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Old 06-19-2017, 09:34 AM
Flyin'Bryan's Avatar
Flyin'Bryan Flyin'Bryan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Posts: 239
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Originally Posted by xblueh2o View Post
Work flying rule is one guy does the box or whatever, the other guy's only job is to fly the airplane. That becomes a bit harder single pilot as you learned. I have a personal rule when flying single pilot that when I am inside fiddling with electronics that I need to look up every ten seconds or so. Doesn't sound like very long but count off ten seconds with your watch. You should be able to get a couple letters of an identifier or most of a freq tuned, take a peek and then finish. As you found out it is very easy to get fixated on a single problem to the exclusion of other duties. All this wonderful cockpit technology is sometimes a case of "more" not necessarily being "better". Don't get me wrong. I think having the technology is a good thing but you have to be disciplined on how to manage it.
I see this all the time giving flight instruction and it is an example of innocent "better" info dragging your head into the cockpit. Think about when most of us learned way back when tachometers were sweep pointers on a round dial, if we were within the needle width of the desired RPM that was close enough. Now how many times have you watched somebody with a digital tach fiddle with the engine controls to get exactly (or within 5 or so RPM) the RPM they wanted. How long did that take and where were they looking? Not outside. It is so easy to sucked in to playing with the cockpit toys that we forget the main job is to fly the airplane.
Good for you for fessing up and using it as a teaching moment for both yourself and others.
I recently gave a flight review to the owner of an RV-10 equipped with dual Garmin G3x's. My main focus during the flight portion of the review was to observe how much "head down" time occurred throughout the flight. He was obviously quite familiar with the G3X, and incorporated both of them in his flight regimen, but I noted that there was a rather significant amount of head down time involved while doing this.

I also found it interesting that his "method" for searching for and locating nearby traffic was to look at the G3X screen first (primary traffic search), and then looking outside to locate the aircraft (secondary search). ADSB traffic can be a great tool for situational awareness, but I was a little concerned about the amount of time being spent looking at the screen instead of directly outside the plane.

Technology always has its good traits. However, it still requires the "human element" to figure out how and when to use it so that it does not become a detriment. I totally support the 10 second rule, and would probably even reduce that timing just a bit more.
Bryan Raley
Building RV8
EAA Chapter 301
SportAir Workshop Graduate x 4: Sheet Metal, RV Building, Electrical, and Composite classes.
Tail Wheel Endorsement Completed
Empennage done, Wings in progress, N462AK reserved.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:42 AM
steve murray's Avatar
steve murray steve murray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina
Posts: 170

Great post, I have had my head down too much also checking weather. Thanks for the honesty\post and reminding me the importance of heads up. Also like the reply about 10 second rule for cockpit activities.


RV8 Flying since 2007
RV10 in construction (Fuselage)
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:01 PM
Capt Capt is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 51

Another philosophy that a single pilot can adopt when under such a work load is to not conduct any non essential activities whilst within say 500 ft of an expected capture altitude, whether that be on auto pilot or being hand flown. Much like the Airlines do that usually limit their heads down activities (away from the watching the PFD)in the last 1000ft, this higher limit is due the higher ROD in a pressurized machine. The clue was the 1000ft to go to Alt chime.

It's all food for thought & makes us all reevaluate what we take for granted inside a cockpit when under certain higher work load times.
Technology has exploded in the light A/C field & makes it all exciting but in some ways it has also taken away the initial reason why we fly such basic machines in the first place, to have fun looking outside in the most simplistic way

Personally I don't have any fancy stuff in my own plane (old school, round dials, basic) other than an iPad which I only activate when going x country, my professional flying is a diff matter as I have no choice:-)

Last edited by Capt : 06-19-2017 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:49 PM
RV7A Flyer's Avatar
RV7A Flyer RV7A Flyer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: US
Posts: 1,273

I think one other take-away here would be to ensure that every change of a system "state" is *confirmed* prior to moving to the next step, whatever that is. Whether it's dialing in a frequency, changing a target altitude, changing the AP mode, etc., make the change, *confirm* the change is in the system, is correct and has been accepted, then go to the next step.

I think we get a little too reliant on a quick button press or a knob turn or what have you, and we expect that it is all correct and our attention goes elsewhere too soon, sometimes.

Good lesson, and thanks for sharing the experience...
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