Aeronautical Terms beginning with P


The basis of all learning, perceptions result when a person gives meaning to external stimuli or sensations. Meaning derived from perception is influenced by an individual’s experience and many other factors.

Performance-based objectives

A statement of purpose for a lesson or instructional period that includes three elements: a description of the skill or behavior desired of the student, a set of conditions under which the measurement will be taken, and a set of criteria describing the standard used to measure accomplishment of the objective.

Personal computer-based aviation training device (PCATD)

A device which uses software which can be displayed on a personal computer to replicate the instrument panel of an airplane. A PCATD must replicate a type of airplane or family of airplanes and meet the virtual control requirements specified in AC 61-126.


The embodiment of personal traits and characteristics of an individual that are set at a very early age and are extremely resistant to change.

Physical organism

A perception factor that describes a person’s ability to sense the world around them.

Pilot error

Pilot action/inaction or decision/indecision causing or contributing to an accident or incident.

Poor judgment chain

A series of mistakes that may lead to an accident or incident. Two basic principles generally associated with the creation of a poor judgment chain are: (1) one bad decision often leads to another; and (2) as a string of bad decisions grows, it reduces the number of subsequent alternatives for continued safe flight. Aeronautical decision- making is intended to break the poor judgment chain before it can cause an accident or incident.

Practical Test Standards (PTS)

An FAA published list of standards which must be met for the issuance of a particular pilot certificate or rating. FAA inspectors and designated pilot examiners use these standards when conducting pilot practical tests and flight instructors should use the PTS while preparing applicants for practical tests. (Obsolete term, replaced by Airman Certification Standards)


The first step of the teaching process, which consists of determining the scope of the lesson, the objectives, and the goals to be attained. This portion also includes making certain all necessary supplies are on hand. When using the telling-and-doing technique of flight instruction, this step is accomplished prior to the flight lesson.


The second step of the teaching process, which consists of delivering information or demonstrating the skills that make up the lesson. The delivery could be by either the lecture method or demonstration-performance method. In the telling-and-doing technique of flight instruction, this is the segment in which the instructor both talks about and performs the procedure.


A test used to determine whether a student has the necessary qualifications to begin a course of study. Also used to determine the level of knowledge a student has in relation to the material that will be presented in the course.


A principle of learning in which the first experience of something often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression. The importance to an instructor is that the first time something is demonstrated, it must be shown correctly since that experience is the one most likely to be remembered by the student.

Problem-based learning

Lessons in such a way as to confront students with problems that are encountered in real life which force them to reach real-world solutions.

Psychomotor domain

A grouping of levels of learning associated with physical skill levels which range from perception through set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response, and adaptation to origination.

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