"Airmanship is 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 is 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, environment, team and risk."[1]

The Foundations of Airmanship


Knowledge of Aircraft

Deep understanding of aircraft sub-systemsemergency procedurescockpit automationaircraft flight characteristics and operating limits.

Knowledge of Environment

Knowledge of Risk

Understanding the risks to discipline, skill and proficiency, knowledge, Situational Awareness, judgement, aircraft, self.


Physical Skills

  • Flying skills
  • Navigation skills
  • Instrument flying
  • Emergency handling / recovery
  • Survival

Flight Deck Management Skills

  • Avoiding the pitfalls of automation (over-reliance, complacency, bias)
  • Information management skills

Communication Skills

  • Vigilance in monitoring communications
  • Using appropriate communication (phraseology, clear, concise)
  • Active listening - Inquiry through communications

Cognitive Skills

  • Understanding and maintaining situational awareness
  • Problem solving / decision-making skills
  • Understanding and managing workload
  • Self-assessment

Team Skills

  • Performance monitoring
  • Leadership/initiative
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Co-ordination & decision-making
  • Team communication and SA


Hazardous Attitudes

  • Understanding the five main hazardous attitudes, the antidotes and the impact on airmanship:
Hazardous Attitudes
Hazardous Attitude Antidote
Anti-Authority: "The regulations are for someone else") "Follow the rules. They are that way for a reason."
Impulsivity: "I must act now, there's no time" "Not so fast. Think first"
Invulnerability: "It won't happen to me" "It could happen to me"
Macho: "I'll show you. I can do it" "Taking chances is foolish"
Resignation: "What's the use?" "Never give up. There is always something I can do"

Self Improvement

  • Developing the motivation needed for life-long learning
  • Understanding the requirement for self-assessment in flight.
  • Developing the will to achieve performance excellence

Discipline in terms of:

  • Flight Preparation
  • Flight discipline (e.g. vigilance/look-out, maintaining situational awareness, operational and regulatory policy)
  • Knowledge and skills maintenance
  • Post-flight evaluation
  • Self-discipline (managing stress, managing attitudes)

Related OGHFA Articles

Further Reading


  1. ^ Redefining Airmanship. Tony Kern. 1996.

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