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CFI

CFI

ASA’s CFI offers insights on difficult concepts posed in FAA exams. Each post will break down an FAA question and deconstruct the answer in a way aimed to teach aviators how to more effectively prepare themselves for their FAA examinations.

Email your questions to CFI@asa2fly.com

CFI Brief: Pressure Altitude Conversions

Pressure altitude is the height above the standard datum plane (SDP). The aircraft altimeter is essentially a sensitive barometer calibrated to indicate altitude in the standard atmosphere. If the altimeter is set for 29.92 “Hg SDP, the altitude indicated is the pressure altitude—the altitude in the standard atmosphere corresponding to the sensed pressure.

The SDP is a theoretical level at which the pressure of the atmosphere is 29.92 “Hg and the weight of air is 14.7 psi. As atmospheric pressure changes, the SDP may be below, at, or above sea level. Pressure altitude is important as a basis for determining aircraft performance, as well as for assigning flight levels to aircraft operating at above 18,000 feet.

The pressure altitude can be determined by any of the three following methods:

  1. By setting the barometric scale of the altimeter to 29.92 “Hg and reading the indicated altitude,
  2. By applying a correction factor to the indicated altitude according to the reported “altimeter setting,” see figure below.
  3. By using a CX-3 Flight Computer.

Let’s try a sample problem using the above chart.

1. Determine the pressure altitude at an airport that is 1,386 feet MSL with an altimeter setting of 29.55.
A—1,631 feet MSL.
B—1,731 feet MSL.
C—1,778 feet MSL.

Looking at the above chart you will see that 29.65 is not actually shown so we will need to interpolate between 29.50 and 29.60. Subtract 298 from 392 to get 94 and then divide by 2 since 29.55 is directly in the middle. You get 47 which you can now add to 298 to come up with 345 altitude correction. Add 345 onto you airport elevation to find the pressure altitude, 1,386 + 345 = 1,731 PAlt.

The correct answer is B, 1,731 feet MSL.

Here is another problem which can be solved by using your CX-3 Flight Computer.

2. Determine the pressure altitude at an airport that is 3,563 feet MSL with an altimeter setting of 29.96.
A—3,527 feet MSL.
B—3,556 feet MSL.
C—3,639 feet MSL.

Using you CX-3 open the FLT menu and select Altitude from the list. Enter your IAlt (indicated altitude) or airport elevation of 3,563 feet. Scroll down to the Baro field and enter your altimeter setting of 29.96. The CX-3 will then give you a PAlt of 3,527 feet MSL. The correct answer is A.

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CFI Brief: Altimeter Pressure Errors

High to low look out below, low to high clear the sky! If you have never heard that saying before you are probably pretty confused right now. Let me help ease that confusion and explain that today we are discussing altimeter errors when flying in areas of changing atmospheric pressures. The discussion will revolve around two specific Private Pilot Knowledge Test questions that I get calls about regularly. These questions outline common areas that trip students up, resulting in mass confusion.

1. If a flight is made from an area of low pressure into an area of high pressure without the altimeter setting being adjusted, the altimeter will indicate
A. the actual altitude above sea level.
B. higher than the actual altitude above sea level.
C. lower than the actual altitude above sea level.

2. If a flight is made from an area of high pressure into an area of lower pressure without the altimeter setting being adjusted, the altimeter will indicate
A. lower than the actual altitude above sea level.
B. higher than the actual altitude above sea level.
C. the actual altitude above sea level.

If you answered B an A, respectively, then you are also having some of the same confusion about this topic that many other students experience. Let’s start with the knowledge required to answer these questions.

It is easy to maintain a consistent height above ground if the barometric pressure and temperature remain constant, but this is rarely the case. The pressure and temperature can change between takeoff and landing on a local flight and even more drastically when flying cross country between areas of varying pressure and temperature. If these changes are not taken into consideration, flight becomes dangerous.

For example, when flying from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure without adjusting the altimeter, a constant indicated altitude will remain but the aircraft’s actual altitude above ground level will be lower than indicated. Conversely, when flying from an area of low pressure to an area of high pressure the aircraft’s actual altitude above ground level will be higher than the indicated altitude on the altimeter. The image below is a good visual depiction of flying from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure and the resulting altitude of the aircraft above the ground level if the altimeter is not adjusted. 

The reason so many students answer these questions incorrectly is not so much because they don’t understand the principle knowledge, but rather because they are not understanding what the question is asking. Both questions are asking what the ALTIMETER will indicate, not what the aircraft’s actual altitude is relative to the ground.

The correct answer to question 1 is C: the altimeter will indicate lower than the actual altitude above sea level. When flying from a low pressure area into a high pressure area the aircraft’s altitude will slowly increase while the altimeter remains constant; therefore, the ALTIMETER is indicating a LOWER altitude then what the aircraft is actually flying.

Vice versa, the correct answer to question 2 is B: the altimeter will indicate higher than the actual altitude above sea level. When flying from a high pressure area into a low pressure area, the aircraft’s altitude will slowly decrease while the altimeter remains constant therefore the ALTIMETER is indicating a HIGHER altitude then what the aircraft is actually flying.

Tricky questions yes, but also a very important piece of knowledge to fully understand. You should now be able to correctly answer these on your knowledge test as well as remember to adjust the altimeter when flying between different air pressure systems.

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CFI Brief: Airport Rotating Beacon

Have you ever wondered how pilots are able to determine the location of an airport at night or in reduced visibility? Well the answer is actually very simple. At night, the location of an airport can be determined by the presence of an airport rotating beacon light like the one seen in the image below. An airport beacon will assist you as a pilot in identifying the location and type of airport by the color combination the beacon is emitting.

The colors and color combinations that denote the type of airports are:

*Note: Green alone or amber alone is used only in connection with a white-and-green or white-and-amber beacon display, respectively.

A civil-lighted land airport beacon will show alternating white and green flashes. A military airfield will be identified by dual-peaked (two quick) white flashes between green flashes.

In Class B, C, D, or E airspace, operation of the airport beacon during the hours of daylight often indicates the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet and/or the visibility is less than 3 miles. However, pilots should not rely solely on the operation of the airport beacon to indicate if weather conditions are IFR or VFR.

The beacon has a vertical light distribution to make it most effective from 1–10° above the horizon, although it can be seen well above or below this spread.

Here is another nifty little tidbit you will learn once you start night flight training. Radio control of lighting is available at some airports, providing airborne control of lights by keying the aircraft’s microphone. The control system is responsive to 7, 5, or 3 microphone clicks. Keying the microphone 7 times within 5 seconds will turn the lighting to its highest intensity; 5 times in 5 seconds will set the lights to medium intensity; low intensity is set by keying 3 times in 5 seconds. Many airports, particularly airports without an operating control tower, will not keep runway lights on constantly throughout the night so it becomes the pilots responsibility to turn the runway lights on for landing or takeoff. Once the lights are keyed on they will typically remain on for 15 minutes. A quick glance in the Chart Supplement U.S. will identify an airport with pilot controlled lighting.

 

 

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CFI Brief: The ASA CX-3 Flight Computer—Coming REAL soon!

You have been asking us for an aviation flight computer with a backlit display, and trust us we’ve been listening. But we thought, if we are going to design a flight computer with a backlit display, why stop there? Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a backlit keypad as well? It sure would, so today I would like to introduce you to the next generation aviation flight computer: the ASA CX-3—complete with backlit display and keypad!

Image-1

The CX-3’s new display technology now incorporates settings for varying light conditions as well as display themes for standard, night, and daylight environments on a massive 3.2-inch LCD display. Even with the large display, we have managed to design a sleek compact unit that will fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

The ASA CX-3 will become available in November at pilot shops and online retailers nationwide. To stay up-to-date on the latest news, check out www.asa2fly.com/CX3. We’ll be featuring CX-3 user tips on the Learn to Fly Blog very soon.

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CFI Brief: It’s Getting Hot in Here.

Today, I would like to recap Monday’s post on the aircraft engine cooling system and go over some typical questions you will likely see on your FAA Private Pilot knowledge test. First off, we learned about the effects of operating with an excessively high aircraft engine temperature and that it can lead to loss of power, excessive oil consumption, detonation, and serious engine damage. Neither of which are ideal situations when 6,000 in the air. That is why a thorough understanding of the aircraft engine and cooling system is required knowledge for any pilot. Understanding how your engine cools will help you to prevent operating outside of normal temperature ranges.

Most light aircraft engines are cooled externally by air. For internal cooling and lubrication, an engine depends on circulating oil. Engine lubricating oil not only prevents direct metal-to-metal contact of moving parts, it also absorbs and dissipates part of the engine heat produced by internal combustion. If the engine oil level is too low, an abnormally high engine oil temperature indication may result.

On the ground or in the air, excessively high engine temperatures can cause excessive oil consumption, loss of power, and possible permanent internal engine damage.

If the engine oil temperature and cylinder head temperature gauges have exceeded their normal operating range, or if the pilot suspects that the engine (with a fixed-pitch propeller) is detonating during climb-out, the pilot may have been operating with either too much power and the mixture set too lean, using fuel of too low a grade, or operating the engine with not enough oil in it. Reducing the rate of climb and increasing airspeed, enriching the fuel mixture, or retarding the throttle will help cool an overheating engine. Also, rapid throttle operation can induce detonation, which may detune the crankshaft.

The most important rule to remember in the event of a power failure after becoming airborne is to maintain safe airspeed. Now let’s go ahead and take a look at some sample knowledge test questions complete with explanations.

Excessively high engine temperatures, either in the air or on the ground, will
A. increase fuel consumption and may increase power due to the increased heat.
B. result in damage to heat-conducting hoses and warping of cylinder cooling fans.
C. cause loss of power, excessive oil consumption, and possible permanent internal engine damage.

High engine temperatures can lead to loss of power, excessive oil consumption, detonation, and serious engine damage.

If the engine oil temperature and cylinder head temperature gauges have exceeded their normal operating range, the pilot may have been operating with
A. the mixture set too rich
B. higher-than-normal oil pressure.
C. too much power and with the mixture set too lean.

Excessively high engine temperatures can result from insufficient cooling caused by too lean a mixture, too low a grade of fuel, low oil, or insufficient airflow over the engine.

Answer (A) is incorrect because a richer fuel mixture will normally cool an engine. Answer (B) is incorrect because high oil pressure does not cause high engine temperatures.

For internal cooling, reciprocating aircraft engines are especially dependent on
A. a properly functioning thermostat.
B. air flowing over the exhaust manifold.
C. the circulation of lubricating oil.

Oil, used primarily to lubricate the moving parts of the engine, also cools the internal parts of the engine as it circulates.

Answer (A) is incorrect because most air-cooled aircraft engines do not have thermostats. Answer (B) is incorrect because, although air-cooling is important, internal cooling is more reliant on oil circulation. Air cools the cylinders, not the exhaust manifold.

An abnormally high engine oil temperature indication may be caused by
A. the oil level being too low.
B. operating with a too high viscosity oil.
C. operating with an excessively rich mixture.

Oil, used primarily to lubricate the moving parts of the engine, also helps reduce engine temperature by removing some of the heat from the cylinders. Therefore, if the oil level is too low, the transfer of heat to less oil would cause the oil temperature to rise.

Answer (B) is incorrect because the higher the viscosity, the better the lubricating and cooling capability of the oil. Answer (C) is incorrect because a rich fuel/air mixture usually decreases engine temperature.

What action can a pilot take to aid in cooling an engine that is overheating during a climb?
A. Reduce rate of climb and increase airspeed.
B. Reduce climb speed and increase RPM.
C. Increase climb speed and increase RPM.

To avoid excessive cylinder head temperatures, a pilot can open the cowl flaps, increase airspeed, enrich the mixture, or reduce power. Any of these procedures will aid in reducing the engine temperature. Establishing a shallower climb (increasing airspeed) increases the airflow through the cooling system, reducing high engine temperatures.

Answer (B) is incorrect because reducing airspeed hinders cooling, and increasing RPM will further increase engine temperature. Answer (C) is incorrect because increasing RPM will increase engine temperature.

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CFI Brief: The Instrument Approach Procedure Chart

On Monday, we learned about the Instrument Landing System and it’s components. Today, I would like to further our discussion and talk about Instrument Approach Procedure Charts. These charts are what depict to pilots how to fly a particular approach into an airport. Many instrument approaches will require the use of an ILS or it’s Localizer component.

With use of the depicted information on an IAP chart a pilot will be assured of terrain and obstruction clearance and runway or airport alignment during approach for landing.

The IAP chart may be divided into four distinct areas: the Plan View, showing the route to the airport; the Profile View, showing altitude and descent information; the Minimums Section, showing approach categories, minimum altitudes, and visibility requirements; and the Airport diagram, showing runway alignments, runway lights, and approach lighting systems.

  1. The Plan View is that portion of the IAP chart depicted at “A” in the figure below. Atop the IAP chart is the procedure identifications which will depict the A/C equipment necessary to execute the approach, the runway alignment, the name of the airport, the city and state of airport location (See Figure Area #1). An ILS approach, for example, requires the aircraft to have an operable localizer, glide slope, and marker beacon receiver. An LOC/DME approach would require the aircraft to be equipped with both a localizer receiver and distance measuring equipment (DME). If the approach is aligned within 30° of the centerline, the runway number listed at the top of the approach chart means straight-in landing minimums are published for that runway. If the approach course is not within 30° of the runway centerline, an alphabetic code will be assigned to tie IAP identification (for example, NDB-A, VOR-C), indicating that only circle-to-land minimums are published. This would not preclude a pilot from landing straight-in, however, if the pilot has the runway in sight in sufficient time to make a normal approach for landing, and has been cleared to land.

The IAP plan view will list in either upper corner, the approach control, tower, and other communications frequencies a pilot will need. Some listings may include a direction (for example, North 120.2, South 120.8).

The IAP plan view may contain a Minimum Sector Altitude (MSA) diagram. The diagram shows the altitude that would provide obstacle clearance of at least 1,000 feet in the defined sector while within 25 NM of the primary omnidirectional NAVAID; usually a VOR or NDB (See Figure Area #2).

An IAP may include a procedural track around a DME arc to intercept a radial. An arc-to-radial altitude restriction applies while established on that segment of the IAP.

  1. The Profile View is that portion of the IAP chart depicted at “B” in the Figure. The profile view shows a side view of the procedures. This view includes the minimum altitude and maximum distance for the procedure turn, altitudes over prescribed fixes, distances between fixes, and the missed approach procedure.
  2. The Minimums Section is that portion of the IAP chart depicted at “C” in the Figure. The categories listed on instrument approach charts are based on aircraft speed. The speed is 1.3 times VS0 at maximum certificated gross landing weight.
  3. The Aerodrome Data is that portion of the IAP chart which includes an airport diagram, and depicts runway alignments, runway lights, approach lights, and other important information, such as the touchdown zone elevation (TDZE) and airport elevation (See figure area “D”).

TP-I-08-02

Take a look a the IAP Chart Figure below and see if you can determine the following. Answers will be posted in the comments section.

  1. What is the minimum equipment required for this approach?
  2. What are the noted minimum safe altitudes (MSA)?
  3. What is the decision altitude (DA) if conducting a straight in approach?

instrument_179

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CFI Brief: October 2017 Test Roll

The FAA October test cycle resulted in very few changes or updates to the FAA Airman Knowledge Tests. The FAA Aviation Exam Board continues to work to align questions within the context of a specific Area of Operation/Task as outlined in the various Airman Certification Standards publications. The goal of this boarding process is to ensure all test questions correlate to a knowledge, risk management or skill element. The FAA makes their intentions clear by the Frequently Asked Questions and What’s New documents which are posted each test cycle. Below is a list of the most recent changes affecting all knowledge test question banks. The next test cycle is expected February 2018.

  • References to the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) have been changed to this publication’s new name, “Chart Supplement.”
  • U.S. format Flight Plans – New questions based on the new U.S. flight plan will be developed and implemented by June 2018.
  • Student Pilot/Medical Certificate – New questions based on the Student Pilot Certificate rule that took effect on 1 April 2016 are expected by October 16, 2017.
  • Rote memorization questions such as the following have been removed (e.g., Validity period for unscheduled products such as SIGMETS).
  • Operationally irrelevant questions have been removed (e.g., Meaning of brackets near station model on a WX depiction chart).
  • The following topics have been removed from FAA Knowledge Tests (effective June 12, 2017):
    • 4-panel prog charts
    • Weather depiction chart
    • Area forecasts
    • Aerobatic flight

Recent changes affecting the Private Pilot Airplane Knowledge Test:

  • Aircraft performance and weather questions that involve multiple interpolations across multiple charts do not include multiple interpolations across multiple charts.

Recent changes affecting the Instrument Rating Airplane Knowledge Test:

  • The following subjects have been removed:
    • Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR) approaches
    • Composite Flight Plans
    • Designation of instruments as “primary” or “secondary” for aircraft control
    • Inner Marker, Middle Marker
    • Specific number of degrees on glide path
    • Time and distance questions involving multiple interpolation
    • BARO VNAV (IRA ONLY)
    • Back Course Approaches (IRA ONLY)
    • LDA & SDF (IRA ONLY)
    • Aircraft performance and weather questions that involve multiple interpolations across multiple charts

These changes have been noted by ASA and updates for Prepware Software, Prepware Online, and Test Prep books will be available shortly. If you would like to be notified when these updates have become available be sure to follow the link below and sign-up for notifications.

http://www.asa2fly.com/testupdate

UPDATES from ASA

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CFI Brief: Pilot Deviations, Stay Alert!

Yesterday, the FAA Safety Team distributed a newly published Fly Safe Fact Sheet, Avoiding Pilot Deviations (PDs). Now listen, if you’ve read this blog over the years you know we have discussed this topic before. However, it’s worth discussing on the regular since PDs can lead to serious consequences in the form of accidents or enforcement violations.

If you are not already familiar with what a pilot deviation is, it is defined as an action of a pilot that violates any Federal Aviation Regulation. While PDs should be avoided, the regulations do authorize deviations from a clearance in response to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system resolution advisory. Meaning, if a possible collision with another aircraft or vehicle is imminent it is OK to deviate. You must however notify ATC as soon as possible following a deviation.

Piot deviations are broken down into two separate categories, airborne and ground. Airborne deviations result when a pilot strays from an assigned heading or altitude or from an instrument procedure, or if the pilot penetrates controlled or restricted airspace without ATC clearance. Ground deviations (also called surface deviations) include taxiing, taking off, or landing without clearance, deviating from an assigned taxi route, or failing to hold short of an assigned clearance limit.

Ways to Avoid Pilot Deviations:

Plan each flight —you may have flown the flight many times before but conditions and situations can change rapidly, such as in the case of a pop-up temporary flight restriction (TFR). Take a few minutes prior to each flight to plan accordingly.

Talk and squawk —Proper communication with ATC has its benefits. Flight following often makes the controller’s job easier because they can better integrate VFR and IFR traffic.

Give yourself some room —GPS is usually more precise than ATC radar. Using your GPS to fly up to and along the line of the airspace you are trying to avoid could result in a pilot deviation because ATC radar may show you within the restricted airspace.

Stay Alert – This is often overlooked during ground operations. It’s important that whether you are in the air or on the ground you maintain focus and alertness at all times. Keep your head out of the cockpit and on a swivel.

Click the below image to access the FAA Fact Sheet and see the full text on the 4 steps to avoid pilot deviations.

RunwaySafety_24x18_21A

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CFI Brief: What is Aeronautical Decision Making?

Aeronautical decision making (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. ADM is vital process allowing pilots to safely and efficiently manage risk. Although there is no way to eliminate the associated risks and hazards that come with aviation the proper application of ADM will allow the pilot to limit exposure to risks and hazards.

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 each flight.

The ADM process addresses all aspects of decision making in the cockpit and identifies the steps involved in good decision making. Steps for good decision making are:

  1. Identifying personal attitudes hazardous to safe flight.
  2. Learning behavior modification techniques.
  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.

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.” 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:

Peer Pressure. Poor decision making based upon emotional response to peers rather than evaluating a situation objectively.

Mind Set. The inability to recognize and cope with changes in the situation different from those anticipated or planned.

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.

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 approach.

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.”

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.

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 happens next.

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.

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.

Descent Below the Minimum Enroute Altitude. The duck-under syndrome (mentioned above) manifesting itself during the enroute portion of an IFR flight.

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.

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 routes, etc.

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.

ADM addresses the following five hazardous attitudes:

  1. 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. The antidote for this attitude is: Follow the rules. They are usually right.
  2. 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. The antidote for this attitude is: Not so fast. Think first.
  3. 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. The antidote for this attitude is: It could happen to me.
  4. 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. The antidote for this attitude is: taking chances is foolish.
  5. 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.” The antidote for this attitude is: I’m not helpless. I can make a difference.

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. Pilots should become familiar with a means of counteracting hazardous attitudes with an appropriate antidote thought. 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.

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. 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 management.

  1. Avoid situations that distract you from flying the aircraft.
  2. Reduce your workload to reduce stress levels. This will create a proper environment in which to make good decisions.
  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 acceptable limits.

The DECIDE Model, comprised of a six-step process, is intended to provide the pilot with a logical way of approaching decision making. 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 decisionmaker detects the fact that change has occurred.
  2. Estimate. The decisionmaker estimates the need to counter or react to the change.
  3. Choose. The decisionmaker chooses a desirable outcome (in terms of success) for the flight.
  4. Identify. The decisionmaker identifies actions which could successfully control the change.
  5. Do. The decisionmaker takes the necessary action.
  6. Evaluate. The decisionmaker evaluates the effect(s) of his/her action countering the change.

 

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CFI Brief: Would I be a good flight instructor?

Have you ever thought about taking you’re flying career to the next level and becoming a Certified Flight Instructor?  Well, today we are going to take a quick look at some of the characteristics and responsibilities that and aviation instructor must possess. Many students view an aviation instructor as an authority, so it is important for an instructor to project a knowledgeable and professional image at all times.

One of the responsibilities of a good flight instructor is maintaining a high level of professionalism, which relates directly to the instructor’s public image. Characteristics of an instructor’s professionalism include:

  1. Sincerity. Any facade of instructor pretentiousness, whether it be real or mistakenly assumed by the student, will immediately cause the student to lose confidence in the instructor, and little learning will be accomplished. Anything less than sincere performance destroys the effectiveness of the professional instructor.
  1. Acceptance of the student. The professional relationship between the instructor and the student should be based on a mutual acknowledgment that both the student and the instructor are important to each other, and both are working toward the same objectives. Under no circumstances should an instructor do anything which implies degradation of the student.
  1. Personal appearance and habits. A flight instructor who is rude, thoughtless, and inattentive cannot hold the respect of the students, regardless of his/her piloting ability.
  1. Demeanor. The instructor should avoid erratic movements, distracting speech habits, and capricious changes in mood.
  1. Safety practices and accident prevention. A flight instructor must meticulously observe all regulations and recognized safety practices during all flight operations.
  1. Proper language. The use of profanity and obscene language leads to distrust, or at best, to a lack of complete confidence.
  1. Self-improvement. Professional flight instructors must never become complacent or satisfied with their own qualifications and ability.

As a flight instructor you will want to strive daily to practice the items in the “Instructor Do’s” list , and do your best to stay away from the “Instructor Don’ts” list. From the Aviation Instructors Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9A):

CFI Do & Donts

One “don’t” to make mention of; personal hygiene goes both ways. Nothing’s worse then a couple people stuck in a small plane who haven’t showered!

An aviation instructor must also be self-aware of numerous responsibilities. There are five main responsibilities of an aviation instructor.

  1. Helping students learn.
  2. Providing adequate instruction.
  3. Demanding adequate standards of performance.
  4. Emphasizing the positive.
  5. Ensuring aviation safety.

To be an effective instructor you will need to maintain a high level of student motivation by making each lesson a pleasurable experience. It’s important to realize that people are not always attracted to something because it is easy. Most will put forth the required effort to produce rewards such as self-enhancement and personal satisfaction.

As an instructor you should make learning to fly interesting by keeping the students apprised of the course and lesson objectives. Not knowing the objectives leads the student to confusion, disinterest, and uneasiness. Instead instructors should guide their students in exploration and experimentation, to help them develop their own capabilities and self-confidence.

For instruction to produce the desired results, instructors must carefully and correctly analyze the personality, thinking, and ability of each student. Students who have been incorrectly analyzed as slow thinkers may actually be quick thinkers, but act slowly or at the wrong time because of lack of confidence. Slow students can often be helped by assigning sub goals which are more easily attainable than the normal learning goals. This allows the student to practice elements of the task as confidence and ability grows.

Apt students also create problems. Because they make less mistakes, they may assume that the correction of errors is unimportant. Such overconfidence results in faulty performance. A good instructor will constantly raise the standard of performance demanded of apt students and will demand greater effort.

Flight instructors fail to provide competent instruction when they permit their students to get by with a substandard performance, or without learning thoroughly some item of knowledge pertinent to safe piloting. The positive approach to flight instruction points out to the student the pleasurable features of aviation before the unpleasant possibilities are discussed. One example of a positive approach is to include a normal round-trip flight to a nearby airport on the first instructional flight.

Anxiety, or fear, is probably the most significant psychological factor affecting flight instruction. The responses to anxiety vary greatly, ranging from hesitancy to act, to the impulse “to do something even if it’s wrong.” Some students may freeze in place and do nothing, while others may do unusual things without rational thought or reason. Normal reaction to anxiety can be countered by reinforcing the student’s enjoyment of flying, and by teaching them to treat fear as a normal reaction rather than ignoring it. Normal individuals react to stress by responding rapidly and exactly, within the limits of their experience and training. Abnormal reactions to stress are evidenced by:

  • Autonomic responses, such as sweating, rapid heart rate, paleness, etc.
  • Inappropriate reactions, such as extreme overcooperation, painstaking self-control; inappropriate laughter or singing, very rapid changes in emotions, and motion sickness under stress
  • Marked changes in mood on different lessons, such as excellent morale followed by deep depressio
  • Severe anger at the flight instructor, service personnel, or others.

So you think you have what it takes to take the next step in your flying career? Instructing can be an extremely fun and rewarding experience for any aviator. The majority of the information discussed above is all available in the Aviation Instructors Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9A). The information contained in this book will be required knowledge for anyone wishing to obtain a flight or ground instructor certificate. I would also encourage you to check out The Flight Instructor Survival Guide by Arlynn McMahon. It’s an insightful, funny at times and enjoyable read. Also a great present for your instructor (hint, hint)!
CFI-SG_Web

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