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Page Title: Physical/Psychological Factors - Cont'd
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that you will quickly develop that sought after "feel" and avoid the hard-to-break habit of
mechanical flying. A most important aspect of developing this sense of "feel" is knowing what
you are going to do at all times and be prepared for the next evolution in your flight training.
This is nothing more than knowing your PROCEDURES. Remember the panic in your school
days when you were handed the test and it suddenly dawned on you that you had not studied, or
what you had studied was not on the test? The risks are magnified when the "test" is in the air.
Don't let this happen to you.
Mental attitude is a very essential element in your relaxation in an aircraft. It affects your
nervous system and, if allowed to continue in an unhealthy trend, can result in actual physical
incapacitation. Therefore, its significance should be fully appreciated. As with physical
handicaps, any mental distraction will detract from the full use of your required senses. A poor
mental attitude will interfere with your ability to concentrate, learn, and apply your knowledge.
In turn, a good or positive mental attitude will increase your learning capacity and make your
flight training a pleasure rather than an unpleasant job. If for any reason you find yourself "flying
more and enjoying it less," whether from some known cause or not, discuss it with your flight
instructor or class advisor. Another aid to acquiring a positive mental attitude, after you have
satisfied yourself it is not an outside problem affecting you mentally, is to find some healthy
diversion to get your mind away from the subject of flying for a time.
Mental alertness on the NFO/WSOs part has a direct bearing upon safety of flight as well as
contributing significantly to the learning process. Remember, the training areas utilized by many
aircraft are not very large. Being constantly on the alert while flying may save your life and one
of your squadron mates. Mental laziness is the constant enemy of aircrew. As you progress
through flight training, plan ahead and anticipate all possible contingencies that could affect the
operation of your aircraft. This not only refers to the environment around you but the aircraft you
are sitting in. Check your engine instruments from time to time to ensure all is well up front. In
other words, train yourself to be alert to all facets of your flight rather than concentrating on the
problem of the moment. You will find yourself surprised at the amount of information your eyes
will transmit to your brain during a quick scan of your surroundings. Planning ahead enables you
to take immediate and appropriate action should an emergency occur.
Confidence in your aircraft, your instructor, and most importantly in yourself, is another essential
element of flying. The basic ingredient to acquiring confidence is knowledge and efficient
analytical application of that knowledge. The risks beyond the control of the aircrew are minimal.
Fire is an extremely rare occurrence. Engines are inherently reliable. In-flight collisions are
rarities and completely avoidable if you stay alert. With the above points in mind, it is readily
apparent the chance of an aviation accident caused by other than incompetence, disobedience, or
poor judgment is remote. Remember, 70% of all fatal accidents are due to aircrew error alone.
With all of this going for you, don't let human frailty or overconfidence develop, particularly
while your experience is limited. Professional aircrews are never caught unprepared in an
emergency situation. They know and understand emergency procedures cold. Humble confidence
and perseverance will go a long way in striving for those Wings of Gold/Silver.

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