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Feature Article: Judgement of Limitations

The ability of a student to plan a safe flight or flying activity is determined by his judgment of his limitations. It is important that the student know what he knows how to do well, what needs practice for improvement, and what is of uncertain or unknown nature. The first two regions are his to explore. The uncertain and unknown should be openly discussed with the instructor and then incorporated into flight instruction. The student must not be one who fools himself into getting in positions where luck is needed for a safe outcome. Judgment is defined as the ability to see and choose between alternatives. Good judgment is determined by making the best choice. Instruction shows how to avoid an accident. The trainee determines whether it happens.

Good instruction enables a student to have the required judgment to see, avoid, or plan around potentially harmful situations. Judgment cannot be taught as a separate item. It is acquired through practice of safe behavior. A student can learn to perceive and evaluate a situation and choose the option required for a safe outcome. A safe flight is determined by selecting safe options. This is the subjective area on a flight test that is part of the test.

The well-trained pilot has reason to be confident but no pilot can be fooled by training into believe he cannot become overloaded. The student must believe that the instruction he has received is both safe and comprehensive. Being solo requires that a student trust the instructor's judgment. The combined positive judgment of the student and instructor should give the student a right to feel confident in the ability to perform safely and proficiently. As an instructor, I do not teach to the minimum level of safety and proficiency. I try to teach to a level where the minimums are exceeded and a reserve is available to the student sufficient to handle any unanticipated situation. Beyond that, I expect a student to exercise good judgment and make the safe decision. Judgment can be taught.

Communications between instructor and student has nuances of sense and meanings that are subtler than just words. Concepts, thoughts, and ideas are difficult to teach using just words. Words can have different meanings to different people. Words can have several meanings, words of the same sound have different meanings, different words having the same sound mean different things. Use and context may not give correct meanings. Context can change the connotations of a word and affect interpretation. These conditions apply to other languages as well. Explained in this context dual-language students are made more aware of the potential confusions possible in English.

The instructor who uses the same explanation at ever-increasing volume is unlikely to improve communications. What a person says, the words used, and the body movements used in concert can be in complete contradiction. Facial expressions are most significant. The hands and arm body language can increase resistance of a student's acceptance of what you say.

An instructor who resorts to an authoritarian style of instruction is one who lacks confidence in his ability to release the student from control. The student is less likely to be allowed to venture ideas or opinions. My style is built around what I have learned about the student. I need a close harmonious agreement on objectives and methods. I plan and build my instruction so that the student grows confidence and assurance. I want my student to be confident in my ability as a teacher to guide him over obstacles as they occur. I adjust my program to reduce problems and will back and fill basic skills as the need occurs.

The student and instructor of today are in a period of information overload since the advent of the internet. There are so very many conflicting and contradictory opinions available with 'authoritative' bases of fact that even the lawyers avoid opinions. Many of the conflicts are because of the varied background and training of those involved. Most pilots are unfamiliar with the vastly different procedures that are still 'right' because of aircraft design and capability. There are so many different forms of 'right' that even those who should know can't be certain.

Last Modified May 24, ©2019 TAGE.COM

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