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"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-systems, emergency procedures, cockpit automation, aircraft 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"


Understanding the values and principles embodied in airmanship.

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.