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64 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2017 by Tim Haag CONSULTANT Don't Lose Sight of Who You Really Are TIM'S TAKEAWAYS "Aviate. Navigate. Communicate!" When I was learning to fly, my instructor pounded this pilot's credo into me so much that it would pop up in my dreams at night. "Aviate, navigate, communicate" is a phrase that remind pilots the order of priorities when flying. Com - municating is important, but not if it interferes with knowing where you are and where you are going. Navigating is the second most important, but not if it interferes with flying the plane, and aviating is the most important of all. In other words, don't allow yourself to be distracted with navigating and communicating so that you make a mistake in flying the plane. As much as I would like to say that I never made a mistake in this area, I would by lying to you if I did. On one extended solo flight, I got distracted trying to figure out the landing pattern of the airstrip below me. Since I was used to the flat countryside around my home airport, geographical obstacles were the last thing on my mind. I should have been paying more attention to my surroundings, however, as the local terrain was much more interesting then what I was familiar with. There was a riv- er, some meadows, a small town and the free- way. Oh, and there were also several hills close around the airstrip as well. I was in a gentle turn after crossing the air- strip at the mid-point of the runway in order to align myself for the correct landing pattern. I was also talking on the radio to alert local air traffic of my intentions, and I was keeping an eye out for any other planes in the area. It's not that I was ignoring what was right in front of me; I had just never been in the position before where I had to dodge a mountain. All of a sud- den, I realized that the ground was beginning to rush up at me because I had allowed myself to get too close to one of those hills.

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