What People Can Learn From a Pilot’s Sense of Risk Management
There’s been discussion as of late on the most effective methods of avoiding risk, which has been growing more and more relevant as the year goes on. Risk management has been a tricky subject to tackle, however, it is not at all uncommon in the world of aviation to be very familiar with the fundamentals. Pilots face many trials when using an aircraft, and these skills can easily be applied to many other situations! We have 50 years of history regarding the importance of risk management, so considering how integral it is to pilots, we can find ways to make our inflight and grounded lives safer in return.
What’s important to note about this is that it’s an instinctive mentality, rather than an actionable solution. Pilots must deal with cognitive decisions every single time they use an aircraft, subconsciously or not. Things such as thinking about potential issues, the outcomes and effects, and how they can mitigate as best they can. It is the act of decision making, which is something we all do. When we make choices to eat at a restaurant, or what clothes to wear. Unfortunately, the decision-making period can’t last forever; eventually, a choice has to be made. So here are a few mentalities that help the core of making decisions, aviation-related, or just in general.
- You cannot live a risk-proof life, but you shouldn’t go full Rambo either. Recognize that there cannot be zero risks, so learn to recognize the risk, and methods of lowering it. An example is that there’s risk in flying through a storm but mitigating it can involve acknowledging the clouds in the sky before takeoff.
- Measure and gauge risk by understanding the fundamentals of gambling. There is hoping for luck and gaming the system by acknowledging the odds. Of course, when the heat of the moment strikes, you won’t have time to reflect and wait for weeks of research to be sure. However, as Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer states that risks “If risks are known, good decisions require logic and statistical thinking” and uncertainty “If some risks are unknown, good decisions also require intuition and smart rules of thumb” are both necessary to help you make the best decision.
- The problem often lies between the controls and the seat. Humans cannot perform things flawlessly, so expecting errors before they may potentially cause a problem lowers the possibility of accidents happening to begin with. The concept of uncertainty plays a role, like what if the airspeed doesn’t feel accurate? What if you get blind-sighted by an unmentioned forecast? There is no time to consider all the possibilities, so take what steps you know that you can to minimize risk from the start.
- You cannot be complacent. Even if things seem normal for a while, and you feel like you’re doing enough, at the end of the day a threat happens regardless of preparation. Things like “it worked last time” or “it hasn’t happened yet” aren’t the right way to think about risky flying. You can’t be sure that how you fly is consistent, or if you were lucky. You must be diligent and follow rules even if it’s been done more than a million times.
- Finally, there’s identifying risk vs reward. Is it really worth eating that burger that’s been lying there for hours? Temporary satisfaction isn’t a good enough reward in the long run, but the dangers of cooking on a stove, potentially burning, and general harm is worth it for a long-term healthy burger. The idea is that procedures and safety checks were made, and being familiar with cooking a burger, compared to many other things it’s not the riskiest thing to do. It’s rewarding with a good meal, and satisfaction that you earned what you made. Same with aviation, you don’t have to be a daredevil to fly aircraft, but the familiarity of the land, the equipment, maintenance, and training ensure that the reward of getting to the destination is good enough over anything else.
We hope this helps put into perspective the importance of risk management. In reality, humans are fairly stubborn and don’t really enjoy talking about unknown risks. However, at Norfolk Aviation, we make sure to give pilots the benefit of the doubt in cultivating a safer future, especially in these trying times. Knowing that, if you’re interested in how pilots became experts in this, then think about buying an aircraft! We also can help you sell, customize aircraft, and many other services you can only find here! Contact us today, and let’s start a low-risk relationship for a rewarding future!