Effective decision making to support a sequence of actions.
The care and attitude that you bring to the conduct of your flying. It encompasses consideration for your passengers, care of your aircraft, courtesy to other airspace and airfield users, and the self-discipline to prepare and conduct your flights in the most professional manner possible. It is not just flying skill that distinguishes a good pilot; it is his or her standard of airmanship.
A personal and situational management state required to allow a human being to enter and exit in safety, an environment that they were not naturally designed to inhabit. The consistent use of good judgment and well-developed skills to accomplish flight objectives. This consistency is founded on a cornerstone of uncompromising flight discipline and developed through systematic skill acquisition and proficiency. A high state of situational awareness completes the airmanship picture and is obtained through knowledge of one's self, aircraft, team environment and risk.
Ultimately Ebbage and Spenser concluded that airmanship could be defined as:
A personal state that enables air crews to exercise sound judgment, display uncompromising flight discipline and demonstrate skillful control of an aircraft and a situation. It is maintained by continuous self-improvement and a desire to perform optimally at all times.
My first flight instructor — an old C-54 driver — summed up airmanship this way:
Know your airplane; know what's going on around you; fly the airplane; always leave yourself an out. (Personally, I like this one.)
So, what's the relevance of all of this to this month's accident report? Only that we're seeing far too many just like this one. Change the names, N-numbers and locations and you'll find a half dozen just like it each year. So, review the details; give this type of accident some thought and share those thoughts with your friends in the business pilot community — especially those who may be flying high-performance light aircraft in conditions that generate high workloads and require high performance of the pilot.
A Beechcraft 58 Baron crashed on April 22, 2011, at about 1213 local time while executing a missed approach at Phillip Billard Municipal Airport (TOP) in Topeka, Kan. The aircraft was being operated under FAR Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and his three passengers died from injuries sustained at impact and in the fire that followed.
The cross-country flight had originated at 1045 that morning from Scott City, Kan., Municipal Airport (TQK). The 35-year-old pilot filed IFR and the trip proceeded normally under instrument conditions until it reached the Topeka area. At 1153, the METAR for TOP was wind, 010 deg. at 9 kt.; visibility, 10 sm; ceiling, 500 ft. overcast; temperature, 55F; dew point, 53 deg.; altimeter, 29.64 — with the following remark: variable ceiling height, 400 to 800 ft.