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Astronaut Worries About Skills of Today’s Pilots | Aviation International News

Astronaut Worries About Skills of Today’s Pilots | Aviation International News:

Astronaut Worries About Skills of Today’s Pilots

Former astronaut Gene Cernan said Bombardier’s Safety Standdown has made him more honest in confronting his own shortcomings as a pilot.
November 5, 2012, 3:39 PM
Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan said he worries about the flying skills of pilots today. The type-rated Learjet 45 pilot, who was the last man to walk on the moon, commented to AIN at last month’s Bombardier Safety Stand-down in Wichita, “I worry about the complacency that technology is imposing on pilots. Pilots tend to become overwhelmed with all the lights on these glass panels and forget they still have a responsibility to fly the airplane.”
Cernan believes that part of the solution is pilots being honest about their flying skills and their shortcomings. Reflecting on his own skill level, he said, “Just because you've gone to the moon doesn't mean you’re exempt from making stupid decisions. I've made a lot of them in my life.” Cernan, who now flies a Cessna 421, hopes honesty about his own vulnerabilities will allow other pilots to see their own a little more clearly. He said his 421 has a glass PFD and MFD and terrain avoidance technology that’s “supposed to keep me from killing myself; but if that technology fails, I still need to fly the airplane and miss that mountaintop.”
He added that attending the Safety Stand-down has forced him to be more introspective when he flies. “It’s easy to preach and a little more difficult to do,” he said. “I always feel a little guilty now when I’m flying if I take a shortcut that I told someone else not to try. I call it the stand-down effect.”

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