Decisions are a product of the aviation environment. We are faced with the need to make decisions during every aspect of a flight. To reach a solution we have to be aware that a problem exists. Here are a few simple clues to follow when problems arise. Decisions are based only on facts, not on beliefs, which are culturally based, opinions that are rooted in dogma and rumors.
Henri Poincare said, “Doubt everything or believe everything: these are two equally convenient strategies. With either, we dispense with the need to think.”
- Simplify the problem: On an IFR approach with strong cross winds and having difficulty with the localizer – find the wind correction angle and be sure there is altitude below you. A missed approach is a valid and real option to exercise.
- Do not base a decision on a single instrument unless you have all instruments in concert and you are managing the situation.
- Do not Reason: Reasoning is not a fact or a proof. If I do this (which I have never done before) it will get me out of this mess. No! Don’t do it!
- Failure to define the problem: To circumvent this issue, practicing with an instructor will add to the experience for future recall.
- Accept responsibility and then base your decisions on rational experience and knowledge. Do not try to be a test pilot in an emergency. Over-confidence, fear and hope have no place in the cockpit.
- Misattribution of success or failure. Do not gloat over a decision nor regret a bad outcome. A decision once made on appropriate knowledge and understanding will have its outcome. Do not be bound by the results.
- Turn every problem into an opportunity to learn and experience.
- There are no absolutes in life only decisions which are the paths to their outcome.