Airmanship is a combination of skills and knowledge applied to managing a controlled flight in all its aspects. Airmanship covers a broad range of desirable behaviors and abilities in a pilot.  It is not simply a measure of skill or technique, but also a measure of a pilot’s awareness of the aircraft and its crew, the environment in which it operates, and of his own capabilities.

Airmanship can be defined as:

  • A sound knowledge of the basic principles of flight.

If you know a Cessna 150 flies then you know how every thing with fixed wing flies. Not the system, just the basic principles – they are the same.

  • Very good knowledge of the aircraft you are flying at the moment.

Know the limits of the aircraft, so you don‘t go beyond them. Every system can either save you a lot of trouble or get you a in lot of them.  Know which limits you can exceed in case of an emergency and which will cause irreversible damage if you come near to.

  • Navigational awareness

You must always be aware of where you are, what are you doing there and where are you headed to.

  • Environmental knowledge and awareness

Know the environment you are flying in. The airspace and its procedures or differences, the metrological environment and its characteristics. The terrain and its characteristics.

  • Situational awareness

You must be aware of the situation you are in and the priorities for action. A red ENG FIRE light doesn’t mean a thing if you are headed for the mountain two miles in front of you.

  • Crew Resource Management

The ability to mobilize the resources in the crew. No matter what the outside environment is the work environment must be calm, the priorities must be set and everybody should work to achieve the goals.

  • The exercise of sound judgment that results in optimal operational safety and efficiency.

Those are the musts of airmanship. There are other skills which are important when working as a proffesional pilot, due to the economics based work environment.

A good airman is one that is cost-effective he knows its plane performance and aims at best efficiency, without compromising safety.

A good airman is one that is easy to work with. When working in friendly environment the only workload comes from the job itself and nothing else, and is usually easy to deal with. When working in aggressive cockpit environment the greater workload comes from within the cockpit.

Copyright Y. Trayanov 05.08.2012

  1. Very simple and practical explanation 🙂 you named the basics requirements for good airmanship very precisely 🙂

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