Sunday, February 14, 2010

My take on Airmanship

Photos compliments of Erik the 'tail spotter'

Received this email: Hi Doug, firstly thanks for the great work you're doing with your blog, its a great insight into the workings of a pilot. I am half way through my IR at the moment, and in a couple of my debriefs, "airmanship" has come up as an issue. If possible could you enlighten me how you managed to increase your airmanship, and what it means to you.

Airmanship? The definition is not carved in stone and because of automation/modernization the definition tends to be always adjusted.

Here's one definition borrowed from the Internet and I tend to agree with it:

Good airmanship is that indefinable something, perhaps just a state of mind, that separates the superior airman/airwoman from the average. It is not particularly a measure of skill or technique, nor is it just common sense. Rather, it is a measure of a person's awareness of the aircraft and its flight environment, and of her/his own capabilities and behavioral characteristics, combined with good judgement, wise decision-making, attention to detail and a high sense of self-discipline.

As a pilot, we have SOPs (standard operating procedures), company policies, MEL (Minimum Equipment List), training, CRM and company culture which act as the backbone. Somewhere in all of this there is airmanship. Airmanship acts as the glue. It's when a pilot crosses a runway and says, "clear left or clear right." It's not written in the SOPs, but it's a good thing to do. It's when you are cleared to FL 240 from FL 370 at your discretion. Good airmanship is when you call leaving FL370 for FL240. (Unless instructed by ATC you don't have to do this, but it's a smart thing to do because it confirms your assigned altitude). It's when you are climbing through a layer of cloud causing turbulence. No where does it say to increase your rate of ascent but you do it because it makes sense. It's when you decide to slow down prior to entering the hold at Bovingdon VOR while on approach into London, Heathrow.
Airmanship tends to come with experience with common sense the main ingredient. Airmanship also means to me, having the big picture.

Captain Doug


Memopilot said...

Great way to explain that word ¡¡

Reminds me when i made my first solo, i was talking all the way to the runway "clear left, clear right, controls check, going up going down" jeje
The instructor said the same thing, "even if its not written, doesn´t mean it is not important"

Happy Flights captain

Felices Vuelos ¡¡

From the Flight Deck said...

Memopilot. I like it, "even if it's not written, doesn't mean it is not important."

Thanks for the post.

Captain Doug

Ehsan said...

Dear Capt. Morris,

This is Ehsan Hosseini. Just wanted to thank you for your detail explanations about my questions.

Regarding to my e-mail address, I couldn't see any place or option to write it in my last comment.! But here it is: [email protected]

Kind regards,


From the Flight Deck said...

Ehsan. Got it thanks. Gone flying for three days.

Captain Doug

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