Decision Making/Human Factors

The Pilot Decision Making (PDM) course offered by Transport Canada System Safety is well received, but only if the course has been tailored for the particular group receiving the training. Many regional offices are providing this service to the industry. Other regional offices do not deliver any type of PDM course. The "standard" course that is available contains out-of-date information and does not meet the needs of the industry. Pilots and operators believe that PDM training can be very beneficial and practical for day-to-day operations. Some even believe that the course should be mandatory for pilots and management. The PDM course content should also be available to operators and pilots in media where they can review the information after having taken the course. Decision making courses for AMEs have recently been developed. Air operators, AMEs and apprentices should contact their regional System Safety office for more information about these courses.

SR 21 - Recommend Transport Canada System Safety regional offices tailor Decision Making/Human Factors courses to meet the specific needs of air operators and specific types of operations.

IA 21 - Recommend air operator management attend Decision Making/Human Factors courses and support pilots, AMEs and apprentices in attending these courses.

SR 22 - Recommend Transport Canada make Decision Making/Human Factors course material available in alternate media such as video tapes.

The Commercial Air Service Standards authorize pilots to operate in reduced visibility conditions if they have attended a PDM course. The association of the one-time PDM course with operations in reduced visibility is not considered to be appropriate, especially with the changing information on human factors and decision making. Many controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents have occurred when the visibility was lower than the minimum allowable and the pilot continued to fly into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Pilots are still pushing the weather! The decision to continue flight into deteriorating weather conditions may be caused by operational pressures that the air operator or client are imposing on the pilot, because of pressure the pilot is putting on himself or because flying in marginal VFR conditions, often IMC, has become the accepted way of operating.

SR 23 - Recommend Transport Canada review the Commercial Air Service Standard authorizing operations in reduced visibility, provided the pilot has taken a PDM course, to determine if a one-time attendance at the PDM course is sufficient.

IA 23 - Recommend air operators not pressure pilots to operate in marginal weather conditions and support the pilot's decision to wait for suitable weather before departing or to turn around when the weather deteriorates, etc. Recommend pilots stop pushing the weather.

Date modified: