The following errors have the potential to disrupt a pilot’s situational awareness and lead to unusual attitudes.
- Improper trimming techniques. A failure to keep the aircraft trimmed for level flight at all times can turn a momentary distraction into an emergency situation if the pilot stops cross-checking.
- Poor crew resource management (CRM) skills. Failure to perform all single-pilot resource management duties efficiently. A major cause of CRM-related accidents comes from the failure of the pilot to maintain an organized flight deck. Items that are being utilized for the flight portion should be neatly arranged for easy access. A disorganized flight deck can lead to a distraction that causes the pilot to cease cross-checking the instruments long enough to enter an unusual attitude.
- Fixation is displayed when a pilot focuses far too much attention on one instrument because he or she perceives something is wrong or a deviation is occurring. It is important for the instrument pilot to remember that a cross-check of several instruments for corroboration is more valuable than checking a single instrument.
- Attempting to recover by sensory sensations other than sight. Recovery by instinct almost always leads to erroneous corrections due to the illusions that are prevalent during instrument flight.
- Failure to practice basic attitude instrument flying. When a pilot does not fly instrument approach procedures or even basic attitude instrument flying maneuvers for long periods of time, skill levels diminish. Pilots should avoid flying in IMC if they are not proficient. They should seek a qualified instructor to receive additional instruction prior to entry into IMC.