Friday, September 07, 2018
A Recent Lincoln Course - People Look But They Don't See


People Look But They Don't See

Did you notice that one of our pilots was standing with his back to the camera?  No?  Well you won't be the only one.  The human brain is conditioned to make very quick appraisals and calculations, because we were built to be conditioned to a fight or flight response system. Our brains take short cuts to get to answers it thinks it can rely on.  In aviation this auto-response can be deadly.

Lip Service

Time and again pilots say the correct response to an item on a checklist without actually checking that the item is in the correct position or status.  This is called paying lip service to checks.  It can be deadly!  The classic in drone flying is taking off with a lens cap  or a gimbal lock still fitted.  This does not sound too disastrous, but what about taking off with the wrong return to home height set and the aircraft clatters into an obstacle or person on its way home.  What if the aircraft gets airborne in sports mode and automatic sense and avoid is not enabled?  You start to see now why our brains are not helping us avoid human factors mishaps.


At Flyby Technology we understand these factors and teach our pilots to anticipate them.  If our pilots start a checklist and miss a step, they are taught to start that checklist from the beginning.  But it is not just checklists where this human factor can catch us out.  How many of you fly through the screen instead of looking at the aircraft?  While you are looking at the screen all manner of other things could be happening.  Let's take flying through the screen as an example and run it along a little further.  How many of you set alarms for battery percentages but do not adjust it for wind or temperature?  A one size fits all approach.  What happens if that setting is missed out after a firmware change?  You are anticipating an alarm at a certain percentage and it never comes!  If you run a checklist properly and never have standard settings, you stand a better chance of SEEING when you look.  You will notice that the setting has been dropped; you will then hopefully follow other pilot behaviours and check to see what else has changed.

We teach you to fly looking at the drone, not the screen.  We teach you to think before you look at the screen for information.  What am i looking for?  Where on the screen will it be?  What am I expecting to see? This way the error will be picked up, you won't run out of battery, you will notice you are in an inappropriate mode....etc etc etc.

Limitation Operation Indication

We also teach you to follow this mantra:

  • Limitation
  • Operation
  • Indication

What selection do I intend to make?  Is it appropriate for this stage of flight? What am I expecting to get from the intended action? We then make the selection.  We then think.....Where on the screen will the indication be?  What am I expecting to see?  What will I do if it is not the correct indication?

The human brain was designed for hunter gatherers and not pilots.  We have to work around its limitations, but we have to know those limitations exist.  Train properly, look and SEE!