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ALC-723: 10 Decision-Making Concepts for UAS Pilots
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Links to PDF documentation

For more information about this topic, download the following documents: 


Aeronautical Decision Making is the decision process required to make aeronautical decisions. While concepts can be taught, common sense and experience must be used. 80% of all aviation accidents are related to human factors with the majority of accidents occur during landing and takeoff.


The concept was introduced by the airline industry over 25 years ago to help decrease accidents caused by human factors. It was designed to improve the decision-making of pilots. The results are clear: pilots who receive ADM training made 10-50% fewer judgment errors.

Hazardous Attitudes

Hazardous attitudes are attitudes that negatively affect the quality of your decisions. Recognizing them is the first step in neutralizing them. There are 5 attitudes: 

  • Anti-authority: Those who do not like anyone telling them what to do.

  • Impulsivity: Those who feel the need to do something, anything, immediately. 

  • Invulnerability: Those who believe that accidents happen to others. 

  • Macho: Those who are trying to prove that they are better than anyone else. “Watch this!

  • Resignation: Those who do not see themselves making a difference. 

Here's a list of antidotes to the 5 hazardous attitudes discussed in the previous chapter. 

  • Anti-authority: Follow the rules. They are usually right. 
  • Impulsivity: Not so fast. Think first. 
  • Invulnerability: It could happen to me. 
  • Macho: Taking chances is foolish. 
  • Resignation: "I’m not helpless. ?I can make a difference. 

Operational Pitfalls

Operational pitfalls can be categorized under the following: 

  • Peer Pressure: “Come on, don’t be a chicken, you can totally do that.”
  • Mind Set: Inability to cope with changes and fixating on the original goal. 
  • Operating without visual line of sight (VLOS): Losing VLOS in order to complete the mission without having to move. 
  • Getting behind the aircraft: a constant state of surprise at what happens next. 
  • Loss of situational awareness: not knowing where you are or what/who is around you. 
  • Operating past the battery/fuel warning: Ignoring low battery/fuel warnings and forcing the aircraft to land in an emergency. 
  • Operate above maximum authorized altitude: ignoring LAANC altitudes or flying higher than 400 feet AGL. 
  • Neglect for planning, inspections and checklists:  relying on short or long -term memory or over-trusting the equipment. 

Stress & Stress Management

Stress is the body’s response to demand. The effects of stress are cumulative and can lead to an intolerable burden. There are two types of stress: acute and chronic. 
Relaxation, physical fitness and time management help manage the accumulation of stress. 

Stress Management While Flying

It is important to know and respect your own personal limits. These will change based on the aircraft flown. It's also important to avoid distracting situations. Be sure to have a visual observer or crew member deal with people who may approach the pilot. Remain calm during emergencies. Rely on your training, utilize all available resources.

Hazard and Risk

Hazard is the real or perceived condition, event, or circumstance that a pilot encounters.
Risk: the assigned value to the potential impact of a hazard.

Dealing with risk involves three steps, which are discussed in more detail in these videos. 

  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Risk Management


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