Sunday, April 6, 2008


To make informed decisions during flight operations, a pilot must become aware of the resources found both inside and outside the cockpit. Since useful tools and sources of information may not always be readily apparent, learning to recognize these resources is an essential part of ADM training. Resources must not only be identified, but a pilot must develop the skills to evaluate whether there is time to use a particular resource and the impact that its use will have upon the safety of flight. For example, the assistance of air traffic control (ATC) may be very useful if a pilot becomes lost. However, in an emergency situation when action needs be taken quickly, time may not be available to contact ATC immediately.

Internal resources are found in the cockpit during flight. Since some of the most valuable internal resources are ingenuity, knowledge, and skill, a pilot can expand cockpit resources immensely by improving these capabilities. This can be accomplished by frequently reviewing flight information publications, such as the CFRs and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), as well as by pursuing additional training.

A thorough understanding of all the equipment and systems in the airplane is necessary to fully utilize all resources. For example, advanced navigation and autopilot systems are valuable resources. However, if pilots do not fully understand how to use this equipment, or they rely on it so much that they become complacent, it can become a detriment to safe flight.

Checklists are essential cockpit resources for verifying that the airplane instruments and systems are checked, set, and operating properly, as well as ensuring that the proper procedures are performed if there is a system malfunction or in-flight emergency. In addition, the Airplane Flight Manual/Pilot's  Operating Handbook (AFM/POH), which is required to be carried on board the airplane, is essential for accurate flight planning and for resolving in-flight equipment malfunctions.

Other valuable cockpit resources include current aeronautical charts and publications, such as the Airport/Facility Directory.

Passengers can also be a valuable resource. Passengers can help watch for traffic and may be able to provide information in an irregular situation, especially if they are familiar with flying. A strange smell or sound may alert a passenger to a potential problem. Apilot in command should brief passengers before the flight to make sure that they are comfortable voicing any concerns.

Possibly the greatest external resources during flight are air traffic controllers and flight service specialists. ATC can help decrease pilot workload by providing traffic advisories, radar vectors, and assistance in emergency situations. Flight service stations can provide updates on weather, answer questions about airport conditions, and may offer direction-finding assistance. The services provided by ATC can be invaluable in enabling a pilot to make informed in-flight decisions.

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