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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making
Decision-Making in a Dynamic Environment

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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




When possible, have a passenger reconfirm that critical tasks are completed.
Figure 17-14. When possible, have a passenger reconfirm that critical tasks are completed.

• Confirm after the pilot that the landing gear is
• Learn to look at the altimeter for a given altitude in a
• Listen to logic or lack of logic.

Also, the process of a verbal briefing (which can happen
whether or not passengers are aboard) can help the PIC in
the decision-making process. For example, assume a pilot
provides a lone passenger a briefing of the forecast landing
weather before departure. When the Automatic Terminal
Information Service (ATIS) is picked up, the weather has
significantly changed. The discussion of this forecast change
can lead the pilot to reexamine his or her activities and
decision-making. [Figure 17-14] Other valuable internal
resources include ingenuity, aviation knowledge, and flying
skill. Pilots can increase flight deck resources by improving
these characteristics.

When flying alone, another internal resource is verbal
communication. It has been established that verbal
communication reinforces an activity; touching an object
while communicating further enhances the probability an
activity has been accomplished. For this reason, many solo
pilots read the checklist out loud; when they reach critical
items, they touch the switch or control. For example, to
ascertain the landing gear is down, the pilot can read the
checklist. But, if he or she touches the gear handle during the
process, a safe extension of the landing gear is confirmed

It is necessary for a pilot to have a thorough understanding
of all the equipment and systems in the aircraft being flown.

Lack of knowledge, such as knowing if the oil pressure
gauge is direct reading or uses a sensor, is the difference
between making a wise decision or poor one that leads to a
tragic error.

Checklists are essential flight deck internal resources. They
are used to verify the aircraft instruments and systems are
checked, set, and operating properly, as well as ensuring
the proper procedures are performed if there is a system
malfunction or inflight emergency. Students reluctant to
use checklists can be reminded that pilots at all levels of
experience refer to checklists, and that the more advanced the
aircraft is, the more crucial checklists become. In addition, the
pilot's operating handbook (POH) is required to be carried on
board the aircraft and is essential for accurate flight planning
and resolving inflight equipment malfunctions. However, the
most valuable resource a pilot has is the ability to manage
workload whether alone or with others.

External Resources
Air traffic controllers and flight service specialists are the best
external resources during flight In order to promote the safe,
orderly flow of air traffic around airports and, along flight
routes, the ATC provides pilots with traffic advisories, radar
vectors, and assistance in emergency situations. Although
it is the PIC's responsibility to make the flight as safe as
possible, a pilot with a problem can request assistance from
ATC. [Figure 17-15] For example, if a pilot needs to level
off, be given a vector, or decrease speed, ATC assists and
becomes integrated as part of the crew. The services provided
by ATC can not only decrease pilot workload, but also help
pilots make informed inflight decisions.