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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making
Risk Management

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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




In advanced avionics aircraft, proper automation management
also requires a thorough understanding of how the autopilot
interacts with the other systems. For example, with some
autopilots, changing the navigation source on the e-HSI from
GPS to LOC or VOR while the autopilot is engaged in NAV
(course tracking mode) will cause the autopilot's NAV mode
to disengage. The autopilot's lateral control will default to
ROL (wing level) until the pilot takes action to reengage the
NAV mode to track the desired navigation source.

Risk Management

Risk management is the last of the three flight management
skills needed for mastery of the glass flight deck aircraft. The
enhanced situational awareness and automation capabilities
offered by a glass flight deck airplane vastly expand its safety
and utility, especially for personal transportation use. At the
same time, there is some risk that lighter workloads could
lead to complacency.

Humans are characteristically poor monitors of automated
systems. When asked to passively monitor an automated
system for faults, abnormalities, or other infrequent events,
humans perform poorly. The more reliable the system, the
poorer the human performance. For example, the pilot only
monitors a backup alert system, rather than the situation
that the alert system is designed to safeguard. It is a paradox
of automation that technically advanced avionics can both
increase and decrease pilot awareness.

It is important to remember that electronic flight displays do
not replace basic flight knowledge and skills. They are a tool
for improving flight safety. Risk increases when the pilot
believes the gadgets will compensate for lack of skill and
knowledge. It is especially important to recognize there are
limits to what the electronic systems in any light GA aircraft
can do. Being PIC requires sound ADM which sometimes
means saying "no" to a flight

Risk is also increased when the pilot fails to monitor the
systems. By failing to monitor the systems and failing to
check the results of the processes, the pilot becomes detached
from the aircraft operation and slides into the complacent role
of passenger in command. Complacency led to tragedy in a
1999 aircraft accident.

In Colombia, a multi-engine aircraft crewed with two pilots
struck the face of the Andes Mountains. Examination of
their FMS revealed they entered a waypoint into the FMS
incorrectly by one degree resulting in a flightpath taking
them to a point 60 NM off their intended course. The pilots
were equipped with the proper charts, their route was posted
on the charts, and they had a paper navigation log indicating
the direction of each leg. They had all the tools to manage
and monitor their flight, but instead allowed the automation
to .y and manage itself. The system did exactly what it was
programmed to do; it flew on a programmed course into a
mountain resulting in multiple deaths. The pilots simply failed
to manage the system and inherently created their own hazard.
Although this hazard was self-induced, what is notable is
the risk the pilots created through their own inattention.
By failing to evaluate each turn made at the direction of
automation, the pilots maximized risk instead of minimizing
it. In this case, a totally avoidable accident become a tragedy
through simple pilot error and complacency.

For the GA pilot transitioning to automated systems, it is
helpful to note that all human activity involving technical
devices entails some element of risk. Knowledge, experience,
and mission requirements tilt the odds in favor of safe and
successful flights. The advanced avionics aircraft offers
many new capabilities and simplifies the basic flying tasks,
but only if the pilot is properly trained and all the equipment
is working as advertised.

Chapter Summary

This chapter focused on helping the pilot improve his or
her ADM skills with the goal of mitigating the risk factors
associated with flight in both classic and automated aircraft.
In the end, the discussion is not so much about aircraft, but
about the people who fly them.