Today’s Flight Plan
You’ve heard of the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People- What about the 7 Habits for Highly Effective Aviators? Aren’t we people, too? Extraordinary people even?
Today I share my thoughts on what these 7 Habits should be.
They are as follows:
- Transcend Control
- Tailored Training
- Continual Learning
- Flight Simulator Use
This is a short yet powerful episode. I think you’ll enjoy the thoughts and ideas. We’d love to hear your own thoughts!
Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.
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Sailing the seven cloudy seas, this is AviatorCast episode 62!
Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!
Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! My name is Chris Palmer. Being an aviator for me isn’t just about the beautiful vistas and the crafty flying machines. It’s about the challenge, bringing together knowledge, skill and perseverance to consistently and expertly navigate the world above. It’s not just about what happens inside or outside the aircraft I love, but also the challenge it offers my mind and the joy flying brings to my soul. Yes, yes, yes, I love aviation. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I am here on AviatorCast.
So welcome to this, the 62nd episode of AviatorCast. It is my pleasure to welcome you, to have you here, to bring you into our fold, to have you part of our flight crew today. What else can I say? I’m glad you’re here and I’m excited that we’re going to be talking a few great things. So, AviatorCast is a weekly podcast. We talk about great flight topics. We try to bring the flight simulation community in with real aviation, bring the two communities together. We have great interviews on the podcast with influential aviators out there. So if you go and you search kind of outside of this episode, this isn’t necessarily an interview episode but you’re going to see that we have a wide variety of topics and a wide variety of guests from all different walks of life in aviation. Outside of this episode and even this episode, I hope that you enjoy what you find here at AviatorCast.
On today’s episode, coming up here in a few minutes, we have the seven habits of highly effective aviators. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. I’m excited to share that with you guys. It’s going to be short and sweet but I think it will be effective and I think it will kind of snap you back on the right path if you’re getting strayed a little bit, so I hope you guys enjoy it.
But before we get to that, we have a review that came to us from iTunes. This came from Passed:). I’m guessing that maybe he passed a checkride or something but anyway, Passed:) from the USA he says, “Eight plus hours of yoke time while driving, five stars.” He said “Just subscribed a couple months ago and I love it. I was unable to fly to Northwest Ontario last weekend due to weather and I was forced to drive. Listened for three hours on the way up and the full eight hours on the way back. The closest I could get to flying. Great guests, great info and I look forward to all future episodes.”
So thank you Passed:) from USA. Really appreciate it. You got a free AviatorCast t-shirt. So I’m gonna send it to you. I’m not sure if you live in the USA or Canada, I know it says here that this came from the USA but I will even send it to Canada if that’s where you are. Really excited to do that so I’m gonna send an AviatorCast t-shirt your way, just make sure to reach out to me at email@example.com. It’s coming your direction buddy so I appreciate it. Glad you had such a good time on your drive listening to the show. I can’t take all the credit. Our guests are awesome, and all the people that make this AviatorCast podcast going from week to week, it’s them. It’s not necessarily just me. So I really appreciate it. Glad you’re enjoying the show.
And if you want to leave a review on iTunes, you can nab one of those AviatorCast t-shirts as well. So let’s not waste any more time guys. Let’s get into the seven habits of highly effective aviators. So here we go.
And now, the flight training segment…
Chris: Alright, so this week, I couldn’t line up a guest so I was trying to think what kind of quick topic could I share with everybody that would kind of just snap us back on the right direction, say “Hey, let’s get right back on the right path.” And I came up with this spin on seven habits for highly effective people. I said “You know, there have got to be seven habits for highly effective aviators so why don’t I talk about that. I’m sure I could come up with seven.” Now, there is probably more than seven but these are definitely the big ones that kind of jumped out to me right away that just screamed this is what really matters, this are kind of the overreaching things that as an aviator, you need to be highly effective, so that’s what I came up with.
So we’re just going to buzz through these one of the time. Again, there are seven of them. Let’s start with number one and that is “transcend control.” As pilots, we focus a lot on a perfect landing, a great maneuver or a well-executed stall. It’s been said that controlling the aircraft is only 10% of the job a pilot has and personally, I believe that’s true. There’s a lot more to it. So as pilots, we should be perfecting our control and maneuver skills to the point where they become mindless and instinctual. Then we can spend our time focusing on the other 90% of the work that really matters.
So keep this in mind as you are going through training and throughout your career. Truly, it’s not about the simple act of a good landing or a well-controlled maneuver although a sign of our skill and knowledge, those types of things, if you grease a landing or whatever, it’s just that. It’s just the sign of your skill and knowledge. So call this the type of the iceberg if you will. The skills at the controls are sometimes the only thing that shows to other people especially when it comes to passengers, but the rest of the iceberg underneath as you know is huge and it’s a huge mass of information and knowledge and decision-making and human factors and abilities and so on that you as a pilot have that really make up who you are. Again, it’s that 90% of who you really are.
A flight is composed of hundreds of decisions based on thousands of points of knowledge that you must know as a pilot so why then would we judge someone just based on one takeoff or one landing or one turn. First of all, we shouldn’t be judging ourselves too harshly on these little maneuvers, these little skills because although they’re important, they’re not that important. It’s not the big picture.
So what I’m trying to really articulate here is that if we get really good at controlling the aircraft, really good at those maneuvers and skills, they can become second nature for us and we can transcend above just that control of the airplane and transcend into a higher level of being as a pilot. So that’s it, that’s number one, transcend control.
Number two, tailored training. So here’s a thought for you whether you are a seasoned airline pilot or a brand new student. What if you sat down with your flight instructor and actually tailor the training to your specific needs, wants and desires? A good flight school would actually do this. You may even be able as an airline pilot to do this with your airline instructors there. You have pretty strict requirements based on what you need to do as an airline pilot but that doesn’t mean that you can’t tell your instructor “Hey, I usually have issues with this. Let’s talk a little bit about it” or you can study ahead of time, that sort of thing. This is applicable to all levels.
So here are some examples of tailored training. So as a student pilot, you could share your fears, your apprehensions and maybe even your goals as a pilot. And again, not any one path is the same to getting your license, so why not set out a plan that is specifically geared toward your goal? So that’s for a student pilot. As a private pilot, you should be training much more often than your BFR or your biannual flight review which is every two years. I personally believe that private pilot should be imposing a regular training schedule at an interval much more like airlines. So say six months recurrent training. Why not get that recurrent training? There’s a reason why even professional airline pilots, I mean, these guys are respected by us as just awesome aviators. There’s even a reason why these professional airline pilots need this recurrent training so why wouldn’t you as a private pilot?
So when you do go and actually do a BFR, say there’s that two-year interval or whatever or this self-imposed recurrent training that I’m talking about, don’t just work on the stuff that is required. You can go there and you can check out the boxes but you can meet the regulations and meet the requirements for the BFR by doing a wide variety of things. I mean, really what you have to go up and do is prove that you know what you’re doing still as a pilot and to get a refresher.
So rather than go up with your instructor and do all of kind of that wrote stuff, why not go up and actually tell your instructor “You know, these are my weak points,” or point out maybe some things that you always wanted to work on and practice those more. Or even places you haven’t gone before. Say you want to practice short field landings or soft field landings, you want to land on a grass strip or a gravel strip. Expanding your horizons during this time. All of those experiences help you become a better aviator.
So in a few points here, I’m going to talk about variety and you’re going to hear that in another one of the points and how important that is. And so that’s kind of what I am talking about here, is variety matters a lot when it comes to training and you can definitely work variety into your training plan.
Okay, so we talked about student pilot, we talked about private pilot a little bit. So as an airline pilot, going and flying in a GA aircraft is also not a bad idea. Many airline pilots actually hate the idea of flying in a single engine aircraft even though a lot of them obviously have to move up through those types of aircraft. They are used to flying various safe and well-maintained twin engine aircraft with a crew. It’s a very safe environment in the airlines. The statistics of accidents are just so low whereas in general aviation, they are still relatively higher or at least much higher than airlines.
So a lot of airline pilots don’t want to do this. They don’t want to go back to the basics basically because it’s outside of their comfort zone. So more and more it’s proving that airline pilots benefit from going back to the basics. While the large majority of airline pilots are professional and can get by without going back to the basics, many of the airline accidents happening these days are happening because of too much reliance on automation. And this is just something that is prevalent in the industry. There are those aviators out there, those airline pilots that are doing a great job making sure that they’re maintaining their handflying skills but then there are some airlines as we’ve seen in some accidents where it’s the mentality of I’ve said it many times on the show, gear up, flaps up, sports page. And it’s all about engaging the autopilots and it’s even mandated by company policy sometimes.
Getting back to the basics as an airline pilot, actually flying the airplane even if it’s your airliner, it’s technically legal in most cases where you can take control of the aircraft yourself depending on altitude. There is nothing wrong with handflying the airplane. Those skills, if not practiced will go away.
So all of these is just food for thought. Just little anecdotes about what you could do as a pilot in kind of those different phases that could help you out. So the question is, are you going to feed yourself the healthy aviation foods that will help you remain a strong-bodied aviator? So with that food for thought, are you going to eat those healthy foods? It’s a good question. So I encourage you to tailor your training to your specific needs and really think about things that you’ve never done that you would like to do now or things that you are maybe weak at and work on those and tailor your training. So that is number two.
Number three, kind of mixed in is mentorship. So one of the best things you can do in aviation is mentor someone else. Aviation, if you haven’t learned already, is a very big happy community, happy most of the time. This community is full of passionate aviators that have vastly different backgrounds and things that they would absolutely love to share. There’s a reason why hangar talk or standing around in a hangar and just talking about stories and thoughts and ideas is a powerful exercise in aviation. I’m almost starting to wonder if hangars were actually really built for hangar talk and not really for the airplanes. I think maybe that could be argued, the primary purpose maybe for hangar talk. That might be the most important thing hangars do.
Regardless of what stage of your aviation training you’re at or aviation career, there is always someone to mentor so let’s use the extreme example of a student pilot. So as a student pilot, you can reach out to your friends that want to get into aviation too. You can invite him or her along for a ride with you when you go out for a lesson with an instructor, introduce him a little bit. I would consider that mentorship, and kind of telling him what you’re going through. If you find that you’re interested in it, that’s a bit of mentorship and you’re going to help him out.
So airline pilots are often seen while parked at the gate with someone in the cockpit. This could be a 10-year-old child that dreams of flying or a 44-year-old grown male that always dreamed of flying. This is kind of on the opposite end of that. So you have the student pilot that can help out and then you have everyone in between and then you have the airline pilots that invite people to the cockpit when they’re on the ground and when I look at the switches and stuff. I always love doing that and I always love asking those airline pilots where they learned to fly and what their careers have been like and things like that. It’s always a fascinating conversation. Very inspiring.
So mentorship opportunities are all around us in aviation. Don’t hesitate yourself to share your part because after all, you are a unique aviator with unique experiences. You can help someone out and they can learn from and become impassioned about aviation through you. So that is number three, mentorship.
Number four, variety. I mentioned this before. Aviation is a large space. It expands a sky that encompasses a large world, it’s a 3D space where we can go here and there with relative ease. Aircraft fill this space which we call the sky of all shapes and sizes. The earth underneath this space is filled with a variety of terrains and locations where different types of aircrafts can operate. As pilots, we can literally own the space of land, air, sea and in some cases you could even argue fire. We can own all of them as aviators. That’s really cool. Can you really say that about anything else?
So why not go out there and get a float rating? Why not get a tailwheel endorsement? Why not learn aerobatics? Why not learn to land on a glacier or a river sand bar or even something as simple as a grass strip or a gravel strip? We own the sky. We own the air. We own the land. We own the sea. We can make this happen guys. There is so much out there that you can do different with your license. You don’t have to just be the point A to point B guy that does the same thing every time in the same airplane. What I’m saying here is there’s a lot of different opportunity in aviation to do different things.
Variety does a lot of things for us as pilots. Each new thing we venture into teaches us a unique set of lessons about the aircraft and about this space that we live in, this bag vast space. A takeoff in a float plane is not the same as a takeoff in a wheeled plane. For those of you who haven’t experienced that, you just have to experience it to know. There is just a ton to learn from every corner, nook and cranny of aviation. So why not put ourselves out there, try something new and learn something new from this vast world of aviation?
Then we can put another proverbial feather in our cap saying I can do that, I had a blast doing it and I learned so many things along the way and that is what variety can do for us, number four.
Continual learning. If there is anything I can teach you about aviation, it’s this. You can’t possibly learn everything about being an effective aviator but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In developing yourself continually in aviation will keep your head in the game. When you’re not flying, you’re thinking about flying. When you’re not engaged in hangar talk with someone, you’re reading an aviation book. There is course a great knowledge component to aviation. You’ll never be able to learn it all but you can learn a whole lot of great new stuff all the time especially with how much media consumption is going on these days. There is always something to learn.
Keeping refreshment, excitement and curiosity in this building of your knowledge is so key to being great aviator. Learning from the books isn’t just the only way to learn. Learning from experience is also a powerful tool to grow and remain sharp. There is a good reason why our requirements exist for certain ratings and milestones as a pilot, the reason being is that little pilot life lessons happen all the time all along the way and put a new twist on something or show you what something really means or reminds you that you aren’t hot stuff. What you experience while you’re out there building your flight hours, as you’re out there just piling on the flight hours, maybe flight hours don’t even matter to you anymore, you’re experiencing and learning new things all the time so the knowledge component isn’t the only part. Experience and just time is very, very valuable. As aviators we need to put the craft is aircraft. Building that craft comes with time, practice and effort. So that is number five, continual learning.
Number six, flight simulation use. You guys have heard me say this many times. I am a big preacher of flight simulation use. So with skyrocketing aircraft rental prices, fuel that is expensive and what seems like a mountain of money that is required to get or maintain a license even, there’s a way to save money and time with flight training and staying sharp and you guessed it, it is flight simulation. So with an initial investment of a few thousand dollars which may seem like a lot to you, you can get yourself a high, high quality flight simulator that will then give you infinite amount of practice. This isn’t just limited by clocking the hubs and all that stuff, infinite amount of hours of practice.
So no, you won’t be able to actually log this time, at least not in most cases. What we’re talking about here is a home-based simulator and really logging the time isn’t the point. The point here is to keep your head in the game in between flights, practice what you’ve learned in the books and get a general feel of the things before you ever even turn the key on a gas-guzzling money-chugging airplane. So this just gives you the opportunity to try all the stuff out, to perfect it, to get those flows, those checklists down, to get the maneuvers down, to get your scan down. There are so many different things.
So simulation can become a powerful tool for private pilots of all shapes and sizes but not just private pilots, any pilot, airline pilots even, but it’s especially effective when it comes to instrument training and all of those spaces. A simulation can never give the feel of a real airplane even with a motion platform. It’s just not exactly the same. The type of stuff where you’re bumping around, you’re slamming hard on the landing, you’re just not going to get that from a simulation but what it can do is it can give you a believable and immersive instrument environment.
Instrument training on a simulator, instrument practice on a simulator is fantastic. It works so well. One great thing that a flight simulator does, an effective flight simulator, is it makes you forget for certain moments that you’re actually on a simulator and if you can get your simulation experience to be that real where you forget even for a few minutes that it’s not a simulator, then you have really done yourself a lot of favors when it comes to preparing yourself better to be in an actual airplane.
So with that initial investment in a simulator, you will save time and money. It’s a fact not only that you will be safer and a more practiced pilot. Today’s tech is to the point where home-based simulators can no longer be denied their strong position in a pilot’s toolbox. A simulator is truly something that every pilot should have. I’ve said it. You guys need to go get a simulator okay? So that’s number six, flight simulation use.
Seven, attitude, and this is a big one. I’m not talking about the indicator. I’m talking about your attitude. So do you have an upset attitude? A good instrument scan is completely reliant on an attitude indicator, that central instrument. If that goes out, everything will be out of whack. It’s not necessarily impossible to not fly instruments without it but gosh, it makes it hard. So we need to constantly ask ourselves what our mental attitude is and just as much as we would an actual attitude indicator.
So you’re using that attitude indicator at least in the way that most scans work, in a way that most IFIS or glass cockpits are set up these days. With the attitude indicator, it’s the central, most important primary flight display background, front and center, that’s what everything it revolves around, that attitude indicator.
And then in a basic six, it’s the central part of your scan, your bouncing back and forth to that attitude indicator. Just as much as we’re doing that, we need to be watching our own mental attitude. So that’s what I’m saying here. So here’s a couple bulletpoints to think of, things that we need to think about for attitudes. These are just things that I just kind of popped off the top of my head.
So be humble, resist macho and invulnerability. Be risk-averse, so avoid risk. Make sound decision-making a focus of who you are as an aviator. Approach the aircraft and I would even offer a simulator into this. Approach the aircraft and the simulator with respect. And be teachable. Now, these are just a few of the ideas that quickly came to my mind when I thought of what it takes to become an affective aviator.
So you’ve heard the saying “There are old pilots and bold pilots but there are no old, bold pilots.” In other words, you’re not going to live long if you’re taking risks and being the hotshot. There are awesome and amazing aviators out there especially the forefathers of flight, Chuck Yeager comes to mind, Charles Lindbergh, the Wright brothers you can throw in there, like amazing, amazing aviators but guess what? I’m giving your permission and me permission, personally I’m talking to myself here too. I’m giving you permission that it’s 100% okay to be just an average pilot. You don’t have to be exceptional, you don’t have to be bad, as long as you are consistently doing the right things, learning from your experiences along the way, being teachable and humble, you will have a long and enjoyable journey as an aviator.
It’s okay if we’re average. We don’t have to be Chuck Yeager, okay? You just have to have enough of the average stuff. You don’t necessarily need to have the right stuff. You know what I mean? It’s good enough. It’s good to be the good pilot, let’s just put it that way. Some of those things, most of those things just come from the attitude of how you approach this.
Recently, I keep coming back to the word respect and I think we need to continually push ourselves to respect what we are really doing in this aircraft. The fact that this aircraft have a lot of moving parts, a very complex maintenance plan, the possibility of things falling apart, the air space system, air traffic controllers, other pilots, the dangers that come with weather. There are so many things as pilots that we need to respect and we need to respect the fact that we ourselves are inherently flawed as people and we need to approach things that way.
Now I’m not saying be scared about everything. I’m not saying that. I think in a way we as pilots take fear to the curb and we kind of transcend it, not saying that fear isn’t a component of being an aviator because I think knowing that there is that vulnerability to us drives us to do things really effectively and to be sharp on our skills and to be sharp on our knowledge. But what I’m saying is that we need to approach all of these things with respect and perhaps that’s the biggest attitude that we need to have. So, it’s definitely a very big one.
So truthfully, it really is all about your attitude and how you approach the airplane, your career, your growth and inevitably as a pilot, your life. So that is what the seventh and final effectiveness or a point here does for you and how it makes you an effective aviator.
So that’s it. So just a quick summary. We talked about transcending control, making controlling the aircraft that 10% invisible second nature. We talked about tailoring your training, working on the things that maybe you don’t work on that much or haven’t done before. We talked about mentorship in number three and reaching out and being part of the community and giving back. We talked about number four, variety, offering variety to your repertoire of aviation training, of experiences.
We talked about number five, continual learning, never ever, ever stop learning. We talked about six, flight simulator use. We talked about that a lot on this show. It’s a big one guys. Flight simulators are awesome. Today’s day and age, these simulators are top notch and they help out so much. And then we talked about number seven, the attitudes that we have as pilots. Not the attitude indicator but our mental attitude and that is so, so important. Again, I kind of went off on a tangent there and talked a whole lot about respect.
I hope you guys learned a few things. These are just kind of my candid thoughts on the subject. I think there are couple powerful points here that definitely kindle in me a fire to be more respectful of what I do, and this profession and this honor we get to go and cruise the skies above. I mean, gosh, it’s awesome. It is so amazing that we get to do that or have the opportunity to do that. So let’s take care of that and let’s nurture that.
So that’s it guys. We’re gonna have a few messages here and then I will close up the show, so I’ll talk to you again in a few seconds.
Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at AviatorCast.com. All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on AviatorCast.com where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to www.flyaoamedia.com. If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at www.angleofattackpro.com. Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.
Chris: Alright guys, so thanks for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. It really has been a joy to have you here. I hope you enjoyed the short content that we had on this episode. I like hearing from you guys. If you ever want to reach out and talk to me, you can do so through AviatorCast.com. You can write me at email@example.com, that will work. And if you did enjoy this show and you want to leave a review on iTunes, I’d really appreciate it. That helps others learn about the show and helps us get more listeners and bring people into this community and help them out with some of this information, so that would be much appreciated if you could do that.
Thank you for all of you who have already done that, and again, if you do leave a review on iTunes and it is read on the show, you will get an AviatorCast t-shirt. I’m still in the process of getting those designed, I just want to make sure it’s top top notch so I’m taking my time. It’s gonna happen but they’ll be there.
So thanks to the Angle of the Attack crew for all they do. These guys are awesome. They truly do a lot behind the scenes, stuff that you would not want to do, not necessarily going dumpster diving or anything terrible like that or cleaning out the lavatory in the aircraft, but these guys do a whole heck of a lot to make sure that AviatorCast and Angle of Attack as a whole is a well-oiled machine. These guys are rock stars.
Thank you to you the listeners as well. You guys are awesome. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks so much for your encouragement, for you sharing AviatorCast with the aviation community, for leaving those reviews and for writing in to me at AviatorCast.com. You guys really are top notch. I would even go as far as to say I love you guys but there’s one person I love more than anyone else, and that’s Jesus, and then I love my wife. But you guys, I definitely love you guys too. Keep it up and keep being an awesome aviator and keep working hard. I hope that you learned a couple things from today’s episode.
Join us next week. We are going to be talking to Jeff Nielsen, Airline Pilot Guy, you guys have probably heard of him before, so that is what we’re going to be up to on the next episode of AviatorCast. Until next time, throttle on!
Chief Flight Instructor and President of Angle of Attack. Founded in 2006.
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