You may think that after you get your pilot certificate, you have all the training you will ever need. Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Training to be a private pilot mainly involves learning how to get the airplane in the air, keep it there while you go somewhere, and then get it back on the ground -- all without killing yourself.

training classFor the most part, instructors and FAA-certificated flight schools do a good job of teaching you how to fly the aircraft, but little time is left over to teach you when to fly the aircraft. The distinction between knowing how to fly and knowing when to fly is called judgment. Lack of judgment (or aeronautical decision-making as it is sometimes called) is mentioned as a cause in about 50% of the fatal general aviation accidents.

The relationship between decision-making skills and piloting skills is complex. Making good decisions depends on knowing exactly what you can and cannot do -- and making decisions that avoid the latter. So, if your cross-wind landing skills are not all that great, then good decision making would result in your either asking for a different runway, or going somewhere else and landing more directly into the wind.

There are two general types of training exercises offered here. The first is aimed at improving your Risk Management Skills -- particularly your decision making. The second type is aimed at improving your Piloting Skills -- particularly in the areas of weather, landing, and understanding density altitude. All of these exercises will improve your Aeronautical Decision Making.