Stoicism Defeats “Magical Thinking”!

We need to be mentally prepared when we go flying. Aviation is what industrial analysts call a “high consequence area.” The consequences of even a small slip-up can be huge! Our human defense to these exposures –  so we can fly another day –  is to convince ourselves that this must be “the other guy” … Continue reading “Stoicism Defeats “Magical Thinking”!”

Maintaining the “Maybe” for Safety!

For safety, it is critical to remember that no flight is ever a “done deal,” a “slam-dunk” or “EZ-PZ” until the chocks are in the wheels at the end of a flight. Every planned flight is a “maybe” and we need to avoid falling victim to all those human biases that might put us into … Continue reading “Maintaining the “Maybe” for Safety!”

From SnF23: Mitigate This Silent (Underappreciated) Risk!

As pilots, we are trained from day one to identify and mitigate risks. Unfortunately, most serious threats do not “self-announce!” Hazards are sneaky and are often masked by our own cognitive biases (there are 47 total). We humans normalize all our daily activities – and that includes pilots. We see what we are used to … Continue reading “From SnF23: Mitigate This Silent (Underappreciated) Risk!”

Maintaining Our Vital “Safety Margin!”

Every properly prepared pilot can fly safely, even with a minimum level of skill, *IF* they accurately match their skills to the real demands of each mission. (That’s why CFIs can impose “limitations” on solo endorsements). In the vernacular, we are safe if we “don’t write checks we can’t cash.” The central problem, however, is … Continue reading “Maintaining Our Vital “Safety Margin!””

“Cautious to Cocky;” Avoid the “6C Progression!”

“Cautious to cocky” is a normal progression of human adaptive behavior, built into our DNA. “I don’t know about this” quickly transforms into “I got this!” This is how humans conquered the globe, expanding to 8 billion people and wedged many less adaptive creatures into extinction. Experiences that are initially “weird” or “scary” inevitably become … Continue reading ““Cautious to Cocky;” Avoid the “6C Progression!””

“Soft Skills” for Safety; Honesty/Flexibility!

We often talk about safety only in terms of pilot operator skills and capability; very objectifiable attributes. But regardless of how proficient and talented a pilot might be, we all have limitations. Challenges that exceed the skill/knowledge capability of a pilot lead to accidents or death. This “safety equation” of skill vs challenge is unforgiving. … Continue reading ““Soft Skills” for Safety; Honesty/Flexibility!”

Airlines -vs- GA: Safety Solutions!

Comparing the safety record of “big iron operations” with general aviation is a very common but also inherently unfair contest. The airline “safety sales pitch” goes something like: “airlines have a near-zero accident rate due to some superior skill, secret sauce or magic techniques (buy it here…)” But in fact, the General Aviation piloting job, … Continue reading “Airlines -vs- GA: Safety Solutions!”

Imagine the Worst, Plan for the Best!

Mike Patey very bravely took full responsibility for his public crash of Draco this week: “…this is on me, I made a bad decision.” We need to respect and honor that (rare) honesty. But Mike also clearly laid down the challenge for every pilot to practice better risk management and learn from his personal tragedy … Continue reading “Imagine the Worst, Plan for the Best!”

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