Flight Training - August 2021 - 8

UNUSUAL ATTITUDE BY DAVE HIRSCHMAN
Editor at Large DAVE HIRSCHMAN'S
preferred method of learning is listening
to experienced pilots tell flying stories.
Those tales do more to impart actual
knowledge than rote memorization of
acronyms ever could.
dave.hirschman@aopa.org
aircraft certification categories); and the
nonsensical (DECARAT for required IFR
equipment). There also are situations in
which we get to choose from multiple
acronyms-or their cousins, useless mnemonics-for
the same thing. (IMSAFE and
PAVE for self-evaluations, and CRAFTS
and in " Clear Deep Rivers and Hot Springs,
Fish Swim " for copying clearances.)
I'll admit that some acronyms have
been repeated so many times in aviation
that they become words unto themselves.
A CIGAR (controls, instruments, gas,
airframe, run-up) check before takeoff, and
a GUMPS (gas, undercarriage, mixture,
prop, seatbelts) check before landing are so
deeply internalized by so many pilots that
resisting them seems futile. Simply verbalizing
these mantras can be comforting,
and maybe that's reason enough to justify
keeping a few acronyms around.
But let's also 'fess up to the obvious.
In the complicated, sometimes stressful
business of flying airplanes, no hackneyed
acronym can substitute for a cockpit flow
pattern backed up by a checklist.
If an acronym helps you recall critical
TOO MANY ACRONYMS
I've departed controlled flight and am spinning toward Earth
when-like an apparition-an acronym springs forth into my
adrenaline-charged brain with a series of capital letters that
allow me to save the day.
PARE. (Or was it PAIR? Or PEAR?)
Anyway, the capital letters remind me to reduce Power, or Pitch, or the Propeller,
and Initiate Recovery, or Inhibit Rotation, or Amplify Rudder, or some such word
jumble that magically provides clarity and allows me to emerge from peril.
If this sounds farfetched, it is. Aviation overflows with so many acronyms that
pilots are hard-pressed to remember them, let alone decipher their meaning, during
moments of crisis. Expecting pilots to correctly recall and quickly execute this acronym
avalanche in the midst of an aerial emergency is unrealistic, to put it mildly.
Instructors seem to take perverse pride in adding to their students' flood of
abbreviations. While reviewing a student's upcoming flight, an instructor might ask
whether they've performed PAVE, IMSAFE, AR(R)OW, and MCPRAWN checks. If
the engine fails during flight, they'll be expected to know what " ABC then DE " means,
in addition to performing the memory items in the pilot's operating handbook.
Wouldn't it be better to simply ask students whether they feel well, have
checked the aircraft paperwork, and reviewed special-use airspace along the way?
Relying on acronyms is more likely to cause confusion than eliminate it.
The aviation acronyms that afflict us come in two basic flavors: There's the
nauseatingly cute variety (PLease START for engine failures, and TURNPALE for
8
FLIGHT TRAINING AUGUST 2021
items, or simply makes you feel better, go
ahead and use it. But to me, acronyms clutter
my mind and increase my likelihood
of overlooking something important. And
instructors who insist on speaking in acronyms
aren't educating or imparting real
wisdom. They're just providing CliffsNotes
in a foreign language.
If you need an acronym for that, try
SAIL (silly acronyms inhibit learning). Or
CANE (confusing acronyms need eradication).
Or ENOUGH (eliminate needless
obsolete useless guesswork here).
Anyway, let's go back to that scary
scenario in which a spinning airplane is
rapidly descending toward the ground.
What should the pilot do?
That's easy. Pull the throttle to idle
and neutralize the controls. That in itself
is enough to stop a spin in most airplanes.
And at very least the pilot won't doing any
harm with the controls that make a bad
situation worse. There may be other aircraft-specific
things to do, but idle power
and neutral controls is a good start.
After emerging from the resulting dive,
add power to resume normal flight and
thank aerobatic ace Bill Finagin for the
quick and effective recovery technique. It's
incredibly effective, and you don't have to
remember any nonsensical acronyms to
get the desired result. FT

Flight Training - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - August 2021

Contents
Flight Training - August 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - August 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - August 2021 - 2
Flight Training - August 2021 - 3
Flight Training - August 2021 - 4
Flight Training - August 2021 - 5
Flight Training - August 2021 - 6
Flight Training - August 2021 - 7
Flight Training - August 2021 - 8
Flight Training - August 2021 - 9
Flight Training - August 2021 - 10
Flight Training - August 2021 - 11
Flight Training - August 2021 - 12
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Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover4
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