AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 30

LICENSETOLEARN

BY ROD MACHADO

False confidence

I

if the 10 Commandments only spoke of what you can do, then you’d need a lot more than 10 of them to cover every acceptable behavior. That’s a lot of stone, and someone will be burning the midnight bush just to etch all those possibilities. That’s why eight out of 10 commandments speak in terms of what you shall not do (in my church it was actually six you shall not dos and four give it your best shots). By knowing the limits of your capabilities and refusing to exceed them, your confidence in and strong that day, so I asked the fellow if he those abilities becomes much more authentic. thought his skills were up to the challenge. With The question is, how might you learn about Aviation writer Rod Machado took apparent complete confidence, he replied that the limits of your skill and abilities if you haven’t his private pilot he would have no issue with the winds. Fine with put them to the test? There are a few ways to checkride with the determine this. You might simply guess at your me. So we lifted off, and promptly began to track legendary Amelia diagonally to the runway. With nearly every nasty capability to perform confidently. Yes, sometimes Reid. gust and accompanying wing dip he’d blurt out, people like Whoopsman guess wrong. More often, “Whoops!” followed by commentary such as, however, they guess correctly. After all, if I know I’ve handled a direct 10-knot crosswind, it’s not much of a “Didn’t see that coming” or “That one was nasty.” How is it that a person can be so sure of his ability and stretch to assume that I might successfully handle one at 12 be so wrong about it at the same time? Over the years, I’ve knots, especially if I’ve had a chance to practice in 10-knot known more than a few pilots sporting a similar level of false crosswinds for some period of time. With a little common confidence about their abilities. In most instances, their false sense, it’s possible to guess well. confidence was based on an assumption of what they thought You can also consult others you’ve flown with and ask they could do, with very little understanding of what they them to make an assessment of your piloting ability. If you’ve couldn’t or shouldn’t do in a given set of circumstances. recently flown with an instructor or another experienced pilot, In the case of Whoopsman, I have no doubt that he had then either of these individuals might be able to offer some successfully mastered crosswinds of lesser intensity in the insights into the practical limits of your skills. past. He hadn’t, however, grappled with gusty crosswinds Finally, there’s simply no better way to know your limits of this magnitude. So his false confidence was based on the than to do an experiment to discover them. Sometimes you extrapolation of a skill he did possess into an area where he just have to put yourself to the test to see what you’ve got was no longer in possession. Without knowing the limits of his under the hood. This often means testing your skills under ability, he falsely assumed he had the gift and chops to handle the supervision of a capable flight instructor. It’s why I would the drift and drops. have encouraged my student to fly if he were reluctant-toHad his confidence level been balanced with an under- unsure of his ability to handle gusty crosswinds on flight standing of what he couldn’t do (based on his and the airplane’s review day. Even if he discovered he couldn’t handle a 20-knot aerodynamic limitations), he would have more accurately crosswind, at least he’s learned an equally valuable lesson appraised his ability to handle such aggressive winds. Know- about the limits of his skill. Ultimately, if you don’t actually ing only what you can do tells you very little about what you do it, then you really don’t know it and have no right to claim can’t or shouldn’t do. While the former offers the confidence confidence about it. to act in a specific situation, it’s the latter that prevents you Keep in mind that an overconfident pilot often has an from adopting a level of false confidence so often associated enlarged ego and his presence is frequently revealed by statewith unsafe behaviors. ments such as, “Who is the greatest pilot…and why am I?” A Let’s assume that my flight review student knew he couldn’t falsely confident pilot can have a perfectly normal ego, but is handle direct crosswinds greater than15 knots and/or gusts often ignorant about the limitations of his or her skill level. beyond 20 knots (I’ll show you in a second how he might know That’s why a well-rounded pilot (or an oval-shaped one) who this). His declaration of being able to handle crosswinds under understands what he can do—along with what he can’t or those conditions would be an authentic expression of confi- shouldn’t do—has a much more accurate definition of his and dence. No self-deception there. his airplane’s true capabilities. That should give you real confidence. The reason it’s important to have some idea about the limits of our abilities is quite simple. What you can do tells you one thing; what you can’t do tells you many things. For instance, Visit the author’s blog (www.rodmachado.com). 30 • FEBRUARY
2012

remember sitting on a runway with a flight review student, years ago, waiting for a takeoff clearance. The crosswind was exceptionally gusty

AOPA PILOT •


http://www.rodmachado.com

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
Contents
President’s Position
Hangar Talk
AOPA Media
AOPA Action
Letters
Waypoints
Proficient Pilot
Safety Pilot
License to Learn
Pilot Counsel
Fly Well
Pilot Briefing
Rally GA: Pay Up
Budget Buy: Classically Quick
Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
Flying Wild in Alaska
On Brand-New Wings
B-Ball to Biplane
2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
The Bird and the Leprechaun
Avionics: Pilot Friendly
Technique: Wind Warrior
Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
Products: Anywhere Map Septa
Never Again
Fly-Outs
Fly by Wire
Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - President’s Position
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Hangar Talk
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Media
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Action
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Letters
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Waypoints
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Proficient Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Safety Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - License to Learn
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Counsel
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly Well
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Briefing
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Rally GA: Pay Up
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Budget Buy: Classically Quick
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Flying Wild in Alaska
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - On Brand-New Wings
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - B-Ball to Biplane
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - The Bird and the Leprechaun
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Avionics: Pilot Friendly
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Technique: Wind Warrior
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Products: Anywhere Map Septa
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Never Again
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly-Outs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly by Wire
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover4
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