SW Aviator Magazine - June/July 1999 issue
The Premier Tip
by Professor A.K. Cydent
To celebrate the success of our premiere issue of SW Aviator, I've decided to lead off this second issue by offering you the Premier Tip.

My tip concerns "things that go bump in the night": those mind-bending occurrences for which you never received training on how to respond. I'm thinking of things like what happened to the crew of the DC-10 in Sioux City, Iowa, a few years back.

There you are, flying along—Fat, Dumb, and Happy, as I like to say—and that "bump in the night" jumps right up and grabs you by the throat. You freeze.

"What, me freeze?" you ask. Yes. You freeze up like any other human would when an untrained-for event surprises you and threatens your safety. You and your passengers may receive severe bodily harm due to your few seconds of inactivity.

You've probably heard of the What Ifs. "What if this happens? What if that happens?" If you ask yourself these questions, are you being a worry wart, a pessimist?

No! You're being an realist, preparing yourself for the inevitable. Think about all the What Ifs and then train yourself by mentally walking yourself through whatever makeshift procedures you come up with. Walk yourself through each step of this procedure until it becomes second nature—like the engine out procedures you learned from that long-forgotten flight instructor.

When these unexpected situations occur, time generally feels like it has slowed down, and you will visualize options to correct or lessen the impact of what is going on. You may even make a few physical movements within these few seconds. Later, you may wonder how time slowed down and you did all those things.

You did all those things because you preprogrammed your mind to jump into action instead of letting you become strangled and blinded by the "things that go bump in the night." Several safe pilots have also told me they preprogram their mind to become aware of where they're at in the cockpit, analyze the situation, and go into action if and when their conscious mind draws a blank.

For those of you who have never seen or experienced the time slow-down, I hope you never do—because it usually means you're in a life-threatening situation. For those who have, it's an unforgettable experience.

Don't be a What If-er after something goes wrong. Think of the What Ifs ahead of time, walk through your plans of action until you can do them in your sleep, then forget about them. When the time comes, and you need them, they will jump into your conscious mind.

If you've had any experiences relevant to this article, write to SW Aviator, and we'll print what we can.

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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.