September 1999 Issue

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Like anything else, your instruments occasionally will betray your trust in them

There’s an old saying in aviation that you’ll hear throughout your flying career: “Trust your instruments.”

Anyone who has had instrument training has been beaten over the head by the instructor. The strategy is necessary in order to overcome your proprioceptive sensors – the so-called “seat of the pants” sensations – that you learned to rely on when flying VFR.

Yet, what may not have been emphasized is that your instruments can and occasionally will lie to you. Therefore a basic function of cockpit resource management requires a continuous cross-check of the engine, flight and navigation instruments. It’s akin to the old saw, “just because you’re paranoid, don’t think someone’s not ou...

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