Today’s Flight Plan
Flying isn’t just about the knowledge, or how to control the aircraft. Being a safe pilot is largely a matter of how you act, and the thought processes you have, as it is a matter of knowledge and skill.
Today we’re going to just scratch the surface on that subject and talk about 5 dangerous attitudes that we as aviators can develop, or bring over into our aviation lives.
After we’re done with that discussion, I’ll give you my most recommended add-on aircraft for flight simulator. You’ll recognize the name of these aircraft when we get there. Some of which you may have flown or do fly in real life.
This should be a super exciting episode. I’m particularly excited about this topic on Human Factors, as it’s something I believe a whole lot in.
5 Dangerous Pilot Attitudes
When I originally started AviatorCast, I considered including an entire, dedicated section only on Human Factors. As I further evaluated the structure of the program, I realized that it was best integrated right within the Flight Training segment.
The reason being is I believe the two are inseparable.
Let me pause here before we get started and define human factors, as it pertains to pilots, in my own, candid words:
Human factors relates to the human condition. It is the study of things like how stress in our normal-every day lives, distractions in the cockpit, physiological issues like disorientation caused by the inner ears, decision making, emotions, on and on, you get the point, and how that affects flight. Anything that has to do with us as HUMANS, and the problems WE bring into the cockpit.
That’s human factors in a very small nutshell.
We will be discussing 5 Dangerous Pilot Attitudes
My Recommended Aircraft Addons
Last episode of AviatorCast I shared with you my recommended addons for the perfect simulator environment. That was an important episode! If you haven’t listened to it, go ahead and go back after this episode and give it a whirl.
Now that you have your simulator all setup, looking nice and pretty, the idea being that the world around you looks absolutely stellar, it’s time to match your aircraft with that quality.
I’ve made a small list of the best aircraft addons I can think of off the top of my head. These are the best that stand out in my mind, and aircraft that I use. Several of them I haven’t tried for myself, but I can vouche for their quality and usefulness.
Keep in mind that as I go through this list, these are but a small number of what’s available out there. That said, let me be totally honest, there’s a lot of CRAP out there. Many addons are halfway done, and not completed as they should be. Some are simply eye candy.
You may be looking to get into simulators, and don’t hear the aircraft you want to fly. Go ahead and go to AviatorCast.com, comment on this episode, and ask me if that aircraft you want to fly in a simulator is available. I’ll give you a recommendation about that model. Chances are, it’s modeled.
As I go through this list, you’re going to notice I miss some addons. There are many quality addons that I won’t list here, and also many crap addons I won’t list here. Again, head over to to the episode post at AviatorCast.com and we can take the discussion further.
If you want links to the aircraft, see the links below.
“5 Dangerous Pilot Attitudes” Useful Links
“My Recommended Aircraft Addons” Useful Links
- Carenado – Cessna 152 II FSX
- Carenado – Cessna CT182T Skylane G1000 HD Series FSX/P3D
- Carenado – Cessna CT206H Stationair HD Series FSX/P3D
- Carenado – Cessna C208B Grand Caravan HD Series FSX/P3D
- Carenado – Beechcraft F33A Bonanza FSX
- Carenado – Beechcraft Bonanza A36 for FSX/P3D
- Carenado – Beechcraft C90B King Air HD Series FSX/P3D
- Carenado – Beechcraft B1900D HD Series FSX/P3D
Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.
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Transcript[transcript] This is AviatorCast episode 5! Alright, buddy buddy!
Calling all aviators, pilots and aviation lovers, welcome to AviatorCast, where we close the gap between real aviation and flight simulation. Climb aboard, buckle up and prepare for takeoff! Here’s your host, Chris Palmer.
Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators. You’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. I consider myself a passionate aviator, a proponent of safe flying, an avid flight sim enthusiast, and a believer that flight training in general can be much more immersive and meaningful than we are now seeing.
I’m the founder and owner of Angle of Attack, a flight simulation training company which is bringing you this podcast today. AviatorCast is a weekly podcast where we talk about the spirit of the aviator. We believe flying is an art form, one that we have to continually practice and master. This mastery is gained through a focus on continual learning, human factors, humility, and a commitment to excellence.
Each episode of AviatorCast will have a real flight training and a flight simulation topic. Our desire and mission is not only to create awesome aviators, but also bridge the gap between real aviation and flight simulation. Show notes, transcript and links for this episode can be found by simply going to aviatorcast.com. You can also go there and comment on the show where I reply to every singly comment.
So thank you for being here. It’s hard to believe that we’re already in episode 5 of AviatorCast. I’ve been getting great feedback not only through iTunes but also on aviatorcast.com where people comment on these episodes. I got one from kpbimitch on iTunes and I want to share that one with you. It says “Kudos to Chris and his passionate crew of aviators for putting out this podcast. It is well-produced, super informative and extremely listenable. What a treat to be getting so much useful information and insight from a guy who obviously breaths and lives aviation. I look forward to each and every episode of this podcast and very much appreciate the time and effort that goes into making it and getting it out to fellow aviation enthusiasts like myself. Well done,” he says. So thank you Mitch. I really appreciate that, and if you guys want to leave a review, you can do too in iTunes, but if you haven’t listened to the show before, wait until after the show, I want an honest review on there. I don’t want you to just go there. Let me talk about something useful first before we go and do that.
So before I get into today’s segment, I want to say a few things that are off-topic but have been on my mind. So over the last several weeks since starting this podcast, I find myself in this aviation learning frenzy. I had filled up my Kindle library full of books, I subscribed to blogs, watched videos and overall just totally immersed myself in a lot of great, great information. So with all that said, it’s important for me to mention just how grateful and humbled I am to be part of this aviation community. I know there are so many great aviators out there just as passionate as I am, so many great teachers, so many people that have such wisdom in aviation and to be considered even amongst a lot of you folks listening to this program is just really special to me, so I really appreciate that and I really appreciate and thank you for your contributions to this aviation community. This community would not be the same without you so thank you.
Alright, so let’s talk about what we’re going to have in today’s episode of AviatorCast. Flying isn’t just about knowledge or how to control the aircraft. Being a safe pilot is largely a matter of how you act and the thought processes you have as it is a matter of knowledge and skill. Today, we’re going to just scratch the surface on that subject of that decision-making process and that safety process and talk about five dangerous attitudes that we as aviators can develop or at least bring into our aviation lives. They may be things that were outside or already characteristics about us that we then brought into the cockpit.
After we’re done with that discussion, I’ll give you my most recommended add-on aircraft for flight simulator. You’ll recognize the names of these aircraft when we get there, some of which you may flown in real life as well or you’re already familiar with the simulation version. This should be a super-exciting episode. I’m particularly excited about this topic on human factors and it’s something I believe a whole lot and I’m really passionate about human factors and I’ll share a little bit more with you as to why, so let’s get right into it.
And now, the flight training segment…
When I originally started AviatorCast, I considered including an entire dedication section only to human factors. As I further evaluated the structure of the program however, I realized that it was best integrated right within the flight training segment which is where we are now. The reason being is I believe these two are inseparable. Let me pause here before we get started and define human factors as it pertains to pilots in my own candid words if you will.
Human factors relates to the human condition. It is the study of things like how stress in our normal everyday lives, distractions in the cockpit, physiological issues like disorientation caused by the inner ears, decision-making, emotions, on and on, you get the point, and how that affects flight. So that’s what human factor is in the cockpit. Anything that has to do with us as humans if you will, and the problems we bring into the cockpit. That’s human factors in a very small nutshell.
So that brings us to story time. This is my story of how I got started and why human factors have been so integral in my pilot training, especially my initial training. Let’s go back to when I was a wee-lad, not even out of high school yet. In fact, it was my last year of high school. The year prior I had finally realized, as I’m sure many of you did, that what I wanted to do was this aviation thing. This was naturally the time when there was mounting pressure on every teenager in my class to choose a career path. At that time, my sites were set on becoming a pilot. This really excited me and lit a fire under my butt if you will as I’m sure you’ve heard said.
I was lucky enough to become part of a program where they actually had some foresight into pilot training. I don’t know who came up with this in this program but whoever did, they were on top of things. So they knew that training younger kids while they were in high school had major advantages to aviation safety. Further and beyond that, when I enrolled in this program my senior year of high school, they also had me concurrently enrolled in a human factors course. Essentially, we’d alternate. We’d do one day of private pilot ground school and then one day of human factors, back and forth. When I was starting out in this training, so moldable at this age and those initial phases especially I wasn’t only learning about the whats, whys and hows of flight, but I was also learning the attitudes and shortcomings that I would forever have as a pilot simply because of my human condition.
This I feel has really stuck with me all these years and has continued to pay of time and time again. It’s just one of those things that I continually think about, “What’s the human condition in this situation? What are the decisions I should be making? How can I be a safer pilot?” Now, human factors is a broad subject that covers everything from cockpit resource management, CRM or crew resource management, also the same acronym, to hypoxia, aeronautical decision-making, automation management, single pilot resource management and so on and so much more. There’s a lot that falls under the human factors umbrella. It’s a subject that we are also learning a whole lot about as we tried desperately to improve safety broadly in aviation. We are always trying to find better ways of improving how we interact with these machines and to be safer pilots because we want more of us to be around.
At the end of the day, flying is risky and there is quite a high mortality rate regardless of what people tell you. I’ve spoken before about this but my feelings on what distinguishes a pilot versus an aviator is largely due to my outlook on how tightly integrate human factors are and the mindset and overall prowess of pilot or aviator. So in my eyes, an aviator is someone that has gone far beyond just getting a rating if you will. Here, she is someone that focuses greatly on mindset and self-improvement along with all of the intellectual and academic requirements also. Those things are important, but just someone that has that desire to improve their mindset. An aviator to me is a thinker, a problem-solver, a questioner. An aviator is curious, creative, disciplined and even cautious. I could go on and on. There are a lot of adjectives that explain what an aviator is to me.
But I must reiterate, an aviator to me is not a pilot. A pilot is someone who gets the rating or flight experience and moves on. An aviator pauses for reflection, perfection and takes the time to become confident and confident in those skills, so someone that just go beyond what’s required of them. I feel those factors differentiate aviators from pilots in a really big way.
So let me pause here to actually ask you. Are you a pilot or are you an aviator? Are you doing all of these just for a rating, just to move on to the next thing, or do you want to be absolutely awesome at what you are doing in the cockpit and make an impact in the cockpits you command. It’s something were thinking about, which party you fall into. Are you a pilot or are you an aviator?
Back to human factors. For me, part of human factors starts with some major attitudes that I’d like to talk about today in this particular episode. This is just scratching the surface. These are things that we can use to evaluate ourselves continually throughout our flight careers, always asking if we’re on the right path toward internet safety. Now, these are only a mere part of human factors as I mentioned, and just a taster of what I hope to discuss with you over the indefinite duration of AviatorCast. I wanted to at least teach something on today’s episode that was tangible and something that you can walk away with and there is so much more that we will share again in the future. This is just one of those subjects that I really love.
I am increasingly and incredibly passionate about the role that human factors have in making a solid aviator. I believe our aviation forefathers were largely aware of a lot of these vulnerabilities that I’ll talk about here soon because all they had to rely on was themselves, so I think they were very self-aware. As we evaluate our attitudes and actions in interacting with our cockpits, aircraft, decision-making skills, etc., let us continually ask ourselves if we fall into one of the five attitude categories.
These five attitudes are: Anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho, and resignation. I want to focus on each one of these individually to shed better light on how we as aviators can be more in control of ourselves. Keep in mind that the largest cause of aviation accidents is said to be in the ballpark of 85% is pilot error. In other words, you and I are our biggest danger. That simple. Just plain and simple, we are the biggest danger to the aircraft. Alright, let’s focus on each one of these pilot attitudes now.
First, anti-authority. This one says “No one is the boss of me. I can do what I want.” So how many of us have looked at one of the FAA rules and said to ourselves, “Ha! That a silly rule. Really? Are you serious? I don’t think I’ll follow that one.” To be completely honest, maybe there are some rules that are outdated and perhaps unnecessary. This attitude however is a slippery slope. The lines between what is appropriate regulation and what isn’t is quickly blurred when you have the anti-authority attitude. It’s a big sky out there, so you’ll spend a majority of your flight time in the cockpit totally alone with no one to actually catch you if you want to go out and break these rules.
The truth is, it’s actually not up to us aviators to interpret the rules. Part of our job is to obey regulations in our arena if you will. Why is that the case? If we all comply, then we have a greater chance of all working within a system of predictable outcomes. We are of course the pilot and commander of our aircraft and ultimately responsible for the safety of those onboard our aircraft including ourselves, don’t forget about yourself. However, we are not the authority of all. We are not alone in the skies. We are not the all-knowing part.
Imagine this scenario if you will. Imagine if you are in a traffic pattern full of people that don’t abide by the rules of a traffic pattern. Imagine if there is no right of way rule along with that. People would be getting cut off at the airport that was completely patternless, dive-bombing in front of someone [inaudible-00:15:23] move, and just the small and small and simple example, just one little anecdote of aviation knowledge. You see that these rules make a lot of sense in keeping us separated and keeping us safe in the skies and really, the vast majority of all regulations actually does make a lot of sense. These regulations were born out of issues that came up as people were flying around. They may not make sense at first but if you’re really curious about a specific rule, you can find more about it if you want to.
There are other examples like weight and balance, airspace rules, preflight requirements, currency requirements, medical requirements. The list goes on and on. There’s a lot of things that are just rules. Things that we probably would never get caught doing, we wouldn’t get caught breaking these rules, but the point here is that these rules are here for a reason. We as aviators are meant to interpret them. As I said before, we are meant to follow them.
If you find you have an attitude of anti-authority, you may want to consider the following in adjusting your attitude. First, better understand the rules so you can follow them or adjust your mention if they are too inconvenient, all legally of course. If something is just too inconvenient and you have to go out of your way to adjust your course, do that. If you want to get around it, get around it but do so legally. Second, resist the temptation to break a rule because it means more convenience for yourself. Again, you can be creative, kind of like as I mentioned in the first one, but no breaking rules.
Third, especially pay attention to get-their-itis. Don’t break rules just to get somewhere. Fourth, if you are unable to do something without breaking a rule or regulation, you probably shouldn’t be doing it anyway. What a big shocker but that’s probably true. Ignoring the rules can mean getting your license taken away. Worse, it can mean the difference between safely getting yourself and your passenger somewhere and causing someone harm. There is no five over the speed limit here, that little buffer where you probably wouldn’t get a ticket even if you got pulled over. It’s either all or nothing when it comes to aviation. Otherwise, you get on these slippery slope that you have, that you’ll just be questioning every single rule and nothing would have real authority.
So that’s anti-authority, our first attitude. The second attitude is impulsivity. This one says I need to make a decision now. Now, this shouldn’t be confused with making great decisions quickly. I think there’s a large difference. In my mind, impulsivity is often the simple act of doing the first thing that comes to mind. Rather than evaluating a situation and the different possible outcomes based on different courses of action, one would simply say “Alright, there’s an option, let’s do that,” and they just go with it, not really thinking the whole thing through.
Think of it this way, just as kind of a little scenario I build out for you guys. You notice that your fuel figures are slightly different than planned and you’re burning more fuel than you had initially intended, meaning you’re running out of fuel. You have less fuel than you planned. Your rout was already stretching the capabilities of your aircraft so you really didn’t have any wiggle room anyway, and at some point, someone with impulsivity would simply say, “That’s okay. I’ll just go on. I have reserve fuel anyway,” whatever, not really taking into account the considerations. Or they would simply say “Alright, there is an alternate airport, I’ll go there.”
The first decision is obviously not the best decision because other courses were not considered at all. Not only that, you’re breaking into your reserve fuel and that’s actually a regulation, and not only that, reserve fuel is smart. It’s very smart. The second decision isn’t necessarily the best decision either even though you are going to an alternate, although it is potentially a slightly better decision in most cases. The problem with impulsivity is it simply cuts off the decision-making process before the variables can be evaluated. In this particular case, it doesn’t take into account that the reserve fuel may already be gone by the time you get to the airport, meaning you have zero fuel left and you don’t want to be pushing zero fuel right where you’re going. That’s the reason the fuel is there just in case something goes wrong at that destination airport. You wouldn’t want to be running on fumes and you’d be completely out of options after that.
Now, with the alternate just as a snap decision, is that airport even open? Does it have fuel? If it does have fuel, is it outside operating hours or is it self-served fuel? Is it currently IFR or VFR? Can you even get into that airport? You see, there are so many variables to consider just a lot of things that can change. You want to be seeking for that decision-making process, not cutting it off with impulsivity.
If you find you have an attitude of impulsivity, you may want to consider the following in adjusting your attitude. First is just slow down, that simple. I don’t mean slow the airplane down. Slow your thought process down. Allow yourself to think, evaluate, plan and consider. Now, unless you’re in imminent danger which calls for your instant action, take some time to evaluate your different options and think them through.
Second, this one is simple. When in doubt, especially on the ground, just stop what you are doing and don’t move until you are ready. Now, in the air, it’s obviously a bit different. That’s the slowdown that I mentioned before. This is the stop method. There is a famous aviation saying that goes like this “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.” Just remember that. That’s something to consider.
Third, consider more methods than is originally apparent. Give yourself some options. Consider something different. Get creative, be thorough and safe and just find different options. You’re not going to have, at least not most of the time, one or two options. Think things through. Fourth, allow your plan of action once decided to be adjustable. Plans and details can change so remain changeable. Your decision should not be rigid. You shouldn’t make a decision and absolutely stick to that decision no matter what. You want to be able to adjust to the changing conditions.
Again, don’t get me wrong. I think that you can make great decisions quickly. I’d rather you’d go through the thought process of evaluating different courses of action and questioning the course of action that you choose. You don’t only want to choose that course of action but you want to continually question yourself. But the more you relieve yourself of those concerns and the questions that come to your mind about the different courses of action you’ll have, the more clear to you it will become on what the particular and best course of action is. You want to just eliminate the things that aren’t going to work for your situation in other words.
Again, these can all be done really quickly but it doesn’t need to be done impulsively. That’s impulsivity. Now, on to invulnerability. This one says “I’m unstoppable. It won’t happen to me.” I believe this is the most common form of attitude there is. We all have a little bit of it. In fact, we all have a little bit of all of these attitudes. Having some of it is healthy but too much obviously becomes an issue. You’ve see it time again, time and time again. We humans just don’t think it will happen to us. We don’t consider that will become part of some statistic.
We go through our lives from time to time or rather from the time that we were babies, through our teen years, through adulthood, in relative safety, it’s actually hard to believe that we survive like we do with all the close calls that we have. You know during that time we have, like I said, some close calls, some major scares and situations that we consider to be near-death or eye-openers. Because most of these situations happen on terra firma, we find ourselves with this self-confidence that “Yes, this is dangerous but it will be okay.” This is where aviation can really get us. Up there, things are relatively final, so when we’re in the air, it’s all said and done in a sense. We can’t pull over on the side of the road if we neglect changing the oil to the point that the engine seizes. No. We’ll have to glide and land almost always in a place we don’t want to land, almost always in a dangerous area.
I just think back to when I was a pilot and almost everywhere I flew was a mountainous terrain, or rather when I flew in Utah. Almost everything down there is mountainous terrain. We’re crossing the Rockies continually and if we are forced to land, we would be in, except for some situation, we’d be toast.
There’s enough risk already involved in aviation where we need to deal with those things when we’re doing everything right. There are enough risks that we just need to deal with them already. We don’t need to add more unnecessary risks. We don’t need to be our own worst enemy and bring on ever more precarious situations on ourselves. I can tell you unequivocally one fact. This might surprise you so brace yourselves. We will all die and you will die too, just so you know. You will die too. It’s better to die old with a full life and a couple logbooks, just chockfull of experiences that you’ve had. Meaning by that, that you’ve had a lot of fun flying.
There’s another saying out there that goes like this “There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots.” Very true. That’s definitely the perfect, perfect quote for someone with invulnerability. Truth is, you won’t last that long if you have this attitude that you can do absolutely anything. You and I are incredibly vulnerable, much more than we think. Up there in the air, there are a whole, new, separate book of rules. This book is far less forgiving than what we’ve been accustomed to here on the ground.
If you find you have an attitude of invulnerability, you may want to consider the following in adjusting your attitude. First is check your at the door. I understand you may be a successful businessman, a doctor, you have a lot of credentials, you are a big, important guy, you are kind of a big deal, so on and so forth, maybe not, maybe just a regular, old student pilot but you must check your ego at the door. You aren’t the big guy up there in the air. You are the small guy. Mother Nature nor Murphy nor Darwin cares about your status or who you are. You are just another person up there and therefore vulnerable.
Second, familiarize yourself with the mortality rate of general aviation pilots. It’s not as good as you may thing. There are some sayings out there or statistics rather that you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do dying in an aviation accident, or more people get killed by donkeys than they do in airplanes each year. Statistically, sure, they’re probably through but they’re including all of the travelers on commuter flights as well.
Yes, if you fly on airlines all the time, sure, super safe. Airlines have that quality about them because of how much they put into their safety and their aircraft and their crew training and all that. Totally different story for general aviation. We’re a bunch of guys that are cruising around with a lot of risks involved. I’m not saying that we’re doing so stupidly or that we’re idiots. I’m just saying that there is a lot more risks especially when you consider that a lot of the aircrafts we fly are single engine. I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a safe flying career so far but all of you probably know of someone or some incident that has happened in your local area which is unfortunate. We are all aware that this is a dangerous thing that we are doing.
Third, keep up to date with the latest aviation accidents. Searching the NTSB incident accident database on a regular basis can show you just how many accidents there are each week. Maybe even set-up a Google alert for something like aircraft accident. It may surprise you just how much there is. Generally what I found is that there’s a lot of accidents that A.) Aren’t reported on the news, so they’re just things that aviation professionals know about, the NTSB, things like that. Then those that do get reported on the news are generally local news and not national news. It’s very rare that you’ll see news about some small airplane accident across the country. You’ll be surprised just how often these accidents happen.
Last, commit yourself to greater aviation safety and better decision-making. This is a big one. This means admitting that you have a problem with invulnerability. You have to identify it first obviously, and committing yourself to overcoming it and studying to give yourself more info on the subject. That’s a hard one too because people, they’re generally invulnerable, don’t realize it. Just be aware of this one and ask yourself honestly about whether or not you are, or rather have an attitude of invulnerability.
Wrapping this one up again, this is the most common one I believe. It’s hard to overcome but it’s certainly doable and the truth is, we are not superheroes. We can’t do it all and we are quite vulnerable. You need to plan on doing things the hard way. Things are not going to be easy. That’s I think kind of where invulnerability comes in too, it’s when we are rushed and wanting to get to the next step, wanting to take a shortcut. That’s not what this is about and we need to be willing to do the hard things, make the hard decisions to keep ourselves safe because we know that are vulnerable. So that is invulnerability.
Macho. Macho, macho man. This is number four I believe. This one says “I can do it. I’m tough.” I find macho to be quite closely related actually to invulnerability. I think the two are very closely related. It’s hard for me to think of a situation where someone can rather be macho and not have more characteristics listed like invulnerability or anti-authority. In other words, I think it’s common for someone to be both macho and have a feeling of invulnerability. Speaking to macho specifically though, this is more of a showoff part of being invulnerable. Many infamous pilots’ last words were “Look what I can do.” Right? Showing off.
I watched this video a few days ago and it said, I don’t know, something, beer pilot or something like that. Anyway, it showed a high-wing Cessna single engine. I’m not sure exactly what it was. It looked like a 206 but by the angle you couldn’t really tell. It was dark and kind of a quick thing. Anyway, this guy runs out in this field and you see this airplane coming up. You only see its lights and then it bangs right over the guy’s head and the guy’s body essentially passes between the wheel and the tip of the wing, and the guy that was flying had a pretty good bank there, I would say 20 to 40 degrees if not more, and his wing tip was just less than five feet away from the ground, just buzzing right over this guy. Totally showing off. One of the most dangerous videos I’ve ever seen caught on tape. Something that was obviously purposeful. This isn’t just guys like pushing forward and feeling like they’re invulnerable. This is someone actually showing off.
I get it. We’re all cool. We say “We’re a pilot,” and family and friends we’re like “Oh cool. Yeah. He’s a pilot. That’s pretty awesome.” We’ve all had a time where we puffed out our chest a little bit knowing that we’re capable of doing something that not everyone else can do. Hey, flying is really cool. I totally agree. It doesn’t make me much cooler, right? Then there are those times where we have this urge to do something dangerous and showy in an attempt to prove to others just how awesome we are. Rarely if ever are these things are smart or safe. If you’re wanting to show off, probably not a good idea. Granted, you can do some great things like wave your wings. That’s a great gesture when you’re saying bye to somebody after you visited them. If you’re a trained acrobatic pilot, sure. You have a pocketful of tricks that is much larger than us normal guys that just have the basic tickets. But even then, I can get people into trouble. If you’re out there doing rolls, loops or other acrobatic maneuvers, you may be someone who has a macho mentality. That’s just my view on it.
I’ve had these urges before I just wanted to do a barrel roll and even though that sounds simple, I am not properly trained to do that and although the aircraft I had was capable of doing that, it was a Bonanza. No, the Bonanza is capable of doing a barrel or totally capable. Easy peasy, right? I can even imagine what the procedures, not necessarily the procedures, the maneuvers like, but I myself have never done that before and so it’s just something I stayed away from and didn’t want to do. I don’t think that’s a wise thing to do.
I guess that’s just a little bit of me admitting that I’ve had those thoughts and feelings too where I’ve wanted to show off a little bit. It wasn’t even so much to show off. It’s more like show off to myself because I wasn’t planning on actually having anyone there when I did such a thing, and although I flew a lot of solo hours, I never actually did this. Some of you would call me a wuss. If you’re calling me a wuss for not doing a barrel roll, you might have a macho attitude. Anyway, let’s move on from that one. If you find that you have an attitude of macho, you may want to consider the following in adjusting your attitude. First, there are a lot of pilots out there. Unfortunately, you are not that unique. So hey, I think you’re cool, but there are better, more talented aviators than you out there. Just think of the guys doing landings on an aircraft carrier at night with a pitching deck, almost totally blind. So unless you are a navy pilot, and I’ll be completely honest, navy pilots are BA. These guys are awesome. The rest of us, probably not that cool even though a lot of you are cool. I understand you’re cool.
Anyway, a lot of what we do as general aviation pilots or careerist pilots, it’s just not that impressive and that’s not our MO. What I think is impressive just on the flipside of that, is when your family and friends see how in-command you are of your aircraft, and when they see your decision-making skills and see how smoothly you fly and so on. Now, I think that is impressive and I think it goes a long way and people really notice it and they feel comfortable with it. They feel comfortable being with you and doing that, and you can share in your joy in aviation more rather than going out and doing stunts with them.
Next, and kind of last point on macho is, honestly for me, macho attitudes are a big turnoff. When I see pilots puffing out their chest and bragging about their skills, it’s a major sign to me that I should not be flying with that person. It’s just not the kind of attitude that breaths the humility that I like to see in pilots. I just like to see someone that is continually trying to learn, doesn’t think they’re really hot stuff, and someone that’s willing to be there and be part of a crew and do things safely. Otherwise, I feel like they’re just on the verge of just making a poor decision. To finish up macho, just be aware of your attitude on this one. It’s a pretty simple one to recognize. You’ll know right away. One of the most simple ones to recognize I think, and that’s macho.
The last one we’re going to go over is resignation. This one simply says “I give up.” Now I find this one to be pretty wild but it does of course happen. Here’s another scenario for you. A VFR pilot has just flown into the clouds, meaning he doesn’t have any IFR training. He has a little IFR experience from his original training, maybe five hours of hood time, but that was years ago. He quickly finds that he is out of control and getting all sorts of different lies from his head telling him that he’s upside down or turning hard left when in reality, he can see even via the instruments, that he is turning hard right, and everything is just conflicting each other and he’s just so confused and it’s so exhausting and it just goes on and on and on and he fights and fights and fights and minutes turn into a half-hour and then an hour. Drenched in sweat, mentally exhausted, emotionally drained. He just can’t fight anymore. He’d been fighting it so long, and so he’s done. He’s tried it all. This is when he gives up and simply lets go of the controls.
That may sound crazy to you. It certainly does to me and it really surprised me when I initially learned this, but it’s actually reality and something that does happen. Maybe not this exact same scenario but similar things we as pilots do to simply give up. Now, this is an extreme situation. I think for us in regular, everyday flying, I think we need to watch out for the beginning signs of giving up as that leads to much more serious decisions. I think it’s rare that we get in this life and death situation where we’re facing with giving up or holding on. It’s in the little things that we cannot give up. That’s where we need to make our decisions to not give up.
We need to be willing to do the hard work to get out of the situations that we may get in which the vast majority of the time, they’re going to be pretty minor assuming that you do have the qualifications to be in those sort of conditions. VFR pilots flying into IMC is a big killer and continuous to be and it’s pretty surprising that it just keeps happening.
Moving on from that, like I said, it’s just small stuff. For us and for most of us, you kind of understand the big sight of that, the major events I think where you could resign yourself, give up, but for us, let’s focus on the small things. I think that’s where we can make the biggest difference in breaking that domino effect and making sure that we’re not just giving up on the small stuff.
Anyway, if you find you have an attitude of resignation, you may want to consider the following in adjusting your attitude. First, know that there is always someone there to help. Heck, even if ATC isn’t there, pray to God if you have to. There’s always someone there. There is almost always a way to get out of the decision that you’re in. Think of the countless guys that have had engine failures after takeoff only to successfully land the aircraft within a number of seconds off-field, so it can be done. You can get out of really difficult decisions. Third, assuming that you’re available, seek the guidance of ATC or get on the radio on 121.5 if you don’t know a frequency quickly, and just try to get some help right away. Especially on 121.5, there are a lot of people there to help.
One thing I like is even on the VFR and just doing a VFR flight plan right across country, I like to be on flight following. I like to be on a frequency all the time. I think that’s comforting and it’s also wise to always have someone that you are in communication with.
Fourth, do things to reduce your workload and bring yourself back to the basics. Remember, the most important things you need to do in this order are, and this goes to the basics of flying, aviate, navigate, communicate, and that means that you obviously fly the airplane first and then you decided where to go and then you communicate with ATC. These steps could one day save your life as obvious as they may seem, so it’s one of those things you revert back to. Aviate, navigate, communicate.
Fifth and last for resignation, revert back to your training. Search your mind and think of a way out. Assuming you have the time to do so, you may ping an old memory that would give you a greater chance. Now, I think a lot of this one has to do with just settling down, don’t panic and think things through, and focus, and try to find those old memories from your training. Something might come up.
In conclusion on resignation, I realized that there have been extreme circumstances where so many things go wrong but it’s just almost unimaginable. Think of Flight 232. This is an infamous one that you’ll remember. It’s the Sioux City accident. These guys lost all control of the aircraft from complete hydraulic failure and managed to fly using just their engines. This was the United Airlines DC10, lost complete hydraulic power, and these guys flew the airplane. They found a way to fly the airplane. They didn’t resign against all odds and although they had technically a crash landing, it was amazing that these were able to fly just using engines to a point where they could even land. I’m not sure of the percentage but I would say over half of the people on board survived, so over 100 passengers, and although a lot people died which is really unfortunate, it’s just amazing that these guys did not give up against all odds.
Obviously, there are many other accidents where the pilots fought valiantly to overcome their circumstances and didn’t give up, yet still met their eventual fate, and these are mostly situations where there is catastrophic, mechanical failure or in-flight fire or something like that where the pilots really didn’t have control over the situation and it wasn’t their decision in the first place yet they didn’t resign. I realize that there are these extreme circumstances where it’s almost unimaginable. How can we imagine even being in a situation like that? And there are lessons to learn from these situations especially when it comes to resignation. We may not always be able to control the outcome of these situations but we should never, certainly never, ever give up.
That is resignation, and in conclusion on this segment, I want to reiterate to everyone that to one degree or another, each of us individually have every single one of these attitudes to the extent we have it or the extent we allow ourselves to have it is key, so we need to recognize to what degree we have each of these attitudes because we have some of each of them. And we must work to counter their negative effects and make our flights safer as a result. I invite you tell me how you feel about these attitudes, their effects, challenges and other possible anecdotes that I failed to mention over at aviatorcast.com. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this subject because there is a lot to share and I’d love to hear your thoughts, so go over to aviatorcast.com and comment there on this episode, episode five.
And now, the flight simulation segment…
On the last segment of AviatorCast, I shared with you my recommended add-ons for the perfect simulator environment. That was an important episode so if you haven’t listened to it, go ahead and go back after you’re done with this particular episode and give it a whirl. Now, once you’ve set your simulator. It’s looking nice and pretty, the idea being that the world around you likes absolutely stellar, it’s time to make your aircraft or match your aircraft rather with that quality. So you have a quality world in which to fly in now that looks absolutely realistic and now you need the aircraft.
I made a small list of the best aircraft add-ons I can think of off the top of my head. So these are the best that stands out to me in my mind, and aircraft that I use. Several of them, I haven’t tried myself but I can vouch for their quality and usefulness, so I know I’m contradicting myself. I just said that they are aircraft I use, just a couple of them aren’t. If there’s one that I actually haven’t used, these are aircraft that are absolutely quality. I know they are generally because I’ve already had so much experience with that particular software developer so I already know that it’s going to be great. It’s like, for me, I’m an Apple geek. I know that every time I get an iPhone, it’s going to be a great iPhone unless you bought the iPhone Color. I have zero idea why that was even a smart idea. Anyway, moving on. That’s a completely different subject.
Keep in mind that as I go through these lists, these are but a small number of what’s available out there. That said, let me be totally honest and say there is a lot of crap out there on the market. Many add-ons are halfway done and not completely done as they should be and just, I don’t know, it blows my mind. Anyway, some of them are also simply eye-candy. You may be looking to get in the simulators. These are going to be great aircraft for you if you’re looking to do that. If you don’t hear the aircraft that you want to fly, go ahead and go to aviatorcast.com and comment on this episode and ask me if that particular aircraft that you have in mind that you want to fly in a simulator is available, and I’ll give you a recommendation about that model. Chances are that it’s modeled and when I do give you that recommendation, I’ll let you know what you can expect as far as quality.
Again, as I go through this list, you’re going to notice that I missed some add-ons. There are many quality add-ons out there that I won’t list here. I just want you to know that, so please don’t wig out on me if I don’t list them here. But there’s also a lot of crap add-ons, excuse for the French, a lot of crap add-ons that I’m not going to list here. AviatorCast is usually G, today it’s PG, so sorry about that. Again, head over to this episode post, episode five, aviatorcast.com and we can take this discussion further there.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to build up from general aviation and go out through the airliners and kind of do it in that order now. Once we get toward the middle, it’s going to be a little bit different where we’re going to be mixing in the Turboprops here in there, but generally, this is from small airplanes all the way up. These are just very candid thoughts on what’s out there on the market and what the companies that provide these particular aircraft, what their specialties are, how well they do, things like that.
That brings us to the first and the smallest and an aircraft that I really love and this is the Piper Cub. The Piper Cub is just a really special aircraft. This is one of those that it’s so elemental. It’s so connected to flying in so many simple ways that I just love the Piper Cub. It’s one of those aircraft that I think for all of us, just says “This is the golden era of flying right here.” A company called A2A, not to be confused with AOA, but A2A, they make a great and fantastic Piper Cub. Now, I’m also going to mention another aircraft that these guys make next and I’ll tell you what that is. It’s a little surprise.
But A2A. They do things differently. They really like to make things realistic. Flight simulator, right out of the box. It doesn’t necessarily fly like the real thing. If you’re a pilot, a rate pilot especially with a lot of experience, you’re going to notice that right out of the box, Microsoft Flight Simulator does not fly, the aircraft did not fly like the right thing. The great thing about A2A and one thing I think they do really well is they come in and they model these aircrafts to fly realistically, and they have realistic stall characteristics and realistic slow flight characteristics, and the aircraft just control much better.
Not only that. They go into a lot of detail outside of that, even with cosmetic details, that a lot of other companies won’t get into. For example, with this particular Piper Cub, if you run this Cub into the ground and you have too much of a nose-down attitude and you start scraping your propeller on the ground or hitting your propeller on the ground, you’ll actually bust your propeller and then you won’t be able to actually fix that until you go into the in-simulator program and reset that thing. You also have degrading oil life and if you run the engine on its highest power setting for too long and then you’ll degrade the engine. Things that are realistic that as pilots we think about. Even if you’re just a flight simmer, definitely A2A builds in a lot more realistic little bits and pieces to their simulation that are usually forgotten when people do simulations of aircraft but these guys don’t forget and they do really a good job.
Now, before I can forget because there is a good chance that I would forget, I have a pilot memory, it’s only as good as the last radio call, I want to mention before I get to the next A2A aircraft, is that these guys do a lot of really quality old airplanes, so World War 2 era airplanes like The Mustang. I believe they did a Spitfire. They did the Straddle Cruiser if I’m not mistaken. They did the B17. You cannot forget about the B17. They do a lot of great, old aircraft like that and they do it to this level that they did the Piper Cub, so those have all those realistic aspects to them as well and a lot of wonderful cool details.
So, now that I got that out of the way and I won’t forget, moving on, the next one, this is the big one. It’s a recent thing with A2A, that is the A2A-172. That may sound basic and boring and dumb, but this aircraft is modeled really well. One of the coolest things about this thing is that for the first time, you can go around the aircraft and do a realistic preflight of all the control surfaces. You can look at the breaks. You can look at the oil levels. You can check the engine. Generally, if you ever did that in a simulator before, it was kind of just make-believe. You’ll just be walking around but this one, you actually go in there and you can grab the flaps for example and wiggle them, make sure that works and you can check the cutter pins and the control surfaces and all sorts of cool stuff. It takes the realism to a completely different level, and on top of that, you get all of those flight characteristics that these guys have worn over the years, and it’s built into this nice, nice simulation. That’s the 172.
If you’re just starting out, especially if you’re a student pilot and you’re looking for an aircraft to use realistically for the simulator, I would say absolutely, get the 172 from A2A. Fantastic, fantastic add-on. Kind of in the same line, I’m going to move to a different company and they also make quality aircraft to the extent, not necessarily to the extent that A2A goes into realistic simulation of the flight characteristics and things but these guys make incredible aircraft. They do a fantastic job. I’m a big believer in what they do and their name is Carenado. I have no idea what that means. I’m guessing it means something in similar language. Anyway, Carenado, a fantastic company.
I have a list here that I just want to kind of spout off. I may stop on a couple of them. But before I go that direction, I want to mention that Carenado and a lot of these add-ons, especially Carenado though, they integrate with some good add-on avionics packages which are sold separately called Reality XP. These guys make fantastic GPS units that are exactly like the real thing. Anything you can do and say a 530 or a 430, they don’t have some of the newer GPS units out there like the touchscreen ones, at least not yet, I really do hope they come out with them, but they have very realistic 430 and 530s with WAAS as well. Then they have your basic 6 that you can use from them. They have a really high quality HSI. Really good stuff. When you’re thinking about Carenado and these aircrafts, I just want to mention that Reality XP does build on top of what they do really well.
The first aircraft I want to mention here is the 152. This one is near and dear to my heart because I flew it when I did my initial training and basically right before my old flight school, I ended up buying new Diamond aircraft with G1000 so I got to learn in the old school stuff, the 152. Great little airplane. That’s available from these guys. They have a long, long list of airplanes. I’m only mentioning a few here. You can see a lot more on their website and I’ll give you guys that link in the show notes.
Another one, this is a newer one, is the 182 Turbo with the G1000. These guys are getting into the glass cockpit stuff more recently, and this is just a beautiful new airplane. I’ve had a lot of time with the G1000. I’m a big believer in class which is kind of odd because I’ve talked so much about this aviator mentality and how I believe in how these guys did it old school, but I just think that if we use glass technology to our advantage, then we can have so much more time to focus on making those critical decisions that are so involved in, things like human factors if you will. The 182-Turbo with G1000. That’s pretty new. We’ve used the 2006 Stationair in our training before. That’s such a popular, popular airplane in the real world. I actually live in Alaska and it’s just a popular up there. You see it everywhere.
The 208 Caravan, really interesting airplane also. One that’s kind of cool and unique. I believe they call this one the Cargo Master if I’m not mistaken and this actually has a turbine engine on it, Turboprop single-engine and pretty cool. Pretty cool, unique missions that this aircraft does. Another one is the F33 Bonanza. We’ve used that particular add-on a lot in our AviatorPro training and I used to fly a G36 Bonanza. Bonanzas all kind of fly the same. The speeds and numbers just a little different but their flying characteristics are very, very similar. That’s another great one again, integrates well with Reality XP, especially when you get into the Bonanza stuff where you’re most likely getting into IFR stuff.
Then we get up to the A36 Bonanza which is near and dear to my heart. Beautiful airplane. Again, integrates really well with Reality XP and I just love Bonanzas. Beautiful, beautiful airplanes. They can really pack a punch, go the distance, go fast. Great, great aircraft. You’ll notice that the rest of this list from Carenado is also Beechcraft, so these last four are all Beechcraft.
Next one is the C90B King Air. This is the kind of the miniature King Air, the six-seater. Really cool airplane. Definitely modeled super well by Carenado, looks beautiful, and that’s another one as you are moving from the piston stuff up into the Turboprop stuff. Now, in between there, they also have a Baron as well so don’t forget about the Baron. You’ll have the available. They just have a lot of airplanes. These guys make a lot of general aviation airplanes. I’m forgetting completely anything Piper here. They make a lot of Piper stuff, so there’s that as well.
Anyway, that’s the C90B King Air, and then we get up into the 1900D which is a small commuter airline airplane generally and also Beechcraft. Pretty cool. When I fly into my hometown in Alaska commercially, this is the type of plane I fly and I’m sure you’ve seen flying one at Alaska with Era Alaska, and Era is actually the airline that flies into my hometown. Although they are changing their name now just so you are aware. It’s not going to be Era anymore. It’s going to be Raven, I hear. That was recently announced. Anyway, all of those available from Carenado. These guys have a lot of airplanes. Go check them out, and that’s carenado.com and I also have direct links to all the airplanes I mentioned in the show notes. You can check those out there.
Now, skipping back a little bit to the twin-engine airplanes. There’s another company out there called RealAir. RealAir makes fantastic add-ons. Now, these guys don’t have, I guess a production engine like Carenado does. They don’t spit aircraft out as fast Carenado can. For one reason or another, they’re just not as big of a company, but what they do is awesome when they’re able to release it. They had a version one of the, again we’re back to Beechcraft, the B60 Duke which was absolutely incredible. That came in both piston and turbine versions and they actually have a version two of that now. If you’re looking for a great twin airplane, piston especially, look no further than the B60 Duke. This also integrates super well with Reality XP. Hands down, one of the best, best general aviation add-ons out there. Really, really great airplane and we just love this one. You got to see it to believe it and use it in the simulator to really appreciate it.
We’re moving up. You can see we’re moving up now. We started with the Piper Cub and already we’re at the Beech 1900D and we just talked about the Duke. Now, there’s another airplane that gets up into, again the Turboprop kind of commuter, small regional airline sort of category and that one is from Majestic Software. A lot of you flight sim enthusiasts have heard of this one. The Majestic Software Q400 or Dash-8. This aircraft is absolutely incredible. These guys have done a great job. You won’t believe if you go see the YouTube videos of this or the screenshots that this thing is not real, that these are not actual pictures from a cockpit. This thing is just really, really great, operates realistically, has a lot of groundbreaking technology from a coding standpoint.
The company we’re going to talk about next after this has been the groundbreaker for years and they do it in an airliner scale, but these guys have done it kind of on the Turboprop scale and just really gone above and beyond and I see at least from kind of I guess a business perspective, is that they’ve really made a big wave in the community and people really appreciate the quality they’ve put into this, so they’re getting rewarded for their efforts. The word on how great this aircraft has been spreading like wildfire and since I’m kind of an Alaska Airlines guy and Horizon Airlines is attached to that, they fly these things all of the time, this one’s particularly attractive to me. Really cool airplane if you’re into that sort of thing.
Now, to finish off, I want to talk about PNDG or Precision Manuals Development Group. That is the acronym for this particular company. If you’re a flight sim enthusiast, you’ve absolutely heard about this company. They make, hands down, the best, best add-ons that are out there. They make aircraft add-ons. Actually, all the companies we’ve talked about so far, that’s all they do. They only do aircrafts so they focus on that, but these guys only do airliners. More recently, at least the last two products they’ve released are the 737, the NG version and the 777.
Now, what these guys do is they make these aircrafts about 98, I would say in that ballpark, 98% realistic. It’s unbelievable how realistic these airplanes are. It’s getting so popular for guys that are going into type rating training to actually go and buy these products and get ready for the check ride before they even go to ground school and go to their type rating. These things are that realistic and it really gives these guys a leg up when they go there. We have a large training package on both of these that basically teaches you how to fly this airplane and teaches you all about the systems. Really incredible aircraft.
We spend a long time doing these training products for a specific aircraft. With the 777 for example, we spent year with that particular product and then with the 737, we spent two years with it. We don’t like to waste our time with anything that is not the absolute, absolute best, and so if you’re in the airliners, these are the absolute best. There are competitors out there of course but they fall short and they don’t come close, so if anyone is trying to convince you that some other product is better, that’s not true. I may get a lot of blowback for saying that but it’s just the truth. PNDG puts their money where their mouth is. These guys do the absolute best products for airliners and it shows by how passionate there followers are. PNDG stuff is just awesome. I’ll give you guys notes to that as well. But if you want to go to their website just directly, it’s precisionmanuals.com.
I may have missed something again, you can go to the show notes on this episode and certainly let me know what I’ve missed. You can praise me for my opinions. You can knock me down or whatever. Keep it respectful. Anyway, there’s just a lot out there and any kind of aircraft that you want to fly essentially, it’s probably available for a flight simulator. I didn’t even get into military stuff. I don’t fly military stuff that often that’s why I didn’t suggest a lot of it, but there are some amazing military aircraft out there, and it’s just unbelievable what extent people have gone to make realistic aircraft for these simulators and it will just blow you away how realistic it is and how useful it is if you’re an actual pilot. Either getting familiar with this aircraft or looking to take a type rating or moving up, this can help out tremendously in your training, just having a simulation like this and for you flight simulation guys, these are my recommended add-ons. This is what I mostly use and just fantastic, fantastic stuff.
That’s it for the add-ons. Again, you can go and comment if you agree, disagree, or if you want to know about a particular aircraft that you’re wondering about and if there is something like that out there, I can answer that for you as well. That’s it. That is it for the flight simulation topic. I know I buzzed through that really fast. I just wanted to give you guys kind of the quick and dirty on some of the great aircraft add-ons that I use. So we’ll move on and we’ll close out this episode.
Music for this episode was provided by Atrosolis. Great soundtrack. You can download this aviation-themed album for free by liking Atrosolis on Facebook. Also, to the crew of Angle of Attack, many, many thanks for what they do. These guys do an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to keep everything running at Angle of Attack. It frees up my time and allows me to work on things like AviatorCast and be out there, reaching out to you one-on-one in the community.
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Moving on last, check out our training products. Start with the basics for free with Aviator90. Learn instrument procedures with AviatorPro. Multiengine and communications are in there as well, or even fly many of the world’s most popular jets virtually with our training products for this 737, 747, 777 and MD-11, and I mentioned earlier, the PNDG 737 and 777. That’s what those training packages are based on. If you watch the preview videos, you’ll see just how realistic they are. You can learn more about all of these products over at flyaoamedia.com.
Thank you so much for joining me on this episode and joining us at Angle of Attack. We are truly grateful to have you here are AviatorCast, part of our community and so engaged in this wonderful passion for flying things.
Until next time, throttle on! [/transcript]