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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making
Automation

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Preface

Acknowledgements

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

Appendix

Glossary

Index

Autopilot Systems
In a single-pilot environment, an autopilot system can greatly
reduce workload. [Figure 17-20] As a result, the pilot is free
to focus his or her attention on other flight deck duties. This
can improve situational awareness and reduce the possibility
of a CFIT accident. While the addition of an autopilot may
certainly be considered a risk control measure, the real
challenge comes in determining the impact of an inoperative
unit. If the autopilot is known to be inoperative prior to
departure, this may factor into the evaluation other risks.

An example of an autopilot system.
Figure 17-20. An example of an autopilot system.

For example, the pilot may be planning for a VHF
omnidirectional range (VOR) approach down to minimums
on a dark night into an unfamiliar airport. In such a case, the
pilot may have been relying heavily on a functioning autopilot
capable of flying a coupled approach. This would free the
pilot to monitor aircraft performance. A malfunctioning
autopilot could be the single factor that takes this from a
medium to a serious risk. At this point, an alternative needs
to be considered. On the other hand, if the autopilot were to
fail at a critical (high workload) portion of this same flight,
the pilot must be prepared to take action. Instead of simply
being an inconvenience, this could quickly turn into an
emergency if not properly handled. The best way to ensure
a pilot is prepared for such an event is to carefully study the
issue prior to departure and determine well in advance how
an autopilot failure is to be handled.

Familiarity
As previously discussed, pilot familiarity with all equipment
is critical in optimizing both safety and efficiency. If a pilot is
unfamiliar with any aircraft systems, this will add to workload
and may contribute to a loss of situational awareness. This
level of proficiiency is critical and should be looked upon
as a requirement, not unlike carrying an adequate supply of
fuel. As a result, pilots should not look upon unfamiliarity
with the aircraft and its systems as a risk control measure,
but instead as a hazard with high risk potential. Discipline
is key to success.

Respect for Onboard Systems
Automation can assist the pilot in many ways, but a thorough
understanding of the system(s) in use is essential to gaining
the benefits it can offer. Understanding leads to respect
which is achieved through discipline and the mastery of the
onboard systems. It is important to .y the airplane using
minimal information from the primary flight display (PFD).
This includes turns, climbs, descents, and being able to .y
approaches.

Reinforcement of Onboard Suites
The use of an electronic flight display may not seem
intuitive, but competency becomes better with understanding
and practice. Computer-based software and incremental
training help the pilot become comfortable with the onboard
suites. Then the pilot needs to practice what was learned
in order to gain experience. Reinforcement not only yields
dividends in the use of automation, it also reduces workload
significantly.

Getting Beyond Rote Workmanship
The key to working effectively with automation is getting
beyond the sequential process of executing an action. If a
pilot has to analyze what key to push next, or always uses
the same sequence of keystrokes when others are available,
he or she may be trapped in a rote process. This mechanical
process indicates a shallow understanding of the system.
Again, the desire is to become competent and know what to
do without having to think about,"what keystroke is next."
Operating the system with competency and comprehension
benefits a pilot when situations become more diverse and
tasks increase.

Understand the Platform
Contrary to popular belief, flight in aircraft equipped with
different electronic management suites requires the same
attention as aircraft equipped with analog instrumentation
and a conventional suite of avionics. The pilot should review
and understand the different ways in which EFD are used in
a particular aircraft. [Figure 17-21]

Two simple rules for use of an EFD:
• Be able to .y the aircraft to the standards in the PTS.
Although this may seem insignificant, knowing how to
.y the aircraft to a standard makes a pilot's airmanship
smoother and allows him or her more time to attend
to the system instead of managing multiple tasks.
• Read and understand the installed electronic flight
systems manuals to include the use of the autopilot
and the other onboard electronic management tools.

 

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