Aeronautical Decision-Making

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NTSB Aviation Accident Database – Search here for information about the NTSB investigations of aviation accidents.

Break a Rule? See a Safety Issue? File a NASA report – it’s your ticket to safety. (PDF) – This article from FAA Safety Briefing magazine explains what a NASA report is and when and how to file one. Bottom line: if you’ve ever done something potentially unsafe (such as a runway incursion) or seen anything unsafe (such as drone operation close to an active runway), file a NASA report.

NASA ASRS Callback – This monthly newsletter is published by NASA from the¬†Aviation Safety Reporting Program (also known as a “NASA report”). Read it to find out about safety lessons learned in real-life aviation incidents.

[Other] Pilots Looking Out For You (PDF) – This article is from FAA Safety Briefing magazine and gives some food for thought on offering (and being offered) go/no-go advice on questionable flights.

FAA Safety Team – Safety resources for pilots, including seminars, workshops, and webinars offered by the FAA.

Risk Assessment Matrix (PDF) – Take this assessment before your flights to assess your level of risk.

Getting the Maximum from Personal Minimums (PDF) – You should have personal minimums established for your flights. If you haven’t given it more than a vague thought, this article explains how to establish personal minimums and how they should be changed over time or in particular situations.

Risk Management Handbook (PDF) – This is an FAA published handbook that investigates risk management strategies in more detail than the PHAK. While risk is inherent to all aviation activities, mitigating it makes us all better pilots.

To go or not to go? That is the (wrong) question – A very pertinent article from Air Facts about how aeronautical decision-making is not just making yes/no (binary) decisions. Every aspect of risk and flying contains shades of grey.

The Normalization of Deviance – Something I teach about in the ADM ground school class is the concept of “the normalization of deviance,” which explains how people do really stupid things and get into bad accidents, because they’ve done it before and “gotten away with it” (i.e., they were lucky the first few times, and then their luck ran out). This article from AOPA explains how this process caused a fatal accident in a Gulfstream jet. Learning to identify deviance helps us to avoid it from happening, and becoming normalized, in the first place.

Aeronautical Decision Making (AC 60-22) – This FAA Advisory Circular contains a lot of information about the ADM process.

PAVE Personal Minimums Checklist (PDF) – We give a lot of attention to our weather minimums, but we should also think about our personal minimums when it comes to other life situations: how much sleep we’ve gotten, our recent flight experience, whether or not we’re comfortable with the airplane, etc. This checklist helps put all of the PAVE items into perspective so we can make better “go/no-go” decisions.

Weather Decision Making for GA Pilots (PDF) – This article from FAA Aviation News goes over how to make go/no-go decisions regarding weather.

FAA Safety Briefing – This magazine can be subscribed to both in print (for a fee) or electronically (for free). Student pilots should at least skim through the contents to learn more about what is happening at the FAA, and to learn how to become safer pilots.

Nall Report – The Nall Report is a compilation of the leading causes of fatal accidents in general aviation. We can learn from this to prevent becoming part of the statistics.

Related & Recommended Books

  • The Killing Zone: How & Why Pilots Die by Paul A. Craig
  • Pilot Error: The Anatomy of a Plane Crash by Phaedra Hise