More Information‎ > ‎Newsletters‎ > ‎

Pilot Decision Making


Lindell Wilson, WVFC CFI

Low and Slow

This week greeted us with the tragic flight 214 into SFO. Much has been reported by the press and NTSB conferences. The focus in the last several days has been on Flight Crew Management (CRM), Pilot Interaction with Automation (PIA), and finally flight crew to the outside of the cockpit (i.e. CFIT, Controlled Flight Into Terrain). The following articles discuss important background to our flight planning and situational awareness.

CRM - Wikipedia has a good article on Crew Resource Management. “CRM aims to foster a climate or culture where the freedom to respectfully question authority is encouraged. However, the primary goal of CRM is enhanced situational awareness, self awareness, leadership, assertiveness, decision making, flexibility, adaptability, event and mission analysis, and communication.”

PIA - Pilot Interaction with AutomationThe events within the scenario were designed to probe pilots' ability to apply their knowledge and understanding in specific flight contexts and to examine their ability to track the status and behavior of the automated system (mode awareness).”

CFIT - Controlled Flight Into Terrain - In many CFIT accidents, the pilots were in contact with air traffic control (ATC) at the time of the accident and receiving radar service.

The pilots and controllers involved all appear to have been unaware that the aircraft was in danger.

Increased altitude awareness (low and slow) and better preflight planning would likely have prevented all of these accidents.

Happy Flying!