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FAA Glossaries

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Hazardous Attitudes

The FAA has been emphasizing recognition and the antidote to hazardous attitudes and asks about them on most of the knowledge tests. The Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B) lists them.

Being fit to fly depends on more than just a pilot’s physical condition and recent experience. For example, attitude affects the quality of decisions. Attitude is a motivational predisposition to respond to people, situations, or events in a given manner. Studies have identified five hazardous attitudes that can interfere with the ability to make sound decisions and exercise authority properly: anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho, and resignation.

Anti-authority: “Don’t tell me.”
This attitude is found in people who do not like anyone telling them what to do. In a sense, they are saying, “No one can tell me what to do.” They may be resentful of having someone tell them what to do or may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary. However, it is always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error.

Impulsivity: “Do it quickly.”
This is the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately. They do not stop to think about what they are about to do, they do not select the best alternative, and they do the first thing that comes to mind.
Invulnerability: “It won’t happen to me.”

Many people falsely believe that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected. However, they never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk.

Macho: “I can do it.”
Pilots who are always trying to prove that they are better than anyone else think, “I can do it—I’ll show them.” Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others. While this pattern is thought to be a male characteristic, women are equally susceptible.

Resignation: “What’s the use?”
Pilots who think, “What’s the use?” do not see themselves as being able to make a great deal of difference in what happens to them. When things go well, the pilot is apt to think that it is good luck. When things go badly, the pilot may feel that someone is out to get them or attribute it to bad luck. The pilot will leave the action to others, for better or worse. Sometimes, such pilots will even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a “nice guy.”

Antidotes
Follow the rules. They are usually right.
Not so fast. Think first.
It could happen to me.
Taking chances is foolish.

None of this is new. The Air Force recognized this years ago and put out this movie.
F-86D Sabre Jet “No Sweat” circa 1955 United States Air Force Pilot Training Film

The FAA put out a movie that highlights some of these as well, especially the Don’t tell me. attitude.
Density Altitude with Harry Bliss

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