Cognitive lockup during approach

 

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Unstable approaches account for a high number of accidents during approach and landing. A large number could have been avoided with a decision to go-around. Studies have shown that operators of machines and even pilots are susceptible to what is called the Cognitive lockup. As per the definition, humans tend to deal with disturbances sequentially. Which means that they deal with one task at a time even if the subsequent task involves more significant risk. The pressure of task completion is proven to trigger cognitive lockup.

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Unstable approaches account for a high number of accidents during approach and landing. A large number could have been avoided with a decision to go-around. Studies have shown that operators of machines and even pilots are susceptible to what is called the Cognitive lockup. As per the definition, humans tend to deal with disturbances sequentially. Which means that they deal with one task at a time even if the subsequent task involves more significant risk. The pressure of task completion is proven to trigger cognitive lockup.

On an approach to land, the pilot is under the pressure of task completion, time pressure and framing effect. In this situation, if an approach is destabilized, the pilot should ideally carry out a go-around and reattempt a landing. This involves switching to a second task, which holds higher importance. The pilot is unable to do so due to cognitive lockup since the current task is nearing completion.

Training and framing of the task are two ways of eliminating cognitive lockup.

 

Author: Capt. Amit Singh

I think therefore I am https://www.linkedin.com/in/traintofly/ Airlines Operations and Safety balance expert. A former head of operations/training and safety of successful LCC's in India. An experienced member of the startup teams of these airlines has hands-on experience in establishing airlines systems and processes.

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