Aeronautical Decision Making
AC No: 60-22
Date: December 13, 1991
Subject: AERONAUTICAL DECISION MAKING
1. PURPOSE. This Advisory Circular (AC) provides introductory
material, background information, and reference material on
Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM). The material in this AC
provides a systematic approach to risk assessment and stress
management in aviation, illustrates how personal attitudes can
influence decision making and how those attitudes can be modified
to enhance safety in the cockpit. This AC also provides
instructors with methods for teaching ADM techniques and skills
in conjunction with conventional flight instruction. However,
this AC is not intended to replace the complete body of knowledge
contained in the ADM related reference materials listed in
paragraph 4, but rather to support them and to serve as a
catalyst for further study.
2. APPLICATION. The material contained in this AC is applicable
to pilots who operate airplanes or helicopters under Federal
Aviation Regulations (FAR) Parts 61, 91, 121, 125, 133, 135, and
3. FOCUS. This AC is designed to explain the risks associated
with aviation activities to pilots. Underlying behavioral causes
of typical accidents and the effects of stress on ADM are
emphasized. These materials provide a means for an individual to
develop an "Attitude Profile" through a self-assessment inventory
and provide detailed explanations of preflight and in-flight
stress management techniques. The assumption is that persons
exposed to these behavioral techniques will develop a positive
attitude toward safety and learn ways to manage stress while
recognizing and avoiding unnecessary risk. This AC is a learning
tool that will help enable a person to make an intelligent
determination as to the risk involved before beginning a flight.
It is intended that the reader recognize risk factors such as
weather, weight and balance, recency of experience, environment,
and cockpit stress management so as to deal effectively with
4. RELATED REFERENCE MATERIAL. Twelve years of ADM research,
development, and testing culminated in 1987 with the publication
of six manuals oriented to the decision making needs of variously
rated pilots. These manuals provide multifaceted materials
designed to reduce the number of decision related accidents (the
type of accidents which account for 52 percent of fatal general
aviation pilot error accidents). The effectiveness of these
materials has been validated in six independent studies where
student pilots received such training in conjunction with the
standard flying curriculum. When tested, the pilots who had
received ADM training made fewer in-flight errors than those who
had not received ADM training. The differences were
statistically significant and ranged from about 10 to 50 percent
fewer judgment errors. In the operational environment, an
operator flying about 400,000 hours annually demonstrated a 54
percent reduction in accident rate after using these materials
for recurrency training. For detailed information regarding
exposure to risk assessment, stress management, interpersonal
crew coordination and communication, and other ADM techniques,
the reader is directed to one or more of the manuals which may be
obtained from National Technical Information Service.
a. Published Documents. (Price of individual documents is
subject to change without notice.)
Report Number Title
DOT/FAA/PM-86/41 Aeronautical Decision
Making for Student and
Private Pilots. NTIS
DOT/FAA/PM-86/42 Aeronautical Decision
Making for Commercial
DOT/FAA/PM-86/43 Aeronautical Decision
Making for Instrument
N8724880, price $17.00.
DOT/FAA/PM-86/44 Aeronautical Decision
Making for Instructor
Pilots (how to teach
DOT/FAA/PM-86/45 Aeronautical Decision
Making for Helicopter
Report Number Title
DOT/FAA/PM-86/46 Aeronautical Decision
Making - Cockpit
b. Any of the series of ADM training manuals may be
obtained by writing or calling:
Mailing Address: National Technical
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, Virginia 22161
Telephone: (703)487-4650 (orders)
(800)336-4700 (rush orders only)
(703)478-4780 (title identification
a. ADM is a systematic approach to the mental process used
by aircraft pilots to consistently determine the best course of
action in response to a given set of circumstances.
b. Attitude is a personal motivational predisposition to
respond to persons, situations, or events in a given manner that
can, nevertheless, be changed or modified through training. A
sort of mental shortcut to decision making.
c. Attitude Management is the ability to recognize
hazardous attitudes in oneself and the willingness to modify them
as necessary through the application of an appropriate antidote
d. Cockpit Resource Management, (CRM), in multiperson crew
configurations, is the effect use of all personnel and material
assets available to a flight crew. CRM emphasizes good
communication and other interpersonal relationship skills.
e. Headwork is required to accomplish a conscious, rational
thought process when making decisions. Good decision making
involves risk identification and assessment, information
processing, and problem solving.
f. Judgment is the mental process of recognizing and
analyzing all pertinent information in a particular situation, a
rational evaluation of alternative actions in response to it, and
a timely decision on which action to take.
g. Personality is the embodiment of personal traits and
characteristics of an individual that are set at a very early age
and extremely resistant to change.
h. Poor Judgment (PJ) Chain is a series of mistakes that
may lead to an accident or incident. Two basic principles
generally associated with the creation of a PJ chain are: (1) one
bad decision often leads to another; and (2) as a string of bad
decision grows, it reduces the number of subsequent alternatives
for continued safe flight. ADM is intended to break the PJ chain
before it can cause an accident or incident.
i. Risk Management is the part of the decision making
process which relies on situational awareness, problem
recognition, and good judgment to reduce risks associated with
j. Risk Elements in ADM take into consideration the four
fundamental risk elements: the pilot, the aircraft, the
environment, and the type of operation that comprise any given
k. Situational Awareness is the accurate perception and
understanding of all the factors and conditions within the four
fundamental risk elements that affect safety before, during, and
after the flight.
l. Skills and Procedures are the procedural, psychomotor,
and perceptual skills used to control a specific aircraft or its
systems. They are the stick and rudder or airmanship abilities
that are gained through conventional training, are perfected, and
become almost automatic through experience.
m. Stress Management is the personal analysis of the kinds
of stress experienced while flying, the application of
appropriate stress assessment tools, and other coping mechanisms.
n. VOR is a very high frequency omnidirectional range
6. COMMENTS INVITED. Comments regarding this publication should
be directed to:
Federal Aviation Administration
Flight Standards National Field Office,
AFS-500 (Advisory Circular Staff)
P.O. Box 20034, Gateway Building
Dulles International Airport
Washington, DC 20041-2034
Every comment will not necessarily generate a direct
acknowledgement to the commenter. Comments received will be
considered in the development of upcoming revisions to AC's or
other related technical material.
/s/ Thomas C. Accardi
Director, Flight Standards Service
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1
1. General 1
2. ADM Process 1
3. Conventional Decision Making 2
4. Operational Pitfalls 3
CHAPTER 2. HAZARDOUS ATTITUDE INVENTORY 5
5. Attitude Assessment Test 5
6. Self-Assessment Hazardous Attitude Inventory Test 5
7. Instructions for Taking the Self-Assessment
Hazardous Attitude Inventory Test 5
8. Scoring Instructions 7
9. Attitude Profile 7
10. Sample Situations for Advanced Rated Pilots 7
11. Profile Explanation 8
12. Summary 9
CHAPTER 3. DEALING WITH HAZARDOUS ATTITUDES 11
13. Hazardous Attitudes 11
14. Antidotes for Hazardous Attitudes 11
15. Antidote Recall Exercise 11
16. The Importance of Reinforcement Exercises 12
17. Instructions for Using Reinforcement Exercises 12
CHAPTER 4. STRESS AND FLYING 17
18. What Is Stress 17
19. How Much Stress Is in Your Life? 17
20. Is Stress Bad 17
21. Handling Stress In Flying 17
CHAPTER 5. RISK MANAGEMENT 21
22. Assessing Risk 21
23. The Decide Model 21
CHAPTER 6. IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY 23
24. General 23
25. Personal Checklist 23
26. How To Be A Safe Pilot 24
27. Development of Good Decision Making Skills 24
28. Successful Decision Making 25
CHAPTER 7. TEACHING ADM 27
29. Purpose 27
30. Background 27
31. The Flight Instructor's Role in ADM Training 27
32. Principles of ADM Training 27
33. Teaching the Behavioral Aspects of ADM 28
34. Teaching the Application Exercises 28
35. In-Flight Instruction: The Lesson Plans 29
36. In-Flight Instruction: The Training Scenario 29
37. Typical Training Scenarios 29
38. Management of ADM Training 29
APPENDIX 1. SAMPLE ATTITUDE INVENTORY ANSWER SHEET (1 Page)
APPENDIX 2. SCORING FORM (1 Page)
APPENDIX 3. ATTITUDE PROFILE (1 Page)
APPENDIX 4. ANTIDOTE RECALL EXERCISE (1 Page)
APPENDIX 5. LIFE EVENTS STRESS TEST (1 Page)
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION
1. GENERAL. Contrary to popular opinion, good judgment can be
taught. Heretofore it was supposed to be gained only as a
natural by-product of experience. As pilots continued to log
accident-free flight hours, a corresponding increase of good
judgment was also assumed.
2. ADM PROCESS.
a. ADM builds upon the foundation of conventional decision
making (figure 1), but enhances the process to decrease the
probability of pilot error. ADM provides a structured,
systematic approach to analyzing changes that occur during a
flight and how these changes might affect a flight's safe
outcome. The ADM process addresses all aspects of decision
making in the cockpit and identifies the steps involved in good
Steps for good decision making are:
(1) Identifying personal attitudes hazardous to safe
(2) Learning behavior modification techn@ues.
(3) Learning how to recognize and cope with stress.
(4) Developing risk assessment skills.
(5) Using all resources in a multicrew situation.
(6) Evaluating the effectiveness of one's ADM skills.
PILOT_______ AIRCRAFT______ ENVIRONMENT OPERATION
| | | _______________|
|------------->| SITUATION |<-----------------------
| | |
| v |
| CHANGE/EVENT |
| OCCURS |
| | |
| v |
| RECOGNIZE |
| CHANGE |
| | |
| v |
|_SKILLS & <---------------- SELECT ------------> HEADWORK ___|
PROCEDURES RESPONSE REQUIRED
| TYPE |
|---------------------> MISHAPS! <---------------|
FIGURE 1. CONVENTIONAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS
3. CONVENTIONAL DECISION MAKING.
a. In conventional decision making, the need for a decision
is triggered by recognition that something has changed or an
expected change did not occur. Recognition of the change, or
nonchange, in the situation is a vital step in any decision
making process. Not noticing the change in the situation can
lead directly to a mishap (figure 1). The change indicates that
an appropriate response or action is necessary in order to modify
the situation (or, at least, one of the elements that comprise
it) and bring about a desired new situation. Therefore,
situational awareness is the key to successful and safe decision
making. At this point in the process, the pilot is faced with a
need to evaluate the entire range of possible responses to the
detected change and to determine the best course of action.
b. Figure 2 illustrates the ADM process, how this process
expands conventional decision making, and shows the interactions
of the ADM steps and how these steps can produce a safe outcome.
Starting with the recognition of change, and following with an
assessment of alternatives, a decision to act or not act is made,
and the results are monitored. ADM enhances the conventional
decision making process with an awareness of the importance of
attitudes in decision making, a learned ability to search for and
establish the relevance of all information, and the motivation to
choose and execute the actions which assure safety in a timeframe
permitted by the situation.
| | | | |
v v v v |
PILOT AIRCRAFT ENVIRONMENT_ MISSION |
| | | | |
| |--->_____________<--| | |
|---------------------->| SITUATION | | |
| | |
| EVENT |
| CHANGE |
| | |
___|________ v |
| SHILLS & | SELECT HEADWORK |
|PROCEDURES| <------------- RESPONSE ____________ REQUIRED |
|__________| TYPE | |
| ATTITUDE| |
__________ ___________________ ______v_____ |
|HEADWORK|------------->|CREW (if present)| | STRESS | |
|RESPONSE|<-------------| MANAGEMENT | |MANAGEMENT| |
|PROCESS | |_________________| |__________| |
|CRITIQUE | ____________ |
|ACTIONS |------->| RISK | |
FIGURE 2. AERONAUTICAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS
These elements of ADM are discussed in depth as they relate to
the specific discipline in each of the training manuals.
4. OPERATIONAL PITFALLS. There are a number of classic
behavioral traps into which pilots have been known to fall.
Pilots, particularly those with considerable experience, as a
rule always try to complete a flight as planned, please
passengers, meet schedules, and generally demonstrate that they
have the "right stuff." This much-talked-about "right stuff" is
a fragile image. The basic drive to demonstrate the "right
stuff" can have an adverse effect on safety and can impose an
unrealistic assessment of piloting skills under stressful
conditions. These tendencies ultimately may lead to practices
that are dangerous and often illegal, and may lead to a mishap.
All experienced pilots have fallen prey to, or have been tempted
by, one or more of these tendencies in their flying careers.
These dangerous tendencies or behavior patterns, which must be
identified and eliminated, include:
a. Peer Pressure. Poor decision making based upon
emotional response to peers rather than evaluating a situation
b. Mind Set. The inability to recognize and cope with
changes in the situation different from those anticipated or
c. Get-There-Itis. This tendency, common among pilots,
clouds the vision and impairs judgment by causing a fixation on
the original goal or destination combined with a total disregard
for any alternative course of action.
d. Duck-Under Syndrome. The tendency to sneak a peek by
descending below minimums during an approach. Based on a belief
that there is always a built-in "fudge" factor that can be used
or on an unwillingness to admit defeat and shoot a missed
e. Scud Running. Pushing the capabilities of the pilot and
the aircraft to the limits by trying to maintain visual contact
with the terrain while trying to avoid physical contact with it.
This attitude is characterized by the old pilot's joke: "If it's
too bad to go IFR, we'll go VFR."
f. Continuing visual flight rules (VFR) into instrument
conditions often leads to spatial disorientation or collision
with ground/obstacles. It is even more dangerous if the pilot is
not instrument qualified or current.
g. Getting Behind the Aircraft. Allowing events or the
situation to control your actions rather than the other way
around. Characterized by a constant state of surprise at what
h. Loss of Positional or Situation Awareness. Another case
of getting behind the aircraft which results in not knowing where
you are, an inability to recognize deteriorating circumstances,
and/or the misjudgment of the rate of deterioration.
i. Operating Without Adequate Fuel Reserves. Ignoring
minimum fuel reserve requirements, either VFR or Instrument
Flight Rules (IFR), is generally the result of overconfidence,
lack of flight planning, or ignoring the regulations.
j. Descent Below the Minimum Enroute Altitude. The
duck-under syndrome (mentioned above) manifesting itself during
the en route portion of an IFR flight.
k. Flying Outside the Envelope. Unjustified reliance on
the (usually mistaken) belief that the aircraft's high
performance capability meets the demands imposed by the pilot's
(usually overestimated) flying skills.
l. Neglect of Flight Planning, Preflight Inspections,
Checklists, Etc. Unjustified reliance on the pilot's short and
long term memory, regular flying skills, repetitive and familiar
CHAPTER 2. HAZARDOUS ATTITUDE INVENTORY
5. ATTITUDE ASSESSMENT TEST. In each ADM manual, a chapter
addresses five hazardous attitudes that can affect a pilot's
judgment, and how these hazardous attitudes can have an impact on
safe flying. Subsequent chapters in each of the ADM manuals
provide methods of modifying these hazardous attitudes.
6. SELF-ASSESSMENT HAZARDOUS ATTITUDE INVENTORY TEST. Each ADM
student should take the Self-Assessment Hazardous Attitude
Inventory Test in order to gain a realistic perspective on
his/her attitudes toward flying. The inventory test requires the
pilot to provide a response which most accurately reflects the
reasoning behind his/her decision. The pilot must choose one of
the five given reasons for making that decision, even though the
pilot may not consider any of the five choices acceptable. The
inventory test presents extreme cases of incorrect pilot decision
making in an effort to introduce the five types of hazardous
attitudes described in Chapter 3 of this AC.
7. INSTRUCTIONS FOR TAKING THE SELF-ASSESSMENT HAZARDOUS
ATTITUDE INVENTORY TEST.
A. Read over each of the six situations and the five
choices contained in the inventory test. Keep in mind that there
are no correct answers.
b. Decide which one of the five choices is the most likely
reason for the decision made. Using a copy of the Attitude
Inventory Answer Sheet (appendix 1), place the number 5 in the
c. Continue by ranking in declining order the remaining
four probable reasons from 4 (next most likely) to 3, 2, and 1
(least likely) until all five blanks have been filled. (Figure 3
provides an example of how the alternatives might be ranked.)
Situation 1 (Example)
a. 1 (your least likely reason)
c. 5 (your most likely reason)
FIGURE 3. SAMPLE SET OF RANK ORDERED ANSWERS
Situation 1. You are on a flight to an unfamiliar, rural
airport. Flight service states that VFR flight is not
recommended since heavy coastal fog is forecast to move into the
destination airport area about the time you expect to land. You
first consider returning to your home base where visibility is
still good, but decide instead to continue as planned and land
safely after some problems. Why did you reach this decision?
a. You hate to admit that you cannot complete your original
b. You resent the suggestion by flight service that you
should change your mind.
c. You feel sure that things will turn out safely, and that
there is no danger.
d. You reason that since your actions would make no real
difference, you might as well continue.
e. You feel the need to decide quickly, so you take the
Situation 2. While taxiing for takeoff, you notice that your
right brake pedal is softer than the left. Once airborne, you
are sufficiently concerned about the problem to radio for
information. Since strong winds are reported at your
destination, an experienced pilot who is a passenger recommends
that you abandon the flight and return to your departure airport.
You choose to continue the flight and experience no further
difficulties. Why did you continue?
a. You feel that suggestions made in this type of situation
are usually overly cautious.
b. Your brakes have never failed before, so you doubt, that
they will this time.
c. You feel that you can leave the decision to the tower at
d. You immediately decide that you want to continue.
e. You are sure that if anyone could handle the landing,
Situation 3. Your regular airplane has been grounded because of
an airframe problem. You are scheduled in another airplane and
discover it is a model you are not familiar with. After your
preflight, you decide to take off on your business trip as
planned. What was your reasoning?
a. You feel that a difficult situation will not arise so
there is no reason not to go.
b. You tell yourself that if there were any danger, you
would not have been offered the plane.
c. You are in a hurry and do not want to take the time to
think of alternate choices.
d. You do not want to admit that you may have trouble
flying an unfamiliar airplane.
e. You are convinced that your flight instructor was much
too conservative and pessimistic when he cautioned you to be
thoroughly checked out in an unfamiliar aircraft.
Situation 4. You were briefed about possible icing conditions,
but did not think there would be any problem since your departure
airport temperature was 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). As you near
you destination, you encounter freezing precipitation, which
clings to your aircraft. Your passenger, who is a more
experienced pilot, begins to panic. You consider turning back to
the departure airport, but continue instead. Why did you not
a. I have made it this far. What is the use in turning
b. The panic of the passenger makes you think it will not
happen to me - I have encountered ice before and nothing
c. Why is he panicking? I can handle this situation just
like I have done before.
d. FAA regulations exaggerate the dangers of icing. I can
handle this situation.
e. I have got to do something. Descend! That will make
everyone realize that I am in control.
Situation 5. You do not bother to check weather conditions at
your destination. En route, you encounter headwinds. Your fuel
supply is adequate to reach your destination, but there is almost
no reserve for emergencies. You continue the flight and land
with a nearly dry tank. What most influenced you to do this?
a. Being unhappy with the pressure of having to choose what
to do, you make a snap decision.
b. You do not want your friends to hear that you had to
c. You feel that flight manuals always understate the
safety margin in fuel tank capacity.
d. You believe that all things usually turn out well, and
this will be no exception.
e. You reason that the situation has already been
determined because the destination is closer than any other
Situation 6. You are 40 minutes late for a trip in a small
airplane. Since the aircraft handled well on the previous day's
flight, you decide to skip most of the preflight check. What
leads you to this decision?
a. You simply take the first approach to making up time
that comes to mind.
b. You feel that your reputation for being on time demands
that you cut corners when necessary.
c. You believe that some of the preflight inspection is
just a waste of time.
d. You see no reason to think that something unfortunate
will happen during this flight.
e. If any problems develop, the responsibility would not be
yours. It is the maintenance of the airplane that really makes
8. SAMPLE SITUATIONS FOR ADVANCED RATED PILOTS.
a. Paragraph 7 presented examples of six situations from
the student/private pilot ADM manual. For pilots with advanced
ratings, the remaining ADM manuals provide similar situations and
self-assessment tests. The following are example situations
taken from these texts.
Situation 7. Instrument Pilot ADM Situation. You plan an
important business flight under instrument conditions in an
aircraft with no deicing equipment through an area in which light
to moderate rime or mixed icing in clouds, and precipitation
above the freezing level has been forecast. You decide to make
the trip, thinking:
a. You believe your skills are good enough to handle
ice accumulation on the aircraft.
b. You have been in this situation many times and
nothing has happened.
c. You must get to the business meeting in 2 hours and
d. You don't allow an icing forecast to stop you;
weather briefers are usually overly cautious.
e. There is nothing you can do about atmospheric
Situation 8. Commercial Pilot ADM Situation. Your passengers
have shown up almost an hour late. You are going to an airport
that requires a reservation. Which of the following alternatives
best illustrates your reaction?
a. You think to yourself, if I hurry, maybe I can
still make it.
b. Nothing will happen if I miss this reservation.
c. I'm smart enough to talk our way in when we arrive.
d. I can't help it if my passengers were late. I
don't control them.
e. The Feds wouldn't dare keep me out.
Situation 9. Helicopter Pilot ADM Situation. You are to fly a
helicopter which you know is old and has been poorly maintained.
A higher than normal turbine outlet temperature on startup is
indicated, and you suspect the fuel control. Two fellow company
pilots, travelling as passengers, do not want to be delayed.
After 5 minutes of debate, you agree to make the trip. Why did
you permit yourself to be persuaded?
a. You feel that you must always prove your ability as
a pilot, even under less than ideal circumstances.
b. You believe that regulations over-emphasize safety
in this kind of situation.
c. You think that the fuel control will certainly last
for just one more flight.
d. You feel that your opinion may be wrong since the
two other pilots are willing to take the risk.
e. The thought of changing arrangements is annoying,
so you jump at the suggestion of the other pilots.
Situation 10. Instructor Pilot ADM Situation. You perform a
slip demonstration during an approach to landing and fly the
aircraft to the left of the runway centerline to a position which
would make an attempted landing possible but dangerous. You
return control of the aircraft to the student and instruct him to
"execute proper landing procedures." Which of the following best
characterizes your attitude about putting the student and
yourself in this situation?
a. I can always handle this even if he can't.
b. Whatever happens, it's up to him now.
c. I've never had a problem doing this in the past.
d. The quicker we get through this, the better.
e. These aircraft can take a lot worse landings than
the manuals suggest.
9. SCORING INSTRUCTIONS. After completing the inventory test,
transfer the responses for each alternative from the completed
Attitude Inventory Answer Sheet (appendix 1) to the appropriate
section of the Scoring Form (appendix 2). Total the ranking
scores for each scale and enter the total in the space provided
at the bottom of each column. The total score for each situation
must be 15, while the total for situations 1 through 6 must be
90. If the totals are not 15 and 90, review for possible errors
in the transfer of scores and check addition. These totals are
then marked on the Attitude Profile (appendix 3) where indicated
for situations 1 through 6.
10. ATTITUDE PROFILE. Using the total scores for each Scale I-
V from appendix 2, place an "X" on the corresponding scale
profile in appendix 3. Notice that the score values run from
bottom to top, so that the highest value should be at the highest
point on the profile sheet. Straight lines should be drawn from
the score in each scale to the score in the next scale (connect
the "X's") so that the profile resembles a graph. Note the
hazardous attitude shown at the bottom of each scale on appendix
11. PROFILE EXPLANATION. The profile graph indicates the
comparative tendency for each of the five hazardous attitudes.
The higher the relative rank (first, second, third, etc.), the
greater the propensity to respond with that hazardous attitude.
The pilot should keep in mind his/her results while reviewing the
explanation. An explanation of the pilot's profile starts with
the description of an all-too-common flight situation.
a. A pilot of a single-engine aircraft checks the weather
and notes that there is a possibility of a thunderstorm at the
destination airport. The pilot has never operated an aircraft in
bad weather and knows that a flight instructor would advise
against flying. Despite this knowledge, the pilot takes off,
crashes in poor weather, and is seriously injured.
b. Why does this occur so often? Because many accidents
involve pilots who allow themselves to be influenced by one or
more of the five basic hazardous attitudes. These attitudes get
pilots into trouble by causing them to take chances that invite
an accident. (The five hazardous attitudes are the ones recorded
on the assessment inventory just completed.)
a. The pilot should use the profile to determine which
hazardous attitudes dominated his/her responses. The profile
will illustrate which hazardous thought patterns have a greater
tendency to influence a pilot's judgment. The inventory test may
indicate the actual tendency of the pilot; however, exhibiting
attitudes similar to those described are common and normal. As a
pilot's flying career progresses, the ability to identify these
hazardous attitudes will help the pilot counteract his/her
hazardous thoughts. The goal of this exercise is to balance all
thoughts against possible outcomes so that actions are
nonhazardous. A critical part of ADM training is learning to
examine the thinking process and control hazardous attitudes.
Flying will become safer if a pilot is able to identify and act
upon hazardous attitudes.
b. In reviewing the five hazardous attitudes in Chapter 3,
a pilot should pay particular attention to hazardous attitudes
that may characterize his/her own tendencies. Hazardous
attitudes occur to every pilot to some degree at some time.
Problems arise when these hazardous attitudes occur regularly
and/or to an extreme. Therefore, a pilot should learn to
recognize these hazardous attitudes in order to take corrective
CHAPTER 3. DEALING WITH HAZARDOUS ATTITUDES
13. HAZARDOUS ATTITUDES. ADM addresses the following five
a. Antiauthority (don't tell me!). This attitude is found
in people who do not like anyone telling them what to do. In a
sense they are saying no one can tell me what to do. They may be
resentful of having someone tell them what to do or may regard
rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary.
However, it is always your prerogative to question authority if
you feel it is in error.
b. Impulsivity (do something quickly!) is the attitude of
people who frequently feel the need to do something-anything-
immediately. They do not stop to think about what they are about
to do, they do not select the best alternative, and they do the
first thing that comes to mind.
c. Invulnerability (it won't happen to me). Many people
feel that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They
know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be
affected. They never really feel or believe that they will be
personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely
to take chances and increase risk.
d. Macho (I can do it). Pilots who are always trying to
prove that they are better than anyone else are thinking I can do
it - I'll show them. Pilots with this type of attitude will try
to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others.
While this pattern is thought to be a male characteristic, women
are equally susceptible.
e. Resignation (what's the use?). Pilots who think what's
the use? do not see themselves as being able to make a great
deal of difference in what happens to them. When things go well,
the pilot is apt to think that's good luck. When things go
badly, the pilot may feel that someone is out to get me, or
attribute it to bad luck. The pilot will leave the action to
others, for better or worse. Sometimes, such pilots will even go
along with unreasonable requests just to be a "nice guy."
14. ANTIDOTES FOR HAZARDOUS ATTITUDES.
a. Hazardous attitudes which contribute to poor pilot
judgment can be effectively counteracted by redirecting that
hazardous attitude so that appropriate action can be taken.
Recognition of hazardous thoughts is the first step in
neutralizing them in the ADM process. This chapter is designed
to familiarize the pilot with a means of counteracting hazardous
attitudes with an appropriate antidote thought.
b. When a pilot recognizes a thought as hazardous, the
pilot should label that thought as hazardous, then correct that
thought by stating the corresponding antidote. Antidotes should
be memorized for each of the hazardous attitudes so that they
automatically come to mind when needed.
15. ANTIDOTE RECALL EXERCISE. The hazardous attitude antidotes
(figure 4) should be learned thoroughly and practiced. Make a
copy of the Antidote Recall Exercise form (appendix 4) and,
without referring to the text, write the characteristic thought
for each hazardous attitude and its appropriate antidote. Check
the statements and continue if they are correct. If not,
continued study of the antidotes is recommended until they are
16. THE IMPORTANCE OF REINFORCEMENT EXERCISES. The basic
definitions, the self-assessment test, the hazardous attitudes,
and the antidotes represent the foundation for understanding the
factors of good ADM. However, they represent only about 10
percent of the important process of learning and putting ADM into
practice. The other 90 percent can be achieved only through
completion of all of the situation exercises in the appropriate
manual (i.e., Student/Private, Instrument, Commercial, etc.) and
applying the principles learned to each and every flight. Some
examples of the reinforcement exercises from each of the manuals
follow. These are presented as examples of the types of decision
errors which have contributed to accidents in the past.
Antiauthority: Don't Follow the rules. They
tell me. are usually right.
Impulsivity: Do Not so fast. Think
something quickly. first.
Invulnerability: It It could happen to me.
won't happen to me.
Macho: I can do it. Taking chances is
Resignation: What's I'm not helpless. I can
the use? make a difference.
FIGURE 4. THE FIVE ANTIDOTES
17. INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING REINFORCEMENT EXERCISES. Read each
of the following situations. At the end of each situation, an
alternative should be selected which best illustrates the
reactions of a pilot who is thinking a particular hazardous
attitude. After the most appropriate alternative is selected,
refer to the explanation of alternatives page for the proper
response. This page will provide the correct answer. If the
selection is accurate, proceed to the next situation. If an
incorrect alternative was selected, the reader should review the
situation again and select another alternative. Repeat the
exercise until the correct alternative is selected.
a. The Impulsivity Hazardous Attitude.
(1) Situation: As you enter the landing pattern, you
normally lower the flaps. The tower suddenly changes the active
runway. Distracted, you forget to use the before-landing
checklist. On short final you find yourself dangerously low with
a high sink rate. Glancing down, you realize that you forgot to
extend the flaps. Which of the following alternatives best
illustrates the impulsivity reaction?
(i) You feel that nothing is going to happen
because you have made intentional no-flap landings before.
(ii) You laugh and think, "Boy, this low approach
will impress people on the ground."
(iii) You think that using a checklist is a
(iv) You immediately grab the flap handle and add
(v) You think that it all depends on whether you
get an updraft or downdraft now.
(2) Explanation of Alternatives:
(i) Feeling that nothing bad can happen suggests
the invulnerability hazardous attitude (it won't happen to me).
Go back to the situation and select another alternative.
(ii) When you are thinking about impressing
people on the ground, watch out for the macho hazardous attitude
(I can do it). This can cost you dearly. Go back to the
situation and select another alternative.
(iii) Thinking that checklists are stupid
suggests that you feel that aircraft designers, the Government,
and your instructor, all of whom urge the use of checklists, are
wrong. This suggests the antiauthority hazardous attitude (don't
tell me). Go back to the situation and select another
(iv) Right! Immediately adding full flaps
without thinking is an example of the impulsivity hazardous
attitude (do something quickly). Unfortunately, in this
situation, full flaps will probably only increase the sink rate.
Go on to the next situation.
(v) If you are convinced that it is up to the
wind, this implies the hazardous attitude of resignation (what's
the use). Go back to the situation and select another
(3) A Good Attitude. Distractions can be
dangerous -- always use your checklist.
b. The Antiauthority Hazardous Attitude.
(1) Situation: You approach the VOR and the
controller asks if you want to execute the entire VOR procedure
or will you accept a right turn of more than 90 degrees to
intercept the final approach course. You state that you will
make the turn directly onto final at 2,000 feet although this
will press you to get properly established on final. Which of
the following alternatives best illustrates the antiauthority
(i) It was not your idea to make the approach
(ii) A controller is not going to influence the
way I fly.
(iii) You do not need the full approach; you know
you are a good instrument pilot.
(iv) You are in a hurry and do not wish to bother
with the full approach.
(v) You know the controllers will be impressed
with this approach.
(2) Explanation of Alternatives.
(i) By assuming someone else has responsibility
for your approach, you exhibit the resignation attitude (what's
the use?). Go back to the situation and select another
(ii) Right! The regulations are for someone else
attitude assumes controllers are interfering with your business.
You are thinking in an antiauthority manner. Go on to the next
(iii) Here you are taking the invulnerability
stand (it won't happen to me). You think of yourself as
invulnerable. Go back to the situation and select another
(iv) This is the impulsivity hazardous attitude
(I must act now, there's no time). Go back to the situation and
select another alternative.
(v) The desire to impress another influences your
decision. This is the macho attitude (I'll show you - I can do
it). Go back to the situation and select another alternative.
(3) A Good Attitude. Make as much time available on
an approach as possible. You may need it.
C. The Macho Hazardous Attitude.
(1) Situation: On a trip to the west coast, you make
an en route refueling stop at an airport in the Rockies. After
refueling, the density altitude prior to your departure is
reported as 10,500 feet. You are at maximum takeoff weight when
you depart. At the present rate of climb, you will just barely
clear the minimum crossing altitude (MCA) at the next
intersection on your flight route. Which of the following
alternatives best illustrates the macho reaction?
(i) There is really nothing you can do about it;
it is up to air traffic control (ATC) to make sure you clear.
(ii) The MCA's have plenty of leeway for
clearance. So what if you are a little low.
(iii) You are a good pilot and will make it.
(iv) When you see that you cannot climb enough,
you immediately inform ATC of your situation without determining
(v) Mountain flying is not any different from any
other flying and you have never run into any problems before.
Nothing will happen.
(2) Explanation of Alternatives.
(i) Assuming someone else is responsible for you
is the resignation hazardous attitude. Go back to the situation
and select another alternative.
(ii) This is the antiauthority hazardous attitude
(don't tell me). Go back to the situation and select another
(iii) Right! Thinking I'll show you - I can do
it, is the macho hazardous attitude.
(iv) Acting before thinking, this is the
impulsivity hazardous attitude (do something quickly). Go back
to the situation and select another alternative.
(v) This is the invulnerability hazardous
attitude (it won't happen to me). Go back to the situation and
select another alternative.
(3) A Good Attitude. Be aware of your limitations and
don't exceed them.
d. The Invulnerability Hazardous Attitude.
(1) Situation: While preflighting the pressurization
system, you discover that the rate adjustment control is
inoperative. Knowing that you can manually control the cabin
pressure, you opt to disregard this discrepancy and depart on
your trip. You will have to handle the system yourself. Which
of the following alternatives best illustrates the
(i) It's too late to fix it now.
(ii) You can handle a little problem like this.
(iii) What's the worst that could happen?
(iv) I certainly didn't break it. It's not my
(v) You barely need the pressurization at the
filed altitude anyway.
(2) Explanation of Alternatives.
(i) This is the impulsivity hazardous attitude
(there's no time - I must do something quickly). Go back to the
situation and select another alternative.
(ii) This is the macho hazardous attitude showing
through (I can do it). Go back to the situation and select
(iii) Right! Nothing bad is going to happen to
you because of your invulnerability. Go on to the next
(iv) This is the resignation hazardous
attitude - what's the use? - where someone else is responsible.
Go back to the situation and select another alternative.
(v) This type of thinking is characteristic of
the antiauthority attitude (rules and regulations are made to be
broken). Go back to the situation and select another
(3) A Good Attitude. Settle for nothing less than
full operating systems.
e. The Resignation Hazardous Attitude.
(1) Situation: Your copilot shows up for duty and you
notice that the copilot's behavior is somewhat out of the
ordinary. You know your copilot has had a cold. When
questioned, the copilot said maybe it was the antihistamine that
he/she took the night before. Although your aircraft requires a
crew of two, you decide to ignore your copilot's drowsiness and
inattention. Which of the following alternatives best
illustrates the resignation reaction?
(i) You could fly this jet by yourself anyway.
(ii) You two have flown together many times, and
everything has always worked out fine.
(iii) What else can you do? He was assigned this
(iv) He/she might not be within the regulations,
but he/she says he/she's okay and that's what counts.
(v) There is really no time to call another
(2) Explanation of Alternatives.
(i) This is a trait of the macho hazardous
attitude (I can do it). Go back to the situation and select
(ii) This is the invulnerability attitude (it
won't happen to me). Go back to the situation and select another
(iii) Right! When you feel as if it is out of
your control, you are exhibiting the resignation hazardous
(iv) This is the antiauthority hazardous attitude
(the rules and regulations don't apply to me). Go back to the
situation and select another alternative.
(v) This is the impulsivity hazardous attitude
(do something quickly). Go back to the situation and select
(3) A Good Attitude. Don't let others do your
thinking for you.
CHAPTER 4. STRESS AND FLYING
18. WHAT IS STRESS? Stress is a term used to describe the
body's nonspecific response to demands placed on it, whether
these demands are pleasant or unpleasant in nature. The demands
on a pilot can range from unexpected windshear encountered on a
landing to a lost wallet. Piloting the aircraft is the pilot's
responsibility. Therefore, a healthy pilot should perform at
his/her optimum level and make decisions to the best of his/her
ability. Numerous physical and physiological conditions in a
pilot's personal and professional life, as well as the nature of
flight itself, can hamper this ability. Even though a pilot
holds a medical certificate stating that the pilot meets the
health requirements for a particular type of flight operation,
the decision whether the pilot is fit to fly is strictly the
19. HOW MUCH STRESS IS IN YOUR LIFE?
a. If you hope to succeed at reducing stress associated
with crisis management in the air or with your job, it is
essential to begin by making a personal assessment of stress in
all areas of your life. You may face major stressors such as a
loss of income, serious illness, death of a family member, change
in residence, or birth of a baby, plus a multitude of
comparatively minor positive and negative stressors. These major
and minor stressors have a cumulative effect which constitutes
your total stress-adaption capability which can vary from year to
year. To enhance your awareness about the sources of stress in
your life, the life change profile questionnaire (appendix 5) is
presented. Place a check in the Happened column if you have
experienced the event described in the last 12 months. Total
your score at the end of the questionnaire.
b. The more change you have, the more likely you are to
suffer a decline in health . As a rule of thumb, if you score
over 20 checks, mostly in the top half of the checklist, you have
an 80 percent chance of a serious health change. If you have
about 20 checks distributed over the checklist, you have about a
50 percent chance of illness in the near future. Each of us has
personal stress-adaption limitations. When we exceed this level,
stress overload may lead to poor health or illness.
20. IS STRESS BAD? Stress is a response to a set of
circumstances that induces a change in a pilot's current
physiological and/or psychological patterns of functioning
forcing the pilot to adapt to these changes. Stress is an
inevitable and necessary part of life that adds motivation to
life and heightens a pilot's response to meet any challenge. In
fact, performance of a task will generally improve with the onset
of stress, but will peak and then begin to degrade rapidly as
stress levels exceed a pilot's adaptive abilities to handle the
21. HANDLING STRESS IN FLYING. Accidents often occur when
flying task requirements exceed a pilot's capabilities. A
superior pilot uses superior judgment to avoid stressful
situations which might call for use of superior skills. The
difference between pilot capabilities and task requirements is
the margin of safety (figure 5). In this example, the margin of
safety is minimal during the approach under ideal conditions.
For this pilot, a cold and fatigue may reduce the minimal margin
of safety as well as the overall margin of safety throughout the
a. Stress is insidious. Stress has a gradual and
cumulative effect that develops slowly, so slowly that stress can
be well established before becoming apparent. A pilot may think
that he/she is handling everything quite well, when in fact there
are subtle signs that the pilot is beyond his/her ability to
b. Stress is cumulative. A generalized stress reaction can
develop as a result of accumulated stress. There is a limit to a
pilot's adaptive nature. This limit, the stress tolerance level,
is based on a pilot's ability to cope with the situation. If the
number or intensity of the stressors becomes too great, the pilot
is susceptible to an environmental overload. At this point, a
pilot's performance begins to decline and judgment deteriorates.
FIGURE 5. THE MARGIN OF SAFETY
[FIGURE NOT INCLUDED]
c. Signs of inadequate coping. The indicators of excessive
stress often show as three types or symptoms: (1) emotional, (2)
physical, and (3) behavioral. These symptoms differ depending
upon whether aggression is focused inward or outward. Those
individuals who typically turn their aggressive feelings inward
often demonstrate the emotional symptoms of depression,
preoccupation, sadness, and withdrawal. The individual who
typically takes out frustration on other people or objects
exhibits few physical symptoms. On the other hand, emotional
symptoms may show up as overcompensation, denial, suspicion,
paranoia, agitation, restlessness, defensiveness, excess
sensitivity to criticism, argumentativeness, arrogance, and
d. Life Stress Management. There are many techniques
available that can help reduce the stress in your life or help
you cope with it better. Not all of the following ideas may be
the solution, but some of them should be effective for you.
(1) Become knowledgeable about stress.
(2) Take a realistic assessment of yourself.
(3) Take a systematic approach to problem solving.
(4) Develop a life style that will buffer against the
effects of stress.
(5) Practice behavioral management techniques.
(6) Establish and maintain a strong support network.
e. Cockpit Stress Management. Good cockpit stress
management begins with good life stress management. Many of the
stress coping techniques practiced for life stress management are
not usually practical in flight. Rather, you must condition
yourself to relax and think rationally when stress appears. The
following checklist outlines some thoughts on cockpit stress
(1) Avoid situations that distract you from flying the
(2) Reduce your workload to reduce stress levels.
This will create a proper environment in which to make good
(3) If an emergency does occur, be calm. Think for a
moment, weigh the alternatives, then act.
(4) Maintain proficiency in your aircraft; proficiency
builds confidence. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with your
aircraft, its systems, and emergency procedures.
(5) Know and respect your own personal limits.
(6) Do not let little mistakes bother you until they
build into a big thing. Wait until after you land, then
"debrief" and analyze past actions.
(7) If flying is adding to your stress, either stop
flying or seek professional help to manage your stress within
f. Flight Fitness. A "Go/No-Go" decision is made before
each flight. The pilot should not only preflight check the
aircraft, but also his/herself on each and every flight. A pilot
should ask, "Could I pass my medical examination right now?" If
the pilot cannot answer with an absolute "yes," then the pilot
should not fly. The following checklist is intended for a
pilot's personal preflight use. A pilot may elect to carry a
copy in his/her flight bag and onboard the aircraft.
(1) Do I feel well? Is there anything wrong with me
(2) Have I taken any medication in the last 12 hours?
(3) Have I had as little as one ounce of alcohol in
the last 12 hours?
(4) Am I tired? Did I get a good night's sleep last
(5) Am I under undue stress? Am I emotional right
(6) Have I eaten a sensible meal and taken in a good
load of protein? Do I have a protein snack, such as cheese, meat
or nuts, aboard?
(7) Am I dehydrated? Do I need to take noncarbonated
liquids such as water or fruit juices?
(8) Am I equipped with sunglasses, ear protectors,
CHAPTER 5. RISK MANAGEMENT
22. ASSESSING RISK. Risk management is the responsibility of
everyone involved in aviation. The flight operations manager,
for example, who is faced with the decision as to just how hard
to push a pilot to go, becomes a party to the risk management
process. It is understandable from an economic point of view
that the mail, checks, boss, passenger, whatever, must get
through. This question "Is the success of the task worth the
risk?" must always be kept in mind during decision making. Risk
management in ADM is discussed in detail in DOT/FAA/PM-86/43,
Aeronautical Decision Making for Instrument Pilots.
23. THE DECIDE MODEL.
a. A good tool to use in making good aeronautical decisions
is the Decide Model (figure 6). The Decide Model, comprised of a
six step process, is intended to provide the pilot with a logical
way of approaching decision making. The Decide Model is
described in greater detail in DOT/FAA/PM-86/43, Aeronautical
Decision Making for Instrument Pilots.
b. The six elements of the Decide Model represent a
continuous loop decision process which can be used to assist a
pilot in the decision making process when he/she is faced with a
change in a situation that requires a judgment. This Decide
Model is primarily focused on the intellectual component, but can
have an impact on the motivational component of judgment as well.
If a pilot practices the Decide Model in all decision making, its
use can become very natural and could result in better decisions
being made under all types of situations.
1. Detect. The decision maker detects the fact that change
2. Estimate. The decision maker estimates the need to
counter or react to the change.
3. Choose. The decision maker chooses a desirable outcome
(in terms of success) for the flight.
4. Identify. The decision maker identifies actions which
could successfully control the change.
5. Do. The decision maker takes the necessary action.
6. Evaluate. The decision maker evaluates the effect(s) of
his action countering the change.
FIGURE 6. THE DECIDE MODEL
CHAPTER 6. IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY
a. Most preventable accidents have one common factor:
human error, rather than a mechanical malfunction. Pilots who
are involved in accidents generally know what went wrong. Very
often, the pilot was aware of the possible hazards when the
decision the pilot made led to the wrong course of action. In
the interest of expediency, cost savings, self-gratification, or
other often irrelevant factors, the incorrect course of action
was chosen. This cycle of decisions began at the flight planning
desk with decisions made on how much fuel to carry, the route,
the alternate route, and adequate weather conditions. This cycle
continues throughout the flight with decisions made on speed,
altitude, and when to descend. Each flight is a sequence of
choices with certain milestones in the sequence that require
particular determination and discretion.
b. Flying is rapidly changing from a physical to a mental
task. Initial instruction to manipulate and control an aircraft
requires approximately 1 to 2 years. However, training to
command an aircraft intelligently involves a decade or two of
experience and periodic recurrent training. ADM is designed to
reduce the extremely long and sometimes painful process of
learning how to make good judgment decisions based upon
experience alone. While it is true that simple errors of
equipment operation are seldom serious, mistakes in judgment can
25. PERSONAL CHECKLIST. One essential decision point before a
flight is the checklist of basic principles that cannot be
compromised. This personal checklist should include the
fundamental tenets applicable to every flight. Once a pilot
decides what not to do, the decision on what needs to be done
becomes clear. Consider the following never's as factors that
contribute significantly to unsafe flight:
a. Flight while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
including applicable prescription drugs, is a never. Several
drinks of an alcoholic beverage will influence thought and
reaction for approximately 24 hours, while heavy drinking will
have lingering effects for up to 36 hours or longer. Effects
from the use of marijuana remain in the system for at least a
week. The concept should be obvious that flight safety is
measurably compromised within those time periods. The side
effects and duration of all prescription drugs are well
documented and available from a local pharmacist, the family
physician, a drug addiction agency, or the Surgeon General.
b. Flight with a known medical deficiency is never
expedient or legal (FAR Section 61.53).
c. Flight outside the certified flight envelope is never
safe. Weight, balance, speed, maneuvers, G-loading, and flight
in known icing should be limited to flight manual parameters.
Beyond that, you are in the wilderness and all discoveries could
be unhappy experiences.
d. Flight with less than the required minimum fuel is never
reasonable. The applicable FAR's are sufficiently liberal.
Twenty or 30 minutes fuel in VFR conditions (depending on
aircraft category) and acceptable IFR reserves should be adequate
to provide for contingencies.
e. VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions is
f. Descent below the applicable minimum enroute altitude
anywhere is never justified.
g. Casual neglect of any applicable checklist is never
justified. A checklist may be larger or smaller, however,
certain standards should be established for all flights so that
the first decision point is whether or not to begin the flight.
This can be the toughest decision.
h. Aircraft accident statistics show that pilots should be
conducting preflight checklists on themselves as well as their
aircraft. Pilot impairment contributes to many more accidents
than failures of aircraft systems. The following version of the
"I'M SAFE" personal checklist (figure 7) contains all of the
most common categories of pilot impairment and can easily be
committed to memory.
26. HOW TO BE A SAFE PILOT.
a. A pilot does not have to be a genius to be a safe pilot.
However, a pilot should be an emotionally stable person who can
accept the fact that he/she is not in possession of all facts or
skills for all situations and be willing to accept the
recommendations of those who specialize in evaluating, assessing,
and administering aviation procedures.
1. Illness. Do I have any symptoms?
2. Medication. Have I been taking prescription or over-the
3. Stress. Am I under psychological pressure from the
job? Do I have money, health, or family
4. Alcohol. Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within
5. Fatigue. Am I tired and not adequately rested?
6. Eating. Have I eaten enough of the proper foods to
keep adequately nourished during the entire
FIGURE 7. THE "I'M SAFE" CHECKLIST
b. Reaching a consensus on all matters within the aviation
community can prove difficult, if not impossible. Even though
the rules and procedures are designed to serve most of the people
most of the time, a pilot can always argue for different ways of
doing things. An experienced, mature pilot will accept and
follow the rules and procedures which will benefit the aviation
community. The immature, emotionally unbalanced pilot has strong
tendencies to satisfy a personal need regardless of the
c. Some pilots break rules simply for the immediate
gratification of some emotional need. Even though the pilot may
know that this emotional need is not considered a healthy habit
(e.g., smoking, speeding, overeating, etc.), the pilot is,
nonetheless, driven by his or her own emotions.
d. Existing rules would go a long way to remedy the
accident rate; however, personality traits that cause irrational
behavior also make pilots prone to disregard the rules that would
assure safe operations.
e. When a pilot exhibits one or more of the five hazardous
attitudes or irrational behavior, that pilot may also be exposing
any emotional weaknesses in his/her personality.
27. DEVELOPMENT OF GOOD DECISION MAKING SKILLS.
a. The development of good decision making skills is far
more difficult than developing good flying skills, but it can be
done. Good judgment may mean not flying while under the
influence of any medication, when it is too windy, or refusing a
revenue flight when it would require flying in marginal weather.
b. Many pilots fail to make proper decisions; sometimes due
to a lack of knowledge, but too often the result of a human
tendency to rationalize a situation until it appears justifiable.
When a pilot really wants to do something (such as loading that
one last passenger when close to maximum gross weight, or
performing a high speed, low altitude pass), the pilot can
generally make himself/herself believe that it was all right to
do it. A pilot can be his/her own worst enemy.
c. In addition to the FAR, AC's, articles in magazines,
books written by expert pilots and instructors, Pilot Proficiency
Programs, Airman's Information Manual, NOTAM's, Airworthiness
Directives, and Biennial Flight Reviews, there are some do's and
do not's that can ensure the prevention of most accidents. All
of this information is safety-oriented. Not following this
safety-oriented information is similar to not following the
advice of a doctor or lawyer.
d. The most important decision a pilot will make is to
learn and adhere to published rules, procedures, and
recommendations. Pilots, by learning and adhering to these
published rules and procedures, can take most hazards out of
flying. When a pilot operates an aircraft, human lives are held
in the balance. Therefore, a pilot has a moral responsibility to
operate in the safest possible manner.
e. Aviation has reached a new plateau. Acquiring
aeronautical knowledge, airmanship skills, and proficiency are
relatively easy. Navigation has been reduced to calculator
simplicity. Modern autopilots and electronic displays have
significantly reduced a pilots's workload. Today's technology
requires administrative management and aeronautical decision
making skills as prerequisites for safety and efficiency.
28. SUCCESSFUL DECISION MAKING. Successful decision making is
measured by a pilot's consistent ability to keep himself/herself,
any passengers, and the aircraft in good condition regardless of
the conditions of any given flight.
CHAPTER 7. TEACHING ADM
29. PURPOSE. The ADM manual for Instructor Pilots
(DOT/FAA/PM-86/44) contains all of the necessary background
material to teach effectively the subject material of the
companion publication entitled "Aeronautical Decision Making for
Student and Private Pilots" (DOT/FAA/PM-86/41). This chapter
provides a brief introduction and overview on the process of
30. BACKGROUND. The instructor's ADM training manual is a
result of 10 years of research, development, testing, and
evaluation of the effectiveness of judgment and decision making.
It is a revision of the prototype publication "Judgment Training
Manual for Instructor Pilots," which was developed jointly by the
Federal Aviation Administration, General Aviation Manufacturers
Association, and Transport Canada in an effort to improve general
31. THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR'S ROLE IN ADM TRAINING.
a. Although the information in this chapter is designed to
help pilots overcome a variety of circumstances which may result
in poor pilot judgment, the flight instructor is the key element
of this program. The flight instructor's attitude and approach
to flying may often influence students more than any specific
lesson. By always setting a good example and by giving students
support and encouragement throughout this program, a flight
instructor helps students develop good judgment and sound flying
b. To help prepare for this role, thought should be given
to the differences between the instructor as an evaluator and the
instructor as coach. The evaluator sees his/her role as one of
telling the student what to do, then monitoring the student's
performance. In contrast, think of the instructor in a slightly
different perspective; someone who actively stimulates learning,
such as a "coach." The instructor not only makes assignments and
observes the results, he/she also helps the student learn through
demonstration and personalized instruction.
32. PRINCIPLES OF ADM TRAINING.
a. The ADM manual for student and private pilots is simple
and repetitive for two reasons:
(1) The simplicity provides frequent positive
(2) The repetition builds good judgment habits and
refreshes memory so that information can be readily recalled in a
variety of circumstances, even when under stress.
b. The scenarios in the student and private pilot ADM
manual should stimulate the student's interest and appreciation
of the need for good pilot judgment and ADM.
c. The instructor has a profound effect on a student as a
role model and as an opinion shaper.
(1) Use of the ADM concepts to guide conversations
with the student focuses the instruction on judgment-related
training and increases the student's ability to provide
(2) Knowing how to recognize and respond to hazardous
attitudes and high stress is very important to exercising good
pilot judgment. The instructor should encourage the student to
develop these skills but, in doing do, should never attempt to
analyze or modify the student's personality.
(3) The student learns concepts and behavioral
techniques and repeatedly applies this learning to relevant
flight situations during ground and flight training.
d. The basic instructional principles which follow are
simple, but application does take some practice. When you first
try to apply them you may feel somewhat awkward, but you will
become more comfortable with them eventually. After a few
months, the use of these principles will become automatic.
(1) Behavior positively reinforced will continue.
(2) Behavior followed by punishment may decrease.
(3) Be very specific about learning objectives.
(4) Reinforce generously in the early stages of
(5) Shift slowly from continuous to occasional
(6) Shape existing behavior into desired behavior.
33. TEACHING THE BEHAVIORAL ASPECTS OF ADM.
a. General. Students must be exposed to this material
early in their pilot training, ideally during the first quarter
of the student standard private pilot training course.
b. Description of Material in the Student and Private
Manual (DOT/FAA/PM-86/41). Three approaches are presented in
this manual to improve the pilot's judgment and decision making
skills. The first approach presents an analytical method for
making decisions and evaluating risk (Chapters 2 and 3). The
second approach (Chapters 4, 5 and 6) addresses the pilot's
hazardous attitudes and substitutes ones which promote good
judgment. The third approach (Chapter 7) deals with overcoming
high stress which reduces judgment and decision making abilities.
34. TEACHING THE APPLICATION EXERCISES.
a. General. The following material, contained in Chapter 8
of DOT/FAA/PM-86/41, Aeronautical Decision Making for Student and
Private Pilots, should be integrated, where appropriate, into the
topics of the conventional ground training syllabus.
(1) "Preflight and Aircraft Systems" after aircraft
and aircraft systems.
(2) "Weight/Balance and Performance" after performance
and weight and balance.
(3) "Official Procedures and Communications" after
airports and communication, aviation regulations, and the
Airman's Information Manual in Canada - the AIP.
(4) "Cross-Country Flying" after basic navigation and
(5) "Physiological Factors and Night Flying" after
medical factors and cross-country flying.
b. Description of Material. Each section of Chapter 8 of
the Aeronautical Decision Making for Student and Private Pilots
document presents exercises which test the student's judgment and
decision making knowledge in the previously mentioned topic
areas. These exercises require the student to use the terms and
concepts learned in all previous lessons. Encourage the students
to review earlier material as necessary. After the student has
completed each section, discuss the answers. No answer key is
provided, but bear in mind that, although responses to most of
the questions may be relatively obvious, there are no absolutely
right or wrong answers.
35. IN-FLIGHT INSTRUCTION: THE LESSON PLANS.
a. General. How does a flight instructor combine
educational principles with the concepts in this manual to
improve a student's judgment and decision making? By giving the
student a series of practical, "hands-on" lessons in which you
observe performance and response to specific behavior. Do not
comment on intentions or motivations. Use rewards (praise)
frequently and avoid criticism (punishment) as much as possible.
Errors or misjudgments by the student should be viewed as
opportunities for learning, not as occasions for criticism.
b. The Lessons.
(1) In this unit, while on routine training flights,
you will give your students "activities" designed to further
develop their appreciation for the decision making concepts based
upon an actual preflight or in-flight "hands-on" experience.
(2) Take 15 minutes or so for your own preparation the
first few times you work with each lesson.
(3) Start the lessons when the student has the ability
to control the aircraft confidently during the most basic
maneuvers. Use your own judgment, but a suggested starting point
is about three flight lessons before you expect the student to
(4) At least three lessons each are needed to teach
risk assessment in decision making, hazardous attitude
recognition, and stress management, for a total of nine lessons.
Each lesson should take no more than 5 minutes and should be
integrated into the normal 1-to-2 hour flight training period.
(5) The instructor's ADM manual provides 18 lesson
plans for in-flight teaching of these mental processes.
36. IN-FLIGHT INSTRUCTION: THE TRAINING SCENARIO.
a. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter of the
instructor's manual is to further encourage the student to use
judgment and decision making skills. Your duties are two-fold;
(1) you must set up situations to stimulate the student's
decision making process, and (2) you must respond to student
behavior in a manner that encourages safe judgments and
b. The Scenarios. Practice situations, provided in this
section of the manual, create circumstances that may actually
encourage the student to make an unsafe judgment or decision.
Why? Because it is important for the student to become skilled
at recognizing and replacing hazardous attitudes and unsafe
tendencies with good judgment behavior.
37. TYPICAL TRAINING SCENARIOS. This section of the
instructor's manual provides a narrative of a typical judgment
training session. You might find it useful in formulating your
own ideas for conducting your own judgment training flights. As
mentioned earlier, all necessary preparation should be completed
before the student's expected arrival time.
38. MANAGEMENT OF ADM TRAINING.
a. This training program is more than just a collection of
related facts and ideas for students to learn. It is a carefully
designed educational system. Using this integrated system
produces an overall result greater than that attainable by random
presentation of the individual parts. To achieve the maximum
benefits of this system, you must manage the instruction
b. The materials presented in this chapter of the
instructor's manual are listed below. They are designed to aid
both the individual instructor and the training supervisor for a
group of flight instructors, i.e., the chief pilot engaged in
decision making training activities. The aeronautical decision
making training materials are:
(1) Schedule of Student Work. A master plan for
scheduling training activities for students.
(2) Set of Master Copies. Original documents of all
the instructional materials and forms required to teach this
(3) Answer Keys for the Postcheck Exercises.
APPENDIX 1. SAMPLE ATTITUDE INVENTORY ANSWER SHEET
Situation 1 Situation 6
Situation 2 Situation 7
Situation 3 Situation 8
Situation 4 Situation 9
Situation 5 Situation 10
APPENDIX 2. SCORING FORM
SITUATION SCALE I SCALE II SCALE III SCALE IV SCALE V TOTAL
1. b e c a d 15
2. a d b e c 15
3. e c a d b 15
4. d e b c a 15
5. c a d b e 15
6. c a d b e 15
7. d c b a e 15
8. e a b c d 15
9. b e c a d 15
10. e d c a b 15
Grand Total 150
APPENDIX 3. ATTITUDE PROFILE
SCALE I SCALE II SCALE III SCALE IV SCALE V
50 50 50 50 50 Mark X's below
this line if
40 40 40 40 40
30 30 30 30 30 Mark X's below
this line if
20 20 20 20 20 Mark X's below
this line if
seven thru ten
APPENDIX 4. ANTIDOTE RECALL EXERCISE
HAZARDOUS THOUGHT ANTIDOTE
APPENDIX 5. LIFE EVENTS STRESS TEST
Item No. Happened (X) Life Event
1. Death of a spouse
3. Marital Separation
4. Jail term
5. Death of close family member
6. Personal injury
8. Lost your job
9. Marital reconciliation
11. Change in health of family member
13. Sex difficulties
14. Gain of new family member
15. Business - budgets, schedules,
16. Change in financial state
17. Family member on drugs or alcohol
18. Death of close friend
19. Change to different line or work
20. Change in number of arguments with
spouse or partner
21. Mortgage or loan over $10,000
22. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
23. Change in responsibilities at work
24. Son or daughter leaving home
25. Trouble with in-laws or partner's
26. Outstanding personal achievement
27. Spouse or partner begins or stops
28. You begin or end work
29. Change in living conditions
30. Revision of personal habits
31. Trouble with boss or instructor
32. Change in work hours or conditions
33. Change in residence
34. Change in school or teaching
35. Change in recreational activities
36. Change in church activities
37. Change in social activities
38. Mortgage or loan less than $10,000
39. Change in sleeping habits
40. Change in number of family social
41. Change in eating habits
44. Minor violations of the law
Total number of checks for the past 12 months .