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ADM. Aeronautical Decision Making Larry Prentiss, Safety Program Manager Dallas Flight Standards District Office James B. Brownfield, Manager. ADM References. AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making (from www.faa gov/avr/afs)

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Aeronautical Decision Making

Larry Prentiss, Safety Program Manager

Dallas Flight Standards District Office

James B. Brownfield, Manager

adm references
ADM References
  • AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making

(from www.faa gov/avr/afs)

  • ADA 182549 Aeronautical Decision Making for Student and Private Pilots

(from National Technical Information Service Library, 1-800-759-4684)

aeronautical decision making
  • Essential To Flight Safety
  • Special Emphasis Item
  • Careful Evaluation Throughout Practical Test


ADM is a systematic approach to the mental process used by pilots to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances.

good judgement
  • Once believed to be gained only as a natural by-product of experience.
  • Good judgment can be taught.


Builds upon the foundation of conventional decision making

steps for good decision making
Steps For Good Decision Making
  • Identifying personal attitudes hazardous to safe flight.
  • Learning behavior modification techniques.
  • Learning how to recognize and cope with stress.
  • Developing risk assessment skills.
  • Using all resources in a multicrew situation.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of one’s ADM skills
operational pitfalls


All experienced pilots have fallen prey to, or have been tempted by, one or more of these dangerous tendencies or behavior patterns in their flying careers.

peer pressure

Peer Pressure

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

mind set

Mind Set

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

get there itis


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

Duck-Under Syndrome

Tendency to sneak a peek by descending below minimums during an approach. Based on a belief that there is a built in “fudge” factor or an unwillingness to admit defeat and shoot a missed approach.

scud running

Scud Running

Pushing the pilot and aircraft capabilities to the limit by trying to maintain visual contact with the terrain while trying to avoid contact with it.

continuing vfr into imc

Continuing VFR into IMC

Often leads to spatial disorientation or collision with ground/obstacles. It is even more dangerous when not instrument rated or current.

getting behind the aircraft

Getting Behind the Aircraft

Allowing events or the situation to control your actions rather than the other way around.

loss of situational awareness

Loss of Situational Awareness

Another case of getting behind the aircraft which results in not knowing where you are, an inability to recognize deteriorating circumstances, and the misjudgment of the rate of deterioration.

operating without adequate fuel reserves

Operating Without Adequate Fuel Reserves

Ignoring minimum fuel reserve requirements, either VFR or IFR, is generally the result of overconfidence, lack of flight planning, or ignoring the regulations.

descent below the minimum enroute altitude

Descent Below the Minimum Enroute Altitude

The duck-under syndrome (mentioned earlier) manifesting itself during the en route portion of an IFR flight.

flying outside the envelope

Flying Outside the Envelope

Unjustified reliance on the (usually mistaken) belief that the airplanes high performance capability meets the demands imposed by the pilot’s (usually overestimated) flying skills.

neglect of flight planning preflight inspections checklists

Neglect of Flight Planning, Preflight Inspections, Checklists

Unjustified reliance on the pilot’s short and long term memory, regular flying skills, repetitive and familiar routes, etc.

hazardous attitudes
  • Antiauthority (don’t tell me!).
  • Impulsivity (do something quickly!).
  • Invulnerability (it won’t happen to me).
  • Macho (I can do it).
  • Resignation (what’s the use?).
stress and flying


Stress is a term used to describe the body’s nonspecific response to demands placed on it, whether those demands are pleasant or unpleasant in nature.

how much stress is in your life


Major and minor stressors have a cumulative effect which constitutes your total stress-adaptation capability which can vary from year to year.

is stress bad


Stress is an inevitable and necessary part of life that adds motivation to life and heightens a pilots response to meet any challenge.

handling stress in flying


Accidents often occur when flying task requirements exceed a pilot’s capabilities.

handling stress in flying32
  • Stress is insidious.
  • Stress is cumulative.
signs of inadequate coping
Signs of Inadequate Coping
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Behavioral
life stress management
Life Stress Management
  • Become knowledgeable about stress.
  • Take a realistic assessment of yourself.
  • Take a systematic approach to problem solving.
  • Develop a lifestyle that will buffer against the affects of stress.
  • Practice behavioral management techniques.
  • Establish and maintain a strong support network.
cockpit stress management
Cockpit Stress Management
  • Avoid situations that distract you from flying the aircraft.
  • Reduce your workload to reduce stress levels.
  • If an emergency does occur, be calm.
  • Maintain proficiency in your aircraft.
  • Know and respect your own personal limits.
  • Do not let little mistakes build into a big thing.
  • Don’t let flying add to your stress.
personal go no go checklist
Personal “Go/No-Go” Checklist
  • Do I feel well?
  • Have I taken any medication in the last 12 hours?
  • Have I had as little as one ounce of alcohol in the last 12 hours?
  • Am I tired?
  • Am I under undue stress?
  • Have I eaten a sensible meal?
  • Am I dehydrated?
  • Do I have proper personal equipment?
risk management


Risk management is the responsibility of everyone involved in aviation.

the decide model
  • Detect. The fact that change has occurred.
  • Estimate. The need to counter or react to the change.
  • Choose. A desirable outcome for the flight.
  • Identify. Actions which successfully control the change.
  • Do. Take the necessary action.
  • Evaluate. The effect of action countering the change
identifying the enemy


Most preventable accidents have one common factor: human error, rather than a mechanical malfunction.

flying is rapidly changing
Flying Is Rapidly Changing
  • ADM is designed to reduce the extremely long and sometimes painful process of learning how to make good judgment decisions based on experience alone.
  • Mistakes in judgment can be fatal.
personal checklist
Personal Checklist
  • Flight while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a never.
  • Flight with a known medical deficiency is never expedient or legal (FAR 61.53).
  • Flight outside the certified envelope is never safe.
  • Flight with less than the required minimum fuel is never reasonable.
personal checklist continued
Personal Checklist, Continued
  • VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions is never justified.
  • Descent below the applicable minimum enroute altitude is never justified.
  • Casual neglect of any applicable checklist is never justified.
  • Aircraft accident statistics show that pilots should be conducting preflight checklists on themselves as well as on their aircraft.
the i m safe checklist
The “I’M SAFE” Checklist
  • Illness. Any Symptoms?
  • Medication. Prescription or OTC drugs?
  • Stress. Psychological, money, health, family?
  • Alcohol. Within 8 hours? Within 24 hours?
  • Fatigue. Adequately rested?
  • Eating. Enough proper foods for nourishment?
how to be a safe pilot


A pilot does not have to be a genius to be a safe pilot.

how to be a safe pilot45
  • A pilot should be an emotionally stable person.
  • An experienced, mature pilot will accept and follow the rules and procedures which will benefit the aviation community.
  • Some pilots break rules simply for the gratification of some emotional need.
how to be a safe pilot46
  • Existing rules would go a long way to remedy the accident rate.
  • Exhibiting one or more of the five hazardous attitudes or irrational behavior also exposes emotional weaknesses in personality.
developing good decision making skills

Developing Good Decision Making Skills

The development of good decision making skills is far more difficult than developing good flying skills, but it can be done.

developing good decision making skills48
Developing Good Decision Making Skills
  • Many pilots fail to make proper decisions when they really want to do something.
  • Not following safety-oriented information is similar to not following the advice of a doctor or lawyer.
  • The most important decision a pilot will make is to learn and adhere to published rules, procedures, and recommendations.
  • Aviation has reached a new plateau.