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HOW TO BE

A BETTER
PILOT

Eddie Foo S N
Box 725
dragon52@pacific.net.sg

I
If you are a First Officer and having flown with a commercial air
transport company for more than 5 years and have logged at least
3000 flying hours, this document is aimed squarely at you!

FOREWORD
Yes, I have you, the Senior First Officers and the would-be command trainees in mind when
I first pondered on the idea of writing something which I hoped could be useful in tackling
the seemingly insurmountable LOFTs (Line Oriented Flight Training or Tests). Many believe
the Company’s command training is the toughest training program imaginable. Like they
said: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. You really have to be tough to
survive this endurance test! For those who succeeded, it is certainly no small achievement;
they deserved it and should naturally feel proud of themselves.
I wrote this document in good faith and based entirely on my own personal experience and
perception, however little they may be. My aim here is to help you to get through your
command training, to give you some ideas on what the Company expects of you as a future
airliner commander. I do not pretend that these notes are all encompassing. In fact by itself,
it is quite meaningless. However, when used sensibly together with other official training
manuals, it will serve well as an “OVERVIEW” to LOFT & LOA (Line Oriented Assessment)
exercises and as a useful guide to becoming a people-oriented commander.
I have done quite a bit of research on all the technical information and tips passed down
from former command trainees, and also in consultation with Mr Sen Gupta, our ground
instructor. I used a lot of relevant materials from the ARM course notes and other books on
aviation safety, airmanship and flight discipline found in major bookstores. Put simply, I
merely consolidated and compiled them into a handy easy-to-carry, easy-to-use reference
book, in an A4 size PDF format for easy electronic transmission.
Of course there must be other ways of achieving the same goal, you have the liberty not to
agree with what I said here, all I am doing here is to give you another option towards your
command training.

Caution: This is not an official document! Merely reading these notes will never be enough
to tackle your Command LOFTs, because there is no substitute for hard work.
I also did try my best to conform to the Company philosophy, policies procedures and
practices whilst penning down my thoughts. However I am all too human, and plus the lack
of resources, there are bound to be mistakes, despite of the vetting I have done with the
help from my colleagues!
Finally, I believe in sharing, and to help raise aviation safety awareness. Everybody will be
better off (I hope!) and nobody will be worse off (I am certain). I reiterate that my intentions
are good and I shall in no way be making any deliberate attempts to mislead you.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would not have written all these without advice and suggestions from some of my close
colleagues and good friends. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to many of my colleagues
who helped me vetting through my early drafts in weeding out typo and technical errors, plus
their suggestions of inclusions of other vital topics. Otherwise the task of putting up a
document like this would not have been possible. They are; Choo NT, Chua Eng Kiat, Allan
Ong, Pradeep Kumar, Alan Ho as well as many others.

1
First Edition 01-05-2002

Some Sobering Quotes On Flight Safety:


• “Aviation in and of itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater
extent than the sea, It is terribly unforgiving for any inattention, carelessness or
neglect.”
- A poster sold at most pilot shops

• “It often seems as if in-flight problems have an eerie way of finding exactly what it
is that we don’t know and then exploit it!”

• “Many accidents have occurred while aviators were too busy chasing the mice to
see the elephants bearing down on them.”
• “A skilled pilot without flight discipline is a flying time bomb”.

- Tony Kern

• “Airplanes are near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive”.

- Richard Collins

• “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old and bold pilots”.

• “Flying is not dangerous, crashing is.”


- Anonymous

This file is free-of-charge

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SOME ASSUMPTIONS MADE
This document assumes that you have at least 3000 flying hours, or with at least 5 years of
flying experience on the right hand seat of a jetliner with an air operator plying international
routes, it also assumes that you have already acquired certain stick-and-rudder skills and
other related flying abilities that are clearly the minimum pre-requisites to be a future
commercial pilot-in-command of a multi-engine glass cockpit jetliner. It further assumes that
you are a coherent; responsible as well as a disciplined aviator who takes his flying career
seriously, otherwise, this is not an arena for you to hang around.

This main emphasis of this document is not to show you how to be a “Top Gun” airliner
commander. It centers on flight safety, situational awareness, judgment and decision
making process. It also focuses on flight discipline, airmanship, crew resource management,
error management as well as widely accepted and practised “command qualities”.

I am no expert in these fields either, but I have done quite a bit of research on these topics
from some human factors experts in their relevant fields, which I have consolidated and
compiled them into this handy document. Anyone who is keen to explore what other aviation
flight safety experts have to say will definitely benefit from reading their insights in this
document. That much I can assure you. Of course, if you want to explore further, you have
no choice but to spend time reading the books in these topics. For that, I have a list of
recommended references for your bedtime reading! They can be easily purchased from
www.amazon.com

Recommended References & Websites:

1. “Human Error” by James Reason.


2. “Managing The Risks Of Organizational Accidents” by James Reason.
3. “Aircraft Safety, Accident Investigations, Analyses, & Applications”
By Shari Stamford Krause, Ph. D.
4. “Pilot Judgment & Crew Resource Management” by Richard S. Jensen.
5. “Redefining Airmanship” } These three book are written
6. “Flight Discipline” } by Tony Kern, a must read!
7. “Darker Shades Of Blue – The Rogue Pilot” }
8. “Situational Awareness Analysis & Measurement” by Mica R Endsley.
9. “Human Factors In Flight” by Frank H Hawkins.
10. “Human Factors In Multi-Crew Flight Operations” by Harry & Linda Orlady.
rd
11. “Commercial Aviation Safety – 3 Edition” – by Alexander T. Wells.
12. “Flight Deck Performance – The Human Factor”.
By David O’Hare & Stanley Roscoe.
13. “Cockpit Resource Management” - by Dr Robert L. Helmreich.
14. “Aeronautical Decision Making” - Jointly by NASA, FAA & Canada Transport.
nd
15. “PILOT ERROR – The Human Factor – 2 Edition” - by Ronald & Leslie Hurst
16. “AIR DISASTERS” Vol 1, 2 & 3 – Macarthur Job & Matthew Tesch
17. Flight Safety Foundation Website - http://www.flightsafety.org
18. Other Airline Safety Links: - http://www.airlinesafety.com/links/aviation.htm

Note: This document drew heavily from my previous work – “AIRBUS A310 Command
Trainees’ Quick Reference Handbook” that I wrote 2 years ago. The approach to writing this
new document is to benefit other aircraft type First Officers as well, albeit the author has
flown only the A310 and the B744.

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WHAT IS LINE-ORIENTED FLIGHT TRAINING (LOFT)?
In the evolution of flight training, one notes the early emphasis on the rudimentary skills of
manipulation of controls and the use of mainly psychomotor skills. As the air route systems,
aids to navigation, air traffic control, and more diverse high speed and complex aircraft
entered the system; the tasks of pilots grew in diversity.

Today, the major emphasis in airline operations is on crew training rather than individual skill
attainment. Obviously, satisfactory crew performance assumes a sufficient level of individual
skills on the part of each member. Relatively new, however, is the interest in, need for and
recognition of crew, rather than individual training.

The use of simulation technology and devices to accommodate crew training oriented to line
operations is a remarkable challenge, and one to which the airlines, manufacturers and
regulatory bodies are rising with success.

DEFINITION OF LOFT
NASA describes: “LOFT is a developing training technology which synthesise high-fidelity
aircraft simulation and high-fidelity line-operations simulation to provide realistic, dynamic
pilot training in a simulated line environment.

LOFT is an augmentation of existing pilot training which concentrates upon


command, leadership, and resource management skills.”

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The USAF Strategic Air Command, Northwest Orient Airlines and PAN AM Airways were the
pioneers in adopting this revolutionary training program for their flight crew. Subsequently
FAA endorsed LOFT to be utilised in any airline recurrent training program under FAR 121
in May 1978.

QUOTES
“Line-Oriented Flight Training is a line environment flight-training program with total crew
participation in real-world incident experiences, with a major thrust toward resource
management”.

- Captain H. T. Hunt – Director, Flight Training of Northwest Orient Airlines.

“… Line-Oriented Flight Training, in principle, has filled a long existing need in airline-crew
training, that of command and resource management in the total crew resolution of realistic
line-type problems”.

- Captain A. A. Frank, VP Flight Training of PAN AM Airways.

Continued Next Page

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OBJECTIVES & ADVANTAGES OF LOFT

• LOFT is the application of line-operations simulation to pilot-training programmes. LOFT


is a combination of high-fidelity aircraft simulation and high-fidelity line-operations
simulation.
• LOFT involves a complete crew, each member of which operates as an individual and as
a member of a team just as he does during line operations.
• LOFT involves simulated real-world incidents unfolding in real time. Similarly, the
consequences of crew decisions and actions during LOFT scenarios will accrue and
impact the remainder of the trip in a realistic manner.
• LOFT is casebook training. Some problems have no single, acceptable solution;
handling them is a matter of judgment. LOFT is training in judgment and decision-
making.
• LOFT requires effective interaction with, and utilisation of, all available resources. A
LOFT scenario requires the exercise of management skills.
• LOFT is a training and learning experience in which errors will probably be made, not a
checking programme in which errors are not acceptable. The purpose of LOFT is not to
induce errors, but cockpit resource management is, in part, the management of human
errors.

Effective resource management recognises that under some circumstances, such as


high-workload situations, human errors is likely; steps must be taken to reduce the
probability of error. However, it is also necessary to maximise the probability that error,
when it does occur, will be detected and corrected, thereby minimising the probability of
adverse impact upon the overall safety of the operation.

Just as it is necessary to practise landing skills in order to gain and maintain aircraft-
handling proficiency, it is necessary to practise human-error management skills; the
former requires flight simulator or airplane, and the latter, the presence of error-inducing
situations.

LIMITATIONS OF LOFT
With all the obvious benefits of LOFT but there are still limitations:

• LOFT will not solve all training problems.


• LOFT is resource management training but not skill training. Manual flying skills are
essential prerequisite.
• LOFT will succeed only as a part of total training and crew education programme that
ensures that basic knowledge and skill norms are met.

The real success of LOFT programmes will depend on the scenarios that are designed for
the use of the crews. An airline contemplating using the technique would do well to consult
the excellent NASA Conference Publication for guideline in developing a programme that
can be of positive benefit to the education and training of crews.

The techniques now used in both Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) and Line-Oriented
Simulation (LOS) are moving closer to the day when total simulation will be reached and the
time in the actual aircraft will be used for revenue operations.

Note: Extracted from the book “PILOT ERROR – THE HUMAN FACTOR”
Second Edition - 1982, edited by Ronald and Leslie Hurst.

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COCKPIT or CREW RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (CRM)
SIA takes a serious view of Cockpit or Crew Resource Management, CRM in short. In
commercial flying, safety of the passengers and safety of the aircraft are of paramount
importance. The aircrew are expected to co-operate and work as a team to handle any
unforeseeable abnormal situations with the best possible effectiveness. Teamwork usually
produces synergetic results. One-man-operation, “task-master” or “god-like” style of
decision making, actions and behaviours are not encouraged anymore. CRM is the effective
management of the pilot’s available resources.

When faced with an aircraft malfunction or abnormal situation in the air or on the ground,
and unless that situation is a life-threatening, time-pressed one such as aircraft on fire in the
air, rapid decompression due to hull damage or the aircraft is going to crash etc., you should
normally have sufficient time to consider various options before you jump into making a
decision, and that decision is invariably bound to safeguard the lives of the passengers and
safety of the aircraft first.

For example, your first officer, the ATC, the engineering personnel, the cabin crew, or even
the passengers on board, can provide you with invaluable information to help you to
establish a much better decision than you would otherwise relying solely on your own effort.

More often than not, two heads (or more) are better than one. The case studies we learnt in
the ARM courses had proven this beyond doubt. It is in your own interest to follow this
widely accepted wisdom when making crucial decision in an abnormal situation.

The official definition of CRM is: “Using all available resources, information, equipment and
people to achieve safe and efficient flight operations” (Especially in a time-constrained
environment and under stress).

PROBLEM OWNERSHIP
ACP Capt Albert Koh and Capt (retired) Ken Toft also emphasised to us that when there is
an incident or problem presented to you, you must first establish whether that is your
problem or someone else is trying to push the “buck” to you.

This is particularly true when dealing with errant passengers and delays. Do not react
immediately, you must think and assess the situation first, for all you know there are better
qualified people around that can handle that particular problem more efficiently than you
know! It may not even be your problem at all!

The LOFT instructor is fond of testing your ability in handling technical (engines or APU
starting problems) and passenger boarding delays, unruly passenger on-board, smoking in
the cabin toilet, loss of personal property or passports by the passengers etc. You simply
have to use all your wits to handle such problems.

My suggestion is that you should go and meet some of the newly checked out captains and
ask them for advice or discuss as many as those scenarios as possible. The more you
discuss with them, the more familiar you become and you will find it a lot easier to handle
such human-related problems. The bottom line is, identify the proper ownership of the
problem and then use all the available resources at your disposal wisely in the hope of
solving these problems, not aggravating them!

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REACTION TO THE ONSET OF A MALFUNCTION OR ABNORMAL SITUATION
When a malfunction occurs, sometimes it is better to take a deep breath and think for a little
while before responding to an EICAS or ECAM warning. It has been demonstrated many
times that an impulsive response to an EICAS or ECAM warning will invariably lead the
command trainee astray in handling a malfunction and with disastrous consequences.

Even with a third level warning such as IN FLT ENGINE FIRE, we do not carry out the
EICAS or ECAM actions until passing 400ft after takeoff, we all know that at that crucial
moment, maintaining the flight path and keeping clear of ground are even more critical. Most
abnormal situations, even though serious in nature, can still afford some time for one to
think through the problem and situation.

Some experienced captains suggest that when you have a third level ECAM warning,
perhaps the first thing you should do is to put your hands below your thighs, (not to react
immediately first) and then take a deep breath, look at the EICAS or ECAM display and then
assess the nature of the malfunction. I think the moral of the story here is clear, think before
you leap into the problem, lest you may compound it to a point that is beyond your ability to
salvage.

FLIGHT CREW PERFORMANCE DURING AIRCRAFT MALFUNCTIONS


Studies have shown that the performance of flight crew is often affected when a malfunction
occurs. Often, the flight crew’s response to a serious malfunction is handled better and
usually i.a.w. prescribed procedures (rule-based). However, when handling malfunctions of
a less serious nature, flight crew tend to be less conformal to rules and more easily
distracted, often leading to loss of situational awareness, e.g. Eastern L-1011 crash (nose
gear light), in Florida 1972 and United DC-8 crash (landing gear extension) in Portland in
1978. It is imperative that the flight crew must give undivided attention and seriousness to all
types of malfunctions, and follow prescribed handling procedures.

HANDLING A MALFUNCTION OR ABNORMAL SITUATION


There are certain well thought out patterns in handling a malfunction. Invariably you have to
respond to some sort of warning(s), typically an EICAS or ECAM or other external visual or
audio warning (though not necessary all the time!), you should do the following:

EICAS/ECAM Warning – Carry out the actions as per the QRH or relevant actions,
usually until STATUS page if applicable.
Landing Distance & Speed Corrections – To cater for degraded aircraft performance
due to essential services lost.
Landing With Abnormal Flight Controls – The secondary effects of a system loss
usually mean flight control or lift augmentation devices problem. For approach
preparation, use the appropriate flight control settings based on the QRH settings.
ATC & Cabin Announcements – Advise ATC and state your next plan of actions clearly
so that they can assist you fully in combating the abnormal situation. Make a PA to
reassure and pacify the passengers. You should endeavour to make your PA at a timely
moment and with a calm and reassuring voice. This comes only with repeated practice
whenever possible.

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TIMELY COORDINATED ACTIONS ON EICAS/ECAM, QRH AND PA
In a LOFT scenario, it will help you tremendously if you develop a sensible pattern of
carrying out the EICAS/ECAM actions and backing them up with the QRH (for any additional
items), and at the same time tying up with other essential actions that are not mentioned in
the checklist procedures, e.g. public announcement, requesting for weather information,
ATC or engineering help etc.
The electronic and the paper checklists are soul-less guides, you have to pace the PNF as
to where and when to ask him to hold and to continue, so that you can make an emergency
transmission, or an ATC call, or a PA to the passengers. There are many notes written by
my predecessors regarding the management of abnormal checklist actions, timely radio
calls and PA to the passengers and cabin crew. The ability to do just that is one aspect of
the command qualities the Company is looking for in you.
Note: This coordinated and well-orchestrated skill comes only with practice. More self help in
the flight simulator will help to develop this essential skill.

RECOMMENDED EMERGENCY PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS (PA)


In the normal checklist, there are some recommended emergency announcements such as:
“Emergency Landing”, “After Emergency Landing or Rejected Takeoff”, “Ditching
Announcement”, “Rapid Decompression“ etc. It is definitely an asset to be fluent with such
“Speeches” when called for, so that you can get them out of the way quickly and spend
more time in handling the abnormal situation instead. Practise them often, say, while you
are having a shower! Unless English is your mother tongue, it pays to do so!

LAND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE


The nature of some abnormal situations dictates that you have to land as soon as possible.
Having said so, you must still carry out your EICAS/ECAM actions and checklist items, and
making your decision in a most expeditious and safe manner. Never rush to do things in an
abnormal situation, it only makes things worse. The time saved in rushing things is typically
insignificant as compared to handling the same situation in a well-paced and thorough
manner. But there are exceptions:

The following are time critical situations that you have to land as soon as possible; you may
even have to consider forced landing or ditching before losing control of the airplane;

• UNCONTAINED AIRCRAFT FIRE (Extremely time-critical fire hazard)


• ALL UNCONTAINED SMOKE PROBLEMS (Non removable smoke is a fire hazard)
• SERIOUS HULL DAMAGE (Questionable structural Integrity)
• ALL ENGINES FLAMED OUT – UNABLE TO RELIGHT (Time-constrained)
• FLIGHT ON BAT ONLY (Must Land within 30 mins before the batteries die!)
The following situations are not as time critical, as long as the airplane is under control and
there is sufficient fuel on board, you have time to think before you act.

• LOSS OF MAJOR ELECTRICS (Electrical problems).


• DUAL HYD SYS LO PR (Flight control problems).
• IN FLT ENG FIRE - EXTINGUISAHBLE (Fire hazards).
• DYING PASSENGER (Medical case, time-constrained).
• TWO ENG INOPERATIVE (B744/A340) or SINGLE ENG INOPERATIVE (B777/A310).

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DIVERSION PLANS
As a captain you have the moral responsibility to accomplish your mission, i.e. to deliver the
passengers to their destination. However, if a passenger is critically ill and requires urgent
medical attention on ground, you may have to make an emergency landing where help can
be rendered to save his/her life. Or, if the aircraft is suffering from a serious technical
malfunction that you have no choice but to land as soon as possible.

All these will affect your decision making process whether to press on to destination or to
divert. Most LOFT scenarios will result in diverting to elsewhere, although not necessarily
always. There are many things to consider before you make that crucial decision to press on
or to divert. Sometimes the nearest airport may not be the suitable one to land, depending
on the nature of the abnormal situation you encounter. Your decision making process should
at least cover the following:

• Aircraft status, distance to go and fuel on board


• Actual weather conditions
• Runway length (landing distance available) You can always devise your
• Landing aids (ILS, VOR or NDB approaches) own mnemonics to help you
remember all the essential
• Fire fighting and rescue capability points and actions to carry out.
• Engineering support and passenger handling
• Flight time limitations

THE SIX “C”s – Plus other “C”s


To sum up what I just said, perhaps you can organise your action plans using the six Cs,
which I learned and adapted from suggestions by IP Capt Philip Chua:

• Command – Immediately assume command and take charge of the situation.


• Control – You must bring the situation under control, i.e. fly the aircraft.
• Contain – You must contain the abnormal situation, i.e. carry out the ECAM and
QRH checklist actions etc to stop the situation from worsening.
• Course Of Actions – You must now map out your course of actions. Press on?
Divert? Or return to base? etc.
• Communicate – You must convey your intention to your first officer, cabin crew,
ATC, Ground Engineer of what to do and how best to assist you etc.
• Composed – You must maintain your composure all the time, i.e. be Calm, Cool and
Collect! Otherwise, you will have difficulties discharging the first five Cs. Your good
composure will also have a Calming effect on your first officer and other supporting
crewmembers.

All these six Cs will increase your chance of a successful situation recovery. The one C you
never want to be associated with is “Crash!”.

CONTROL YOUR OWN F.A.T.E.


If you don’t believe in all those “C”s, you should at least control your own “FATE”:

• F - Fly the aircraft.


• A - Assess the situation.
• T - Take appropriate action.
• E - Evaluate the results.

If you are not entirely happy with the outcome of your actions, go through the FATE cycle
again.

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DEFINING GOOD JUDGMENT & DECISION MAKING
There is a difference between having good judgment and making a good decision. The
terms are not interchangeable.

The formal definition of Good Judgment is: “The mental ability to perceive and distinguish
alternatives. The capacity to make reasonable decision. Wisdom.”

Whereas, the definition of a Decision is: “The act of reaching a conclusion or making up
one’s mind.”

Good Pilot Judgment Can Be Learned: Just as you learn the mechanics of flight, so too
you can learn how to have good judgment. Remember, the core of the definition is to
perceive and distinguish between correct and incorrect decisions. Some pilots can’t always
accomplish that, simply because the foundation of good judgment is formed by each
person’s thought patterns. This is the reason why a 20,000hr pilot can be as vulnerable as
the 1000-hr pilot to a habit of poor judgment.

Summary Of Good Judgment: To summarise, good judgment is as follows:

• Awareness.
• Observation.
• Recognition.
• Understand the differences between correct & incorrect alternatives to a solution.
Note: Pilot Judgment can be further broken down to “Rational Judgment” & “Motivational
Judgment”, but it is beyond my scope here, you may read the book “Pilot Judgment & Crew
Resource Management” by Richard S. Jensen for more information.

THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS


Shari Stamford Krause. Ph D. An expert in aircraft safety and accident investigation,
recommends the following “DECIDE” Model.

• Detect: The pilot detects the fact that a change has occurred that requires attention.
• Estimate: The pilot estimates the significance of the change to the flight.
• Choose: The pilot chooses a safe outcome of the flight.
• Identify: The pilot identifies plausible actions to the change.
• Do: The pilot acts on the best options.
• Evaluate: The pilot evaluates the effect of the action on the change and on the
progress of the flight.

DECISION MAKING & CRM


Therefore, when faced with an abnormal situation, you should, based on your good
judgment and your CRM skills, gather information from various sources first, before making
a decision. This is especially true when you have to decide whether to press on, turn back or
divert. Do not rely on the one-man-operation instinct. More heads are usually better than
one. Ultimately your decision is to make a safe landing and save lives.
Conversely, a wrong decision can cause an incident, in the worst case, cause an accident or
disaster that results in losing your own life, your passengers’ and other innocent lives on the
ground! We are mere mortal souls, prone to mistakes. I really do not know how to put this
across any better than what I’d already said…

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DEVELOPMENT OF GOOD DECISION MAKING SKILLS
The development of good decision making skills is far more difficult than developing good flying
skills, but it can be done. Good judgment may mean not flying while under the influence of any
medication, when it is too windy, or refusing a revenue flight when it would require flying in marginal
weather.

Many pilots fail to make proper decisions; sometimes due to a lack of knowledge, but too often the
result of a human tendency to rationalize a situation until it appears justifiable. When a pilot really
wants to do something (such as loading that one last passenger when close to maximum gross
weight, or performing a high speed, low altitude pass), the pilot can generally make himself/herself
believe that it was all right to do it. A pilot can be his/her own worst enemy.

In addition to the FAR, AC's, articles in magazines, books written by expert pilots and instructors,
Pilot Proficiency Programs, Airman's Information Manual, NOTAM's, Airworthiness Directives, and
Biennial Flight Reviews, there are some do's and do not's that can ensure the prevention of most
accidents. All of this information is safety-oriented. Not following this safety-oriented information is
similar to not following the advice of a doctor or lawyer.

The most important decision a pilot will make is to learn and adhere to published rules, procedures,
and recommendations. Pilots, by learning and adhering to these published rules and procedures,
can take most hazards out of flying. When a pilot operates an aircraft, human lives are held in the
balance. Therefore, a pilot has a moral responsibility to operate in the safest possible manner.

Aviation has reached a new plateau. Acquiring aeronautical knowledge, airmanship skills, and
proficiency are relatively easy. Navigation has been reduced to calculator simplicity. Modern
autopilots and electronic displays have significantly reduced a pilot’s workload. Today's technology
requires administrative management and aeronautical decision making skills as prerequisites for
safety and efficiency.

Successful decision making is measured by a pilot's consistent ability


to keep himself, any passengers, and the aircraft in good condition
regardless of the conditions of any given flight.

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OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOURS & ERRORS
When human beings and other mammals are subjected to a life threatening situation, their
usual reaction will either be “fight” or “flight” from the situation. This instinctive built-in
defensive reaction will either save their skins or lead them to fatal mistakes.

Good judgment plus situational awareness lead to good decision making, the outcome will
be averting the situation and saving one’s skin. But bad judgment and the lack of situational
awareness leads to bad decision making and finally culminating in making mistakes that
lead to incident, accident or disaster!

Human behaviors can perhaps be classified into various operational definitions as many
aviation psychologists do. Operational definitions of the concepts are provided below in
alphabetical order. The operational definitions were derived from James Reason's works
and other sources.

Automatic Behaviour - A rote action performed without awareness or intent. Although


automatic behavior allows a person to accomplish a task while thinking about something
else, automatic behavior can lead to inattention and error. When a skill is highly learned -
perhaps because it has been practiced for years - the skill becomes automated and requires
minimal conscious awareness and minimal application of mental effort.

Availability Heuristic - A problem-solving mechanism in which an individual is influenced


by, and bases decisions on, not only what he or she has experienced in the past but also the
situations that most readily come to mind.

Concept Shift - A situation in which one or more parameters of a problem change, requiring
a person to find a new solution. This condition can cause confusion and delay appropriate
decision making if the person is not aware of the parameter change.

Confirmation Bias - The expectation of perceiving certain environmental cues, and the
tendency to search for those cues more actively than for other cues. The confirmation bias
can cause a person to search selectively for evidence to confirm an underlying belief,
discount contradictory evidence and stop searching once the confirming evidence is found.

Knowledge-based Mistake - An error of commission in which the action proceeds as


planned but the plan is inappropriate for the situation. A knowledge-based mistake arises
from incomplete or incorrect knowledge.

Lapse - An error of omission in which an item previously known is forgotten. Lapses are
unintended and often are caused by inattention or inadequate association at the time the
item was learned.

Mental Model - An individual's understanding of the elements of a system, operation or


situation and the rules of interaction between them.

Metacognitive - A higher type of thinking; thinking about thinking. Metacognition refers to


the monitoring and control of one's own thought processes and habit patterns.

Continued Next Page

12
Recency Bias - The tendency of a person encountering a new situation or event to be
influenced by, and to base decisions on, similar information from other situations or events
recently encountered.

Rule-based Mistake - An error of commission i.a.w. a rule that is inappropriate for the
situation. A rule-based mistake typically occurs when misclassification of a situation leads to
application of an inappropriate rule or to incorrect memory of procedures.

Slip - An error of commission in which the action does not proceed as planned. Slips are
unintended and often are caused by inattention at the time of action.

Team Building - Bonding individual crewmembers into a team in which each crewmember
contributes and facilitates teamwork.

Team Participation - Efforts by each crewmember to work with other crewmembers during
the flight.

Thought Pattern - Expectations that predispose a person to a certain course of action


and/or thought, regardless of perceived cues. Attitude and mind-set are related terms that
often are used synonymously.

Vigilance Tuning - Identifying the important items in a situation that require increased
attention and monitoring.
Note: Extracted from the book “Human Error” by James Reason.

HOW DO WE COMBAT ERROR-MAKING TENDENCIES?


It will be a tall order for me to teach you how to prevent errors from being made. I am
certainly not qualified and I may be just as prone as anybody when it comes to facing this
question of how to fight against making errors and mistakes. However, by understanding
some of these underlying thought patterns and behaviours, we hope that we are better pre-
disposed to cope.

Many pilots perished “bought the farm” because they made fundamental mistakes. Let us
just hope that they did not die in vain by offering many invaluable lessons for us to learn.
Therefore I urge all of you to take some time off to read some flight safety related materials
that are readily available in the net as well as in the bookstores. They are the windows to
better flight safety awareness.

13
PILOT JUDGMENT AND AERONAUTICAL DECISION MAKING (ADM)
In recent years, the FAA, NASA, CANADA Transport and private research facilities have
collectively addressed the issues of pilot judgment and aeronautical decision making (ADM).
The result was the development of the FAA’s ADM training guide. Five hazardous thought
patterns and attitudes were identified that affect judgment abilities. A sixth thought pattern is
also added by another aviation safety expert..

• Anti-authority: This attitude is found in pilots who resent any external control over
their actions. They have a tendency to disregard rules and procedures. “The
regulations and SOPs are not for me.”

• Impulsivity: This attitude is found in pilots who act too quickly, who tend to do the
first thing that pops up in their mind. “I must act now, no time to waste.”

• Invulnerability: This attitude is found in pilots who act as though nothing bad can
happen to them. Many pilots feel the accidents happen to others but never happen to
them. Those who think this way are merely taking chances and running unwise risk.
“It won’t happen to me.” Famous last words.

• Macho: This attitude is found in pilots who continually try to prove themselves better
than others. They tend to act with overconfidence and attempt difficult task for the
admiration it gains them. The infamous “Watch This!”..

• Resignation or Complacency: This attitude is found in pilots who believe that they
have little or no control over their circumstances. They might feel, “What’s the use?”
These pilots might also deny that a problem is as it appears and believe, “It’s not as
bad as they say.” It’s unlikely that they would take charge of a situation, and they
might even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a nice guy. Another
common feeling is, “They are counting on me, I can’t let them down.”

• Press-On-Itis: (Or Get-Home-Itis) The urge to complete a task or mission


regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Many pilots are so mission-oriented to
the point of disregarding flight safety in attempting just to accomplish the mission.
“By hook or by crook, I must land this damn aircraft, now!” It appears that aborting a
mission for safety reasons or a go-around constitutes a loss of face.
Note: You can download a copy of the FAA ADM from ALPA-S website or write to me.

COUNTERING HAZARDOUS THOUGHT PATTERNS AND ATTITUDES


Granted, most pilots exhibit traces of these hazardous thought patterns once in a while.
That is what makes up of our individual personalities. But the degree to which we display
these patterns, especially in the cockpit, is where the problem lies. One of the best ways to
begin eliminating, or at least alleviating these thought patterns is by simply recognising what
thought patterns and attitudes you are most vulnerable to.
If you are a normal, disciplined person who adheres to rules and procedures, chances are
you can exercise self-control and prevent from any of these thought patterns from
manifesting themselves and becoming bigger and harder to contain. Conversely, a pilot who
exhibits several of such thought patterns and attitudes and does not really care about the
consequences, he is indeed a very dangerous pilot! He is a flying time bomb, an accident
waiting to happen!
Note: Adapted and modified from the book “Aircraft Safety” by Shari Stamford Krause.
Ph.D. and “Redefining Airmanship” by Tony Kern.

14
THE ANTIDOTES AGAINST HAZARDOUS ATTIDUTES

HAZARDOUS ATTITUDE ANTIDOTE


Antiauthority: Don't Tell Me. Follow the rules. They are usually right.
Impulsivity: Do something quickly. Not so fast. Think first
Invulnerability: It won’t happen to me It could happen to me.
Macho: I can do it. Taking chances is foolish.
Resignation: What's the use? I'm not helpless. I can make a difference.

AIRCRAFT TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE


I again stress the importance of having a solid foundation of the aircraft technical. It is
absolutely essential for pilots to know the technicals of the aircraft they are operating, more
important, the timely application of what you know in tackling an abnormal situation is
essential. Sure, you need not go to the other extreme and attempt to be a ground engineer
trying to know every nut and bolt of the airplane either. It is one of the main pillars of
knowledge to enhance one’s situational awareness.

COMPANY PHILOSOPHY, POLICIES & PROCEDURES - CHECKLIST DISCIPLINE


I do not wish to give the impression that you should deviate from the Company approved
practices. In fact whenever you have an aircraft malfunction, You must follow the checklist
procedures. Some malfunctions’ checklists are long and tedious, e.g. LOSS OF BOTH ENG
GENERATORS (A310), the DUAL HYD SYS LO PR (A310) etc. You have no choice but to
finish them accordingly. In LOFT, you must duly complete all the QRH items with no
exception! It is imperative that you and your FO must carry out the EICAS/ECAM and QRH
actions conscientiously and never take shortcuts, there is no shortcut other than the shortcut
to doom!
Knowing just the technical is not enough, you should read and digest the Company
operational and fuel policies, FAM, safety and security matters as well, e.g. bomb on board,
dangerous goods etc. Granted, these are the boring stuff, but you have no choice, be
conversant with them. The reward is, when armed with these background knowledge, you
are likely to possess good judgment and make better decisions when called for.
Note: Talk to freshly checked out commanders in how to deal with passenger boarding
delay, unruly behaviour, critically ill or dying passenger in flight, missing passport or no show
passengers with cargo bags loaded, passenger smoking in the cabin or toilet, passenger
complaints. You will be tested on how you handle all these problems in the LOFTs as well.

BE A DISCIPLINED, “Know-Your-Stuff” PILOT


If you want to have all the aircraft technical knowledge at your fingertips, there is no other
ways than the “Read all of them up” way. I believe this is the only way to know your stuff.
You have to be disciplined to do that. Some aviation experts suggest that we should
formulate an annual study plan, and to cover specific chapters and topics projected against
a given month, e.g. covering the Flight Manuals, FAM, FCTM, FSI as well as other relevant
reading materials. Make sure that the goal you set for yourself is an achievable one. The
longest journey always begins with the first step.

I have the following suggestions: Read one chapter of FCOM a week, which is not too
difficult or asking too much on yourself. Read one QRH checklist per day; begin with the
less common ones. Practise your manual loadsheet calculations, anti-skid/spoilers
inoperative and other weight correction problems at least once a month. Revise those
special operations you rarely encounter in normal line operations at least once a quarter. In
a year, you would have covered most of the aircraft technical. Go through the cycle again.
This disciplined approach to master your own airplane, as in CRM, is now strongly promoted
by many major airlines all over the world.

15
COMMAND TRAINING PROGRAMME
From the FCTM, command training comprises of no less than 5 LOAs and several additional
practice LOFTs from Phase 2 onwards. Perhaps with the exception of LOA 1, you have to
do well in all the subsequent LOAs before you will be given a shot at the FINAL COMMAND
LOFT prior to checking out as a commander.

Every LOA will be assessed and every LOA counts. You must aim to do well in all the LOAs.
If you fumble in one LOA, do not despair, instead of blaming yourself for goofing the
exercise, quickly learn the lessons and move on. Spend your precious time and energy in
preparing for the next LOA instead.

One common pitfall faced by some command trainees was relying too much on the “10-year
series” and blindly following or pre-empting the outcome as their predecessors did. This will
surely lead to your downfall. The instructor can always vary the LOFT scenario and you will
be thrown off guard. There is nothing wrong in reading up the “10-year series” so long as
you use them only as a guide, they can still be of help as reference materials.

The best stand to take is to treat your LOFT or LOA as a real flight, and handle any
abnormal situation as it comes along, using your own technical knowledge and skill,
assessing the real time situation and make your decision and take your own course of
actions.

Note: Do not follow your predecessors blindly! This is a serious trap. Do not pre-empt. Many
command trainees have fallen prey to this before. It is helpful to watch each other’s practice
LOFT sessions and listen to the instructor’s debrief, but prior permission must be obtained
from the instructor first, and of course, the consent from your colleague who is doing the
LOFT. Having said so, the purpose of this note I wrote here is exactly the same, only use it
as a guide, ultimately, you have to use your own wits and resolve to tackle the LOA!

FIRST OFFICER MENTALITY (or CO-PILOT SYNDROME) – SHAKE IT OFF FAST!


Many instructors had commented that some command trainees faced difficulties initially in
their training mainly because they were still not used to the sudden new found responsibility
of being an acting commander.
During line operations and in LOFTs/LOAs, as a command trainee, you are in fact the acting
commander, the instructor is there merely to assess and see whether you behave
otherwise! Be fearless in making decisions, a bad decision is better than no decision made.
Do not appear hesitant and indecisive. That’s not what they want. It is in your own interest to
stop behaving like a first officer from now on.
Those who are always proactive as first officers before will have little difficulty adapting to
the new ball game. If you are one of those who are used to being passive and non-assertive
to the captains you worked with before, you really got to shake yourself off that, FAST!
Make things happen for you, do not wait for things to happen. Be decisive! Take charge!
Three more Cs here, Command, Control and Communicate!

16
FAMILY SUPPORT
Spend time to have your spouse understand the importance of the command training. If
your children are old enough to understand, include them too. In particular, emphasise that
there will be many occasions when you need to be away from home either doing self-help or
be involved in discussions with you colleagues.

This is a sacrifice only for a few months. Do not make plans for anything disruptive such as
moving home (or even having a baby!). The amount of positive help and understanding from
the family can make a big difference in your performance and endurance in the programme.

STRESS COPING - RELAX! LEARN HOW TO DE-STRESS YOURSELF


Stress is the physical and mental demand on your body, the anxiety and distress caused
directly by the training you are undergoing. You certainly will face a lot of stress and you
must learn to cope. When the stress level is building up, find a way to relieve it. It is
probably the least understood and yet the most crucial factor. If not handled properly, stress
will have a serious negative effect in your performance and well being, even your health. All
command trainees experienced stress, some suffered more than others.

The burden of severe psychological stress alone can exceed an aviator’s capacity to cope.
Command training is inherently stressful, but gauging when too much stress will affect your
ability to aviate is a key to knowing yourself. Try to relax before and during the LOFT
exercise, you will be surprised how much better you can perform if your mind and body are
in a relaxed state.

As I have mentioned earlier, succumbing to stress will have serious detrimental effects.
De-stressing yourself is a must. You can relax by listening to music, exercise regularly and
keep fit. Go out occasionally and have a drink with your friends, watch a movie with your
family, they really do help.
Who can you blame when your entire future flying career is being put under a microscope
with such close scrutiny for so long a period! Good stress-management is the key to a
successful completion of the command training programme. So it is absolutely necessary
that you must learn to cope with the stress involved.

17
HANDLING STRESS IN FLYING.
Accidents often occur when flying task requirements exceed a pilot's capabilities. A superior pilot
uses superior judgment to avoid stressful situations which might call for use of superior skills. The
difference between pilot capabilities and task requirements is the margin of safety (See diagram
below). In this example, the margin of safety is minimal during the approach under ideal conditions.
For this pilot, a cold and fatigue may reduce the minimal margin of safety as well as the overall
margin of safety throughout the flight.

Stress is insidious. Stress has a gradual and cumulative effect that develops slowly, so slowly
that stress can be well established before becoming apparent. A pilot may think that he/she is
handling everything quite well, when in fact there are subtle signs that the pilot is beyond his/her
ability to respond appropriately.

Stress is cumulative. A generalized stress reaction can develop as a result of accumulated


stress. There is a limit to a pilot's adaptive nature. This limit, the stress tolerance level, is based
on a pilot's ability to cope with the situation. If the number or intensity of the stressors becomes
too great, the pilot is susceptible to an environmental overload. At this point, a pilot's
performance begins to decline and judgment deteriorates.

Personal Capabilities Over Time

RISK Margin
Of
Safety

Effort

TAXY TAKE OFF CLIMB CRUISE DESCENT APPROACH LANDING TAXY TO GATE

A TYPICAL FLIGHT PROFILE

18
HOW TO BE A SAFE PILOT
A pilot does not have to be a genius to be a safe pilot. However, a pilot should be an
emotionally stable person who can accept the fact that he/she is not in possession of all
facts or skills for all situations and be willing to accept the recommendations of those who
specialize in evaluating, assessing, and administering aviation procedures.

THE "I'M SAFE" CHECKLIST

Illness. Do I have any symptoms?

Medication. Have I been taking prescription or over the counter drugs?

Stress. Am I under psychological pressure from the job? Do I have money,


health, or family problems?

Alcohol. Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within 24 hours?

Fatigue. Am I tired and not adequately rested?

Eating. Have I eaten enough of the proper foods to keep adequately nourished
during the entire flight?

Reaching a consensus on all matters within the aviation community can prove difficult, if not
impossible. Even though the rules and procedures are designed to serve most of the people most
of the time, a pilot can always argue for different ways of doing things.

An experienced, mature pilot will accept and follow the rules and procedures which will benefit the
aviation community. The immature, emotionally unbalanced pilot has strong tendencies to satisfy a
personal need regardless of the consequences.

Some pilots break rules simply for the immediate gratification of some emotional need. Even
though the pilot may know that this emotional need is not considered a healthy habit (e.g. smoking,
speeding, overeating, etc.), the pilot is, nonetheless, driven by his or her own emotions.

Existing rules would go a long way to remedy the accident rate; however, personality traits that
cause irrational behavior also make pilots prone to disregard the rules that would assure safe
operations.

When a pilot exhibits one or more of the five hazardous attitudes or irrational behavior, that pilot
may also be exposing any emotional weaknesses in his/her personality.

19
WHEN YOU ARE TOLD YOU HAVE A PROBLEM (or WEAKNESS)
ADMIT IT! If you are told you are having problems with your command training. You better
believe it! Do not give silly excuses and try to defend yourself. Otherwise they might as well
promote you to the rank of captain without this training programme, if you always have a
reason to rebuff what they point out to you!

THE UN-TEACHABLE: Most people will only regard such defensive acts and attitudes as
being “un-teachable” and irritating, when this invisible tag is placed on your neck, you are in
serious trouble indeed. Being too defensive or full of excuses is a sure way to be reactivated
as an FO back to your original Fleet!

THEY KNOW THEIR JOB: Let’s face it, the instructors or Management are people with a lot
more A310 flying experience than you. They have conducted many command training
courses over the years. They know their job, so do not blame them with things such as
“Personality clash”, “So and so does not like my face”, “He is biased!” etc. Instead, you
should look in the mirror and ask yourself that soul-searching question, “Do I have those
problems?” If the answer is a “YES”, start working straight away to overcome them. Never
give up, quickly learn and correct those mistakes the instructors pointed out to you. Never
argue, never be defensive. Just listen, learn and fix those weaknesses in you.

PROBLEM SPOTTING & RECOGNITION: Problems that are spotted in the early phases
have a better chance of being fixed simply because you have more time to work on it.
Problems developed at the final stages of command training are more difficult to overcome.
Therefore, being a command trainee, it is in your own interest to seek advice and assistance
from your line instructors as well as your LOFT instructors, especially in areas mentioned
during their debrief sessions with you that might have strong impact in your performance
appraisal and grading. Discuss your areas of concern with your mentor; your mentor is your
best bet in problem solving concerning yourself. Ultimately what is most important is that
you must first be able to recognise your own weakness and problem, otherwise how are you
supposed to fix them if you do not know they exist in the first place?

THE MENTOR – YOUR BEST FRIEND: All of us found the mentor-trainee relationship
especially beneficial during our command training. Capt Geoffrey Yzelman was our mentor,
he was a keen listener to our problems, and he was a huge pillar of support to all of us,
especially in those critical moments. Perhaps it was our fortune to have such a selfless
mentor, who even spent his precious personal free time to render extra help to us by
conducting many extra LOFT sessions in the flight simulator, and transmitting feedback to
us from the Management regarding our progress in the programme.

IS THE COMMAND TRAINING PROGRAMME FAIR? Honestly, Management would like to


see all of you making it, no effort will be spared and all available resources will be utilised to
make sure that you make it. I am essentially quoting what DFO Capt Maurice De Vaz told
us. Otherwise, it does not quite make sense to select you, spend time and resources to train
you, and then to terminate and cast you off, if you have all the attributes to be one!

Note: Recently, ALPA-S has also introduced a counseling service for pilots concerning
welfare as well as flying matters. Captain Allan Ong and other trained counselors are the
men to speak to if you need any specific help concerning your command training or personal
problems. You can also discuss stress management with them. (Check it out on the ALPAS
website).

20
SELF HELP IN THE SIMULATOR – (Practice Makes Perfect)
The best thing that ever happened to us was when the Management allowed the FOs and
command trainees to make use of the flight simulators’ idle slots for self help. It was only
made possible a few years back by the former ADFO(T) Capt Leonard McCully. Without the
flight simulator to practise the various LOFT scenarios or to better appreciate many of those
complex malfunctions, it would certainly mean a much harder endeavour to pass the
command training.
It is important that you must spend as much time as you possibly can to “bash” at the flight
simulator with your coursemates. When used properly, practising your LOFT scenarios
during self-help will enable you to establish a sensible, good command decision-making
pattern without guesswork. It will also help you to familiarise with all the cockpit switches,
instruments and c/b position. The result is time saving and sparing your brain to engage in
more profitable activities when the crunch comes.

If your mentor is an SIP of the same Fleet, it will be even more beneficial if you can get him
to help you in the flight simulator whenever possible. His comments and critiques on your
practice LOFT will be invaluable. All command trainees must make periodic arrangements to
meet up with their mentor to discuss all matters pertaining to command training. He is one
asset that all of you must utilise to the fullest.
One word of caution, doing practice LOFT amongst the command trainees without
supervision do have some disadvantages, since none of you are “good” enough to really
assess how well or how bad you perform amongst yourselves, there is a danger that all of
you may in fact be “groping in the dark” or “a blind leading another blind” and yet thinking
that things are going well when in fact it may not be so.

While doing unsupervised self help, do not be too carried away as to who is doing better
than who, you should always leave the assessment part to the SIPs/IPs and Management,
you just make full use of the flight simulator to familiarise with all the possible malfunctions
and abnormal situations, and make full use of it to develop sensible action patterns and to
iron out your common errors and bad habits, not forming new ones, I hope! Otherwise the
opposite may result, I shall elaborate on that later.
You are encouraged to do self-critique amongst yourselves but with the clear mutual
understanding that the idea is to learn and to spot the mistakes, and not “compete” to be the
top gun in your course! There is no trophy or first prize.

VERBALISING YOUR THOUGHTS (BEFORE THE ACTIONS)


It is essential that the instructor and your supporting FO are aware of your thoughts and
decision making process during a LOFT session. One good way of enabling them to know
what you are about to do is to say it out clearly and precisely what you intend to do. This is
one essential skill in tackling LOFT. However, do watch out for the other extreme of talking
too much with too many disjointed and confusing words that you end up having a verbal
diarrhea! The secret is to be concise with your choice of words! The reward is good
communications that leave no doubts to your instructor and supporting FO of your intentions
and actions. This holds true even in a real emergency situation.

21
MANUAL FLYING - B744 WITH TWO ENG INOPERATIVE OR A310 WITH ONE ENG OUT

• One Engine Out With No Autopilot:


The A310 is equipped with two powerful Pratt & Whitley 4000 Series engines that can
deliver 52,000lb of thrust each. Therefore, if an engine fails after V1 during takeoff, with
one engine out and the remaining engine running at TOGA power, the powerful
asymmetric yaw can be a real challenge to control. This is equally true for the B744 with
two engines inoperative on the same side.

Apart from keeping the aircraft attitude at ≈11° nose up, you also need to put in almost
full or full opposite rudder at speeds close to V2 or V2 + 10kt. A concerted effort is
necessary on the pilot flying to scan the primary flight instruments continuously and to
adjust rudder pedal force and constant trimming and retrimming the rudder as the speed
begins to build up at acceleration altitude, meanwhile keeping the PFD’s “triangle” and
“tee-pee” matched and wings almost level.

The PF is strongly discouraged from taking his eyes off the scanning of the flight
instruments. Otherwise momentary departure from the flight path is very common. In the
worst case, a total loss of flight control may result. For the A310, the ECAM provides
good actions feedback for QRH actions to be carried out by the PNF. The PF needs only
to take a quick glance, by rolling his eyeballs to look at the left ECAM display to confirm
that the QRH actions are carried out accordingly. After which you must quickly refocus
your eyes on the primary flight instruments again and control the flight path. It is not
necessary to look up at the overhead panel or turn your head to look at the PNF, doing
so doing would only be at the detriment of good instrument flying. Develop this
disciplined habit early and you will have won half the battle already. This flying technique
applies to virtually any glass-cockpit aircraft.

• Watch Out For Bad Habits Forming Subtly During Unsupervised Self-help Sessions:
I have mentioned the benefits of self help earlier. However, do watch out for the lurking
danger of developing some undesirable bad habits if you are not disciplined enough. It is
natural for command trainees to let their defensive guards down during unsupervised
self help sessions and sub-consciously allowing such bad habits to take root. One of the
worst habits that subtly crept in among us was the tendency of not scanning the
instruments during engine out exercise with autopilot off with only basic flight
instruments available.

There were many occasions where command trainees were sucked into such bad habits
and allowed the aircraft to depart, or at least causing a momentary loss of flight path
control. The result: Reinforcing the instructor’s impression of you displaying less than
desired manual flying ability.

Tips: Always scan your instruments, never turn your head and take your eyes off the
primary flight instruments unnecessarily, perhaps other than just rolling your eyeballs
momentarily to glance at the left ECAM display to confirm the actions feedback (A310),
or when making EFIS and FCU changes. The design of the PFD and the ND displays
allow rapid scanning and good instrument flying provided the pilot flying can observe and
follow the good basics, i.e. disciplined, constant scanning of the instruments without
turning one’s head and eyeballs away unnecessarily.

22
WHAT DO THE INSTRUCTORS EXPECT TO SEE IN YOU?
It is really no secret that they require you to perform to the standard they expected before
they check you out as a commander. The following are qualities that they are looking for:-

• Integrity – In line training and simulator training, they must be convinced that you are
the man that the Company can trust. That is, a commander who places the interest of
the Company and the welfare of your first officer, cabin crew, and of the passengers
above your self-interest. You must also be a responsible man and possess a strong
sense of duty and well-being. Remember, you are the pilot-in-command of a multi-million
dollar asset and with hundreds of innocent lives as well as the Company’s reputation that
go with it. The stake is very high indeed. It is a very serious business!

• Technical Knowledge and Flying Skill – You must have the necessary technical
background and flying skill to get you out of all envisaged abnormal situations. The fact
that you are already a command trainee means that you have already been assessed to
have the fundamental flying skills and potential to be a commander. All you need is to
prove that you are a skilled, proficient and competent airliner pilot. It will be obvious to
them after you have done 3 to 4 LOFTs.

• Confidence – In the flight simulator, you really got to exude that confidence in you,
manifested in the way your body language, the tone, pace and loudness of your voice,
all will in one way or another reflecting yourself to the guy sitting behind watching every
of your move. A confident pilot means half the battle already won.

• Composure – You must be able to display your composed nature while tackling every
conceivable situation, in the air and on the ground. They want to see that you are always
calm, cool, and collect in handling all abnormal situations. You must never lose your
composure in a LOFT or you are finished! You must not overload your first officer whilst
fighting the emergency. Try to give your orders or instructions in a measured and
controlled pace. If your FO makes a mistake, like reading a wrong checklist item, correct
him but not censure him, and bring him back on track. If you can do that, you will never
lose him!

• Compassion – In commercial flying, you are dealing with a lot of people around you.
Your FO, the ground engineer, cabin crew, passengers, ATC etc. Don’t be surprised that
you will be exposed to handle all these people in the LOFTs! The instructor behind will
play all these different roles. Maybe we should give him an OSCAR for that! On a more
serious note, he will assess you in how you can display those “Human Relations” traits. If
you are compassionate by nature, you should have no problem, otherwise, it is still not
too late to change!

• CRM – Be an “ACRO” commander! You need to rally all resources available to help you
solve your line oriented problems and emergencies. Try to be a nice but firm guy. Gone
are the days of a task-master style of approach to the people supporting your flight
operations. The Company believes that CRM can bring out the best in a commander
while working closely with his first officer, cabin crew, ATC and ground staff. You must
never “lose” your first officer in an emergency situation. The benefits of CRM are just
incredibly indispensable these days. I shall elaborate on these later.

Continued Next Page

23
• Perseverance – You must never show that you are about to give up, even in seemingly
hopeless situations like MULTIPLE ENG FLAME OUT and unable to relight. You must
continue to be in command of the situation right down to crash landing or ditching. You
must display that “fight-till-the-end” and “never-give-up” spirits in you.
If, in case you are being identified as a “weak” candidate in your course, do not lose
hope. As long as you show that you are a keen learner, ceaselessly and conscientiously
making efforts to improve those weak areas they pointed out to you, they will do their
part to help and see you through. There are plenty of such testimonials to attest to this
claim.
“Success flourishes only in perseverance - ceaseless, restless perseverance “.
- Manfred Von Richthofen - “The Red Baron”.

• Pleasant Character – It is difficult to change one’s character in a short period. Let’s


assume that you have been told that your character is somewhat less than pleasant, I
think you still can do something about it. Once you are conscious of yourself and make
amends, it is already a first positive step taken in the right direction. So long as you
continue to work on it, people can see that you are making that extra effort; you shall
prevail in the end.
Continue to work on it even after you have checked out as a commander. We all want to
be like the ACRO guy. It is natural for people to like working with nice guys. It makes the
environment so much more pleasant and conducive for increased productivity. I shall
elaborate more on this later.

• Situational Awareness (SA) – “SA is the perception of the elements in the environment
within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the
projection of their status in the near future.” As defined by Dr. Mica Endsley, a
renowned SA researcher.

Whatever primary tasks you are engaged in doing, you must still have the spare
capacity to sense and know what is happening around you and to take whatever actions
necessary to combat that situation. It is this “Big Picture” qualities we all wish we always
had. As a command trainee, you will be closely assessed on your situational awareness.

My own definition of SA is “The ability to think clearly when encountering a situation


while your are flying, and still know exactly where you are (spatial orientation), and
continue to stay focused on the main task (flying the mission) without losing control of
the situation (e.g. handling of the emergency), and actively making plans for the next
move to combat that situation with all resources available.”

ACP Capt Albert Koh said; “SA is like mentally detaching yourself from the seat, and
imagine moving yourself back behind the seats and then as though you are watching
yourself and the FO fly! You will realise that you can see a lot more and appreciate the
situation better, you will think and act accordingly better, and not just get bogged down
by flying alone with a tunneling vision!”

Don’t we all know that when we are watching someone doing recurrent or base check in
the simulator, we seemed to see a lot more (a bigger picture!) than that poor guy in the
hot seat? Can you do what Capt Albert Koh has suggested? I believe SA can be
developed over time. For those who are not endowed with that gift, they will simply have
to work harder to improve one’s SA.

24
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS EXPANDED
From the definition by Dr Mica Endsley, we know that SA has three levels: Perception,
Comprehension and Projection.
You noticed something
has happened.
Perception

You understand the


potential meaning of it.

Comprehension

You think ahead, and


estimate its possible
consequences.

Projection

THE BIG PICTURE!


A practical example of the 3 SA levels – NUTA – (Notice – Understand – Think Ahead),
that is, you can see the “Big Picture”.

Perception (You Notice): You notice a huge thunderstorm cell is directly ahead of you on
your radar screen.
Comprehension (You Understand): You understand the immediate implications of the
thunderstorm and think about turning the aircraft to avoid it.
Projection (You Think Ahead): You think ahead about the future consequences of
avoiding the thunderstorm, such as future routing, passenger comfort etc.

However, you must remember that SA requires a lot of mental effort, whilst it is important to
think ahead and be “ahead of the curve”, you must also dedicate sufficient energy to fly the
aircraft in the real time. It is no use just thinking of the future and forget about the present!

In the past, many people believed that SA could not be taught; it was the kind of “Right
Stuff” that Tom Wolfe said you either have it or you don’t. However, recent researches in
this unique subject have brought to light of many lessons learned. Tony Kern for one
strongly believes that it is possible to improve one’s SA.

In order to improve one’s SA, the secret lies in knowing yourself thoroughly, knowing your
teammates, knowing your aircraft, and be familiar with the environment you are flying in, as
well as managing the risks involved in the flight operations you are in. In a nutshell,
thoroughly understand the pillars of knowledge of you job!

A good SA will afford a good judgment, which allows you to pick the best of the alternatives
presented to you, in turn, it allows a good decision to be made, which almost certain of a
good outcome, the element of luck not withstanding, as I have mentioned earlier. This is all
about good airmanship, which I am going to talk about soon.

25
** WHAT IS EXPERT AIRMANSHIP?
There are three fundamental or bedrock principles of expert airmanship, i.e. Skill,
Proficiency and the Discipline to apply them in a safe and efficient manner. Beyond which
there are five areas of expertise found among expert pilots. i.e. Self, Aircraft, Team,
Environment and Risk. When all these strong points are focused in place, you get better
situational awareness and resulting in making decisions based on good judgment, which
culminating to expert airmanship.

Airmanship is the consistent use of good judgment and well-developed skills to accomplish
flight objectives. This consistency is founded on a cornerstone of uncompromising flight
discipline and developed through systematic skill acquisition and proficiency.

A high state of situational awareness completes the airmanship picture and is obtained
through knowledge of one’s self, aircraft, team, environment and risk. All of us should strive
to achieve that too.

BEDROCK PILLARS OF CAPSTONE


PRINCIPLES KNOWLEDGE OUTCOMES AIRMANSHIP
> Self
> Aircraft > Situational
Skill > Proficiency > Discipline > > Team > Awareness > Judgment
> Environment
> Risk

Airmanship is uncompromising flight discipline, violations of flight discipline create a slippery


downhill path towards habitual non-compliance. Good airmanship is not compatible with any
flight discipline violations of any kind or of any magnitude.

Airmanship goes beyond merely stick and rudder skills. It means honing and refining
procedures and techniques to a personal level of excellence at which a missed checklist
step or botched radio communication just doesn’t happen anymore. Error-free flying, as well
as “good hands”, is a mark of an airman.

Airmanship is preparing us, through discipline, skill and knowledge, to have the maximum
amount of “leftover” attention to handle the unexpected distraction. But since any of us can
become overloaded, we must also be able to recognise the symptoms of lost SA and have
the critical actions for recovery “hard-wired” to prevent disaster.

Airmanship excellence is self-sustaining and contagious. The pursuit of excellence is


exciting, fun and infectious. Airmanship means sharing knowledge, we have a moral
obligation to share what works in a high-risk endeavour like flying. The little bit of information
that you pass along may be what saves another’s life, or yours, someday. It is that simple!

**Note: From the book “Redefining Airmanship”, on the Airmanship Model as propounded by
the author Dr. Tony Kern. (Dr. Kern is a renowned aviation historian and an experienced
pilot himself).

26
** WHAT IS AN “ACRO” COMMANDER?
In the ARM 1 Course, Professor Marvin Karlins defined “ACRO” characteristics as;

“A team builder, a dynamic, charismatic and competent leader. A catalyst, a coach, and a
mentor, skilled and respected.”

The ACRO commander views his crew from a Theory Y perspective – seeing the first officer
and other crew members as individuals liking their work, desiring more responsibility and
capable of growth and development if given the opportunity. There is mutual respect
between an ACRO commander and his crew, emphasis on excellence in performance and
task competency.

An “ACRO” commander possesses some or all of the following qualities;

• The desire to create a flight deck environment where crewmembers are valued and
encouraged to “become all they are capable of becoming” as aviators.
• An emphasis on two-way communication: the free-flowing give and take of
information between commander and crew.
• The practice of giving crewmembers a clear understanding of what is expected of
them and providing feedback concerning their flight deck performance.
• A high concern for both performance and people on the flight deck.
• The encouragement of harmonious interpersonal relationships and teamwork.
• A willingness to involve crewmembers in flight deck operations, when appropriate.
• The tendency to motivate through rewarding appropriate performance and
improvement in performance.
• The practice of using punishment as a “last resort” (after more positive approaches
fail) and then to correct mistakes rather than to seek revenge.

The impact of ACRO commander style on cockpit performance will result in;

• People perform to their best ability.


• Crewmembers are not afraid to make recommendations to commanders.
• There is a greater job satisfaction among crewmembers.
• There is a full utilisation of all available resources by the commander.
• Effective teamwork produces synergistic behaviour – The total performance of the
aircrew is greater than the sum of the performances of the commander, first officer
and the rest of the crew taken together.

One aviator characterised the ACRO commander as a person who is able to command
respect of his colleagues without demanding it. The ACRO style motivates rather than
intimidates people. An ACRO commander is the preferred style in the modern era of
aviation, where performance in managing flight operation goes far beyond just flying the
airplane.

To drive home a point, according to Professor Karlins, in the early sixties and seventies, the
“god-like” ACE style of pilots used to reign supreme in the sky and on the ground. Sadly,
these were “foolhardy, self-centred, braggart, macho, egotistical” haughty individuals, who
were not only difficult to work with, they were also more likely to put the airplane and people
at risk because of their over-inflated ego; they were truly the “mismatch” of the people-
oriented, CRM-conscious “Modern Glass Cockpit Era”!

27
** WHAT IS SYNERGISTIC FLIGHT DECK MANAGEMENT?
It is a procedure for maximising airline safety and aircrew job satisfaction through creation of
a cockpit atmosphere conducive to high quality performance and rewarding interpersonal
relations. It is characterised by the following flight deck behaviours:

• Successful interpersonal relations between crew-members that encourages


cooperation and teamwork on the flight deck.
• Effective flight deck communication.
• Full utilisation of each aviator’s technical and behavioural competences.
• Leadership which encourages the growth, development and active participation of all
crew members in coordinated flight deck operations.

The Company’s Model for aircrew effectiveness is:

“Achieving Synergistic Flight Deck Management”

SKILL + INTERACTION = ACHIEVEMENT


Individual competencies to The aircrew working together Accomplishment of
fly the airplane and work as a team, practising effective airline and personal
effectively with people. flight deck management. goals.

S afety
Technical Skills
In
A viation
S ynergism
In
A ction
Behavioural Skills S atisfaction
*self-other interface In
*leadership A viation
*communication

**Note: Extracted from ARM 1 materials given by Professor Marvin Karlins, a renowned
aviation psychologist who conducted many Aircrew Resource Management Courses for SIA
pilots and cabin crew. ARM and CRM are synonymous.

As you can see, airmanship and CRM go hand in hand. In fact, it can be said that
airmanship is the individual structure on which CRM builds.

One outstanding example to heighten this is the ill-fated DC-10 of United Flight 232, on
19 July 1989 over Sioux City. The damaged tail-mounted engine caused an incredible “one-
to-a-billion” chance catastrophic total hydraulic systems failure, where the disintegrating fan
blades completely severed all the hydraulic lines.

In the ensuing events, the pilots, cabin crew, the ATC and the airport rescue services
displayed the highest standards of airmanship and CRM that managed to save many lives
that would otherwise be of certain death. I have reproduced the abridged findings, lessons
learnt and practical applications of this incredible episode (see next page). A full NTSB
report of the story is available elsewhere.

28
UNITED FLIGHT 232 – LESSONS LEARNED & PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Of the 296 persons on board, 110 passengers and 1 flight attendant died in the crash, but
the remaining 185 survived. Considering the gravity of the emergency situation, it was
indeed a miracle that the death toll was not much higher!

Flight Crew Performance: The National Transport Safety Board believed that under the
circumstances, the “flightcrew’s performance was highly commendable and greatly
exceeded reasonable expectation.” They added that the interaction between the pilots
during the emergency was “indicative of the value of CRM”

The captain, Alfred C. Haynes, is a tremendous supporter of CRM and has said: “I am
firmly convinced that CRM played a very important part in our landing in Sioux City with any
chance of survival. I also believe that its principles apply to no matter how many
crewmembers are in the cockpit.”

Capt Haynes also mentioned that, the cockpit crew’s effort alone would not have been
sufficient to get the aircraft to the airport without the steady guidance (and calming
influence) of one controller from Sioux City Approach, Mr Kevin Bauchman.

Capt Haynes final advice to us: “Use them (your crew and ATC, and other ground support
personnel) as team members – you are not alone up there.”

Lessons leant and practical applications: No better lessons can be learned from this
accident than those described by Capt Haynes himself. Use all of your resources:

• Work as a team. Tap into your fellow pilots’ knowledge, skill, expertise – and hands.
As noted in CRM research, by allowing the first officer to fly the airplane in an
emergency situation, the captain then has the opportunity to evaluate the problem
and make sound decisions.

• Be open to suggestions. The captain viewed each crewmember’s ideas as


instrumental to the safe outcome of the flight.

• Communicate clearly and directly. This applies to the entire flight crew. Every
crew member from Flight 232 communicated in a clear manner. There were no
disjointed comments, confusing statements, or domineering attitudes.

• Maintain cockpit discipline. The crew did not allow themselves to become
distracted. They maintained vigilant of the situation throughout the flight.

• Keep ATC in the loop. The captain had commented that tensions were high, but
hearing the steady voice of the approach controller provided tremendous calming
influence to the crew.

• Brief flight attendants. Don’t keep an emergency situation a secret. Passenger


survival depends on a prepared cabin.

(Extracted from “Aircraft Safety - Accident Investigations, Analyses, & Applications” - Written
by Shari Stamford Krause, Ph.D)

Footnote: If you are really keen, you may also write to me for a 86-page full NTSB report on
this episode written in MS Word document format.

29
EFFECTIVE PILOT / MANAGER
In a recent CRM project (1986), as a result of the observation of 114 airline pilots who had
taken the management attitude questionnaire, Dr Robert L. Helmreich (and 3 of his
partners) concluded that the effective pilot / manager is one who:

• Recognises his own personal limitations.


• Recognises his diminished decision capability in emergencies.
• Encourages other crew to question decisions.
• Is sensitive to personal problems of other crew.
• Discusses personal limitations.
• Verbalises plans while acting as pilot flying.
• Provides training for other crew.
• Has a relaxed and harmonious flight deck.
• Adapts management style to crew and situation.
• Coordinates cabin crew activities.

Reference: "Cockpit management attitudes: Exploring the attitude-performance linkage" -


Aviation, Space & Environmental Medicine. Pg 57,1198-1200.

ONE FINAL WORD ON CRM AND GOOD TEAMWORK


I have emphasised the advantages and benefits of CRM and good teamwork many times.
Ironically, there are occasions when the negative outcome may result, which I must warn
you of as well.

Advantages:
The advantages of teamwork are the increased reliability and mutual support. These are
critical elements to successful flight operations in all environments, where rapid
changing conditions can leave an individual’s situational awareness in the dust.

Buoyed by the knowledge of competent, perhaps even expert, teammates, an individual


in a team environment can act with more confidence and initiative. Each person can
afford to be less cautious, not unsafe, but acting with an understanding of assured
mutual support and allows more aggressive approach to mission accomplishment.

Hazards: (Interpersonal conflict and “Groupthink” phenomenon)


There are also hazards involved with team operation. Interpersonal relationship affects
operations and decision making on the flight deck, resulting in a team performance that
is actually poorer than individual performance.

This ironic decrease in performance can be due to conflict between team members or, at
the other extreme, due to a phenomenon known as “groupthink”, in which conflict
avoidance takes precedence over the task at hand. Because of such inherent pitfalls,
teamwork approach should be approached systematically, look out for the possible
pitfall.

Note: With wisdom I learnt from these experts, I reproduce them here for you to ponder
(from “Redefining Airmanship” by Tony Kern), I hope you will also remember them.

30
RISK MANAGEMENT
Flying is inherently risky and can never be 100% risk-free, but modern technology has made
it possible to produce airplanes, especially since the “Jet Era” in the 1950s, that are much
more reliable and safer to fly these days.

At the Corporate level, as part of risk management, philosophy, policies and procedures
were introduced and enshrined to ensure flight safety. To a large extent, accident rates were
greatly reduced these days. In commercial flying, we do not take unnecessary or
unjustifiable risks in any form, we should strive towards “zero accident rate”.

At a personal level, risk management means self-discipline. First, know your own and other
crew’s limits, the demands of the mission must not exceed you and your crew’s ability to
handle, so seek to avoid such situations from arising. Second, constantly keep abreast of
changes and maintain technical knowledge currency. Third, know the environment you are
operating in, e.g. terrain, weather, airport, ATC facilities and difficult approaches etc. Fourth,
always be prepared (thoroughly) for each flight.

On the other hand, if you are that type of person who is always inclined to “show off” your
flying skills or seek thrills to impress your peers, you are a liability here. Whilst we always
strive to operate the airplane in a manner as efficiently as we can, we must always bear in
mind that in doing so, flight safety must not be compromised.
Note: In your command LOFTs, you will be tested on your risk management skills too.

1. RISK EXPECTANCIES MATRIX

Actual Risk
Low High
Undue Concern Preparedness
Perceived High (Excess Caution) (Caution)
Risk Preparedness Unpreparedness
Low (Safety) (Danger)

Perceived Risk & Actual Risk

2. COPING ABILITIES MATRIX

Actual Coping Ability


Low High
Over Confidence
Perceived High (Danger) Realistic Esteem
Coping Insecurity
Ability Low Realistic Esteem (Excess Caution)

Perceived Coping Ability & Actual Coping Ability

31
GUIDELINES FOR RISK MANAGEMENT

Compensatory risk reducers:


• Always be CAREFUL in judgment, Consciously Accept Risks Evaluated with
Forethought, Understanding and Logic.
• Avoid hazardous attitudes, emotions and logic that can adversely bias judgment. Be as
objective as possible. Step back away from the situation that you are in and analyse it as
if you were not personally involved. Then take your own advice. Remember that the risk
itself could be a motivator. Avoid being a “thrill seeker”.
• Estimate expectancies conservatively. Estimate benefit expectancies on the low side
and cost (risk) expectancies on the high side.. Remember that it can happen to you!
• Anticipate negative, especially catastrophic outcomes. Frequently, they will dominate
other risk factors. Evaluate them carefully.
• Always plan ahead. Never stop planning and always be ready to adjust your plans as
necessary to manage risks. Always have an alternative plan and leave yourself strategic
escape alternatives (an “out”). Remember, “Proper prior planning prevents peril”. Box
canyons are for playing cowboys and Indians, not for flying.
• Never compromise safety, yours or someone else’s. Safety must dominate all of your
decisions.
• Anticipate situational demands and avoid those which may jeopardise your coping
ability.
• Never accept unjustifiable risks. If it is not worth doing safely, it is not worth doing.
• Do not resign to fate. Take command of the situation.
• Take the time to make deliberate decisions.
• Allow adequate safety margins in all phases of flight.
• Avoid the “white cane” syndrome – never use the aircraft to “feel” for the ground,
especially on approach.
• In assessing risks, remember, they are generated by the product of risk expectancy, risk
sensitivity (the expected adequacy of coping ability) and risk penalty. Ask the questions:
a. What can happen?
b. Will I be able to deal with it?
c. What will be the consequences if I cannot cope?
• Remember, the definition of fool is; “One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or
understanding; one who can easily be deceived; to take unawares, surprise”. Do not be
so categorised.
• Remember, risks are increased by a chain of bad decisions. If action is taken before it is
too late, this chain can be broken.
• Never panic; remain or return to being calm. Always respond with objectivity, analysis
and logic, not with emotion.
• Remember operational priorities: Fly the aircraft, navigate, communicate etc.
• Manage your workload. Be aware of the onset of excessive stress and unload your
workload to satisfy priorities.
• If you fly at night, be especially cautious, widen your safety margins, and anticipate
special night flying risks. It may be easier to spot properly lighted aircraft and
obstructions in visual conditions. However, all other hazards may be more difficult to
see. Also, if you have a survivable accident at night, it may take a much longer time to
find you.
• If risk level is unacceptable for a decision alternative, either find ways to reduce the risk
and choose another alternative. This may require the creative development of a new
alternative.

Continued Next Page

32
2. Preparatory risk reducers
• Review the SMART process:
Systematic Management of Acceptance of Risk through Training.
• Try to anticipate and prepare for any foreseeable emergency. This is especially
important if the preparation is simple or if the risk is great.
• Maximise your coping ability:
a. Keep yourself in good physiological and psychological condition.
b. Keep your equipment in good conditions. Inspect it thoroughly and frequently.
Correct any anomalies promptly.
c. Know your limitations and those of your equipment.
d. Plan your flight carefully, always file a flight plan (plan the flight, fly the plan).
e. Always carry a torch light (be prepared for a total electric failure in a night flight).
f. Always get a good weather briefing, understand its limitations and update it
frequently.
g. Learn as much as possible about your aircraft. A good knowledge base is essential
for effectively planning your flight and for dealing with emergencies.
h. Do not let your judgment of risk be falsely biased by successful completions of
dangerous flights made with poor judgment.
Remember, risk assessment in the absolute sense in every aviation decision is not possible.
However, it is possible to assess the relative risk comparing one alternative with another.
This form of risk assessment requires a thorough knowledge of aviation system as
mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.
“Risks are a necessary part of a worthwhile progressive life. The risk should not be greater
than the value of the undertaking. Proper supervision increases the value and decreases the
risk. Accident prevention is a worthwhile goal that is intimately connected with the efficient
management and intelligent supervision.
We need not treat safety as a separate part of our planning or our accomplishment, neither
should we separate the principles of safe driving from safe flying, safe recreation from safe
working, or safe living from ethical thinking. In the final analysis, accident-free days are the
pleasant by-product of efficiency.”
Moody, elementary safety practices (1968)

MANAGING RISK Vs GAMBLING WITH RISK


RISK = Probability of a loss x Cost of a loss x Exposure

Remember, every decision has a negative or risky side. Minimising or attempting to avoid
risks would mean that nothing would ever get done in this world. Refusing to accept risks is
equivalent to refusing to seize opportunities. Minimising risks is tantamount to minimising
costs with no concern for, or appreciation of, value.
Instead of trying to simply minimise risks, the appropriate course of action is to optimise
risks in view of the payoffs. In other words, we must manage risks, the bottom line is, you
must weigh the risks against the benefits in a given situation before you act. Otherwise it
amounts to gambling. In flying, if you gamble with risk, the cost of losing is extremely high –
loss of your own life (and perhaps many others’). No pilot should ever attempt to play
“Russian Roulette” when faced with an abnormal situation, you should use your good
judgment and CRM skills to manage it. This is in essence, good risk management.
Note: Extracted from the book “Pilot Judgment & Crew Resource Management”
by Richard S. Jensen.

33
ERROR MANAGEMENT
Following the latest research in advanced CRM, it has been recognized that human error is
ubiquitous and inevitable. However, looking at it positively, human error can be seen as
providing a valuable source of information where we can draw lessons learned. If error is
inevitable, then CRM can be seen as a set of error countermeasures with three line of
defense, as Dr Robert L. Helmreich put it:

The first is the avoidance of error.


The second is trapping the error before they are commited.
The third is mitigating the consequences of those errors that occur and
are not trapped.

The third stage is crucial, if one can successfully mitigate errors committed before they have
opportunities to develop into full-blown problems, we have succeeded in preventing an
incident or accident from occurring. Otherwise, it is almost certain that an incident or
accident is likely to follow.

EXTERNAL THREAT/ERRORS INTERNAL THREAT/ERRORS

AVOID

TRAP

MITIGATE

INCIDENT / ACCIDENT

ERROR AVOIDING STRATEGY


• Avoiding Errors: By careful briefing and adherence to SOPs and adequate preparation,
planning crews can prevent errors occurring. For example, a crew that discusses the
possibility of a late runway change and prepares for the shorter track distance involved.
• Trapping Errors: By being vigilant crews can spot an error and correct it before it has
any serious consequences. This could be the crew realize that they have become high
on the profile and intervene in a timely manner to regain the correct path.
• Mitigating The Consequence Of Errors Already Committed: By seeing that the flight
is not progressing in the expected manner, crews can intervene to prevent the situation
becoming a crew based incident or accident. This could be the crew that on realizing
that the approach gate is not going to be met, make the decision to go around.

Adapted from BA’s Enhancing Operational Integrity and Error Management notes from
Dr Robert L. Helmreich.

34
WHAT IS AN EXPERT PILOT?
The path from a “novice pilot” to become an “expert pilot” with five distinctive stages are:
Stage 1 - Novice
Stage 2 - Advanced Beginner
Stage 3 - Competence Stage
Stage 4 - Proficiency Stage
Stage 5 - Expert Stage.

Studies have shown that the major human activity of importance to expert piloting is
cognitive rather than psychomotor. Acquiring interpretive abilities or pilot judgment is the key
to becoming an expert in the aviation domain. According to a study by Dreyfuss & Dreyfuss
in 1986, Experts do not solve problems, they don’t even make decisions, automaticity is
the key. They know what to do based on mature and practised understanding. The expert
has an immense library of distinguishable situations. In chess, some say that a master can
recognise 50,000 types of positions.

They went on to say that judgment is an important distinguishing characteristics of the


various levels of skill acquisition. In their model, there is no judgment in the novice and
advanced beginner stages. The competent performer makes judgments based on prior
experiences in ways that cannot be explained. Rationality is the mark of the competent
performer. To move on to expert performance requires movement into the area between
rationality and irrationality called, “arationality”. Arationality is defined as -– “action without
conscious analytic decomposition and recombination”.

“Competent performance is rational; proficiency is transitional; experts act arationally”.

Richard S. Jensen and his team of aviation human factor researchers, in a recent study
using the expert approach, had developed a set of nine distinguishing characteristics of an
expert pilot.

The expert in this domain is one who:

• Possesses a high level of skill and works constantly to improve it.


• Is highly motivated to learn all there is to know about this flight domain.
• Has superior ability to focus (or compartmentalise) attention on the flying task at hand
and the mental discipline to change his focus of attention when new information suggest
that a change is necessary.
• Is a keen observer of the flight environment, including location of other aircraft, terrain,
navigation features, ATC clearance, weather phenomena etc.
• Carefully establishes a baseline for normal instrument indications, aircraft sounds,
vibrations and g-forces with respect to control action so that his threshold for slight
variations is very small.
• Is skeptical about “normal” aircraft functioning and is constantly making contingency
plans for those circumstances when things might go wrong.
• Possesses superior mental skill and capacity for problem diagnosis, risk assessment
and problem resolution.
• Has excellent communications skills and can readily adapt them to the audience and
situation.
• Knows his limitations, is motivated to avoid situations that might push his skill to those
limits, and has the willpower to overcome the pressure of people around him to push the
limits of his skill.
Continued Next Page

35
WHAT IS A COMPETENT PILOT?
Conversely, a competent pilot is one who does not possess these superior qualities found in
expert. The competent pilot may have as much flight time as the expert, has the stick and
rudder skills sufficient to pass all necessary flight tests and has the knowledge necessary to
pass all written tests. He has demonstrated completely by taking the biennial flight review
but that is as far as he takes aviation. Because motivation in these “competent” pilots is
focused on outside of the cockpit, the extra skills knowledge, mental models found in the
“expert” have not been developed in the competent pilot.

In addition to these personal motivational factors, some other reasons why competent pilots
often do not become experts include the organisation (bureaucracy) for which they work,
automatic systems in the aircraft and creativity blocking standard operating procedures can
block pilots from becoming experts by turning down their every request for changes that
they have found from their experience that are needed for safe, efficient operations.

Automatic systems can block pilots from becoming experts by forcing them to follow
symbols and control actions that are designed into the system without thought for many
novel situations offered in aviation. (e.g. United Flight 232, where there wasn’t any
procedures prescribed for the situation, only through their own creativity, cognitive skills and
good judgment that the crew prevailed against the great odds they faced).

Standard operating procedures and regulations can block people from becoming expert by
forcing them to comply with procedures rather than do what they know to be safer and more
effective (Fahlgren and Hagdalg, 1990).

EXPERT PILOT Vs COMPETENT PILOT


An examination of the qualities that differentiate the expert from the competent pilot reviews
that much of the task of the expert involves cognitive activity. ‘Stick and rudder’ skills play
but a small role in differentiating the expert from the competent. If one only considers the
tasks necessary to be a competent pilot, the tasks might be more heavily weighted on the
perceptual-motor skills. However, if one wishes to be an expert in this domain, one must
excel in cognitive skills or judgment.

While you must be at least a competent and proficient pilot (stage 3 and stage 4) to carry
out the tasks at hand, i.e. to fly and to deliver passengers and goods safely from point to
point, it is desirable for all of us to aim at being expert pilots (stage 5), only then through
fostering flight discipline and expert airmanship - only and only then – becoming an “expert
pilot” can be the realised goal.

Note: Extracted and adapted from the book “Pilot Judgment & Crew Resource Management”
By Richard S. Jensen. – University Press, Cambridge ISBN 0 291 398094 9

36
RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY OF A COMMANDER
As cited in the Federation Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 91, Section 91.3 (similarly in the
ANO), which should etch permanently in your mind as a future commander;

• The Pilot-In-Command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final


authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

• In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the Pilot-In-Command


may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that
emergency.

Both of these are powerful statements allowing you to decide or to take whatever actions
you deem necessary, as long as they are in the interest of flight safety directly concerning
the airplane you are in charge and in the environment you are operating in. It is no child’s
play.
Note: If you are keen, you can write to me for a copy of the FAR Part 91 extract, regarding
the duty and responsibility of a pilot-in-command of a commercial airplane.

YOUR ONGOING RESPONSIBILITY AS A COMMANDER


The profession of airline captaincy is not simply the ability to fly and command a large
airplane with skill, precision and verve. It also involves self-imposed discipline as a way of
life, an ongoing resolve – year in, year out – to operate at all times and under all
circumstances within the defined parameters of safety and airplane performance.

YOU ARE AN UNSUSPECTING ROLE MODEL TO NEWLY CHECKED OUT PILOTS


Few people realise that their actions, behaviour and the ways they carry themselves can
have a very strong impact on their subordinates. If you are an A310 captain, chances are,
you will be flying with a lot of newly checked out first officers or having second officers
observing flight operations in your flight deck. A year or more down the road, you may even
be appointed as a supervisory captain or a line instructor pilot.

As a captain, you will be seen as a man with power, prestige, status and achievement. Your
style of behaviour, the way you dress, talk, and interact with others, and your attitude
towards the work environment, your personal views, outlook and values you attach to
commercial flight operations, will have a strong influence on them.

You are in fact constantly sending out signals to these impressionable young men, more
likely so when they identify you as their “hero” to follow. They will sub-consciously watch you
and mimic your actions. Most important of all, especially in the way you operate and fly the
airplane, be it your professional display of airmanship or rogue antics, you are, frankly, their
unsuspecting role model!

If you are indeed a skilled, disciplined professional and a responsible commander, the
outcome will be desirable and good. If you are an ill disciplined; “Kick-The-Tire, Light-The-
Fire” rogue pilot yourself, the outcome is predictably disastrous. So, to whichever category
you belong, your influence on these young hopefuls will be contagious and will have an
insidious effect. There is a Chinese saying; “Red begets red, black begets black.” Therefore,
it is imperative that you, the future commanders, should strive to be good role models,
whether intentionally or not, fostering all the desirable traits of CRM, airmanship,
uncompromising flight discipline etc. that I mentioned time and again. Let me ask you a
soul-searching question: Of these young men who one day will be commanders themselves,
which style would you prefer to see them becoming?

37
CAPTAIN / FIRST OFFICER · COMMANDER / CO-PILOT · PF / PNF RELATIONSHIPS
Sometimes we have to be clear of the different “hats” we are wearing. I have the following
definitions I learnt from SIP Capt Aloysius Chua,

“Captain” and “First Officer” are ranks accorded by the Company based on appropriate
qualifications and seniority. The captain is superior in rank, there is no argument at all.

“Commander” and “Co-pilot” are defined by their specific duties and responsibilities, the
commander of the airplane is a captain assigned to take charge of that flight concerned, the
co-pilot is his assistant, the second-in-command, the co-pilot may be a captain, a first
officer, or even a senior commander on training. The safe conduct of that particular flight
shall be, and always will be the sole responsibility of the commander.

“Pilot Flying” and “Pilot Not-Flying” are specific flying roles, PF flies and controls the
aircraft and its flight path. PNF supports the PF as a non-flying team member, monitoring
the PF’s flight path and performing certain specific duties, e.g radio calls, paper work etc.
The commander, when giving a sector to the first officer, assumes the role of a PNF. Under
no circumstances is he relinquishing his command to the first officer. The commander is
ALWAYS the unequivocal overall in-charge of the flight, period! If any First Officer having
any notion that when he is PF, he is the pilot-in-charge, then, you, as a commander, will
have to gently “nudge” him back to reality!
Make no mistake, if you are the commander, YOU ARE THE COMMANDER! Whether you
are PF or PNF, the conduct of the flight you command IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND
YOURS ALONE.

EXCEPTION 1: There is only one occasion I can think of when the co-pilot can assume
command; i.e. when the commander is incapacitated.

EXCEPTION 2: During line check, although the captain under check is theoretically the
commander of the flight, in real life, the examiner (LIP/IP/SIP) is really the commander of
the flight. At any time, if the examiner has doubts of the captain’s competence or ability to
continue the flight in a proper and/or safe manner, he is empowered to relieve the captain of
command. I think we have no problems with that either! (FAM page 5.4.1)

YOU ARE AN AIRPLANE COMMANDER, NOT GOD!


In the ARM course, Professor Marvin Karlins mentioned that in a country like Singapore,
where respect for, and obedience to authority figures, is a strong cultural norm.. the
stereotype of the “god-like” captain in the cockpit can have a powerful behavioral impact and
consequences.
Although SIA is not recommending that captains lose their position of leadership in the
cockpit. They are, in fact, commander of the aircraft and must be “in charge” of the flight
operations. However, there is a difference between a person in command and being a “god”
in the cockpit. Perhaps the following observation sums it up best..
“It is nowadays generally accepted that an airline captain is not the omnipotent, infallible
“god-like” individual that he may once have been considered and some even considered
them to be. It is no longer a sin for other crew members to draw attention to discrepancies,
real or not, and most present day captains would prefer to accept a challenge occasionally
rather than miss a warning, malfunction, mis-selection or ATC advice.”

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HOW TO HAVE A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS – (CRM AGAIN!)
When I was a first officer, I used to make the first move to introduce myself when I met
some one new in Flight Ops office or even out station, regardless of whether he was a
captain, a fellow first officer or second officer. I usually attempted to “break the ice” first. I
continue to practise this even now. In this manner, you are more likely to make friends than
enemies.

I believe my intentions are genuine and friendly and without motive or hidden agenda.
People like to work with friendly, nice and helpful guys. Working with nice people helps to
reduce tension and stress, promotes a friendly environment that stimulates and encourages
healthy information exchanges. Your peers will always enjoy your company, one day, you
will be a senior pilot, and it is likely that they will continue to socialise with you and to learn
from you. Believe me, many will not even forget you after your retirement! They will continue
to invite you to their social gatherings like I have witnessed quite a few of such gracefully
retired nice “senior citizens” already!

On the other hand, working with @#$%&*s (expletive removed) only stifles such benefits
from blossoming. Sometimes the flight can be typically long, with high-workload and
stressful in nature, so why make it even more stressful by destroying the pleasant cockpit
atmosphere? So it all boils down to good CRM again.

By nature we all have our own little defined “personal space” to safeguard our privacy. But
there are environments that just do not permit such luxury, typically in the flight deck, it is
indeed is a very crammed office, there is hardly any personal space to speak of, whether
you like it or not, one always intrudes the other guy’s personal space. So we must learn to
tolerate each other with this forced intrusion and make the best out of it. Don’t make it
worse! Build bridges, not walls. Make peace, not war!

Working with an @#$%&* who always creates an unfriendly, tense, stressful, highly
charged, explosive, war-zone like cockpit environment is absolutely counter productive and
stupid. You will lose support and initiative of your crew, especially from your first officer, if
you display such undesirable traits. People begin to avoid you, not to socialise or have
anything to do with you. You will lose friends and ultimately you will be ostracised.

While you are reading this, I am sure you straight away can think of some of these real
monstrous personalities you have come across in your flying career; their faces and the
images of those bad experiences you had with them come popping right out in front of your
mind, and you feel disgusted immediately, possibly cursing and swearing at some of them
right away too!

The moral of the story is; do you want to see yourself as the monstrous one that pops out in
front of someone else’s mind when he is reading this?

If you are such monster yourself, many years later, when you are retired and the power and
influence you once enjoyed evaporate (to which nobody cares!), you would be like waking
up from a nightmare.. worst of all, you would probably realise by then that you have no
friends left, you would be old and lonely and feeling so miserable.. and it would be too late to
regret!!! Got that? The choice is yours..

Welcome to the real world! Remember, you have the power and ability to make it a
“warm and friendly” or “cold and hostile” world!

39
ROGUE PILOTS – “A skilled pilot without flight discipline is a flying time bomb!”

Rogue pilots are: “Pilots who are willingly and unnecessarily failing to comply with existing
guidance or taking unwarranted risks”. Rogue pilots are silent menace, undermining aviation
and threatening lives and property everyday. Rogues are unique brand of undisciplined pilot
who places their own egos above all else, endangering themselves, other pilots and their
passengers, and everyone over whom they fly. Rogue pilots are found in the cockpits of
major airlines, military jets, and in general aviation. Worst of all, they sometimes appear
among normally disciplined pilots, many of them are just one poor decision or temptation
away from fiery disaster.

From the days of the early barnstormers, when crowd-thrilling, daredevil pilots pushed
aviation out of its infancy, “rogue” behaviour, as we refer to it, has been a constant. Yet far
too many modern pilots, smitten by the romance and derring-do of their heroes, as well as
their own blind desire to test the limits of their skills, overlook the terrible, sometimes deadly
price that rogue attitudes can exact.

Rogueism is indeed the dark side of airmanship. The false sense of glory they exhibit
usually lead to needless, shameful tragedy.

Sometimes, it is very difficult to expose these ill-disciplined pilots. This enemy is more often
than not, within us - every time the lure of an adrenaline rush, or the split-second seduction
to attempting a risky maneuver, compromises flight discipline and safety.

Rogue pilots account for a disproportionate number of accidents and incidents. If they killed
only themselves with their antics, most of us would see it as an improvement in the gene
pool, one through which the survival of the fittest would eventually purge our ranks of this
undisciplined and undesirable sub-species of pilots. But these pilots don’t just hurt
themselves. Far too often the result of an act of poor flight discipline results in the death of
innocents, and for this reason alone we cannot rely on natural selection to rid us of the
rogue pilot.

If a single rogue trader like Nick Leeson could bring down Barings Bank, a 200-year old
financial institution, then, it is not entirely wrong to assume that a rogue captain can also
bring down the reputation of a major airline too!

Are you the type of pilot having such inclination once in a while? Watch out! Try to recognise
the following hazardous thought patterns that epitomise rogue behaviours:

• Anti-authority – Deliberately flouting rules & procedures.


• Machismo – The “Watch This!” or “Show Off” syndrome.
• Invulnerability – “Happens Only To The Other Guy” syndrome.
• Impulsiveness – Makes hasty, often wrong decisions with disastrous outcome.
• Complacency – Lackadaisical, “Can’t be bothered!” attitude towards work.
• Press-On-It is – The “Die die must get it done” syndrome.

We must consciously guard ourselves against the tendency to fall prey to any of these
undesirable traits and turn ourselves into rogue pilots without even knowing it!

Adapted from the book “Darker Shades Of Blue – The Rogue Pilot” By Tony Kern

40
APPROACH AND LANDING - RECENT MAJOR AIRLINE FATAL ACCIDENTS
It is perhaps timely for me to squeeze in a reminder here about approach and landing fatal
accidents and CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) suffered by commercial airliners over the
last 20 years.

56% of the major commercial air disasters occurred during the approach and landing
phases, and 44% of all fatalities attributed to the approach and landing phases related
accidents. Non-precision approaches (especially VOR-DME approach) are five times more
prone to CFIT related accidents than ILS precision approaches.

The major contributing factors to these fatal accidents are;

• Lack of positional awareness in the air.


• Omission of action/inappropriate action.
• Slow and/or low on approach.
• Flight handling.
• Poor professional judgment/airmanship.
• “Press-On-Itis” or “Get-Home-Itis”.
• Failure in CRM (cross-check/coordinate).
• Post impact fire.
• Deliberate non-adherence to procedures.
• Icing.
• Windshear/upset/turbulence.
• System failure (flight deck information).

These causal factors are frighteningly familiar. They are what I have been talking about all
along here. The statistics are not important, what is important and serves as a sobering
reminder to all of us is that when a fatal accident happens, there will be people losing their
loved ones, a father, husband, brother or son perishes. The wife is instantly widowed and
children orphaned. Yes, the reality is harsh, tragic and so heartbreaking that we do not like
to even think or talk about.

Air crashes always get major headline news treatment. Pilots’ names are always spelled
correctly and flashed on headlines of major newspapers and other mass media. The dead
pilots’ personal history mercilessly exposed, usually without the consent of the aggrieved
parties concerned. More often than not, dead pilots are usually found “guilty” until proven
innocent. Naturally, it will be in the interest of a lot of parties, directly or indirectly linked to
the crash to shift all blame to the dead aircrew members. Why? Because dead men usually
cannot defend themselves, it is oh so very convenient to shift all anticipated blames onto
these dead men.

We must endeavour to make sure that this will not happen to us, and the only way to
prevent such accidents from ever occurring to you or all of us is to practise all the wisdoms
and guidelines given here by those experts, as well as lessons learned from our fallen
colleagues so that they would not have died in vain.

Note: Information obtained from Flight Safety Foundation Special Reports –


Issues November/December 1998 and January/February 1999.

41
TREASURE YOUR JOB and GUARD IT JEALOUSLY
Flying is undoubtedly one of the best jobs men could ever dream of doing, second probably
only to being a Formula One driver or being an astronaut, if I may say. Since we are the few
privileged ones with wings that can soar in the deep blue yonder, treasure it, my friends, you
do not know how many of your earth-bound friends out there wish they were in your shoes.
Do not let complacency, impulsivity, invulnerability, machismo, anti-authority feelings and
“press-on” syndrome get the better of you. We must make strenuous efforts to guard our
flying career jealously, make sure that we don’t lose it because of our own weaknesses,
unless other than circumstances beyond our control – fate! Remember, when there is an
incident or accident, the one name the press or media will always spell correctly is the pilot’s
name! Finally, you must have the unceasing flying enthusiasm to match the exacting
demands of this profession, only then will you enjoy your flying career until the day you
retire!

WHY MEN LOVE FLYING AND AIRPLANES?


“It is appearances, characteristics and performance that make a man love an airplane, and
they, told truly, are what put emotion into one. You love a lot of things if you live around
them, but there isn't any woman and there isn't any horse, not any before nor any after, that
is as lovely as a great airplane, and men who love them are faithful to them even though
they leave them for others.“ - Ernest Hemingway
“Science, Freedom, Beauty, Adventure... aviation offers it all.” - Charles A. Lindberg

"High Flight"

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,


and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of-
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind –
along and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue –
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
And, while with silent lifting mind –
I've trod the high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God...

-John Gillipse Magee, Jr. WWI USAAF Pilot

42
CONCLUSION – THE FEELING AFTER BEING CHECKED OUT AS ONE
When the Boss pins that pair of 4-bar epaulettes on your shoulders, you know you deserved
them, you know that all the hard work, time and sacrifices you put in have finally paid off.
The feeling? You can well imagine it.

Finally, after becoming a commander does it not mean that the learning process will come to
an abrupt stop. It is only the beginning. If you continue to work hard, the reward is
immeasurable in terms of sense of achievement and job satisfaction. One glaring difference
is that there will be no instructor watching you like a hawk on the right hand seat or there to
guide you. You will also be flying a lot with newly checked out first officers. In essence, you
are new and for the first time in your commercial flying career: YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN!

Remember, by your own choice, you have chosen to be a professional airliner driver, I am
afraid to say that, being a pilot-in-command of a multi-million dollar asset and hundreds of
lives at stake every time you fly, you do not have, and cannot afford the luxury to be
complacent. You have to be on your guard all the time. It is your duty to ensure that every
flight you command is a safe flight.

We are no Olympian Gods, we are mere mortals, we know too well that we are human and
prone to make mistakes. So we must endeavour to reduce that probability of making fatal
mistakes by exercising sound judgment, high situational awareness and good airmanship.

Every flight must be considered as a new challenge, and you must try your best to meet that
new challenge with your knowledge, flying skill, proficiency, good flight discipline and good
health, displaying the highest professional standard expected of you by your Company and
by your fare-paying customers.

Guard us against those hazardous thought patterns from ever taking root. Frequent
recurrent training and good flight discipline will significantly reduce that from happening.

Well, a lot has been said so far (and yet so little!). The rest is really up to you. If your goal is
set, go get it! The IIII ! I wish all of you the very best!

Reminder
This file is for free. There is no commercial interest involved whatsoever.

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LOFT SCENARIOS
LOFT & LOA scenarios are fluid, it is best that we should tackle the exercise with an open
mind, instead, we should be relying on our own experience and training to handle whatever
the situation that may arise in LOFT, LOA or actual life-threatening situations. With the
policies, procedures, practices and the training we have, we should be able to handle a
myriad of possible abnormal situations. Even in a noval situation, we should be creative
enough to use all resources available to tackle it to the best we can. We must never give up
trying to save our own skins from any perceivable situation.

LOFT ROUTES
Most of the LOFTs are conducted on the typical routes such as SIN-PEN, PEN-SIN, SIN-
CGK, CGK-SIN, SIN-KCH, KCH-SIN, or SIN-BKK, BKK-SIN.

It is definitely a plus point if you are familiar with the various approaches to these airports
concerned. Especially for Penang, the ILS 04, VOR 22 approaches, even the NDB 22
approach.

Make an effort to memorise the frequency to tune, course to set, ceiling, visibility and
MDA/DH of these approaches. You will save invaluable time when preparing for these
approaches. For example in Penang, If ILS 04 is out and visibility is reported to be 4000m,
you are unable to shoot the VOR 22 or NDB 22 approaches (below minima), a common
trap! Refer to Penang Jeppesen charts for details.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not encourage the practice of memorising Jeppesen charts in
normal line operations, but in a LOFT situation, you are usually under stress and time-
pressed, all these extra preparations help. My emphasis here is the speed and time you
save whilst setting up the aids, so that you only refer to the Jeppesen charts to confirm you
instruments settings, otherwise you have to read, do and then brief, it will take much longer
time.

If you are manually flying with limited instruments, such as LOSS OF BOTH ENG
GENERATORS, you will realise the benefits of knowing these settings by heart.

If you do self help in the simulator often enough, you will soon have some of the following
familiarised almost by the back of you hand:-

• Critical-point of a specific route – Facilitate your decision to proceed or turn back.


• Minimum Enroute Altitude (MEA) – The minimum altitude you can descend to in an
emergency with assured navigational aids and communications coverage as well as
obstacle clearance.
• Minimum Sector Altitude (MSA) – The lowest altitude you can descend without
worrying about obstacles and obstructions.
• Nearest suitable alternates – Divert to an airfield suitable for A310.
• Runway lengths – So that you know in advance whether that airport you have in
mind to land or divert to can accommodate the envisaged problem?
• Runway approach aids – Help set up your instruments for the approach in a snap.

It makes your decision making process so much easier. My predecessors have actually
consolidated these airports into a handy chart. Always refer to them when you are not doing
anything in particular, it really helps.

Tips: Prepare at least two updated Jeppesen folders with relevant charts covering all the
possible airports used to conduct LOFTs and LOAs. This will save time and allow yourself to
be familiar with these airports you are going to operate in and out.

44
A310 or B744 LINE FLYING AND LINE OPERATIONS
All that I have written earlier are essentially aimed at addressing LOFT related exercises.
However, a suggestion from Chua Eng Kiat prompted me to say something on line flying
too. After all, you have to fly as many as 100 sectors in all the phases combined before
checking out.

The early phases of your command training will introduce you the aircraft performance and
handling characteristics. You will also be exposed to new airports and the peculiarities of
various routes, ATC and ground operations. You will be assessed on your overall ability and
“commandability”. Take charge from the word “Go!” – From flight planning until reporting
off duty.

Liaise proactively with all personnel you will meet, including passengers if necessary. The
chief steward or traffic officer (Oscar) may come to the flight deck with a problem and in
many instances may address the instructor directly (He is still the captain!) by habit.
Diplomatically steer the discussion back to you and take the initiatives. You can always seek
opinion of the instructor (as part of CRM anyway!). Try not to let the instructor handle the
problem unless he has specifically indicated otherwise. You are the command trainee, so
start acting as a commander, NOW!

Prepare for flight before hand, especially if it is a new airport you are flying into. Be wary of
the potential hazards and possible weather scenarios. Have an action plan where possible.
Especially Kathmandu – know your “escape routes” well. Should you need to do a missed
approach, the thinking should have been done much earlier. Never be complacent.

Flying is a sociable job, always meet up with your colleagues whenever possible to discuss
about flying matters. Even the first officers can give you some unexpected tips that will help
you through your command training! There is a wealth of shared knowledge and information
from those who have been on this path before you. Share experiences and notes with each
other, you will find the combined exposure of your course mates highly rewarding and an
invaluable enhancement to your own experiences.

In the later stages of your training, the instructors will not be looking for clockwork precision
in your descent and approaches, handling the aircraft should now be in your “pocket”. They
would like to see a measured and more conservative approach. Do not try to impress with
super low-drag approaches!

Always remember the key words – “Safety! Safety! Safety!” There is a common saying,
“A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations requiring his
superior flying skills to get out!” Flight safety is of paramount importance in all SIA line
operations and should never be compromised.

You will find that more and more, the instructors will take a back-seat approach, you must
increasingly shoulder all the responsibilities of the flight. See the “Big Picture!”. Line
operations are very fluid and your flight considerations are always changing – Be it ATC
imposed restrictions, passengers related incidents or aircraft technical problems. No two
flights are the same. The FAM and Line Operations sections in the Company documents are
important here. Master them. Also important is a good understanding of the MEL
procedures (e.g. Brakes Deactivated Procedure) and the Fuel Policy.
Note: Manual load sheets are required in many A310 stations, e.g. Kathmandu,
Guangzhou, Dhaka and Hochiminh City --- just to name a few.

45
HELP EACH OTHER – SHARE INFORMATION & EXPERIENCE
I have only done the first cut. What I have written is probably only the tip of the iceberg in
terms of scenarios covered in the training syllabi, but I believe I have taken the initiative; and
I think it is the first step in the right direction.

In future, I hope people like you will continue to update this and build on it. In doing so, our
future command trainees will be better predisposed to face all possible LOFTs/LOAs. We
always lament that our SIA command training is tough, whereas foreign captains never had
to be subject to such grueling tests. Well, they joined the Company as incumbent captains
and not command trainees!

Since we national pilots are all in the same predicament, the least we could do is to help
ourselves, share knowledge and never be a selfish man. All command trainees should work
as a team, it appears that those who worked as a team had a higher chance of success
than those lone wolves.

Finally, do not feel shy to solicit help from those freshly checked out commanders, ask them
for help while they are still “hot” in their systems knowledge. In the flying business, we must
help our fellow pilots all the time, so that we are all better off and nobody is worse off for
sure. This belief has always been the driving force in me.

“Great pilots are made, not born.... A man may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands, and
perfect coordination, but the end product is only fashioned by steady coaching, much
practice, and experience.” - Johnnie Johnson

NOBODY IS WORSE OFF – EVERYBODY IS BETTER OFF


These notes were extracted from various sources including former A310 captains. I will
make every effort to update the notes based on current inputs, and feedback from you will
be most welcome. I truly believe in sharing line operations related information. Like they
said, in sharing line operations flight safety information: “Nobody is worse off, everybody is
better off!

WORDS OF WISDOM
ACP Capt Albert Koh once said:
“The most beautiful part in sharing one’s knowledge with another person is that; the
one who receives your knowledge becomes a richer person without you being
poorer!” Once again I salute all my predecessors who assisted me one way or another, in
making this (unofficial) quick reference handbook a possibility.

Eddie Foo
Box 725
dragon52@pacific.net.sg

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Warning - Disclaimer
This free-of-charge document is designed to provide information in
regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the
understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal,
engineering, or other professional services. If legal, or other expert
assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should
be sought.

It is not the purpose of this work to reprint all the information that is
otherwise available to the author, but to complement, amplify, and
supplement other available information. You are urged to seek out and
read all available material, learn as much as possible about the subject
matter covered, and to tailor the information to your individual needs.

Analyzing aviation data can be a complex undertaking. Anyone who


decides to make the effort to answer their own aviation related questions
should be prepared to invest the time and energy needed to seek out
and analyze the available data.

Every effort has been made to make this document as accurate as


possible. However, there may be mistakes both typographical and in
content. Therefore, this document should be used only as a general
guide and not as the ultimate reference on the subject matter covered.
Furthermore, this document contains information on sources of aviation
data that was current only up to the publishing date.

The purpose of this document is to inform, educate, and entertain. The


author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or
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If you do not wish to be bound by the above, then


discontinue using this document.

47