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Instrument Flying Handbook
Human factors
Medical 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

3. If a problem occurs, remain calm, if time is not a
pressing factor, follow the analytical approach to
decision-making: think for a moment, weigh the
alternatives, select and take an appropriate course of
action, and then evaluate its effects.

If an emergency situation occurs, remain calm and
use the aeronautical decision-making (ADM) process
to resolve the emergency. This process relies on the
pilot's training and experience to accurately and
automatically respond to an emergency situation,
Constant training in handling emergency procedures
will help reduce pilot stress when an emergency
4. Become thoroughly familiar with the aircraft, its
operation, and emergency procedures. Also, main tam
flight proficiency to build confidence.
5. Know and respect personal limits. Studies have
suggested that highly experienced pilots have taken
more chances when flying into potential icing
conditions than low time or inexperienced pilots.
Very low time pilots without experience may analyze
and interpret the likelihood for "potential" flight into
icing without the benefit of life experience, thereby
making decisions closely aligned with the compilation
of their training and recent academic knowledge.
Highly experienced pilots may evaluate the current
situation based upon the empirical information
(sometimes diluted with time) coupled with their
vast experience. This may lead to a level of greater
acceptability of the situation because their experience
has illustrated successful navigation of this problem
before, Therefore, the automatic decision may he in
error because not all salient facts are evaluated.

6. Do not allow small mistakes to be distractions during
flight; rather, review and analyze them after landing.

7. If flying adds stress, either stop flying or seek
professional help to manage stress within acceptable

Medical Factors
A "go/no-go" decision based on a pilot's medical factors is
made before each flight. The pilot should not only preflight
check the aircraft, but also himself or herself before
every flight. A pilot should ask, "Can I pass my medical
examination right now?" If the answer is not an absolute
"yes," do not fly. This is especially true for pilots embarking
on flights in IMC. Instrument flying is much more demanding
than flying in VMC, and peak performance is critical for the
safety of flight.

Pilot performance can be seriously degraded by both
prescribed and over-the-counter medications, as well as
by the medical conditions for which they are taken. Many
medications, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, strong pain
relievers, mmd cough suppressants, have primary effects
that impair judgment, memory, alertness, coordination,
vision, and the ability to make calculations. Others, such
as antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants,
and agents to control diarrhea and motion sickness, have
side effects that impair the same critical functions. Any
medication that depresses the nervous system, such as a
sedative, tranquilizer, or antihistamine, makes a pilot much
mote susceptible to hypoxia.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) prohibits
pilots from performing crew member duties while using any
medication that affects the faculties in any way contrary to
safety. The safest rule is not to fly as a crew member while
taking any medication, unless approved to do so by the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If there is any doubt
regarding the effects of any medication, consult an Aviation
Medical Examiner (AME) before flying.

14 CFR part 91 prohibits pilots from performing crew member
duties within S hours after drinking any alcoholic beverage or
while tinder the influence. Extensive research has provided a
number of facts about the hazards of alcohol consumption and
flying. As little as one ounce of liquor, one bottle of beer, or
four ounces of wine can impair flying skills arid render a pilot
much more susceptible to disorientation and hypoxia. Even
after the body completely metabolizes a moderate amount of
alcohol, a pilot can still be impaired for many hours. There
is simply no way of increasing the metabolism of alcohol or
alleviating a hangover.

Fatigue is one of the most treacherous hazards to flight safety,
as it may not be apparent to a pilot until serious errors are
made. Fatigue can be either acute (short-term) or chronic

Acute Fatigue
A normal occurrence of everyday living, acute fatigue is
the tiredness felt alter long periods of physical and mental
strain, including strenuous muscular effort, immobility, heavy
mental workload, strong emotional pressure, monotony, and
lack of sleep. Adequate rest, regular exercise, and proper
nutrition prevent acute fatigue.