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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making
The Decision-Making Process

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making

The pilot should also consider what his or her capabilities
are in response to last minute changes of the approach (and
the reprogramming required) and ability to make large scale
changes (a reroute for instance) while hand flying the
aircraft. Since formats are not standardized, simply moving
from one manufacturer's equipment to another should give
the pilot pause and require more conservative planning and

The SRM process is simple. At least five times before and
during the flight, the pilot should review and consider the "Plan,
the Plane, the Pilot, the Passengers, and the Programming"
and make the appropriate decision required by the current
situation. It is often said that failure to make a decision is a
decision. Under SRM and the 5 Ps, even the decision to make
no changes to the current plan, is made through a careful
consideration of all the risk factors present.

Perceive, Process, Perform (3P)
The Perceive, Process, Perform (3P) model for ADM offers
a simple, practical, and systematic approach that can be used
during all phases of flight To use it, the pilot will:
• Perceive the given set of circumstances for a flight
• Process by evaluating their impact on flight safety.
• Perform by implementing the best course of action.

In the first step, the goal is to develop situational awareness
by perceiving hazards, which are present events, objects, or
circumstances that could contribute to an undesired future
event. In this step, the pilot will systematically identify and
list hazards associated with all aspects of the flight: pilot,
aircraft, environment, and external pressures. It is important
to consider how individual hazards might combine. Consider,
for example, the hazard that arises when a new instrument
pilot with no experience in actual instrument conditions wants
to make a cross-country flight to an airport with low ceilings
in order to attend an important business meeting.

In the second step, the goal is to process this information
to determine whether the identified hazards constitute risk,
which is defined as the future impact of a hazard that is not
controlled or eliminated. The degree of risk posed by a given
hazard can be measured in terms of exposure (number of
people or resources affected), severity (extent of possible
loss), and probability (the likelihood that a hazard will cause

a loss). If the hazard is low ceilings, for example, the level
of risk depends on a number of other factors, such as pilot
training and experience, aircraft equipment and fuel capacity,
and others.

In the third step, the goal is to perform by taking action to
eliminate hazards or mitigate risk, and then continuously
evaluate the outcome of this action. With the example of low
ceilings at destination, for instance, the pilot can perform
good ADM by selecting a suitable alternate, knowing where
to find good weather, and carrying sufficient fuel to reach
it. This course of action would mitigate the risk. The pilot
also has the option to eliminate it entirely by waiting for
better weather.

Once the pilot has completed the 3P decision process and
selected a course of action, the process begins anew because
now the set of circumstances brought about by the course of
action requires analysis. The decision-making process is a
continuous loop of perceiving, processing and performing.
With practice and consistent use, running through the 3P
cycle can become a habit that is as smooth, continuous, and
automatic as a well-honed instrument scan. This basic set of
practical risk management tools can be used to improve risk
management. The 3P model has been expanded to include the
CARE and TEAM models which offers pilots another way
to assess and reduce risks associated with flying

Perceive, Process, Perform with CARE and TEAM
Most flight training activities take place in the "time-critical"
time frame for risk management. Figures 17-8 and 17-9
combine the six steps of risk management into an easy-tore member
3P model for practical risk management: Perceive,
Process, Perform with the CARE and TEAM models. Pilots
can help perceive hazards by using the PAVE checklist
of: Pilot, Aircraft, environment, and External pressures.
They can process hazards by using the CARE checklist
of: Consequences, Alternatives, Reality, External factors.
Finally, pilots can perform risk management by using
the TEAM choice list of: Transfer, Eliminate, Accept, or
Mitigate. These concepts are relatively new in the GA training
world, but have been shown to be extraordinarily useful in
lowering accident rates in the world of air carriers.