed grows or not greatly depends upon our experience with such fear-seeds in other endeavors.
– I have seen many children under three who seem totally without fear. This is frightening to an adult.
--To be without fear means you have not experienced situations requiring defensive actions and judgment.
--Fear has purpose. Without we have the risk evaluation abilities of a three-year-old. Fear extends our lives.
--In flying we arrive with quite a collection of instinctive and learned fear seeds and related behaviors.
--We duck when something is going to hit the windshield. We are startled by an ‘air pocket’ jolt.
--Over time with repeated similar incidents we adjust and seem to be unconcerned by surprises.
--However, occasionally a large shock hits our psyche. This plants a fear-seed that stays and grows.
--Don’t think that it can’t happen to you. It can and will affect the pleasure you find and feel while flying.
--The longer it is allowed to grow the more devastating will be its effect.
--On reaching 79 I failed a checkride. I have dreaded every checkride since. I do not do checkrides well.
--I no longer take flight-medicals well any more either. My last once was only for one year.
--We seldom recognize the subtle changes in our attitudes and flying derived from our fears but they’re there.
--We become more susceptible to nearby fear seeds. Our concerns cease to be logical or reasonable.
--Doubts rise as the line between proficiency and lack of proficiency narrows.
--Assurance and carelessness seem to blend and we become uncertain where one
ends and the other begins.
--Fears breed as fear-seeds on insecurity and uncertainty.
--On occasion we get lucky and our fears do not keep us from danger. And nothing bad happens. Look out!
--The worst thing that can happen is getting away from a bad situation without a fear-seed arising.
--We need fear-seeds to warn us next time, because there will always be a next time.
--The further away from our last fear-seed the closer we are to the next fear-seed. Like earthquakes.
--Uncontrolled fear is classified as panic and your reactions become dominated by instinctive forces.
--We cannot see or think beyond what is happening unless training kicks in.
--Only training can cause our thoughts and behaviors to become rational a suited to the situation.
--Pilots fly in a manner to fit their over all persona
--Pilots are goal oriented and enjoy mastering a task.
--Being PIC is power only equaled by a ship captain
--Pilots resent criticism but instructor pilots even more so.
--Pilot’s have a need to exceed boundaries of achievement
--Pilots are given responsibility but many are not able to handle it.
--Pilots are likely to divert from the unpleasant to the pleasant option
--Pilots want recognition for achieving what others have not accomplished.
--Piloting feeds the need for change every aspect of flying is like being born again through change
--Safe pilots are mature, motivated, with positive self-image, curious, active and copes with life
--Those who fly are different because they are independent achievers and enjoy mastery of difficulties
--We need to identify accident prone pilots because the costs extend far beyond that pilot’s accident
--Pilots are inclined toward risk taking
--Pilots thrive on overcoming difficulties
--The search for freedom is a continuum
--These traits will both make and kill a pilot
--Poor decision making is a part of pilot personality
--The PIC attitude will ignore safety for its own sake
--The pilot personality lacks endurance into a difficulty
--The PIC attitude will have a use of checklist weakness
--Pilots also thrive on the extent to which other are impressed
--A pilot will attempt to make changes just for the sake of change.
--Putting things in its proper place is not a part of pilot personality
--Pilots are not orderly, efficient and will rationalize details as trivial
--The PIC personality is not likely to follow the suggestions of others
--Pilots are likely to exhibit fearless behavior immediately after an achievement
Things to Worry About
Pilots who learn to fly earlier in life fly with less risk later in life.
Lack of adaptability increases with age.
A pilot who can’t perform well on a flight test is unlikely to do well otherwise when under stress.
Pilots with a history of accident/incident events is more likely to have a weather accident.
Having electronic awareness of weather conditions may not positively influence pilot decisions.
Ground proximity knowledge is of no value until you need it more than anything else.
Not all traffic is shown electronically so be both vigilant and lucky.
Pilot examiners have observed a decrease in stick and rudder skills.
The pilot who accepts ‘close enough’ in any performance parameter has given up high standards.
Where perfection is not possible, deviation is not acceptable either
Demand timely and smooth corrections to modify imperfections detected sooner rather than later.
Just enough fuel is never enough.
The wise pilot learns many things from other pilots they dislike.
Don’t let others stop you from doing what you know is safe.
Flying is not a place to take a chance at something new in hopes for a beig payoff.
The view changes only for the leading dog.
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Continued on Page 1.4 Lessons for a Good Start