February 2013 Issue

Experienced Decisions

If we all made better decisions, we’d reduce GA’s accident rate. The various FAA training tools are good ones, but we also need to set experienced examples.

Aeronautical decision-making, or ADM, wasn’t a big, formal deal back in the prehistoric times when I was doing my primary flight training. It was present, nonetheless, in many hangar-flying sessions and private discussions with other, more-experienced pilots. “Don’t run out of gas” and “Don’t mess around with weather” were chief among their warnings and war stories. Those cautions remain as valid today as they were then, of course. While I’ve never run out of fuel, or even been forced to make a precautionary landing to top off, the same can’t be said of many other pilots. Conversely, I’ve often diverted well out of my way, delayed or cancelled trips thanks to weather I simply didn’t feel I could handle. As a result, it could be said I’ve made good decisions. But all that’s in the past—what about the next set of decisions you and I will make? Will they be good ones or bad ones? What goes into aeronautical decision-making and how can we improve it?

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