- Posts: 477
- Joined: 07 Jan 2012, 22:48
- Location: Galloway, NJ
What I am posting here is simply to help other pilots who have some concerns or need help in learning what us fighter jocks call Sierra Alpha or SA. Please read and put it into practice, cause it will make you a better, stronger virtual pilot.
The main components of situational awareness are:
Environmental awareness: Awareness of other aircraft, communications between air traffic control and other aircraft, weather and terrain.
Mode awareness: Awareness of aircraft configuration and flight control system modes. The latter includes such aspects as speed, altitude, heading, in armed/acquire/hold modes and the state of flight management system (FMS) data input and flight-planning functions.
Spatial orientation: Awareness of geographical position and aircraft attitude.
System awareness: Awareness of the aircraft systems.
Time horizon: Awareness of time with respect to when required procedures or events, such as time to initial approach turn, will occur.
Situational awareness is not just a theoretical notion. It is pertinent to most accidents or incidents, it is real, and its absence causes accidents. Research from The Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) indicates that human factors are a contributing cause in around 70 percent of all incidents and accidents. Approximately 85 percent of incident reports include a mention of loss of situational awareness. Degraded situational awareness can lead to inadequate decision making and mistakes.
Causal Factors in Approach and Landing Accidents
Factor #and % of events occuring at the time
Inadequate decision making 74%
Omission of action or inappropriate action 72%
Non-adherence to criteria for stabilized approach 66%
Inadequate crew coordination, cross-check and back-up 63%
Insufficient horizontal or vertical Situational Awareness 52%
Inadequate or insufficient understanding of prevailing conditions 48%
Slow or delayed action 45%
Flight handling difficulties 45%
Deliberate non-adherence to procedures 40%
Inadequate training 37%
Incorrect or incomplete pilot/controller communication 33%
Interaction with automation 20%
Gaining and Maintaining Situational Awareness
Situational awareness is having an accurate understanding of what is happening around you and what is likely to happen in the near future. In ROF this definition suggests that situational awareness includes three processes:
1.The perception of what is happening (Level 1)
2.The understanding of what has been perceived (Level 2)
3.The use of what is understood to think ahead (Level 3)
Level 1 — Perception: Scanning and Gathering Data
To build a mental model of the environment, it is necessary to gather sufficient and useful data by using our senses of vision, hearing and touch to scan the environment. We must direct our attention to the most important aspects of our surroundings and then compare what we sense with the experiences and knowledge in our memory. It is an active process and requires significant discipline, as well as knowing what to look for, when to look for it and why.
Level 2 — Representation: Understanding and Creating Our Mental Model
Our understanding is built by combining observations from the real world with knowledge and experience recalled from memory. If we successfully match observations with knowledge and experience.
Level 3— Projection: Thinking Ahead and Updating the Model
Our understanding enables us to think ahead and project the future state of our environment. This step is crucial in the pilot’s decision-making process and requires that our understanding, based on careful data gathering, be as accurate as possible.
Situational Awareness and the Decision-Making Process
Situational awareness is strongly related to the decision-making process. The Pcture below shows a simple model of the tight coupling between situational awareness and decision making. Situational awareness must precede decision making because the operator has to perceive a situation in order to have a goal.
Situational Awareness and Decision Making Model
The Decision-Making Loop
Our actions are driven by goals. To help us act to achieve our goals, we use our mental models to anticipate the outcome of our action. This can be thought of as feedforward.
The more we anticipate accurately, the more efficient we become in our tasks, the more energy we save, and the more we can preserve resources for unexpected situations. Conversely, by comparing the results of our actions with set goals, we can modify our actions or, if necessary, our goals. This feedback is vital to the success of the process.
Feedback and anticipation help keep a mental picture of the sim world were flying in aligned with our virtual area around our flight. In other words good clear communication from all pilots and knowing what to expect your flight lead to do. This is an important key to work on with your virtual wingman.
A major loss of situational awareness occurs when inappropriate mental representations are activated in spite of real world evidence. People then act “in the wrong scene,” and seek cues confirming their expectations, a behavior known as confirmation bias.
In other words, situational awareness influences our decision making and allows us to stay ahead of the aircraft:
1.It helps us develop a mental picture of the world around us and use that mental picture to anticipate the future, to feed-forward.
2.Because of the close coupling of real-world feedback, mental anticipation and adaptation of actions, we adjust our mental picture and modify our actions, and sometimes our goals, in response to differences between what we expect to happen and what is really happening. That is why we often feel that we have lost control when what we expect to happen does not happen.
Situational awareness is essential for flight safety, and its influence and impact are pervasive.
Situational awareness is gained by using the senses to scan the environment and compare the results with mental models.
Planning, communication and coordination for upcoming flight phases, goal setting and feedback are essential ingredients of situational awareness and decision making.
Inattention, distraction and high workload threaten situational awareness.
Three proven ways to prevent the loss of situational awareness are to:
Implement proven best practices
Adhere to Flight Leader orders
Follow Jasta's standard operating procedures
In Closing: When you fly as a wingman or flight leader always be aware of who's around you and have a plan of action when you find the NME and if you get separated have a waypoint set up to re-group. Practice, Practice, Practice...Salute Men!
"Know your enemy and use it against him."