What is the aeronautical decision making (ADM) concept?

Aeronautical decision making, or ADM, is the systematic approach to identify hazards, assess the risk, and determine the best course of action in an aviation environment.

With ADM, the pilot maintains situational awareness to determine changes in the environment in order to make appropriate risk management decisions.  The decision-making process is structured using various models.  Using a model helps ensure that appropriate risk management techniques are applied consistently.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge 2-14
FAA-P-8740-69 Aeronautical Decision Making
FAA AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making

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What is situational awareness?

Situational awareness is the accurate perception and understanding of the major risk elements that affect safety before, during, and after the flight.

There are four major risk elements which are the Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, External pressure. These elements can be remembered easily with the acronym PAVE.

The PAVE checklist is used in the decision-making process to identify changes in the risk elements. Once identified, the risks are assessed and appropriate management strategy can be employed. Each element is listed below:

Pilot: The pilot’s fitness to fly must be evaluated, including competency in the helicopter, currency, and flight experience.

Aircraft: The helicopter performance, limitations, equipment, and airworthiness must be determined.

enVironment: Factors such as weather and airport conditions must be examined.

External Pressures: The purpose of the flight is a factor that influences the pilot’s decision on undertaking or continuing the flight.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge 2-24
ECIDE model for
decisions, or the 5P model for evaluating the risk elements. There is no requirement
to use a specific model, but the pilot should develop a systematic approach to identify and minimize risk.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-11
FAA-P-8740-69 Aeronautical Decision Making

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What is risk management?

Risk management is a formalized method to address risk in order to lower the dangers of flight.

The first step in risk management is to identity the risk, such as using the PAVE checklist.  Once identified, the risk level must be evaluated.

A basic process to identity the level of risk is to consider the probability of an event occurring in relation to the consequences or impact of that event.  The two elements can be combined to determine the risk level.  This process can be formally done during pre-planning or informally during actual flight.

Risk Level = Probability X Impact

When evaluating the risk level, a pilot should consider the consequences, alternatives, reality, and external pressures (CARE).

Consequences: What will be the result if this risk is not addressed?

Alternatives: What other options are available?

Reality: How likely is this to occur?

External Pressures: Are there outside influences affecting this decision?

After the risk level is determined, there are several choices that can be done.  The risk can be transferred, eliminated, accepted, or mitigated (TEAM).

Transfer: The pilot may choose to transfer the risk, by asking a more skilled pilot to take the flight.

Eliminate: Can the risk or hazard be eliminated?

Accept: A risk is generally accepted when the level is low compared to the cost of reducing the risk.

Mitigate: Can the risk be reduced to an acceptable level?

Risk management is an ongoing process that occurs throughout the flight.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-9
FAA-P-8740-69 Aeronautical Decision Making

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What is the 3P Model?

The 3P model is a systematic approach to decision making within the risk management process.

The 3P includes three primary components: Perceive, Process, and Perform. This simple-to-remember process provides a consistent method for the pilot to identity a risk and take appropriate action.

When using this model, the pilot Perceives a change or a hazard, Processes risk or evaluates alternatives, and Performs an action to minimize or accept risk. The 3P model incorporates other models or methods within each section.

Perceive: Use the PAVE checklist to identity a change in the primary risk elements of: Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, External pressures.

Process: Evaluate the risk level and probability considering the consequences, alternatives, reality, and external pressures (CARE).

Perform: Apply appropriate risk management techniques given the risk level.  Options include Transferring the risk, Eliminating the risk, Accepting the risk and Mitigating the risk to an acceptable level (TEAM).

Risk Management 3 P modal diagram

There are other decision-making models as well, such as the DECIDE model for decisions, or the 5P model for evaluating the risk elements.  There is no requirement to use a specific model, but the pilot should develop a systematic approach to identify and minimize risk.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-11
FAA-P-8740-69 Aeronautical Decision Making

Other Risk Management Topics

What is the 5P model?

The 5P model is an alternative model for decision making. The 5P model addresses the following components: Plan, Plane, Pilot, Passengers, and Programming.

Plan: Has adequate pre-planning been completed? Some of the questions to ask are if the pre-flight planning is adequate, such as weather, fuel, route, etc.

Plane: Is the plane adequate for the plan, including maintenance and equipment?

Pilot: Is the pilot prepared for the flight, considering qualifications and I’M SAFE components.

Passengers: Are there external pressures or requirements from passengers? Pilots need to remember that passengers may not understand the risks involved with flight.

Programming: Are avionics up-to-date and configured appropriately? Does the pilot understand how to use the installed equipment?

The pilot should systematically review the 5P model throughout the flight.  The 5Ps are used to evaluate the pilot’s current situation at key decision points during the flight or when an emergency arises.  These decision points include pre-flight, pre-takeoff, hourly or at the midpoint of the flight, pre-descent, and just prior to the final approach fix or for VFR operations, just prior to entering the traffic pattern.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge pg. 2-13
FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-5

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What is the DECIDE model?

The DECIDE model is a six-step method for pilots to make decisions in a logical manner.

The six steps of the DECIDE model are: Detect, Estimate, Choose, Identify, Do, and Evaluate.

1. Detect the problem
2. Estimate the need to react
3. Choose a course of action
4. Identify solutions
5. Do the necessary action
6. Evaluate the effect of the action

The DECIDE model is an alternative to methods such as the 3P (Perceive, Process, Perform) model.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge pg. 2-18
FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-5

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What is the I’MSAFE acronym used for?

The I’MSAFE is an acronym is used to evaluate a pilot’s fitness for flight.

The acronym stands for Illness, Medications, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, and Emotion.  Pilots should evaluate themselves in each of these areas to ensure that they are in a physical and mental state for the flight.

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 or worried about financial matters, health problems, or family discord?

Alcohol: Am I under the influence of alcohol or have I been drinking within 8 hours?

Fatigue: Am I tired and not adequately rested?

Emotion: Am I angry, depressed, or anxious?

Any negative issues related to the I’MSAFE component should be evaluated before the flight continues.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-6

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What are hazardous attitudes?

There are five common hazardous attitudes that negatively impact the safety of flight, these are anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho and resignation.

Once a pilot recognizes the hazardous attitude, appropriate antidote can be applied to minimize the impact of the hazardous attitude.

Anti-authority is when pilots don’t like anyone telling them what to do.  To counter this attitude, one must follow the rules.

Impulsivity is the when a pilot feels the need to do something quickly, when not warranted.  To counter this attitude, think first and not act so fast.

Invulnerability is when a pilot thinks that nothing bad can happen to them.  To counter this attitude, one must remember that dangerous situations can happen to anyone.

Macho attitude is when a pilot tries to prove that they can do something for which they are not properly trained.  To counter this attitude, remember that taking chances is foolish.

Resignation is when a pilot believes that there is no hope.  To counter this attitude, remember that you are not helpless and you can make a difference.

Reference(s):

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge pg. 2-4
FAA AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making pg. 11

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What regulation governs the reporting of aircraft incidents and accidents?

The reporting of aircraft accidents and incidents is governed by NTSB Part 830, or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Part 830 Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, and Preservation of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, and Records.

Immediate notification to the NTSB is required for an aircraft accident and some specific aircraft incidents.  The aircraft operator shall file a report using form 6120.1 within 10 days after an accident or after 7 days if an overdue aircraft is still missing.  A report on an incident for which immediate notification is required by 830.5(a) shall be filed only as requested by an authorized representative of the Board.

An aircraft accident is when any person suffers death or serious injury or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.  An incident is any occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.  The primary incidents that require immediate notification include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Flight control system malfunction or failure
• Inability of any required flight crewmember to perform normal flight duties as a result of injury or illness
• Failure of any internal turbine engine component that results in the escape of debris other than out the exhaust path
• In-flight fire
• Aircraft collision in flight
• Damage to property, other than the aircraft, estimated to exceed $25,000 for repair
• Damage to helicopter tail or main rotor blades, including ground damage, that requires major repair or replacement of the blade(s)
• An aircraft is overdue and is believed to have been involved in an accident

PART 830 Specific Definitions:

Aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and when all persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.  For purposes of this part, the definition of “aircraft accident” includes “unmanned aircraft accident,” as defined herein.

Incident means an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.

Serious injury means any injury which: (1) Requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date of the injury was received; (2) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes or nose); (3) causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle or tendon damage; (4) involves any internal organ; or (5) involves second- or third-degree burns or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.

Substantial damage means damage or failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft and which would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component.  Engine failure or damage limited to an engine if only one engine fails or is damaged, bent fairings or cowling, dented skin, small punctured holes in the skin or fabric, ground damage to rotor or propeller blades, and damage to landing gear, wheels, tires, flaps, engine accessories, brakes or wingtips are not considered “substantial damage” for the purpose of this part.

Unmanned aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of any public or civil unmanned aircraft system that takes place between the time that the system

is activated with the purpose of flight and the time that the system is deactivated at the conclusion of its mission, in which:

(1) Any person suffers death or serious injury; or
(2) The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage.

Reference(s):

49 CFR 830 Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, and Preservation of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, and Records
Website: http://www.ntsb.gov/pages/report.aspx
NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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What is the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)?

The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is a system where pilots and other aviation personnel voluntarily report a situation in which aviation safety may have been compromised.

The ASRS system is operated by NASA, but used by the FAA to promote safety in aviation.  To encourage reporting, information is held in strict confidence.  Part 91.25 prohibits the use of any reports submitted to NASA under the ASRS in any disciplinary action except information concerning criminal offenses or accidents.  When a violation of the 14 CFR comes to the attention of the FAA from a source other than a report filed with NASA under the ASRS, the FAA will take appropriate action.  In order to minimize the likelihood of enforcement action, a person should report to NASA any violation within 10 days after the violation or date when the person became aware or should have been aware of the violation. Although a finding of violation may be made, neither a civil penalty nor certificate suspension will be imposed if:

• The violation was inadvertent and not deliberate;
• The violation did not involve a criminal offense, accident, or action under 49 U.S.C. § 44709, which discloses a lack of qualification or competency, which is wholly excluded from this policy;
• The person has not been found in any prior FAA enforcement action to have committed a violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII, or any regulation promulgated there for a period of 5 years prior to the date of occurrence; and
• The person proves that within 10 days after the violation or date when the person became aware or should have been aware of the violation, he or she completed and delivered or mailed a written report of the incident or occurrence to NASA.

Reference(s):

AC 00-46E Aviation Safety Reporting Program
https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/index.html

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