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Instrument Flying Handbook
Human factors
Physiological or Psychological Factors

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Instrument Flying


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency

Physiological or psychological factors

Physiological or psychological factors can affect a pilot
and compromise the safety of a flight. These factors are
stress, medical, alcohol, and fatigue. Any of these factors,
individually or in combination, significantly degrade the
pilot's decision-making or flying abilities.

Stress is the body's response to demands placed upon it. These
demands can be either pleasant or unpleasant in nature. The
causes of stress for a pilot can range from unexpected weather
or mechanical problems while in flight, to personal issues
unrelated to flying. Stress is an inevitable and necessary part
of life; it adds motivation to life and heightens an individual's
response to meet any challenge. The effects of stress are
cumulative and there is a limit to a person's adaptive nature.
This limit, called the stress tolerance level (or channel
capacity), is based on the ability to cope with the situation.

At first, some amount of stress can he desirable and can
actually improve performance. However, higher stress levels,
particularly over long periods of time, can adversely affect
performance. Performance will generally increase with the
onset of stress, but will peak and then begin to fall off rapidly
as stress levels exceed the ability to cope. [Figure 1-10]

At this point, a pilot's performance begins to decline and
judgment deteriorates. Complex or unfamiliar tasks require
higher levels of performance than simple or overlearned
tasks. Complex or unfamiliar tasks are also more subject to
the adverse effects of increasing stress than simple or familiar
tasks. [Figure 1-10]

The indicators of excessive stress often show as three types
of symptoms: (1) emotional, (2) physical, and (3) behavioral.
Emotional symptoms may surface as over-compensation,
denial, suspicion, paranoia, agitation, restlessness, or
defensiveness. Physical stress can result in acute fatigue
while behavioral degradation will be manifested as sensitivity
to criticism, tendency to be argumentative, arrogance, and
hostility. Pilots need to learn to recognize the symptoms of
stress as they begin to occur.

There are many techniques available that can help reduce
stress in life or help people cope with it better. Not all of the
following ideas may he a solution, but some of them should
be effective.

1. Become knowledgeable about stress.

2. Take a realistic self-assessment. (See the Pilot's
Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge).

3. Take a systematic approach to problem solving.

5. Practice behavior management techniques.

6. Establish and maintain a strong support network.

Good flight deck stress management begins with good life
stress management. Many of the stress coping techniques
practiced for life stress management ore not usually practical
in flight. Rather, pilots must condition themselves to relax and
think rationally when stress appears. The following checklist
outlines some methods of flight deck stress management.

1. Avoid situations that distract from flying the aircraft

2. Reduce flight deck workload to reduce stress levels.
This will create a proper environment in which to make
good decisions. Typically, flying involves higher stress
levels during takeoff and landing phases. Between the
two generally lies a period of low activity resulting
in a lower stress level. Transitioning from the cruise
phase to the landing phase is generally accompanied
by a significant workload that, if not properly
accommodated, will increase stress significantly.
Proper planning and prioritization of flight deck
duties are key to avoiding events that affect the pilot's
capacity to maintain situational awareness.

Stress and Pesforniance.
Figure 1-10. Stress and Performance.