Pilot's Tip of the Week
Post Flight Debrief
Featuring Wally Moran
"What are some of the things we can do if we want to better our flying and really be working to be the best pilots we can be?"
"Bob, that's what good airmen are. They're constantly working to improve their knowledge and their proficiency. They read about aviation, they participate in training and they analyze their flights. Probably the most important piece is analyzing their flights and their mistakes.
Two pilots can read the same accident report and see a totally different scenario. If you read an accident report about a pilot who lost control of his airplane and went off the runway, you might conclude if you read it quickly that the pilot was just unlucky. Maybe he had a mechanical problem. But if you really analyze that report, you might find out the pilot was never properly trained for crosswind landings or you might find out the pilot didn't properly analyze the weather and recognize that he or she was going to be facing a tough crosswind. So not only read the reports, but give them some in-depth thought to really see where the beginning of that accident chain started."
"And even taking it to the extreme, Wally. I don't know that many people realize this, but the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels - the best of the best - videotape every single performance they do and debrief in detail what they did right, what they did wrong - every single event."
"Right. I believe the Navy pilots do the same thing with their carrier landings. They're videotaped and later debriefed. So that's probably the most important thing a good airman does - is they really analyze their flight and they're self-critical.
If you found that you were surprised during a flight by something, don't just say gee that surprised me. Go back and see if you can analyze why you were surprised. Did you miss an item on your checklist? Did you fail to get a good weather briefing? What was it that surprised you?
Some pilots I know keep a diary and they talk about the good things and the bad things that happened during their flight. And that gives them a focus for their next training event or their next study event."
Next week's tip: Adjusting personal minimums