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What If?

Source: www.pilotworkshop.com/tips/pilot_situational_awareness.htm, Featuring Wally Moran

Bob:

"Wally, I know one of the things that you recommend when you're sitting there in cruise and you have a few minutes on your hand, to play a little game called What If. What's that all about?"

Wally:

"Well a good airman spends a lot of time thinking about What if…. And as we're in cruise you should be doing the same thing. You should be thinking about what would I do right now if this engine failed? Where would I land?

Take a look around. Select a field; practice selecting the fields. Do you really know which way the wind is blowing? So practice those things. Think about an alternator failure. Think about a loss of oil pressure. Just review mentally what you would do, and that way you'll be better ready if you ever have one of those issues to deal with.

Bob, another good airman technique is to maintain situational awareness with a sectional chart. It's so easy to just push the direct button on the GPS nowadays, and watch the numbers count down. But if you have an emergency, that's not going to be very helpful. So I keep that sectional chart out and I practice my map reading.

One of the things you can do to enhance your map-reading skills is find those little private strips. They're really hard to find. And they get you really looking at the map and really looking at the terrain. And who knows - having found them, you might actually use one of them some day."

Bob:

"And you know it sounds so fundamental and it almost sounds goofy when I say it, Wally. But the best way to never get lost is to always know where you are. And quite frankly, I think technology gives us a false sense of awareness. Yes, I can tell you exactly where and point to a moving map. But where are you really in time and space? And mentally I think that gives you a much better feel of being in command and really being in charge of the situation versus being along for the ride."

Wally:

"You bet. And practicing your sectional reading skills - your map-reading skills - is going to be very helpful some day when you really need them when that electronic gear doesn't work for you."