Image above: iStock/sesame In our profession, multitasking is out of the question. While many in the vertical flight industry claim multitasking as one of their many extraordinary skills, they, too, suffer from the same human vulnerability to distraction as the rest of us. So how do helicopter pilots routinely juggle a series of highly complex tasks that enable them to maintain a flawless instrument scan or a perfectly steady hover while lives hang in the balance? You practice, of course. Others might offer up lifesaving technical solutions like stability augmentation or autopilot. Training and technology advancements remain critical to our industry, but neither can replace disciplined risk management and aeronautical decision-making (ADM) when it comes to saving lives. Juggling Priorities When our brains switch between demanding tasks, how much cognitive ability remains for us to process new information, particularly if it disrupts our flight, or “important mission”? This is when we’re most vulnerable. The solution many in the industry have discovered is meticulous flight planning with an obsessive focus on risk management. We service our ADM “engine”—our brain—well before takeoff to automate many dynamic risk-based decisions. Then, when we’re necessarily focused on a complex flight task and we encounter a

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