Page 5.940 ( 11,203)
Risk Management for Pilots
Return to whittsflying Home page

You as the problem; ...Everyone Has Problems; …Noise Facts...Prelude to an Accident; ...Holding your attitude; ...Pilot with an Attitude; ...Knowing your limits; ...Hazardous Attitudes; ...We Do Stupid Things; ...Proficiency; ...How Not to Let It Happen; ...Stress; ...Risk Management; ...Personal Factors; ...Preventative training; …Why Preventative Training; …Using Concern to Prevent Panic; ...Passenger Briefing; …An accident Waiting to Happen; ...Hazards of Engine Failure; …Fears of Flying; …About Fear; ...You're Not Alone; ...Gene's Email to ras; …Bills Problem and Gene's Remarks; ...Fear Revisited; ...On Slumping; ...Dialoge; ...Getting Lost is a Strange Feeling; ...Fearful Pilot; …On Fearing Fear; ...Risk Taking; ... Airport Lease Agreements; ... Aeronautical Decision Making; ...Knowing the Aircraft; ...Twenty-Five Years of Lessons Learned; .....Paul's Safety Question ; Glossary; 

You as the problem
The time to think through your emergency situations and procedures is prior to the flight and on the ground. You will always be surprised by an emergency. That's what makes it an emergency. Since aircraft control is #1, you need to do what is necessary as conditions allow. You will develop a procedure for determining priorities.

At the end of the preflight you should think through your takeoff emergency options. After leveling off at altitude get your emergency list up front. This is the basic list that applies to all situations and may include expansions for more specific emergencies.

We have been developing and adding checklists from the beginning. The last list is in many ways the most important. You will never be prepared for a real  emergency. The sequence of importance is #1 Fly the Plane. Make the most conservative decision quickly and don't change it. Don't waste position, airspeed, or altitude. Clean up the cockpit and instruct your passengers. In over 10,000 hours I have had only a couple of minutes of actual emergency all of which were resolved without incident. 20% of all flying is instructional but only 12% of the accidents are instructionally related. Midairs, propeller failures, and ground type propeller accidents occur each about once a month on average.

Most aviation emergencies are of the pilot's making related to weather or inappropriate maneuvers. 65% of the accidents are related to pilot error. A few mechanical emergencies come as complete surprises and lead to reactive behavior. Most mechanical emergencies occur at an altitude such that a reactive response is inappropriate. Mechanical failure is a very small factor in accident statistics (8%). Hasty reactions are, more likely than not, to be the wrong thing to do.

Darkness is a compounding factor in any emergency. You don't want your negligent eagerness to get home or 'there' to allow your self to get low on fuel or into weather and dark at the same time. Turn around, get down early and get fuel, stay down if weather doesn't promise legal night VFR. Don't push your night capabilities in strange areas or airports. Night get-there-Itis is the worst kind. Darkness and weather (19% of cause) is serving notice to turn around and get down. The risk of drowning in your bathtub is five times greater than even having an aircraft accident. Only one in six aircraft accidents result in anyone being seriously hurt or killed.

A major cause of accidents continues to be fuel exhaustion and starvation. Watch for unusual needle movements. Keep both historical and current flight records of fuel consumption. Know your fuel system. Starvation can occur even in single position situations. Refuel before low and dark.

An emergency checklist is the first item of any emergency. Don't do anything until you have this list, altitude and time permitting. At several thousand feet you have plenty of time. Most systems failures are slow motion non-emergencies. You get to plan where to have your accident. The more training and experience you have the more time you will have to do the right thing. There is seldom the time or capability for doing something over.

If you have a problem, the nature of which you are unable to determine, and cannot fix, then get down as soon and as safely as possible. Don't try to control a situation that cannot be controlled. Make the best choice of a suitable landing/accident site as soon and as high as possible. Once you pick your spot that includes a good, safe approach don't try to second-guess yourself.

This begins in the flight planning stage. The pilot collects and arranges his planning materials so as to have some orderly sequence of use. Only those materials pertinent to the flight are assembled. A flight route is selected along with possible alternates as may occur. Radio frequencies are listed in order of expected use along with alternates likely to occur. Use the A/FD. The flight bag is checked for extra batteries, tape, pens, markers, emergency kit, the 'usuals' and 'unusuals'. You must be able to assemble what is essential, desirable, and nice to have efficiently and with a minimum of effort.

The weather is checked, along with the notams, and the aircraft. The use of the aircraft POH is an essential to situational awareness. Every plane has specified operational and performance limits that are in the POH. These limits must be checked against the planned flight planning requirements. The POH lists the minimum items to be part of all the aircraft checklists, operating procedures. Modify all POH input with the additional items that fit the way you fly. Inadequate flight planning is the leading cause of general aviation accidents.

As for the pilot, the self-analysis must include whether the currency of the required aeronautical knowledge will give the best and most efficient use of the preflight planning. The pilot must think through the departure route best suited for the home runway in use. The usual arrival runway should be planned for with alternatives related to forecast winds. In each instance the runway dimensions and density altitudes must fit within the POH limits. Alternatives must be collected like poker chips. I have always felt the most important of these to be keeping someone at both ends of the flight fully informed as to what you are planning for all alternatives short of death.

The better qualified the pilot is, the more likely it is that he will clearly admit unfamiliarity. When ATC calls for you to report at a given point, if there is any degree of uncertainty, begin negotiations for a point that you do recognize. Go to slow-flight to extend your options time.

Everyone Has Problems
(They are just different problems.) The following list has been acquired over the years as early warning signs of difficulties to come. Read them and be aware that the accident you avoid may be your own.

--A public speaker finds it easy to use the microphone but difficult to leave out the punctuation.

--The businessman pilot is very uncomfortable if radio calls are not responded to immediately. The first priority of aircraft control conflicts with his office experience on the telephone.

--Even getting a pilot to believe that the microphone will work with either hand is a problem.

--Uses 'creative' procedures when in unfamiliar situations.

--Safety is improved even further by giving accurate position reports

--The ham radio operator finds the preciseness required in radio wording completely different than that with which he is familiar.

--Pilot is unfamiliar with systems and operating procedures as written in the POH. Relies on ego and ancient information instead of POH.

--The person who has never spoken on a radio finds the entire process both frightening and intimidating. Fails to reveal existence of a problem thinking that he will 'get into trouble'.

-- We will monitor known traffic, communications not directed to us, aircraft instruments, proximate terrain and weather, and engine sounds.

--We will ignore some traffic, some communications, and some weather

--Difficulties are compounded by accented English. Pronunciations of Hispanic words normally pronounced in Americanized English such as Vallejo.

--The background of an auto mechanic can be both a benefit and a hindrance. Automotive standards and materials do not meet aviation requirements.

--Pilot is never lacking in confidence even in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds.

--Flying in conditions for which proficiency is lacking. Night, weather, ice.

--Reacts to situations as they occur instead of anticipating through planning.

--While taxiing is one of the last skills acquired, a farmer with tractor experience finds the process quite familiar.

--Hoping that weather will improve without knowledge that it will.

--Pilot tends to become tense during final phases of landing. Jockeys yoke back and forth in reaction to unseen problems.

--Aircraft accidents don't happen to me, just everybody else.

--The pilot who flies is confronted by situations such as weather or traffic that requires actions for which he is unprepared.

--Using the poor example of another pilot or story to do something related to flying.

--The car driver must both unlearn and learn at the same time.

--Pilot becomes gradually more uncomfortable with flight situation without making use of cockpit resources or ATC.

--Flight corrections are made as large and few as opposed to many and small.

--Pilot is complacent because everything is going so well. Decreased alertness gives all flying warnings too late.

--A truck driver finds it difficult to taxi without side mirrors.

--A pilot who accepts lower standards of performance because he has escaped from such situations before.

--Optimism that 'things' will be O.K. instead of knowing what it takes to make 'things' O.K.

--A person who has little or no driving experience learns relatively fast.

--Pilot who goes below legal minimums just a little. Relates to airspeed, clouds, ground level, etc.

--Inappropriate airspeed for situation and conditions. Usually occurs when in the airport pattern or approach path.

--A fisherman in the area finds orientation very easy by use of waterways.

--The trucker uses freeways and towns.

-- The stranger to the area or a non-driver must start from the very beginning.

--Breaks rules and keeps on doing it until...

--The way a place is named can create orientation problems. Northern California might more properly be called Western California.

-- The angular difference between true and magnetic directions create confusion.

--The experienced pilot does not see basic faults in airspeed control during landings since they have always been corrected before touchdown.

--The instructor is learning as much or more than the student. At the same time the student is both consciously and subconsciously learning the attitudes and behaviors of the instructor. Hopefully, the FAA approved attitudes and behaviors.

--The pilot who fly with a chip on his shoulder related to following any government restrictions or rules. Resents any advice or instruction except from 'acceptable' sources.

--We have instinctive reactions that occur just prior to collision, at the onset of a fire, during some weather, and after seeing some traffic.

--We can make a considered reaction following an engine failure, loss of heading or altitude, in response to communications directed to us, and in avoiding some traffic and weather.

--The pilot must recognize and abide by the requirement that there are some rules and regulations to be followed without exception.

--The pilot must clearly understand that the flight environment and the safe control of it is a shared responsibility. Each pilot has an individually responsibility, to his aircraft, other aircraft and with ATC.

-- The pilot must constantly improve his current flying practices by utilizing successful experiences and recurrent training.

--Flying conditions always appear better when you have a 'need' to fly.

--Pilot responsibility demands that flight cancellation be the first option when adverse conditions are capable of ruling the outcome.

--The ability to adjust the departure time and the route is a major strength of being a private pilot.

-- A pilot need only to perceive those colors necessary for performance of airman duties.

-- If no one knows about your flight route and destination it is important that you file a flight plan.

-- If you are expecting to use a piece of equipment, make sure it works.

--A pilot making a transition to a different type of aircraft must accept unfamiliarity with performance, systems and radios.

--The odds of a substandard maintenance item being accepted increase as the distance to the home airport decreases.

--When a flight instructor gives an opinion it should be in terms of having fully reviewed the flying literature including the very latest research. Even so, an opinion is still nothing more than an opinion.

-- There seems to be an accident spike that occurs shortly after a pilot has had a flight review. Could be that overconfidence is the culprit.

--85% of Part 91 turbine fatality accidents were when owner was pilot.

-- A pilot is more used to ignoring or accepting his own pressures than he is those of passengers. 

--There is no mission requirement that lives be placed at any risk in private flying. 

--Every flight should be made with the understanding that conditions may make major changes in everyone's plans. 

Noise Facts
One problem every pilot has is the fact that airplanes make noise. Concord has a series of noise sensors all around the airport. Some runways are used even in unfavorable conditions because of the need to reduce noise.

C-172 at 1000' 70 dB same as dishwasher at 10'.
C-172 takeoff from local airport 3.5 miles away 60 dB
C-182 90 dB truck at 50'
Cockpit of high performance single 100 dB or chain saw at 100'

Prelude to an Accident
--First there will be small losses in proficiency. First noticeable is the decline in communication skills. There is a barely perceptible increase in 'behindness', being just a little pressed by the performance requirements of the aircraft. The pilot's capability does not meet the flight requirements.
--Second, as the skill deficiency space widens the pilot gains a sense of power and good control over the flight. This sense is regardless of the widening gap between flight requirements and reserve capacity.
--Third, the pilot becomes bothered by small problems, communications, equipment, ATC, etc. The cause is never with the pilot. The deficiency space widens.
--Fourth, the pilot resorts angrily and perhaps violently against his perceived tormentors. There is a perceived time problem.
--Fifth, the pilot becomes irrational and incapable of controlling the aircraft. As an aside, I once had a IFR pilot who went through four of these five stages on an extended IFR flight at altitudes around 12,000 feet.. It is not uncommon for me to cancel, after less than an hour, the cross-country flight that is part of my training program were things are supposed to go wrong

Holding your Attitude
Pilot training is a program that should teach the pilot that while negative attitudes exist, they do not need to control your behavior.
Thoughts generated by strong feelings are more likely to be acted upon when emotional control is reduced by stress ro hypoxia. There is a DIRECT correlation between the amount of time a pilot spends with instructors and accident occurrence frequency. Safety is not an accident.

I would like the pilot training program to promote reduction and control of those automatic thought patterns that usually exist in the subconscious, perhaps because the patterns were formed in early life as a protection against apprehensive feelings.

I would like the pilot to become aware of his thought patterns as they tend to influence his decisions. Personal attitudes can contribute to hazardous flight. The fact that pilots are the primary cause of 80% of aircraft accidents which likely include pilot poor judgment as a factor.

Confidence is lost before skill. This is true of the infrequent flyer. Infrequent flying is a breeding ground for the acquisition of bad habits like rudder applications and sloppy radio. The smoothness of a pilot's control use reduces the effects of turbulence. Taking the rear seat and observing a pilot fly is a good way for the infrequent flyer to appreciate his own level of proficiency. On occasion the GIB (guy in back) will be appalled by the safety violations that occur in the course of a local non-instructional flight. Some pilots are so unaware of their own misdeeds that one would wonder how they were ever allowed to fly alone let alone with passengers.

Pilot With an Attitude
--Is he resigned and does not see himself as being able to make a difference in his life or flying? It is always someone else's fault?
--He takes unseemly efforts to impress others in how much more capable he is in given situation. Only his solution is the correct one and best.
--Does he seem to feel that the system will not come down on him. He is invulnerable and that always his 'guardian' will come to his rescue?
--He needs to control his impulsive reactions to prove that he is the one in control. He often fails to select the best alternative and exacerbates the worst aspects of the situation.
--He does not like anyone telling him what to do. Being told what to do is considered always as a 'put-down'. He resents the rules and procedures proposed by others as silly or unnecessary. A pilot has an obligation to question authority but an anti-authority attitude is inappropriate for today's flying.
--Right-of-way challenges do not determine who is right; they determine who is left.

Knowing your limits
--A pilot must be both legal and competent. Being legal means have the licenses, ratings, medical, and currency. Beyond this is the physical condition and experience required to make the flight safe.
--A pilot must know his personal minimums for weather. Having passengers raises the minimums. Not going is always an option.
--The airplane must be legal with registration, airworthiness, weight and balance and radio station license. Discrepancies must be measured against the type of flight and need for the system.
--The time and route of flight must be measured against fuel and load capacity as well as any altitude concerns.

Hazardous Attitudes
1) Don't tell me, I know............1) Follow the rules
2) Do it quickly.................…....2) Think first
3) It won't happen to me............3) It could
4) I can do it....................……..4) Pilots are poor gamblers
5) What's the use.................…...5) I can make a difference

We Do Stupid Things
We can break the chain of bad decisions because every link is a weak one. Safe decision-making skills can be taught and learned.
What We Do......................... Why We Do It...
1) Bow to peer pressure........ 1) Anti-authority
2) Get into a mind set .............2) Impulsiveness
3) Give in to Get-There-Itis.... 3) Invulnerability
4) Duck-under-to-get-there....4) Macho
5) Scud running .....................5) Resignation
6) VFR into IFR conditions
7) Getting behind the aircraft
8) Loss of positional/situational awareness
9) Inadequate fuel reserves
10) Descent below minimums
11) Flight outside the envelope
12) Neglect of flight planning
13) Inadequate preflight
14) Failure to use checklist

Just what is considered proficiency depends on the attitude of the pilot. Even checkride applicants vary in their proficiency at that time. More significant is what improvements they make after the checkride. The hours you accumulate are either learning hours or lucky hours. Often it is difficult to tell one from the other. Failure to have recent and frequent experience leaves the door open to proficiency deficiency.

Proficiency deficiency is most apparent close to the ground. Personally, I question the value of time spent in touch-and-goes for proficiency. I would much prefer to have a pilot fly between airports. There is more to being a proficient pilot than just taking off and landing. The art of being a better pilot is directly proportional to your knowledge of how the aerodynamics of situation and configuration can be anticipated. Being less that proficient makes you a potential hazard and may well cost you more than the alternative of getting proficiency training. Planning and training will get you out of difficulties at least as often as will new cockpit toys. Your best software is under your hat.

How Not to Let It Happen
You will never be good, if you don't push yourself to be better. Just the maintaining of standards requires first of all, the setting of standards. Flying to poor standards is a process of "doing yourself in". What you do when nobody else can be aware is the proof of your excellence. You should never lower your standards and ignore doing things the right way because no one is watching. Use right vs legal, maximum Vs minimum.  All FARs are MINIMUMS.

Proficient flying consists of critical intangibles related to judgment, attitude, parameters and all those other quality elements of good airmanship. The criteria is related to how we accept what we do while flying. The pilot must discriminate between the essential and nonessential. Knowing the difference is 90% in the head. The essentials apply to safety, efficiency, parameter selection and smoothness. The minimum airspeeds are flown down to the V(ref/fe  number not the gross weight POH number.

You do what you do, do, do because it is the right thing to do.
Don't waste your efforts on inefficient procedures that have no real effect or bearing on the safe operations of the aircraft. Use a clean efficient checklist that is based on real-world operations. Pretty doesn't count. Size doesn't count. Even the POHs non-applicable items do not count. Sequence what you do in logical order and a straight line across the panel when possible. Adjust logic and the line to the higher demands of accuracy and preciseness. Where sequence is a matter of it in sequence. Feel free to vary sequence when it is in conflict with safety.

Do not let an inappropriate checklist replace common sense. Safety is the substance of all flying procedures. Do what is safe and it will be right. The irresponsible use of a checklist, using it and doing it because it is there, is potentially hazardous. Your way of doing things should be applied as much as possible to all aircraft you fly. Most things we do in flying can be sequenced the same in different planes. Be consistent where possible and make special note of the inconsistencies.  Make checklists not so much just for types of aircraft as for the specific aircraft.

What you do and how smoothly you do it is the ultimate standard of competence. Even making the choice not to fly is part of the competence standard. As a pilot you have a trigger mechanism ready to deal with any abnormality. Be it a starting problem, radio problem, or emergency you know things will happen and your alternative courses of action are already in place. You should not wait to have an accident to know your
proficiency limits.

1) Avoid the situation that contains distractions
2) Plan so as to always fly with a reduced workload
3) Plan for emergencies, follow the plan
4) Know your aircraft systems and be proficient in their use.
5) Know your personal limits and minimums and abide by them.
6) Do not let little problems grow into big ones.
7) If flying is stressful, find something else to do.
Check with local pilots and instructors before flying into unfamiliar areas and airports. There will always be local factors and differences that are specific to the situation.
8) Maintain your health
9) Maintain your physical comfort while flying.

A certain amount of stress is good for you and your flying. It keeps 'you on you toes' and alert. However, stress is accumulative. As stress builds it crosses a threshold level where your ability to adapt declines and your ability to perform decreases. The threshold varies every moment of your life. When your stress level gets you behind the airplane make a change. A change that ALWAYS works is to slow down the airplane.
Other than Flying:
1) Stress exists...............…........Know your stress agents
2) Change causes stress..............Don't take unsolved problems flying
3) Stress is insidious.........….......The Life Style factor
4) Stress is cumulative...........…..Flying requires emotional support

1) Avoid unrelated distractions......Safe flying is just flying
2) Reduce your workload.............Efficiency breeds efficiency
3) Maintain proficiency...........…...Fly regularly and often
4) Know your limits..............….....Instruction is cheap insurance
5) Flying is stressful............……...Flying should not be stressful
6) Mistakes breed mistakes...........Study mistake recognition
7) No emergency is "expected"......Checklist!!!

Risk Management
Using behavior modification techniques.
Using D-E-C-I-D-E
Detect....….that something has happened
Estimate......the need to counter or react
Choose.......the most desirable outcome
Identify.…...the best action required
Do.......…....the best action required
Evaluate.......the results

Personal Factors
1) Under the influence of...Personal attitudes that create hazards
2) Medical deficiency...
3) Emotional trauma……...Existing stress factors
4) Food or rest...

Clues you should have somewhere in your flight kit to warn you if you are becoming less aware.
--Fixation..........  ..You find yourself staring as just one instrument or problem
--Ambiguity......  ....You have two information sources that contradict each other.
--Complacency  ......When you think everything is twice as careful
--Euphoria........  .......When you think everything is going very careful
--Confusion......  ........When your 'gut' tells you something is not right, it isn't.
--Distraction.....   .........When you focus on an unimportant element, fly the airplane.
--Poor communications...When others are not 'in the know', start talking,
--Failure to meet targets.. .ETA not ATA, planned fuel low, etc. LAND.
--Underload or Overload. ..Bored or too busy, tighten your parameters.
--Improper procedures........When you or ATC do something wrong, get it right.
--Unresolved discrepancies...When things don't add up, put in new numbers.
--No one is flying the aircraft...Things are not right, when they're not right.

The key is to avoid not using your position, airspeed, and altitude to the best advantage.
It is too late to start looking for the aircraft manual when things go wrong. 
It is vital that you have a rehearsed/planned emergency procedure.
Every time you fly keep adding to your library of 'what if' options. 
Creative thinking will not be as useful as an available checklist. 
Situational awareness is the best lubricant for effective thinking. 
A 'second guess' will probably be wrong.
Know where you are. 

Preventative Training
As you leave behind your passing of the Practical Test you will begin to make some changes in the way you fly. As the hours accumulate there will be a gradual but fundamental shift in your attitude and performance standards into a more relaxed mode.

This relaxation will continue will continue and grow until something happens. Eventually something will happen. The happening in 65% of the time will be directly related to pilot proficiency and decision-making skills. Unless you have an on-going program of self-improvement and outside evaluation of standards you will gradually lose the margins of proficiency you acquired beyond the Practical Test minimums.

--According to the FARs, an aviator must have a current medical, a flight review, and three takeoffs and landings to function as a PIC with passengers. 
--Proficiency, on the other hand, indicates that a pilot is adept, skillful, expert, and masterful.
--Don't waste time and money. Plan your flight so that you have an opportunity to practice dead reckoning, steep turns, VOR tracking, slowflight and some stalls.
--If you know you have weak areas, take an instructor along so you can work where work is needed. Get your money's worth.
--Train for proficiency. Pick a skill and work on performing transitions from one configuration to another smoothly and precisely.

Those pilots who used the flight review as their sole recurrent training are going to lose touch with those areas of their flying that are weakest. The review can easily miss those areas of weakness that require additional emphasis and instruction.

You should be working on self-improvement on every flight. The inherent risks of flying can be lowered but never eliminated by honing our skills each time we fly. We reduce the altitude and heading deviations. We takeoff by allowing the airplane to rise when it is ready by holding the nose wheel off the ground. We lower the nose and accelerate in ground effect before initiating the climb. We climb at Vy and confirm our takeoff trim setting by watching the nose when we release yoke pressure.

We navigate by dead reckoning and set our ETAs without the GPS. With very little practice we can do as well as the GPS. We are not looking for perfection, just improvement. We want to prevent any deviations that indicate wasted energy and time.

We judge our arrival by the efficiency with which we arrive on the downwind, the conciseness of your radio procedures and the compactness of the pattern adjusted for wind. We judge the approach on how constant we have been able to leave our configuration settings. We make any changes as needed but these indicate room for the improvement we are working on. The changes are the details we don't want to have to correct on the next approach. The day may come when we will need to precise and not have the where-with-all to make any changes.

Why Preventative Training
The amount of effort and study required in learning to fly greatly increases the value of the endeavor. To those where things come easily the value is not nearly so well appreciated. The overcoming of frightening experiences, unexpected flight conditions, adverse weather, aircraft maintenance, and personnel problems only increases the value of the total experience. A student's ability to look ahead and beyond the negatives into the distant brightness of success is important but more important are the lessons learned on the dark side of flight experience. Mistakes are the saviors of future events. Mistakes keep you from being too sure of yourself or your skills. Mistakes when overcome will use their bright side to give us the skill to survive.

Lessons are expensive but failure to take lessons can even be far more expensive. Lessons that prevent the making of damaging mistakes may the be cheapest part of flying. By not learning from our minor mistakes or guided instructional mistakes we are doomed to travel a very dangerous road. Flying skills do not travel in a straight line for very long. Deterioration of skill does not take long its ugly head. Only skill has the ability to change the uncertainty of a paralyzing moment into a non-event. Evasion of refresher training will only delay the inevitable mistake for a time. Initial-mistake avoidance is a far more reasonable that being faced with the same mistake-entry for a second or third time.

A mistake can be both sobering and enlightening. The key to properly dealing with a flying mistake is to accept it as a given fact and use it as a springboard for additional training. It is not a mistake that is so terrible; terrible begins when adequate learning fails to rise from the dark side of a mistake. Proper use of a mistake requires some time spent in productive analysis of the chain links leading to the mistake. Every successful student has faced obstacles, disappointments and failed lessons. Failure is a great teacher. Successes without the leavening of effort are never going to be as beneficial as those mastered by overcoming failures.

Mental attitude has a great deal with the creation of mistake opportunities. Those apt to make flying mistakes are those who cut corners, seek thrills, take chances, have overblown concepts of competence, feel invulnerable, are contumacious toward the FARs and have current personal stress in their lives. A pilot who displays one or more of these characteristics is also more likely to believe that he has control of the outcomes of what he does. When he is in charge he expects the good outcome. He believes that bad things happen to other people. Fact is, considering yourself special will not improve your flying.

The mistake prone pilot is most likely to have the above personal behavior factors and fly with a sense of invulnerability. The worst thing that can happen to such a personality is to 'get away' with a mistake. The very sense of confidence, skill and awareness can bring down this pilot. Denial and rationalization will blind the pilot to the realities that exist. Once panic sets in, the pilot reacts slowly and rational thinking is replaced by illogical hopes.

Using Concern to Prevent Panic
When concern becomes trepidation the thought process are more likely to be reasonable, considered, and valid for the situation. When concern become fear the thought processes become panic driven. Panic is unlikely to be reasonable, considered, or valid for the situation all of which leads to disastrous results.
Preflight is sanitized until completed
Flight will be reviewed as planned, as possible problems and weather
Everybody go to the John.
Passengers air, heat and vents only
Seats and Belts
Positioning and adjustments
Use of radio optional
Signal for sterile cockpit
Headset use and volume settings
Rejected takeoff
Engine failure situations
Survival procedures
Immediate Acton
Use of POH
Radio and transponder
Listening and not talking
Traffic watch
Pilot in command
See and avoid
Use of checklists
Sharing control
Who's in charge?
Traffic avoidance
Sharing of duties

Passenger Briefing
Passenger briefings are consistently neglected to some extent under the assumption that full disclosure of what can happen will frighten them and encourage airsickness. Leading the fear agenda of passengers is stalling. The uneducated opinion is that an aircraft call is like an automobile stall. It isn't. This is the kind of baseless fear that makes airplane accident headline news and an automobile accident radio traffic report. Pilot incapacitation is a legitimate passenger concern; so is turbulence.
Major Considerations
--Getting in and fastening down.
--Getting loose, getting out and getting away.
--Procedure for engine failure
--Off-field landing
--Emergency exiting
--Getting clear of aircraft direction
--Finding solid ground and cover

Passenger Briefing
Welcome aboard Flyin' Flynn Airlines Local flight departing Concord en route, with any luck at all, to our destination. Please make sure your seatbelt is on and that your seat is securely fastened to the fuselage. At this time, any personal items should be stowed securely in the trunk of your car, since there is no overhead compartment or space beneath your seat, to speak of. Please turn off all portable electronic devices, and keep them off until we have landed safely, or for the duration of the flight, whichever comes first.

Smoking is not permitted inside the cabin; smoking outside the cabin should be reported to the captain immediately. There is no beverage service during the flight, however, heavy drinking prior to takeoff is encouraged. In-flight entertainment will consist of watching the pilot's desperate struggle to control the plane.

We'll be flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet today, in theory; should the plane's altitude drop precipitously, please check to ensure that the pilot is awake and in an upright position. Lavatories are located at either end of the flight.

As we prepare for takeoff, please take this opportunity to locate the exit nearest you and, if you have any sense at all, avail yourself of it before it's too late. In a moment, the pilot will begin handing out the release forms in preparation for takeoff. Be assured that in all his time aloft, Pilot Gene Whitt has never lost a passenger; however, your results may vary.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.

Passenger Briefing (prior to flight)
--.Use the restroom before getting in the plane.
--While walking around the airfield, be careful of spinning propellers and jet intakes. If somebody yells "Clear!" it means that an engine will be starting soon

--You must have your seatbelt on during taxiing, takeoff, and landing, and here's how you work it

--Keep the doors closed until I tell you it's OK to open them.

--Note the location and operation of the various normal and emergency exits

--Don't touch the controls without asking first, including the knobs, buttons, yoke, pedals, and the push-to-talk button

--If we need to pass the controls, due to traffic etc., please use "My controls/Your controls" to ensure positive switching

--The airsickness bags are in the seatbacks if you need them. Don't hesitate. If you start to feel queasy tell me right away For those with a weak stomach, the eating of candied ginger a half-hour before our departure will be helpful as a preventative..

--If you see any other airplanes once we are off the ground please let me know. An extra pair of eyes always helps

-- In the extremely unlikely event that we are forced to land anywhere other than an airport, I will tell you to open the door just a crack when we are 50 ft from the ground

--If you have any questions? Please don't hesitate to ask during the flight.

An Accident Waiting to Happen
1. Fatigue is one of the most insidious causes of lost of attentiveness and judgment
2. Having the perception that your arrival at a destination is really important.
3. A long trip not divided into segments.
4. Failure to reduce power setting that will greatly improve your range.

Hazards of Engine Failure
--Fire is always a life-threatening emergency. Get down and out fast.
--Engine failure is uncommon and survivable five out of six events.
--Electric failure is a non-event VFR and requires getting from IFR to VFR as soon as possible.
--Vacuum failure non-event in VFR and requires getting from IFR to VFR as soon as possible. Learn to read symptoms of a weakened vacuum pump.
--IAS failure is a non-event if pilot knows power and configuration settings.
--Altimeter failure is a non-event except on dark nights or in IFR conditions.
--Un-forecast headwinds are a non-event if detected soon enough to allow flight to alternate airport.
--Unavailable airport may require off-airport landing. Not a problem if decision made early.

Fears of Flying
Flying is replete with risk and associated fears. Fright is quick, fear gnaws on you.
--Flying is potentially a very unsafe activity. Reasonable considered fears are safety factors.
--Being aware of what can happen is different than being afraid of what can happen.
--Risk assessment must be a major component of flight instruction.
--Fear can be an illusion, non-existent and a figment of the mind.
--Flying is more dangerous than driving by time and distance.
--Flying fears have several origins, instinctive, acquired, imposed and unrealized.
--Students fear the unknown problems that are sure to appear.
--Personal attitudes, physical condition and unrealized fears inhibit student achievement.
--We all have instinctive fears of height. Fly in a doorless Cub or ultralight to see what I mean.
--We fear the possibility of 'failure'.
--Pilot error is the largest cause and most controllable cause of accidents.
--Instruction is used to prepare a student to use every 'failure' as a learning opportunity.
--Planned 'failures' are a part of every instructional program.
--Planned 'failures" show the student that 'fears' can be reduced to non-events.
--Good instruction enables a student to build a collection of overcome fears as weapons against new fears.
--Good instructional programming limits fear from becoming overwhelming. This does not always succeed.
--Stalls inhibit our ability to relax because it is related to 'fear of falling'.
--We fear the change in environment, control, sound and sensation that occurs while flying. 
--Becoming a pilot is a process of facing uncounted and unexpected fears.
--We associate ground proximity with crashing so we 'fear' the proximity of the ground.
--We fear aircraft and terrain that is at or above our altitude.
--We are fearful of the unknown fears waiting in the next lesson or flight.
--We are fearful of displaying our fears.
--A fear is not an enjoyable situation.
--Nothing, but nothing focuses attention as will fear.
--Overcoming fear is a process of expanding the field of attention.
--Resource management is taught and used as a control to reduce fear to manageable segments.
--Every word of instruction is aimed at replacing fear with risk awareness.
--Training needs to emphasize risk situation evaluation, management and avoidance.
--Every practice exercise is planned to expose every known fear to risk reducing procedures.
--Every emergency simulation procedure is used to demonstrate how potential hazards can be reduced
--Every FAR is equated with how it is derived from a potential fear creating situation.
--Decision-making is used to reduce the risk(fears) inherent in flying.
--Fear can be controlled but elimination is not desirable since fear is a valuable pilot resource.
--One fear that comes to every pilot at some time is the loss of medical.
--Fear FAA Medical Division will take irrational, delaying approach to medical approval.
--Fear of a ramp check.
--We glory in overcoming the challenges presented by our fears.
Fears From ras…
--Getting the magic "hold" word when the burrito kicks in.
--Being trapped in the plane if it went down in water.
--Having the plane get away from me while towing it down the hill at 87Y, having to chase after it while everyone laughs, and then have it strike - head-on, into one of the hangers at the bottom of the hill...
--The most terrified I ever was as a student was on an early solo flight on a Saturday morning, when I came back to the airport and found the pattern packed with aircraft. I was afraid I couldn't get into the pattern to land. I froze up to where I couldn't even reach for the mic or throttle. Had to fly away from the area for a while until I could relax and try again.
--Reminds me of my long solo told to remain OCTA (VFR conditions) from approach, had drank a lot of Pepsi before I left, but I won't bore you with details!
--Fear of flying solo
--Fear of in-flight fire

About Fear
All fears are based on failure to know enough about the situation. Any fear can be overcome using knowledge to replace fear with risk assessment. There are many kinds of fears and levels of fear. A healthy fear keeps you from flying into T-storms or icing. A reasonable fear keeps you out of uncertain visibility or crosswind conditions. Do not venture into a situation where you have not been taught how to measure and select your safe options.

You will never need to do or practice stalls by yourself until you want to. Stall fears can be killed' forever by doing some aerobatic spins with a competent instructor. Tell your instructor about your concerns so he can come up with some ideas. Never keep a 'fear' a secret because that's the way they multiply.

You're Not Alone...a posting on ras
Fear in flying is usually associated with doing *new* things (particularly solo). It can be good in the sense that you're more aware of your limitations and proceed accordingly. It can also be bad in that fear tends to focus your attention on what frightens you - potentially blocking out other important things...

The more familiar you become with the experience, the more confident you'll become. You're not fearful in the pattern because you've done it enough to be confident in yourself. It sounds like solo airwork in the practice area is stretching your comfort zone, and you're response isn't abnormal. When I haven't flown on instruments in several months, the thought of going single pilot into the clouds (although legal) scares me. In my opinion, that's a good kind of scared. Right after an Instrument Proficiency Check where I've practiced stalls and unusual attitudes while simulating a vacuum failure - my confidence comes back.

The people that really frighten me are the ones who have done a dangerous thing enough times that it doesn't scare them. They are the few from which the saying comes, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots."
Keep at it!

Gene's Email to ras on Fear
I am a firm believer in the old adage of getting back on the horse to ride again after being thrown off repeatedly.

Fear keeps all of us from being assertive in many areas of our lives. Rather than being a stimulating force, fear tends to immobilize a person and prevent him from seeing a solution. Fear also creates an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair.

However, fear can often be assuaged with knowledge; of what it's really like to fly without fear and go through the process of getting additional ratings, and live happier with these changes in your life. In addition to facing your fears you need to have a meaningful goal or purpose in your flying life.

When working toward a goal, we are more focused and hopeful, even if we don't accomplish every goal.  Life appears pointless if we do not wake every day with a selected goal or purpose. Think toward a distant goal even though the exact steps are not transparent at the moment.

I am working with an IFR pilot who was my student not long ago. The student has let a concern about solo IFR become a fear. We are going up locally and do a dual approach. Then the student will get out, and I will do a solo approach. Then it will be the student's turn. When I proposed this, the student immediately recognized it as nearly the technique I used to give confidence when they were first learning to fly.

Bill's Problems and ---Gene's Remarks
---These fears are practical and your instruction should have given you decision making opportunities to develop the needed skills. If not, take some lessons in marginal conditions so you can see what it is like.
Gene says:  Several of the fears listed are my own list of fears. But here are my contributions.

--Fear of being stranded at a distant airport due to weather beyond my minimums with a rental airplane that is due back in an hour.
Gene says:  Talk to the owner of the FBO. You will find that they have a standing policy that makes weather an acceptable excuse for staying on the ground.

- Fear that in order to avoid being stranded at a distant airport I will attempt to rationalize flying home anyway and do it (fear of get-there-itis).
Gene Says: The problem and its related fear is all too common. You will never be wrong in making the safest decision possible. Always keep faith with those who should know that you would not fly into deteriorating weather. Establish alternate communication arrangements.

--Fear that I will not recognize that weather (namely visibility) is deteriorating below my minimums and not turning back or landing at a distant field (see above) until too late.
Gene says: Don't wait for weather to trap you. It will. Get on the ground at the first twinge of concern. Communicate with ATC/FSS and head for VFR. Ask yourself if getting there is worth your and yours lives.

--These fears are based on how indecisive I was during my training about whether or not I should still have a lesson when the weather was marginal. Usually my instructor would be the one to make the decision not to go after I decided that we would go.
Gene says:  Apparently you backed out of some very valuable learning experiences by not letting your instructor give you exposure to decision making mistakes. Take some lessons in marginal VFR. Learn to do SVFR. Use good conditions as an opportunity to learn how low you can safely fly in marginal conditions in your immediate training area. Then expand the areas.

--I guess I have a fear of not making the right decisions; which field to land at during an emergency, should I go around, should I stay on the ground today. This is one reason I would rather go with an instructor; someone else is there to make the tough decisions. Flying the plane is the (relatively) easy part.
Gene says: Let the experienced pilot make the decisions that will expose you to conditions beyond your capability. Caution: The worst thing that can happen to you is for you to 'get away' with a bad decision. I make a point of giving my students an opportunity to see what happens when a bad decision is made. As part of the lesson I teach how to get out of a bad situation. There is material on this subject on my web site under SVFR.

---Fear keeps all of us from being assertive in many areas of our lives. Rather than being a stimulating force, fear tends to immobilize a person and prevent him from seeing a solution. Fear also creates a sense of hopelessness and despair. However, fear can often be assuaged with knowledge; of what it's really like to fly without fear and go through the process of getting additional ratings, and live happier with these changes in your life. 
Gene Says;  In addition to facing your fears you need to have a meaningful goal or purpose in your flying life. When working toward a goal, we are focused and hopeful, even if we don't accomplish every goal. Life appears pointless if we do not wake every day with a selected goal or purpose. Think toward a distant goal even though the exact steps are not transparent at the moment

Fear, Revisited
I found about seven different items on fear and a series of articles about concerns on my web site. I sent them to the parties initially. I will work on writing a more effective response. For now, I offer the following.

The student comes into the flying situation with some preconceived ideas as what it takes to learn to fly. Many of these ideas are counter intuitive and often dead wrong. Landings are a good example. In the instructional course of correcting erroneous concepts we destroy the intellectual and emotional security that many have had since childhood. Just watch a child land a toy airplane…flat. No one visualizes a landing as though done by a duck. When we fail to replace the destruction of existing concepts with a viable base of information and skill we have done to the student much as we have done to Indian culture. To destroy a value without an adequate replacement value is the worst thing that can be done to an individual or group.

Into the vacuum of uncertainty comes an entire spectrum of terms (dilemma, quandary, bewilderment, indecision, indetermination, puzzlement, perplexing, confusion, insecurity, problematical questionable, precarious, etc) that breed one with another until we reach panic and illogical behavior. The frequent flyer does not have time to allow any one of the subconscious problems to gnaw its way into awareness. I have a gut feeling that the more frequently a person gets into an airplane the less likely is he to quit flying.

For training purposes I do this.
1. My airport radio exercise using all runways with ATC coming up with some creative instructions is a great confidence builder. I developed this when a student came to me who had quit flying after solo because he was instructed to extend downwind and didn't know what to do. This exercise immediately precedes first solo.

2. I make off airport landings to demonstrate that the aircraft does not need a runway. The ability to land and takeoff of an unimproved surface should be required of every pilot. Tremendous confidence builder but insurance risk is high for instructor.  I stopped about 1990.

3. After home-field solo my next four solo flights are duplicates of an immediate preceding dual flights to and from neighboring airports. Success breeds success. Gives a greater confidence area for making cross-country flights. My students do not have cross-country problems.

4. I teach pilotage as primary navigation skill. I teach knowledge of the area and selection of identifiable navigation points as an essential to keeping track of where you are. There is nothing so emotionally and mentally debilitating as being lost. Even uncertainty as to location is a prelude to fear.

5. I urge my students not to begin until they have the time, money, and ability to proceed quickly to their license. I recommend beginning in the late fall and finishing before spring. This gives exposure, under supervision, to the judgment and decision skills required to accept or decline flight in weather. This last is the missing link as to why so many pilots drop out of flying.

6. I take my students up in marginal conditions and very strong crosswinds. I teach them to use good conditions to work out what to do when conditions are less favorable. Delay and frustration is a part of a flyer's universe. Learning to accept an unpleasant situation is part of a pilot's growth pattern and not a reason to quit.

On Slumping
Jeffrey Osier-Mixon wrote:

> A word of advice for all you slumpers... EVERYONE has gone through this.
That is NO EXAGGERATION. Slump happens. You start thinking about soloing, you start pressuring yourself to impress the aviator in the seat next to you, and you get all keyed up and clumsy. Better to have it happen with the instructor there with you.

It's a good thing. Teaches you to fly when you're nervous, which is another inevitability. If you can land a plane when you're all keyed up and nervous, and you're not even experienced to solo yet (else the instructor would have signed you off), once you get through that you will have improved as a pilot beyond the ten or twenty extra landings it takes you to get to the inevitable solo flight.
Good luck!-gatt

In a sense, your fear is reasonable.
> > I'm going to have to disagree here. Perhaps you're seeing "dread" where I use "fear". Or perhaps you'd prefer if I use "caution" or "respect".

No really...Dread and fear go together. When a person fears something they
will dread doing it.
>> I suppose that it's a matter of degrees, but I don't view a certain level of fear - respect - as a Fear and respect is not related. Respect is earned, whether for someone else, or for the elements.

Although different situations, a person can not demand respect. When a person of power demands respect, they instead, receive a "show" of respect, which is fear, or acting. 
Bad thing. It's what keeps us looking for the next emergency field, for example.
> > No one should be flying when they are carrying around a load of fear!

But this disagrees with what you wrote earlier, where fear is dispelled by practice (and a good instructor)
>>No it doesn't! The student flies with an instructor to lean not only to fly, but his/her limitations and those of the airplane(s). From that the fear is dispelled and replaced by respect. Quite different than going out solo with a load of fear. It's really no different than going out when not feeling well. When I don't feel well, I stay out of the airplane.

But I do agree that too much fear is something to be addressed in and of itself. This may take something other than simply flying more dual hours, though. I suspect that this is what you're saying.
>>Yup! The student needs to keep flying dual, but also needs to get help to dispel the fear. It sounds as if there are many hours of reinforcing the fear and that makes getting rid of it much more difficult.

I didn't find the original post, but I'm assuming that he has soloed. I'm guessing that he has not flown the required cross-countries. He used the plural in referring to the XCs, so I guessed that he might have completed them. I don't know this, though.  Perhaps so, but this isn't my point. The fear that he's described is a kind of mental loop
>>I agree. Every time he doesn't fly, he reinforces the fear.

(I'll return to that concept below). Knowing and knowing that he knows it, can help get out of that loop.
>> But perhaps I'm assuming too much. Have you done a simulated engine failure all the way to the ground?

I expect that many pilots go through what you're experiencing, but perhaps to less degree than this. I know that I did. Especially after my first solo XC (where I became lost), it was hard for me to continue (and I've the 5 month gap to show for it). So it's just a matter of degree, which should show that you could get past this.

Getting Lost Is a Strange Feeling.
Response to a Post on ras:
>> It sounds like my experience was similar to yours on that photo shoot (except you didn't have as strong a reaction). I actually was where I was supposed to be, but I wasn't *sure* of it. So, flying as I was into an area where I had to worry about a class B and three class Ds, not to mention going past "home" (this was on the final leg), I had the thought "what if I'm really lost?"

From that thought on, I was in a "spiral", or an ever tightening mental loop. I was spending a decreasing amount of mental time on seeing where I was, and an increasing amount of mental time on that "what if".  When I finally decided to use the VORs, it was almost as if I couldn't remember how they worked.
>>Wait till you get hit with a case of vertigo while flying under the hood, or in actual IMC 

Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. Your thinking gets stuck in the mud in addition to being dizzy and maybe a bit more than a little green around the gills. It took a deliberate mental interrupt to get me out. I started with "well, if I am lost, I'll just...". That was enough to relax me, at which point there was what should have been an audible click, and I saw exactly where I was. As you wrote, everything was right where it belonged.
>> This is the type of loop to which I'm referring above.

Agreed. The solution for me was to acknowledge, "yes, it could be so, in which case I'd...", which then eliminates the grip the errant thought has. Yes, it could happen. And I've/we've been trained for this. So, I would suggest that the student should spend some time (however much it takes, or he's willing to spend) with an instructor, or instructors and discuss the problem and ways to reduce and eventually eliminate it.
>> I do agree with this. Perhaps the solution is to perform more of those emergency simulations (and do them completely, as in to the ground).

Maybe even trying a glider (proof that flight is possible w/o an engine).
>>I think the source of the fear needs to be recognized and then addressed. It may be that originally the stress of practice was interpreted as fear and from that the cycle just grew.

Many develop a reluctance to go out and practice at some point in their career as a student pilot. It shows up as procrastination, and then excuses that other things need to be done. (The mind is very good at doing this without ever letting us in on what is going on, or why)
>> I'm just about sure that it's possible for Ray to get past this. The reason for my conviction is that he didn't start with this fear. Rather, something occurred which brought this out. Therefore - I reason - that something can be addressed and - presumably - handled. Usually, if things like this have not been allowed to continue for too long. Identification and then addressing the problem will work. He may have to work at it in steps, but hopefully he can make it.--
Roger Halstead
> > - Andrew

Fearful Pilot
First, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to my issue. To be honest, this is a difficult problem to discuss. However, I think my desire to get over this problem is greater than my ego. All of your words of advice and analysis were well thought out and helpful.

To answer some of the questions that I read. Yes, I am post solo. I flew many solo flights and really only have one requirement left for my license which is the long solo cross-country. Actually many of my regular cross-country solo flights were long enough to count as the long cross-country. However, I had not landed at a third airport when doing those solos.

I have also done many, many engine off emergency landings to the ground. The ground in this case was of course an airport. The instructors I have had usually pull the engine and if they don't, I ask them to. I actually enjoy the heck out of this maneuver requiring a nice slip to landing. At least I enjoy it with an instructor in the plane!

I've heard from many of you the concept of fear reinforcement. I agree absolutely with this thesis. I let it go on WAY too long and am paying the price heavily now. I have to undo years worth of negative reinforcement. I have tried to identify to the best of my ability, what it is that concerns me. Getting lost is actually not one of them. I know the area well having flown every imaginable cross-country over the years. I am also comfortable with VOR procedures and the plane even has a GPS in it. Knock on wood, getting lost is not my current issue. Perhaps my problem stems from the fact that I have no particular love of heights. You would never see me doing sky diving as an example. The thought of falling uncontrollably from the sky is terrifying. Also, I think that the price of making mistakes can be a very steep one; certainly far steeper than most other endeavors one learns. When learning to drive a car all you have to do is pull over if things get a little confusing. No such luck in the plane and even worse luck if you are the only one in it.

I think what may have pushed this problem over the edge for me were some less than good landings I had when doing solos. The worst landing I had was when I became fearful of them (as solo) and some how I convinced myself to do some touch-n-goes in the pattern. Big mistake. I was terrified of how bad my performance was and how fear created a very bad landing situation. From that point on I resolved not to go solo until I had landings down better. Well, many hundreds of landings later and I am still flying with an instructor. I know that landings are no longer an issue so my concerns apparently morphed into other areas like an irrational fear of low probability issues. I also then think of my family and what they would do without me, and I think you get the picture of the downward spiral of negative thought.

Apologies for droning on with this. I take your words of encouragement with me into my next flight. Hopefully it will be the first step towards conquering this problem. Despite the time, money, and the many failures I have had trying to get myself into further solo activity, I am not yet ready to cave. I know if I do that this will be my greatest regret for the rest of my life. Perhaps this will assist in the search for fortitude.
Best regards,

On Fearing Fear
--Oh to die and never to have lived
--The FAA structure is adverse to allowing risk to exist. It fails.
--To enjoy a life with flying improves the quality of other aspects of life.
--Living without risk is not living well.
--Successful management of risk is what skillful flying is about.
--There is nothing wrong with fear that keeps you alive.
--A fear that controls your ability to enjoy, is a bad fear.
--To worry about the wrong fear increases risk.
--The worst fear is the fear of being fearful.
--A distraction is a risk multiplier.
--There is every reason to fear a legal risk with minimums.
--The impact of a risk is proportionate to the extent it is ignored.
--The pilot who reacts to risk with carelessness and ignorance is in trouble.
--Known risk problems are weather, unimproved airports, fuel situations, engine failure, and personal stress.
--Consider taking lessons in what not risks to take and judgments to make.
--Weather is a knowledge situation where knowing your own limits is the key.
--All risk is relative to the knowledge and experience of the pilot vs. importance of the flight.
--An aircraft with the engine running is at risk and in the air even more so.
--Risk pressure can be reduced by not having anything waiting at the destination.
--External pressures must not to become a risk factor multiple.
--Personal minimums are valid only so long as they remain inviolate.
--Personal well being and recent proficiency reduce risk.
--The less stress the greater the chance of success.
--Aircraft performance limits when exceeded compound the risk factors.
--Know your aircraft, especially the autopilot.
--The risks you take with the lives of others are a measure of your piloting ethics.
--Experience can raise your risk threshold.
--Your ethics will not allow you to take a risk that makes you uncomfortable.
--Develop a risk assessment chart.

Risk Taking
--The next time you intend to cut your margins of safe flight close, remember that Murphy is acting as co-pilot.
--The criteria of a successful flight is how the unexpected is turned into a non-event.

Airport Lease Agreements
Airports, landlords, FBOs want you to share liability with them. When the papers call for a waiver of subrogation which means you will share liability for anything they do wrong. The waiver may relieve the other party from any responsibility or damage he may cause to you or your aircraft. By signing such an agreement you become liable and if you have not told your insurance company you will not be covered.

The waiver of subrogation is reasonable and legal with respect to your actions with your aircraft. The subrogation is not right if it includes his actions. Insurance companies may agree if it is a government requirement. The companies have an obligation to seek recovery for losses caused by a negligent third party. Do not accept any waiver of subrogation or additionally insured without your insurer's approval. Alternatively, cross out of the agreement any such statements and state that your insurer does not allow any such agreements.

Aeronautical Decision Making
Personal attitude
--Degree of acceptance of new or different ideas
--Willingness to try out new/different ideas
--If you think you can, you can.
--Every event is the end link in a chain one bad link leads to another bad link.
--Situational awareness gives problem recognition and avoidance opportunity of risk.
--Risk rests with the pilot, aircraft, flight environment and type of operation.
--The limits of your skill and management will determine the outcome.
–What you do is a reflection of your training, preparation and experience.
--Detect—estimate—choose—identify—selective response—evaluate result

Attitude Management
--Self acknowledgement of hazardous attitudes.
--Cockpit Resource Management
--In single pilot operations means cockpit organization
--Use of ATC, other aircraft, FSS, and any thing available.

Stress Management
--Preparation for the unexpected
--Doing what can be done without accusation or blaming
--Logical risk identification and probability assessment.
--Use of information and evaluation of options on a timely basis.
--Acceptance of your personality weaknesses and making adjustments.

Knowing the Aircraft
---Vibration is a warning whimper by the aircraft
----Check oil pressure and temperature
----With engine monitor you can have a baseline to measure from
---Odd and even cylinder differences indicate an induction leak that needs to be checked
---Probes do no fail ‘high’
---Always seek a ‘back-up’ indication to verify a first indication
---Set alarms only so they function above the norms.
---Vibration is usually due to relative combustion pressures between cylinders
---Horizontally opposed engines do not run smoothly on lean of peak mixtures due to varying air/fuel
---Single cylinder high EGT is either injector or plug
---Tachometer changes are significant if related to vibration changes
---Re-lean for best operation and least vibration.
---Not all vibrations are from the engine
---Instant rise in CHT means detonation…ENRICH immediately and pull power

Twenty Five Years of Lessons Learned
---It is always better to divert early 
---Weather is too variable to ‘assume’
---Icing is an insidious trap…
---It’s always "see and avoid" …
---Early recognition provides more options…
---"monitor, monitor, monitor…"
---I’ll visually check my fuel…
---Get prepared on the ground…
---I really need to take time for the checklist…
---the first priority – fly the airplane…
---flight is not over until…stopped…shutdown
---I was counting on the autoflight system…
---We had a good runway in front of us…
---return an airworthy aircraft to us to fly…
---Experience does not replace homework…
---check airmen can make mistakes…
---I just learned to communicate clearly…
---If ever there is a doubt…confirm….
---Never assume anything…
---Only emergency transmissions to aircraft on takeoff…
---Take time to do work right…
---Always check the part number
---Never let anyone talk you into it…
---Situations never get better, only worse
---Check the MEL* book when deferring…
---Timely and accurate flow of CRM**information….

*Minimum Equipment List
**Crew Resource Management

Paul's Safety Question
The problem with aviation and automotive safety comparisons is that it is all a huge gessimate. Suggest you Google search the Nall Report for aviation statistics and the National Transportation Board web site for their numbers. By the hour driven or flown automobiles are much safer than airplanes. By the mile this is also true. Where you drive and where you fly affects the statistical results.

When Lindbergh got his license the life expectancy of a pilot was 900 hours. Today it is about 70,000 hours. I very much doubt that automotive safety has made such improvement even with air bags. In WWII the speed limit was 35 miles per hour to save fuel, not lives. If you fly a twin and have an accident you are four times more likely to be killed than in a single, on and on and on. If you are dealing with an emotional aspect of safety, don't get in bed. Most people die there. It is your driving and luck that will determine your driving accidents and the same is true in flying. You cannot statistically determine what will happen to an individual. The entire matter is not worthy of concern.

Regarding the C-172, with the increased power and speed of the new models you will see a decline in its safety record. The C-182's record as with any other similarly powered aircraft is mostly related to its being able to get you into difficulty better than you can get it out of difficulty. Look at the Sirrus record. It is the best selling GA aircraft and a high accident rate. Faster kills more often by either the hour or mile.

As of 1975 with the required installation of shoulder harness, one report indicated that four out of every five aircraft deaths since the Wright Brothers, including wartime, would not have occurred if shoulder harnesses were worn. Oddly enough governmental failures are making our lives less safe in most every aspect of our lives than need be. I could go on and on but the situation really depends upon the individual's perception, desires and behavior. Life is too short not to do what you enjoy. I hope to break 11,000 hour this year and never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would live to be 81 and still flying.
Gene Whitt

— A systematic list of items and equipment on board an aircraft that are intended for reference, verification, or identification. An essential tool for safely flying the aircraft.

Controllability — The quality of the response of an aircraft to the pilot’s commands while maneuvering the device.

Crew Resource Management (CRM) — The application of team management concepts in the flight deck environment. It was initially known as cockpit resource management, but as CRM programs evolved to include cabin crews, maintenance personnel and others, the phrase "crew resource management" has been adopted. This includes single pilots, as in most general aviation aircraft. Pilots of small aircraft, as well as crews of larger aircraft, must make effective use of all available resources; human resources, hardware, and information. A current definition includes all groups routinely working with the cockpit crew who are involved in decisions required to operate a flight safely. These groups include, but are not limited to, pilots, dispatchers, cabin crewmembers, maintenance personnel, and air traffic controllers. CRM is one way of addressing the challenge of optimizing the human/machine interface and accompanying interpersonal activities.

Decision-Making Process — Involves an evaluation of risk elements to achieve an accurate perception of the flight situation. The risk elements include the pilot, the aircraft, the environment, the operation, and the situation.

DECIDE Model — To assist in teaching pilots the elements of the decision-making process, a six-step model has been developed using the acronym "DECIDE."
Detect the fact that a change has occurred.
Estimate the need to counter or react to the change.
Choose a desirable outcome for the success of the flight.
Identify actions which could successfully control the change.
Do the necessary action to adapt to the change.
Evaluate the effect of the action.

Procedure — An action that must be performed in a particular way.

Aviation Safety Counselor — Volunteers within the aviation community who share their technical expertise and professional knowledge as a part of the FAA Aviation Safety Program.

Safety Pilot — A pilot that holds at least a current private pilot certificate, a category and class rating appropriate to the aircraft being flown, and at least a current third-class medical certificate. The safety pilot is in charge of seeing and avoiding other aircraft and terrain while instrument maneuvers are performed by another pilot who is wearing a view-limiting device.

 Return to whittsflying Home Page
Continued on 5.942 Making Decisions