Understanding Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)

Despite the fact that flight is a relatively safe way to travel, accidents occur, so it is important for those operating aircraft to troubleshoot. According to the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), many accidents in general aviation (GA) occur as a result of inadequate aeronautical decision making (ADM), in tandem with inadequate resource management skills. As such, this blog will serve as an overview of basic ADM principles, as well as how to use a method known as the 3-P Model to integrate better skills into your flights. To improve your decision making as a pilot, consider the following guidelines.

Aeronautical decision making is a helpful practice to avoid common GA mistakes by developing sound decision making skills. There are many reasons pilots might exhibit poor decision making during flight. For example, a pilot might dismiss any known risks in favor of continuing the flight, or he might choose to persevere in conditions beyond his comfort zone and skill set. Another common unsound decision made by pilots is to persevere despite inadequate information pertaining to the flight, i.e. weather conditions. In an effort to combat such situations, ADM provides a systematic approach to the pilot’s assessment of the best course of action during any given flight.

Essentially, ADM is a tool used by pilots to determine the best course of action based on all available information at a given time. From pre-flight to touch down, the pilot should actively engage in ADM to ensure effective risk assessment over the entire course of the flight. Each stage of flight comes with its own set of concerns to be evaluated, so it is vital the pilot exhibits constant effective risk management.

As ADM can be a complex skill, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) adopted the 3-P Model, that of which is a three step approach to sound aviation decision making. The name stands for “perceive - process - perform,” a simple and orderly method for executing each ADM task across all phases of flight.

The 3-P Model begins with “perceive;” this step begins during pre-flight, but continues across the duration of flight. This phase calls for the pilot to simply observe and make note of his current circumstances, gathering information relative to the mission and environment of the flight. The next step, “process,” calls for the pilot to evaluate such information as it pertains to his flight and analyze the best course of action. Last, the pilot must “perform” by executing the determined course of action. The performance results then become information used for step one, “perceive,” allowing for the continuous cycle of the 3-P Model method.

An additional skill for pilots to develop when practicing ADM is the ability to implement Flight Risk Assessment Tools (FRATs). FRATs are used to determine between low-risk and high-risk flights, as no flight is entirely risk-free. Using FRATs, pilots can develop a review process and risk mitigation strategies to implement while practicing the 3-P Model. Although designs can vary, FRATs generally ask a series of questions that help identify and quantify risk for a flight. These often include questions pertaining to the pilot, aircraft, environment, and external pressures.

As ADM requires a great deal of introspection, patience, and practice, it is wise a pilot develops this skill as much as possible throughout every flight he takes. As operating a reliable aircraft is a major component of safe flight, make sure to source all the aircraft parts you require from ASAP Aviation Supplies or another ASAP Semiconductor owned and operated leading distributor. To get started, submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form for any item(s) you require and we will provide you with an Instant Quote for your comparisons within 15 minutes. To learn more contact us at any time; we are available 24/7x365!


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