Old 11th Oct 2013, 19:18
  #355 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 802
Originally Posted by Clandestino
Originally Posted by AirRabbit
To me, this is what I think that F/O was doing ... reacting with a skill set and doing so out of panic ... attempting to function without thinking logically or reasoning to any degree and was, instead, functioning out of an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and frantic agitation.

I'm afraid I agree with this one. Seemingly he firmly believed his actions were appropriate without stopping and checking whether they really were.
Well … when someone is operating out of panic, there is virtually no time where the person would “stop to check” anything. They are also not doing what they’re doing out of a belief that whatever it is would be proper or not. When someone is panicked they do whatever they do out fear and/or supremely heightened anxiety. There is no, or exceptionally little, conscious awareness of what they are doing. Their actions are formed from what some might call “a reservoir” of physical actions, the knowledge of which is buried in that person’s subconscious.

Someone on this forum has mentioned something called the “startle factor” – which has come to be something that psychologists (primarily experimental psychologists) have described as the “blinding” period of time that starts when something happens and continues until the time the participant recognizes that something has happened – and it is usually an extremely short period of time. However, when that participant does consciously recognize that something has happened, as far as I know, there is no standard of performance from that point forward. If the event is recognized, there may (or may not) be an action, or multiple actions, that could be satisfactorily taken to resolve the situation. The question is whether or not those actions would be effective only if taken in the proper sequence, and if so, will that person have the cognitive understanding of that requirement, and be able to logically take those steps, in that order? From here, comes the question of what to do … how to train … so that those who might be at risk for encountering unknown and unexpected events that could have tremendously serious consequences … could be expected to properly and successfully respond to the circumstance that generated the startle.

As someone whose career has been primarily devoted to education and training, I can say that, so far at least, I have seen nothing that equals the repetitive practice of doing something the right way, in the right sequence – over and over and over and over. The only variation that should be included (and it SHOULD be included) is the VARIABILITY of the initiating circumstances where each such variable initiation would result in the person having to respond with the appropriate steps, taken in whatever sequence that will get the situation to the desired level of completion. In aviation, I believe that this would be most logically accomplished by having pilots exposed to having their airplane experience “upset conditions” (including approaches to, and the development of, aerodynamic stalls) through as many variations as would be logically possible. The plan should be to have those pilots follow a logical process to maintain, or regain and then maintain, their airplane in a recognized and desired condition (i.e., position, attitude, altitude, airspeed, and configuration). To me, pilots practice doing this all the time when they are operating through the use of the primary and secondary controls to maintain (or regain and maintain) straight and level, un-accelerated flight. This training should focus on using all the available indications – mostly the flight instruments – ALL of the instruments – as well as the cues provided by sound, visual, and body position in space. And, when the pilot has developed a process that seems to be functional in all of the situations presented - the training should shift to achieving the same results but limiting the references to which the pilot may refer in taking the actions that he/she believes to be appropriate. And, in case you miss my meaning here, I'm talking about limiting the number of instrument references available. Of course, constant and vigilant observation, input, and correction (when necessary) remains a requirement for instructors during this training.

To my knowledge, this is the only way that pilots can be properly prepared - both mentally and physically - for something to occur for which there is no anticipation, and possibly no recognition. And it should be stressed that knowing "why" or "how we got to this position," is not as important as knowing "what to do now."

Last edited by AirRabbit; 11th Oct 2013 at 19:27.
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