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A Pilot's Presence Of Mind And Success In Crisis  
User currently offlineDenverDanny From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 263 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 6 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 13063 times:

Curious after another discussion...

How come some pilots seem to have a high presence of mind during difficult flying situations and/or air crashes while others don't? What leads a pilot to success in crisis situations?

Is it training? Can training and remembering it adequately prepare you?

What about years of experience flying?

Is it genetic? Is it instinct? Is it chemical, in the way that certain people react or don't react to different stimuli, such as alarms and smoke?

Is it the way they were raised?

I can think of a number of aviation accidents that could be used as examples as pro or con for the above. Does it just depend on the crisis which applies?

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 1, posted (4 years 6 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 12999 times:

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
How come some pilots seem to have a high presence of mind during difficult flying situations and/or air crashes while others don't? What leads a pilot to success in crisis situations?

Training and common sense, plus a little bit of luck in some situations.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it training? Can training and remembering it adequately prepare you?

This is a big part of it...training instills automatic reactions that should occur without a great deal of thinking. This helps get through the initial panic tendency in an unfamiliar situation.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
What about years of experience flying?

That's a double edged sword. Lots of experience increases the chance that a pilot has seen a situation before and will recognize and react appropriately. However, a lot of uneventful experience can instill complacency.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it genetic?

Probably not.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it instinct?

Yes, in as much as training and experience are all designed to instill appropriate instincts.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it the way they were raised?

I doubt it...I know good pilots from pretty much every background you can think of.

Tom.


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 6 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 12921 times:

So I see the HHI incident is bugging you...   

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
How come some pilots seem to have a high presence of mind during difficult flying situations and/or air crashes while others don't?

The only major example I can think of of those who don't, and only to an extent, is the Tenerife accident. And maybe the more recent Colgan crash. Both in which stress, fatigue, get-there-itis, and other distractions played a huge factor.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
What leads a pilot to success in crisis situations?

Keeping cool. Thinking rationally. And most importantly, as dumb as it sounds: FLYING the plane, rather than putting all the effort at panicking and acting like a chicken with its head cut off.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it training? Can training and remembering it adequately prepare you?

Oh yes.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
What about years of experience flying?

Even more so than training, BUT as they say, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so a good pilot would have to remain flexible, think out of the box, and not get accustomed to routine

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it genetic? Is it instinct? Is it chemical, in the way that certain people react or don't react to different stimuli, such as alarms and smoke?

I believe to an extent, perhaps. I've come across a few pilots who I know I would not trust flying my family with at all, and they're not the brightest people on the ground or driving either. And these are guys with much more flying time than me.

Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Is it the way they were raised?

Perhaps. My good flying buddies and myself included seemed to be very different from most other kids. We all seemed to be more into strategy games, reading technical stuff, drawing accurate planes, building models/LEGOs, and other stuff rather than the usual kids that seemed more obsessed with sports and stuff. Pilots tend to be really nerdy. I know I am 
Quoting DenverDanny (Thread starter):
Does it just depend on the crisis which applies?

Of course. Sometimes things work out nicely (UA 232), and sometimes they don't (Tenerife)

Although I wouldn't consider it a gamble.


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