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Feature Article: Reaction and Anticipation

In searching for an appropriate place for this material I was surprised at how often the terms appeared, the variety of context, and application to both plane and pilot. In many situations you must be decisive, selective and accurate. You must know what to do, do it, and do it correctly. Most often the word reaction occurs in my writing in conjunction with anticipation. There are times when all anticipation occurred long before the event requiring reaction, as in a cataclysmic engine failure.

Reaction time is based upon how your senses work together. Hearing and smell may provide advance warning but most often we are not as sensitive to these as to the tactile sense. Vision evokes the quickest reactions but this quickness may be instinctive and counter productive. Where you look, makes a difference in how a maneuver is performed. Watching over the nose will enable you to counter visual illusion and associated instinctive reactions. How the maneuver feels and sounds will augment vision once the proper parameters are practiced and imprinted. The sensitivity of your visual perception to what occurs over the nose is the most critical flying sense you have. This developed visual perception will make reactions appear as anticipation to those not visually attuned.

We need to practice reactions in flying situations so that they can be anticipated, decisive, selective, and accurate. Landings, takeoffs, steep turns, stalls, minimum controllable, and unusual attitudes are areas where we can organize our senses to get our performance and the required reaction under control. Along with correct performance of the maneuvers, we should expose ourselves to incorrect (read instinctive) reaction situations. The sudden inadvertent event is the one most likely to be met with instinctive reaction.

Recognition of the need and correctness in reaction is, to me, more important than the speed. With age I have replaced my reaction time with anticipation. For example, I laugh before the punch line of jokes. I feel that the shift from reaction to anticipation is one of the large personality changes that distinguish pilots from the less fortunate. It is certainly one of the things I look for when I solo a student.

Knowing what to expect from yourself, the plane, ATC, and the weather will greatly reduce the need for reaction and increase the presence of anticipation. The practice element that I would concentrate on would be;
1) Awareness of how deceptive our senses can be, -- 2) How anticipation can affect selection, speed, and accuracy of any reaction--,3) Situations where reaction is all you have available. It all comes down to judgment.

The best pilot complement is 'smooth'. Being smooth means that there is no wasted motion, no hesitation, and no doubt of what comes next. Every motion is anticipated. The pilot is ahead of the aircraft. Decisions and movements are unhurried and evenly paced. Smo o o th.


Last Modified July 29, ©2017 TAGE.COM

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