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CRM in Training

by Darren Smith, CFII/MEI
Getting the Most from Your Flight Training, September 2003
CFIDarren Newsletter, April 19, 2011
Navigation:  Fundamentals of CRM | Resolving Conflict | Workload Management | Checklist Usage | Briefings & Callouts | Training CRM  | Error Management | What are you doing over there? | FOTA | New Captain Series

I believe if a student & instructor could read each others’ mind, it would dramatically improve the learning process in flight training.  Unfortunately, I have yet to develop the skill and find myself often wondering, what exactly was the student thinking?  Sometimes they don't even know.   

Many private pilot curricula introduce topics on Crew Resource Management (CRM) but present it as a concept for large airliners rather than what should exist between student and flight instructor.  Generally, CRM is a discipline aimed to study and improve human factors in order to minimize and possibly eliminate pilot error related accidents and incidents.

As such, a system of  “Training CRM” could eliminate the CFI guesswork during the typical training session.   Training CRM requires the student to be taught new skills and then exhibit them from that point forward.  The benefits are tremendous:  maximizing lesson efficiency, airline style skill development, and most importantly: incident avoidance in flight training.   New CRM skills must be developed in five major areas:  checklist usage, collision avoidance, clearances, maneuvers, and error correction.   The following is suggested call-outs which are initiated by the student.  For CRM call-outs between two pilots, see related article.
  Read the article What are you doing over there? if you want to know why this is so important.

Checklist Usage
  • Checklists must be identified with status:  “After Landing Checklist Complete”
  • Checklists are read aloud:  “Preflight inspection, COMPLETE… etc.”
  • Checklist items confirmed verbally and physically.  “Mixture, RICH” [student confirms it making physical contact with control]
Collision Avoidance
  • Clear before turning:  [look right] “Clear right” [turning]
  • Clearing turns:  “Clearing turns…  Clear left [turning] Clear right [turning]”
  • Base to final:  “long final clear, runway clear”
  • Clearing before entering runway:  “Clear on downwind, clear on base, both sides, clear final. Runway clear.” 
  • One last chance before entering runway: “Clear final”
Clearances – always confirm clearance limits
  • “090 4,000”
  • “Clear to land 27”
  • “Hold short of 27”
  • “Taxi to 18, Intersection B departure”
  • “Line Up & Wait 36”
  • “Cleared for takeoff 23”
  • “080 2000 until established, Cleared ILS 5”
  • “Cleared into Class Bravo”
  • "Two thousand for three thousand"
Aircraft Configuration
  • Announce Autopilot ON, Autopilot OFF
  • Flaps 10 [student moves flap lever to 10 degrees flaps]
Take off
  • “Oil temp & pressure in the green at full throttle”
  • “Airspeed alive… 40… 50… rotate”
  • “Positive rate, no more usable runway, gear up”
  • “Climb Vy 73”
  • “Cruise climb 90”
Cross Country
  • Climbs & Descents:  “One thousand to go, one hundred to go” or "Three thousand for three thousand five hundred"
  • Use the collision avoidance call outs.
  • Traffic advisories:  repeat the traffic advisory.
Instrument approaches
  • “Localizer alive… localizer captured”
  • “Glideslope alive… glideslope captured”
  • “Marker beacon acquired”
  • “4.5 DME”
  • Using any navaid:  “Tuned, Identified, Verified, Oriented”
  • "Minimums.... Landing" or "Minimums... Runway not in sight... Go around"
Transfer of Controls
  • "Please take the aircraft, 230 and five thousand"
  • "I have the aircraft 230 and 5,000"
  • "You have the aircraft"
Error Correction - student catches error
  • Altitude:   “three thousand five hundred”  [student climbs proper altitude].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Altitude."
  • Heading:   “360” [student turns to announced/assigned heading].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Heading."
  • Airspeed:   “70 knots”  [student corrects to proper airspeed].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Airspeed."
  • Bank angle:  “45 degrees”  [student corrects to proper 45 degree bank].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Bank angle."
  • Rate of turn:  “Standard rate”  [student corrects to standard rate turn].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Standard Rate."
  • Rate of climb:  "500 feet per minute”  [student corrects to standard rate turn].  If flight instructor catches it, calls "Climb Rate."
It might be difficult for some students to catch on to this kind of system.  Even further, its possible that this system might not be useful for some students.  However, an important learning technique is to have the student vocalize their actions in the cockpit.  Instructors will appreciate the “play-by-play” of a student's thinking process because it provides an opportunity for immediate correction.  The other benefit of vocalizing allows us to store the information in our “verbal memory” until we need it.  This is particularly useful to keep us on task, especially with heading/altitude assignments, clearances, and traffic advisories.  Teach your students, "If it wasn't called out, it wasn't done."

Teaching briefings and callouts are an important part of training.  Early exposure to passenger, takeoff, and approach briefings help organize the student's learning process.  Repetition ensures the lesson sticks.  Many examples of these briefings are available on the web (including my web site).  Any student on the path to an airline career will never forget the lessons you taught, and how easy it became to transition into airline flying.  Ultimately, "Training CRM" improves student-instructor communication in the cockpit and is used to eliminate deviations and incidents.

"Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle." -- Igor Ivan Sikorsky (1889-1972)

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