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Before the decision making.....

Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Before the decision making.....

Old 27th Aug 2015, 04:38
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Before the decision making.....

I visited a very learned PPRuNer today, and in his hangar is a framed group of wise aviation sayings. One of them reads: "Never take a plane somewhere your mind has not been five minutes earlier.". Wise, but certainly not new.

After a great flight, we stood and chatted, and exchanged the notion that accidents are often preceded by poor pilot decision making, but that poor pilot decision making can be preceded by a lack of thinking ahead about the grand plan. Failure to consider the grand plan, or even acknowledge that there should be one, can lead to the need for some rather vital pilot decision making, which is then already steps behind, for lack of thinking about the grand plan.

He and I agreed that present day flight training may be cheating student pilots somewhat in that we're teaching pilots how to fly, but are we teaching them to how to plan to fly?
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Old 30th Aug 2015, 22:23
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Mary's spin thread is I think a good example how training could be extended from the mechanics of entering and recovering from a spin.

Since the majority of spins are low altitude departures from controlled flight as part of the take off, the circuit, or landing; proper flight path control is in effect also spin awareness training.

For example the classic killer base to final turn usually starts with a strong crosswind at altitude onto the runway. The pilot fails to compensate on the downwind so he/she is too close to the runway when starting the downwind to base turn. This plus having a tailwind on base means the turn to final is late and the aircraft overshoots the runway centerline and the turn will likely be overbanked in the rush to line up.

The final nail in the coffin is the illusion created by drift as the aircraft turns onto final which encourages the use of bottom rudder (ie rudder into the turn) to make the turn "look" right. The aircraft is now in a skid, steeply banked and set up for a fatal spin entry.

Avoiding that spin should start with developing the students proactive recognition of the winds which should happen even before the circuit has been joined.

Unfortunately I do not see a lot of that holistic decision making which links the various parts of the flight together in one risk management framework, happening very much at flight schools......

Last edited by Big Pistons Forever; 31st Aug 2015 at 15:43.
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Old 4th Nov 2015, 16:42
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As many accidents or near miss are put down to "Human Error", may I recommend some reading material? Published in 2006, so many of the concepts are now central to risk control but worth reading and challenging yourself in any case. The question to ask is not "why did they do that", but "why did that response seem to them to be the most appropriate one, given the information that they held at that time?"

The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error

Sidney Dekker (the author is a professor in this field, and a part-time pilot flying a Boing 737NG)

ISBN 978-0-7546-4826-0

Fascinating reading
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 11:04
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"Never take a plane somewhere your mind has not been five minutes earlier.". Wise, but certainly not new.
This is an excellent way of starting a briefing on Sitaution Awareness but its not complete because its only a small part of Aviation Decison Making. Five minute ahead planning can only take place in the air so a better modern day practical approach may be to change that to 5 hours!

Pre flight planning bad habits start by students just turning up for lessons. My students know that if they cant tell me about the days weather and the notams they wont be flying. After Exercise 4 I want confirmation that they have checked on airfield notams and at least checked the BBC weather forecast and that is built upon on each subsequent lesson so by solo nav time they are briefing me on whether the weather is good enough to fly not the other way round as happens at so many schools.

For example the classic killer base to final turn usually starts with a strong crosswind at altitude onto the runway.
I would say it usually starts with lack of planning on the ground. If the wind is that strong on base there is also a good chance its going to be a crosswind on the runway and thats a consideration you should have made before flight. The best commanders are those who can identify potential problems on the ground rather than fly into them in the air.

Last edited by Pull what; 21st Nov 2015 at 11:21.
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