Human Factors
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Decision Making

Lesson 1

Somewhere in the past, when the hills were mountains and a cluster of trees looked like a forest, I remember sitting on the dock with my skinny legs dangling over the water throwing stones and watching them skim the water surface until they sank into their wet resting place. The afternoon morphed into evening with the bulging dark clouds and the first of the small raindrops fell on the lake. I watched as the color of the afternoon turned into an olive green. Transfixed, I watch this transformation without fear. I had no reference. All hell broke loose soon after with wind, rain, hail and whatever the pregnant clouds could throw down.

Needless to say I learned about weather and ever since avoid flying when clouds have even the appearance of anger across their brow. It is as a result of past experience, and the memory recall, that the present and future decisions are made. Does everyone have to suffer the ignominious wrath of nature to learn a lesson? No, it is easier to learn from others’ experiences. Pilots tell tall tales but the FAA writes regulations – built on the foundation of other’s misery – for our safety. Decision-making is an amalgam of past experiences, understanding the rules, following them and limiting the consequences of human frailty.

Humans are a peculiar species. They can face a hurdle, imagine a concept, and change the world. 1912 saw the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers and now we see an imaginary Highway In The Sky.

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