FutUR3737
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Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:12 pm

Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:15 pm

Hello...I'm new

I want to take a career as a pilot in the future. I am currently in the UK, 17 years old and wish to attend a flight school in the next 2 years after my college. However, I struggle with something called slow processing speed. This means it takes me quite a while to process information (intellectually) after receiving it. I produce excellent results on timeless tasks however when timed, I have to know the activity by constant practice or I struggle.....I feel as though, as a pilot, you have to have somewhat quick thinking. I have to take notes of everything, break down each statement until it clicks. For example, I can't imagine being in a cockpit, receiving messages from ATC, looking at my plans as well as statistics on instruments at the same time etc...I guess what I'm saying is, Is this the ideal career for me? I want to know wether I'm eligible to fly any plane whatsoever in the future with such barriers. Any accounts of people with a career (or anyone's suggestion at all) who have gone through this. Is it something they test for when I take my Medical? I wanted to start paying for flight school and I love aviation however coming to realistic terms, having only tried simulators as a solo-pilot it has brought doubts. Will a companion cushion this experience? Sorry this wasn't as detailed as I'm in a rush.

Thx
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 17965
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Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:14 am

This is a complex question and while I don't have an answer I have some random musings.

You will be asked to integrate a lot of information and make decisions in real time. I suppose it depends on how much you can internalise by study and practice, and how this can help you handle unexpected situations. No pilot can handle an airplane without practice and study, so it may be that you just need to take it to a higher level. I don't know.

One of the issues many students have when transitioning to multi-crew airliners is that they are reacting too quickly. I must have heard "you need to slow down" dozens of times during transition training. And while I am now objectively faster at doing things than I was at that time, it feels subjectively slower since my brain is much further "ahead" of my actions. Practice and experience.

There are some emergencies that require fast action, for example explosive decompression. But here again, once the situation is recognised we are required to perform initial actions from memory. We practice, review and drill the actions hundreds or thousands of times while chair flying. So even though the actions are "fast", we aren't really "deciding" anything apart from recognising what has happened. Only once initial actions are completed do we start looking at the bigger picture. And we don't want to rush.

Talking to ATC while flying and navigating is something every student struggles with in the beginning. It is a matter of practice. ATC is confusing at first but after a while your can predict what is going to be said, or at least know which one of several options.

I would suggest taking a few trial lessons at a local flying school. Be open about your condition and see where things take you. Flying a 172 is rather far from an airliner, but you can still get the feel of aviating, navigating and communicating. You can perform approaches and so on.

They don't test for decision making during a medical.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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TOGA10
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Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:21 am

Excellent response from Starlionblue. One thing I'd like to add is that major flight schools in the U.K. will have extensive testing before you would be allowed to join them, they will check personality, intelligence and all sorts of mental skills. If you pass those, you met the requirements set and 'should' be able to graduate a few years later. I can only advice you to talk to these schools. Also, think wisely which one you want to join, if 3 of them say no, and 1 says yes, be very careful. In the end these are commercial companies and there is no guarantee of a job in the end. Best of luck!
The natural function of the wing is to soar upwards and carry that which is heavy up to the place where dwells the race of gods. More than any other thing that pertains to the body it partakes of the nature of the divine. - Plato
 
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zeke
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Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:35 am

Ok firstly none of us were born with flying skills, it takes education and experience.

A lot of the early flying training is putting theory into practice.

Multitasking an ATC clearance, frequency change and flying at the same time is only possible after experience. You get used to processing the information.

I would suggest to take up some gliding, it is very good for building up flying skills, with a lower workload cockpit environment. If you can handle gliding and simple procedures like a tow rope failure you will be fine in powered flight IMHO.

Gliding also costs a lot less than powered flight, and if flying as a career does not pan out for you, you can have gliding as a sport during your other career.

Upside down at the top of a loop of a brilliant blue day in a glider is just magic.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
VSMUT
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Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:47 pm

FutUR3737 wrote:
I have to know the activity by constant practice or I struggle.....I feel as though, as a pilot, you have to have somewhat quick thinking


You can practice pretty much everything in aviation, even emergency situations. If practice and repetition works, thats 90% or more of flying out of the equation. Radio calls more or less follow a certain standard all the way, and all the various tasks and flows related to flying the aircraft are again repeated on each and every flight.

One thing you could do is to teach yourself how to fly a raw data ILS approach without the flight director. Get hold of FSX and try to see if you can learn how to do approaches, that should give a basic indication on your ability to process multiple sources of information while flying.

And finally, while I know nothing about slow processing speed, symptoms diagnosed in the school age can be wildly misleading. They are often based on a persons ability to function in a school environment only, where you have to spend you time with tasks that you didn't choose or care for, together with teachers and pupils whom you never chose to be together with. Pulling levers, yokes and pushing buttons is a very different thing from browsing through theoretical schoolbooks and doing home assignments. Flying schools, cockpits and airports are as far removed from the school environment as one could imagine.
 
FutUR3737
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:12 pm

Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:13 pm

Thx for the responses folks. Read em all, great advice and I do have more than enough years to practice . Cleared things up for me. ,will archive them to remind myself. I presume it's just a lack of confidence to an extent, therefore I ended up overthinking . Hopes are up! Thank you very much
 
Flighty
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:07 am

Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:50 pm

Good luck. A key pilot skill is to be able to evaluate an unexpected condition and synthesize / prioritize your base knowledge, experiences, and current relevant information. I have to say this would be a challenge if, in fact, you have a deficit in that area.

For myself, I knew early on that being a pilot requires reliability, conservatism, and conscientiousness. That's really not me. I like take a radical approach, take risks, see where the limits are. In my work (I am not a pilot, just a digital worker), mistakes get cleaned up and then it's all good. As you get older, keep evaluating how your talents can best be used in this world. It is not fun to operate totally outside of your competency. But you are still too young to stop trying new things.
 
Aspiration
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Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:52 am

Hey there,

I'm going through the same struggles ... I can't see myself doing anything else, nothing brings out the fire in me like aviation does.

I have aspirations of becoming a test pilot; I also need a Class I Medical like all commercial pilots, but I have doubts about whether this goal is realistic for me.

I love engineering and the concepts I am learning in school, but when it comes to computations, I always finish last. Whenever it comes to following a multi-step procedure from my manager at work, I always need repetition. There are times when my manager is telling me something, but I don't hear it since I can only focus on so many things. Problem-solving wise though, I'd like to say I'm quite good at it. There are also times when people I work with don't have to repeat themselves as much since I can figure things out on my own without all the given information.

I have tried ILS approaches in DCS (Digital Combat Simulator) and was absolutely thrilled with how involved and complex it was ... I actually found it quite addicting; with enough practice I was able to safely land the plane in night conditions + snow + heavy fog.


All things said, I am just as worried as you are OP, hope we get our question answered.

Currently having a hard time finding the motivation to do my engineering homework ... what's the point of designing something if you can't even fly it?
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 17965
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Slow processing speed (condition) and choosing to be a pilot

Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:45 am

If you want to be a test pilot, I imagine the military route will give you the biggest chance of reaching your goal, even if you don't become a test pilot in the military.

FutUR3737 wrote:
Thx for the responses folks. Read em all, great advice and I do have more than enough years to practice . Cleared things up for me. ,will archive them to remind myself. I presume it's just a lack of confidence to an extent, therefore I ended up overthinking . Hopes are up! Thank you very much


Confidence is a weird thing. And overthinking is common! :D

I don't know any pilot, or at least any pilot I respect, who hasn't struggled at least a little with self-confidence at one point or another. Not crippling doubts, mind you, just that niggling voice in your head that says "can I really do this"?

I think a large part of the doubts come from the fact that we push ourselves to a level where "the outcome is not in doubt", meaning that not only do we pass checks (and reality), but we pass them comfortably despite any errors we make in the process. In the process of getting to that point, we study aiming for perfection and fret that we are unable to achieve it. Our careers are riding on our study, our knowledge and our judgment. These are constantly tested.

Pilots who have no doubts whatsoever about their own ability worry me. That kind of person takes unnecessary risks and does not adequately mitigate against threats.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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