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Feature Article: What You Know, Gets In The Way of What You Don't Know
The learning law of 'Primacy' is what makes developing proper
habits first build the foundation for what you will do when under
stress. As children we cried under stress. As youngsters we screamed
and cavorted. As adults we curse and swear and perhaps strike
out. I have seen all of these acts in my flying students when
under stressful circumstances. Learning to fly is very much a
process of replacing these prior habit reactions with new ad
hoc (for this) habit patterns related to flying a particular
manufacture of aircraft. Manufacturers use very similar cockpit
and operational procedures for all their models.
When what you have already learned about one make of aircraft
becomes inappropriate in a different make you are faced with
'negative habit transfer'. You are five times more likely to
make a mistake in operation and procedure when what you are supposed
to do is 'different' than what you did previously. The likelihood
of the mistake occurring is multiplied by several factors if
compounded by the introduction of stress. In a situation that
requires immediate action we all tend to revert to the habits
we first learned. In flying the region of 'negative habit transfer'
is most apparent during the inadvertent stall and inadvertent
When it comes time for the pilot to transition out of the 'trainer'
into the heavier, high-performance or complex aircraft at least
some of the operational procedures will change. Power operations
will vary, landing flare requirements will vary and timing of
everything will change. 'Negative habit transfer' becomes a problem
that can only be overcome by practice. There is no substitute
for practice. However, it must be directed practice of the right
kind. The pilot must devise and revise checklists into a form
that will all the development of consistent habit patterns. Included
in the actual flying must be considerable time spent in cockpit
simulation of what to do, where it is, when to do it, what comes
next, and when. Recognize, that you will never be entirely free
from your first learned habits. Past habits will arise again
and again out of the dust and rust of your past to corrupt your
new habits being formed and then neglected from non-use. The
ghosts of your flying past can and will rise to haunt your present.
What's worse is you won't even realize it.
Last Modified December 9, ©2019 TAGE.COM