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Fly/Sail: An Action-Packed Fun Weekend

Posted By Clare Stead, 05 April 2019

Fly/Sail Weekend – 23/24 June 2018

Piece by Sally Pawson, originally published in September/October 2018 edition of Navigation News.

The weather had held! We awoke to brilliant sunshine and low winds – just what the aviators wanted but not necessarily the yachts! Four boats arrived in Hornets, Gosport consisting of two yachts - Mischief 2 and Darwin Star, a catamaran - Spirit of Scott Bader which is part of Sailability International and a motorboat - Charlie 2. John Cairns and Paul Bryans kindly ferried the mariners to Dedalius airfield at Lee on the Solent where four planes had arrived (a Piper Warrior, a Wassmer Europa, a Jodel and another plane flown by Graham Purchase). We all met up over lunch and then once the aviators decided who was taking whom, they took to the skies with their mariner passengers. The mariners had a fantastic time flying over the Solent across to Newport on the Isle of Wight where we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the 50th Isle of Wight Festival that was taking place all weekend. Then we headed South towards St Catherine’s Point and out to sea bearing across Freshwater Bay, banking over the Needles to take photos before heading East across Hurst Castle, Beaulieu, Calshot and Southampton Water, back to Lee on the Solent.



Once everyone had enjoyed their flying adventure, John and Paul ferried us all back to Hornets for drinks and nibbles on Charlie 2 where everyone was pleased to see Mike Highwood joining us. With 17 aviators and mariners aboard Charlie 2 it was rather cosy, all getting to know each other extremely well! When there were no more nibbles left and the wine was running dry, we headed for the Hornets restaurant for supper and more drinks - after all it had been a very hot day. Having satiated our hunger and slated our thirst, berths were found on the boats for all the aviators and once all the bags had reached the right owners we all settled down for a well-earned sleep.

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again with low winds. We were (mostly) up early bright eyed and bushy tailed despite the copious amounts of alcohol the previous evening. Obviously this lot have had plenty of practice! Mischief 2 and the Spirit of Scott Bader departed at 08:30 sailing to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Wootton Creek on the island for brunch. Unfortunately, Darwin Star unable to join us, had to return to his local mooring. There wasn’t a great deal of wind but the aviators enjoyed their sail. Charlie 2 left at 09:20 arriving to a welcoming committee just 20 minutes later. We were made very welcome at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and ate a hearty brunch outside in the sunshine, washed down with copious amounts of tea and coffee.



We were limited on time in Wootton Creek as it dries out so we all left around 11:30 bidding fond goodbyes to those heading home. The rest returned to Hornets to disgorge the aviators so that John could take them back to the Dedalius for their flights home.

It had been an absolutely fabulous weekend and certainly the best Fly/Sail weekend I had been on. There was never a dull moment and it was like meeting old friends for the first time. I met some really lovely people who I hope will become firm friends in the future. Lucy from the Spirit of Scott Bader subsequently emailed me saying it was possibly the best weekend of her life. Praise indeed to everyone who took part.

Roll on the next Solent Fly/Sail weekend!


Would you like to join us for the next Fly/Sail? Click here for more details about Fly/Sail 2019.

Click on the image below to download the poster for the event.



Tags:  fly/sail  fun  general aviation  small craft group  social  solent 

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An introduction to decision making and flight route selection

Posted By Elena Psyllou, 20 December 2018

by Elena Psyllou

 

Every day we make thousands decisions; some are unconscious and others need extra effort. For instance, on my way to work, every morning I get on the Bakerloo line, change at Embankment and get off at South Kensington. But when the service suffers from severe delays, that is when I need to change my route and find the shortest and most comfortable journey to my destination.


Decision theory has gathered interest across disciplines from economics to engineering and social science. In aviation, there have been studies into the decision making of pilots. Models were then developed in an attempt to improve the design of the systems that are routinely used whilst promoting awareness across individuals of the complexity of human cognitive activity. Models like FOR-DEC and SAFE (read more here) have been used in pilot’s training and they outline the main steps of the decision making which are seek information, assess the options, make a decision, take the action.


Moving beyond such simplified versions, extensive research has been conducted in order to better understand the rationale behind the decisions and elicit the contribution of key factors such the expertise, the conditions decisions are made and the quality of information.
Research in naturalistic decision making has shown that expertise plays a key role in responding to critical situations where time is limited or information is uncertain and unavailable. Aviation and evacuation of buildings are great examples of such challenging environments in which critical decisions need to be made in a speedy manner and be of an appropriate nature.


In the 90s Gary Klein developed such a naturalistic decision making model, known as the Recognition Primed Decision (RPD) model that describes how experienced individuals make decisions in time-pressured situations where they are not able to generate and assess a range of options. The model was developed based on fire-fighters and pilots. Individuals use their expertise to find a satisfactory decision/action rather than that which is the best. They start this dynamic decision making by assessing the situation based on patterns of cues. This situational awareness activates mental models and action scripts that the individual has available from prior experience. Under such conditions, a successful decision relies on a correct assessment of the current situation, an adequate utilisation of cues, effective evaluation measures and of course, the experience of the individual.

The RPD model shows that the analytical approach of evaluating every possible course of action in order to reach the best course of action is time consuming and in safety critical industries like aviation, delays can be catastrophic. There are various ways that expertise is transformed to be easily retrieved. Research in pilot decision making (such as O'Hare et al. 2009, and Hunter et al. 2009), pilots code their previous experience into rules and cases and they retrieve those during their decision making. Rules are conditions that need to be met, for example, select a route that is straight, direct and above the minimum safe altitude. Cases are representations of events that they have previously experienced, for instance, the weather changes fast along a certain route and a diversion is needed.


Traditionally, pilots use paper charts to select the route and do the calculations for weather adjustments and fuel. Today, apps on our smartphones and tablets tell them the fastest and most direct route and with limited mental effort needed by the pilot. Similarly, route planner apps for urban travel such as CityMapper and Google maps suggest routes based on a series of computations by their algorithms. The apps not only show the flight path but they also present the trip duration and other relevant information. Nevertheless, the user who can be a pilot, a pedestrian, a motorist, remains the person that makes the decision which route to take and at what time.


Research conducted with recreational pilots and the use of route planning apps for air travel in the UK, Norway and Finland at Imperial College revealed four types of uses of these apps:


1. “YES MAN” The pilot accepts the suggested straight direct route and will make modifications in-flight, if needed, i.e. tactic decision making. A previous plan saved on the app might be used.
2. “HOLD ON A MINUTE” The pilot inspects the route and make any adjustments that will make the flight more pleasant, more cost effective and safer using rules and cases pre-flight
3. “ASSIST” The pilot uses the app to seek information, make a few calculations, e.g. regarding the weather, or see previous flight routes that are saved on the app
4. “TRUST ME” The pilot does not use the app and relies on his/her ability to remember and seek support from other sources.


It was further revealed that the pilots use the app differently based on the features of the route. In particular, for routes that are frequently used, pilots do not necessarily study every parameter (YES MAN or ASSIST) whilst routes that are flown for the first time, more time will be spent to review the airspace and weather (HOLD ON A MINUTE). Individual factors also affect the decision making and the use of the apps. In particular, pilots who want to encounter the latest weather update will do further modifications in-flight instead of pre-flight. Such en-route decision can also lead to issues such as loss of situation awareness in that pilots fail to holistically comprehend the situation in such dynamic conditions aviation operations and can lead to loss of situation awareness.


Similarities on how the route is selected using the apps are expected between pilots and any type of commuter. Sometimes we rely on the app especially if we are strangers in the area and other times we select routes we drove before. Next time you use the route planner app, as a pedestrian, a driver or pilot, think of how they contribute to your decision on what direction to follow and identify yourself which of the four types of users you are.

Tags:  Decision Making  Flight Route Selection  GANG  General Aviation  Navigation  Pilot 

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