Single-Pilot Resource Management

Single Pilot Resource Management

Single-pilot resource management can be lonely and stressful

I flew single pilot for an air medical operation for over 10 years and I can promise you, it’s a very lonely place to be when things start to unravel. Looking at the empty seat next to you makes it abundantly clear that you are on your own and must make the next decision all by yourself. And sometimes you must make that decision instantly, especially when things start happening at lightning speed.

I often flew young children who were very sick or injured to trauma centers and the urge to get them to their destination was powerful. In fact, the med crews in the back were not allowed to discuss the patient status with the pilots because our management did not want the severity of the situation to dictate our go/no go decision process.

We all can examine our own safety procedures. Are you ready for contingencies? Do you have a backup plan and an escape route? Are you intimately familiar with the current weather and the forecast? And if anything changes, are you prepared to activate plan B in an instant?

Pilots who work as part of a crew have the luxury of asking the person in the other seat to check weather, get out approach plates, ask ATC for a reroute, etc., but in single-pilot operations, your hands are full for the entire flight. It’s critical to use single pilot resource management to the maximum extent possible and stay ahead of the airplane or helicopter. Your life depends on it.

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