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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making

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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




Once behind the display screens on an advanced avionics
aircraft, the pilot's goal is to meter, manage, and prioritize the
information .ow to accomplish specific tasks. Certificated
flight instructors (CFIs) as well as pilots transitioning to
advanced avionics will find it helpful to corral the information
flow. This is possible through such tactics as configuring the
aspects of the PFD and MFD screens according to personal
preferences. For example, most systems offer map orientation
options that include "north up," "track up," "DTK" (desired
track up), and "heading up." Another tactic is to decide, when
possible, how much (or how little) information to display.
Pilots can also tailor the information displayed to suit the
needs of a specific flight

Information flow can also be managed for a specific
operation. The pilot has the ability to prioritize information
for a timely display of exactly the information needed for any
given flight operation. Examples of managing information
display for a specific operation include:

• Program map scale settings for en route versus
terminal area operation.

• Utilize the terrain awareness page on the MFD for a
night or IMC flight in or near the mountains.

• Use the nearest airports inset on the PFD at night or
over inhospitable terrain.

• Program the weather datalink set to show echoes and
METAR status flaps.

Enhanced Situational Awareness
An advanced avionics aircraft offers increased safety with
enhanced situational awareness. Although aircraft flight
manuals (AFM) explicitly prohibit using the moving map,
topography, terrain awareness, traffic, and weather datalink
displays as the primary data source, these tools nonetheless
give the pilot unprecedented information for enhanced
situational awareness. Without a well-planned information
management strategy, these tools also make it easy for an
unwary pilot to slide into the complacent role of passenger
in command.

Consider the pilot whose navigational information
management strategy consists solely of following the
magenta line on the moving map. He or she can easily fly
into geographic or regulatory disaster, if the straight-line GPS
course goes through high terrain or prohibited airspace, or if
the moving map display fails.

A good strategy for maintaining situational awareness
information management should include practices that help
ensure that awareness is enhanced by the use of automation,
not diminished. Two basic procedures are to always double check
the system and verbal callouts. At a minimum, ensure
the presentation makes sense. Was the correct destination fed
into the navigation system? Callouts—even for single-pilot
operations—are an excellent way to maintain situational
awareness as well as manage information.

Other ways to maintain situational awareness include:

• Perform verification check of all programming. Before
departure, check all information programmed while
on the ground.

• Check the flight routing. Before departure, ensure all
routing matches the planned flight route. Enter the
planned route and legs, to include headings and leg
length, on a paper log. Use this log to evaluate what
has been programmed. If the two do not match, do not
assume the computer data is correct, double check the
computer entry.

• Verify waypoints.

• Make use of all onboard navigation equipment. For
example, use VOR to back up GPS and vice versa.

• Match the use of the automated system with pilot
proficiency. Stay within personal limitations.

• Plan a realistic flight route to maintain situational
awareness. For example, although the onboard
equipment allows a direct flight from Denver,
Colorado, to Destin, Florida, the likelihood of
rerouting around Eglin Air Force Base's airspace is

• Be ready to verify computer data entries. For example,
incorrect keystrokes could lead to loss of situational
awareness because the pilot may not recognize errors
made during a high workload period.

Automation Management
Advanced avionics offer multiple levels of automation, from
strictly manual flight to highly automated flight No one level
of automation is appropriate for all flight situations, but in
order to avoid potentially dangerous distractions when flying
with advanced avionics, the pilot must know how to manage
the course deviation indicator (CDI), the navigation source,
and the autopilot. It is important for a pilot to know the
peculiarities of the particular automated system being used.
This ensures the pilot knows what to expect, how to monitor
for proper operation, and promptly take appropriate action if
the system does not perform as expected.

For example, at the most basic level, managing the autopilot
means knowing at all times which modes are engaged
and which modes are armed to engage. The pilot needs to
verify that armed functions (e.g., navigation tracking or
altitude capture) engage at the appropriate time. Automation
management is another good place to practice the call out
technique, especially after arming the system to make a
change in course or altitude.