The decisions a pilot make in flight often plays a huge role in flight safety. Effective decision making does not only occur in the cockpit but it begins from preflight planning and continues throughout the entire flight until the aircraft is parked and tied down. Aeronautical decision making (ADM) is defined as the 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. In short, it is how pilots make decisions to ensure the best possible outcome of a situation.
Aeronautical decision making mainly consist of a four step process: defining the problem, choosing the appropriate course of action, implementing the decision and evaluation the outcome. I believe that if every pilot uses this four step process whenever faced with a difficult situation in flight this will greatly reduce the severity of the outcome. It is also important to note that when making decisions in flight a pilot must be able to quickly and effectively assess the situation and be able respond within the limits of his or her experience.
A part of aeronautical decision making is risk management which is identifying the hazards associated with flight, assessing the degree of risk and determining the best course of action. The degree of risk associated with each flight can be mitigated even before the flight begins. If you are a pilot you’ve most likely heard of the IMSAFE checklist. IMSAFE stands for: illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue, and emotion. It is important for a pilot to use this simple checklist to determine if he or she is in good condition before flight.
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