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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aeronautical Decision-Making
Hazard and Risk

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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




• What lights are available at the destination and
alternate airports? VASI/PAPI or ILS glideslope
guidance? Is the terminal airport equipped with them?
Are they working? Will the pilot need to use the radio
to activate the airport lights?

• Check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) for closed
runways or airports. Look for runway or beacon lights
out, nearby towers, etc.
• Choose the flight route wisely. An engine failure gives
the nearby airports supreme importance.
• Are there shorter or obstructed fields at the destination
amd/or alternate airports?
• If the trip is over remote areas, are appropriate
clothing, water, and survival gear onboard in the event
of a forced landing?
• If the trip includes flying over water or unpopulated
areas with the chance of losing visual reference to the
horizon, the pilot must be prepared to fly IFR.
• Check the airspace and any temporary flight restriction
(TFRs) along the route of flight
Night flying requires special consideration.
• If the trip includes flying at night over water or
unpopulated areas with the chance of losing visual
reference to the horizon, the pilot must be prepared
to fly IFR.
• Will the flight conditions allow a safe emergency
landing at night?
• Preflight all aircraft lights, interior and exterior, for
a night flight Carry at least two flashlights—one for
exterior preflight and a smaller one that can be dimmed
and kept nearby.

E = External Pressures
External pressures are influences external to the flight that
create a sense of pressure to complete a flight—often at the
expense of safety. Factors that can be external pressures
include the following:
• Someone waiting at the airport for the flight's
• A passenger the pilot does not want to disappoint.
• The desire to demonstrate pilot qualifications.

• The desire to impress someone. (Probably the two
most dangerous words in aviation are "Watch this!")
• The desire to satisfy a specific personal goal ("get home-
itis," "get-there-itis," and "let's-go-itis").
• The pilot's general goal-completion orientation.
• Emotional pressure associated with acknowledging
that skill and experience levels may be lower than a
pilot would like them to be. Pride can be a powerful
external factor!

Managing External Pressures
Management of external pressure is the single most important
key to risk management because it is the one risk factor
category that can cause a pilot to ignore all the other risk
factors. External pressures put time-related pressure on the
pilot and figure into a majority of accidents.
The use of personal standard operating procedures (SOPs) is
one way to manage external pressures. The goal is to supply a
release for the external pressures of a flight These procedures
include but are not limited to:
• Allow time on a trip for an extra fuel stop or to make
an unexpected landing because of weather.
• Have alternate plans for a late arrival or make backup
airline reservations for must-be-there trips.
• For really important trips, plan to leave early enough
so that there would still be time to drive to the
• Advise those who are waiting at the destination that
the arrival may be delayed. Know how to notify them
when delays are encountered.
• Manage passengers' expectations. Make sure
passengers know that they might not arrive on a firm
schedule, and if they must arrive by a certain time,
they should make alternative plans.
• Eliminate pressure to return home, even on a casual
day flight, by carrying a small overnight kit containing
prescriptions, contact lens solutions, toiletries, or other
necessities on every flight

The key to managing external pressure is to be ready for
and accept delays. Remember that people get delayed when
traveling on airlines, driving a car, or taking a bus. The pilot's
goal is to manage risk, not create hazards. [Figure 17-6]