Aeronautical Decision Making


The student's understanding of aeronautical decision-making should be reinforced, bringing it to an instrument-pilot level of knowledge.


  • General models

    • hazardous attitudes
    • PAVE
    • DECIDE
  • Specific applications

    • stabilized approach


Instructor actions

  • Evaluate the student's current level of knowledge

    • If low, describe the fundamentals of aeronautical decision-making
    • If high, pose scenarios and ask probing questions to find weak areas
  • Using the included scenario, gauge overall ability to make decisions
  • Get today's weather and ask if the student would do a stage flight

Student actions

  • Prepare by reading and highlighting Advisory Circular 60-22
  • Maintain active involvement by responding to questions and taking notes
  • Demonstrate to the instructor a reasonable level of ADM ability by working on scenarios

Completion Standards

The lesson will be complete when the student can demonstrate a high level understanding of aeronautical decision-making, especially the PAVE, IMSAFE, and DECIDE models. This ability will be evaluated through scenarios and guided discussion.

Teaching outline

  • ADM originated with the airlines
  • Designed to improve our safety and control risk
  • Consider creating outlines of personal minimums

    • PAVE model is great for this


PAVE is a system of risk management, and should be considered prior to the flight

  1. Pilot
  2. Aircraft
  3. enVironment
  4. External pressures

The IMSAFE checklist applies to both the pilot and external pressures considerations.

  1. Illness
  2. Medication
  3. Stress
  4. Alcohol
  5. Fatigue
  6. Emotion or Eating


DECIDE is a model for the decision-making process and will probably loop back on itself several times during a given flight or situation.

  1. Detect that a change has occurred
  2. Estimate the need to counter or react to the change
  3. Choose a desirable outcome resulting in the success of the flight
  4. Identify actions which could control or affect the change
  5. Do the necessary action
  6. Evaluate the effect of the action

Hazardous attitudes

How do we cope with the following?

  • Antiauthority
  • Impulsivity
  • Invulnerability
  • Macho
  • Resignation

Stabilized approach: FLAPS✔

Checklist should be verified by 200' AGL.

  1. Flight path - lateral guidance within 3/4 CDI or at runway centerline
  2. Landing configuration - flap setting and complex items (gear, prop)
  3. Approach speed
  4. Power setting - should be normal for that phase
  5. Sink rate
  6. ✔lists complete


  • you had 7 hours of sleep last night and are just getting over a cold
  • marginal weather

    • 2° C, rain forecast
    • boss needs to get to Cancun
  • 3/4 tanks should get us there with 50 minutes of fuel

    • fuel trucks stuck in maintenance
  • aircraft is fine mechanically
  • 5 hour flight


  1. Weather: go or no go?

    • go: thunderstorm approaches enroute
    • no go: you're fired!
  2. Enroute: continue or divert around?

    • continue: bumpy ride, possibility of icing, but no damage
    • divert: how's that fuel doing?
  3. Things to keep in mind:

    • people have schedules to meet
    • weather is unpredictable
© 2022 Eric Gideon  •  archive