A Good Pilot is Always Learning

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Free Download Part 2

A collection of free downloads to help you prepare for your pilot licenses.

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17-32 technique, especially after arming the system to make a change in course or altitude. In advanced avionics aircraft, proper automation management also requires a thorough understanding of how the autopilot interacts with the other systems. For example, with some autopilots, changing the navigation source on the e-HSI from GPS to LOC or VOR while the autopilot is engaged in NAV (course tracking mode) will cause the autopilot's NAV mode to disengage. The autopilot's lateral control will default to ROL (wing level) until the pilot takes action to reengage the NAV mode to track the desired navigation source. Risk Management Risk management is the last of the three flight management skills needed for mastery of the glass flight deck aircraft. The enhanced situational awareness and automation capabilities offered by a glass flight deck airplane vastly expand its safety and utility, especially for personal transportation use. At the same time, there is some risk that lighter workloads could lead to complacency. Humans are characteristically poor monitors of automated systems. When asked to passively monitor an automated system for faults, abnormalities, or other infrequent events, humans perform poorly. The more reliable the system, the poorer the human performance. For example, the pilot only monitors a backup alert system, rather than the situation that the alert system is designed to safeguard. It is a paradox of automation that technically advanced avionics can both increase and decrease pilot awareness. It is important to remember that electronic flight displays do not replace basic flight knowledge and skills. They are a tool for improving flight safety. Risk increases when the pilot believes the gadgets will compensate for lack of skill and knowledge. It is especially important to recognize there are limits to what the electronic systems in any light GA aircraft can do. Being PIC requires sound ADM which sometimes means saying "no" to a flight. Risk is also increased when the pilot fails to monitor the systems. By failing to monitor the systems and failing to check the results of the processes, the pilot becomes detached from the aircraft operation and slides into the complacent role of passenger in command. Complacency led to tragedy in a 1999 aircraft accident. In Colombia, a multi-engine aircraft crewed with two pilots struck the face of the Andes Mountains. Examination of their FMS revealed they entered a waypoint into the FMS incorrectly by one degree resulting in a flightpath taking them to a point 60 NM off their intended course. The pilots were equipped with the proper charts, their route was posted on the charts, and they had a paper navigation log indicating the direction of each leg. They had all the tools to manage and monitor their flight, but instead allowed the automation to fly and manage itself. The system did exactly what it was programmed to do; it flew on a programmed course into a mountain resulting in multiple deaths. The pilots simply failed to manage the system and inherently created their own hazard. Although this hazard was self-induced, what is notable is the risk the pilots created through their own inattention. By failing to evaluate each turn made at the direction of automation, the pilots maximized risk instead of minimizing it. In this case, a totally avoidable accident become a tragedy through simple pilot error and complacency. For the GA pilot transitioning to automated systems, it is helpful to note that all human activity involving technical devices entails some element of risk. Knowledge, experience, and mission requirements tilt the odds in favor of safe and successful flights. The advanced avionics aircraft offers many new capabilities and simplifies the basic flying tasks, but only if the pilot is properly trained and all the equipment is working as advertised. Chapter Summary This chapter focused on helping the pilot improve his or her ADM skills with the goal of mitigating the risk factors associated with flight in both classic and automated aircraft. In the end, the discussion is not so much about aircraft, but about the people who fly them.

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