I was at a seminar with 28 very experienced instructors last summer and the speaker asked someone to define AIRMANSHIP, no one volunteered, perhaps they were all shy just like me! The definition I have always used is:
Airmanship is to take the safest course of action in any given set of circumstances
Airmanship separates the superior pilot from the average pilot but its not just about experience and ‘hands on’ flying skills but also consistent wise decision making based on knowledge of yourself, the aircraft and its systems and the environment you are flying in.
■ Effective airmanship seems to be highly related to a good level of experience.
■ There are a number of models of airmanship, but all agree that judgement, control and discipline underpin effective airmanship.
■ Airmanship can be improved by a dedication to self-improvement.
The EASA (pause for laughter) definition of airmanship is:
THE CONSISTENT USE OF GOOD JUDGEMENT AND WELL DEVELOPED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ATTITUDES TO ACCOMPLISH FLIGHT OBJECTIVES
We cannot consider airmanship today without also considering , Threat & Error Management (TEM) and Situational Awareness (SA). Unfortunately although both of these aspects of airmanship are supposed to be part of the PPL syllabus they tend to get overlooked, mainly because they have evolved directly from airline training and are thus seen as not being relevant to PPL leisure pilots. Nothing could be further from reality, in fact TEM and SA are more relevant to PPL flying because it is this arena that most pilots have the least amount of hands on skill and recency and need the SA & TEM safety net even more.
More about SA & TEM soon