Check out their line of headsets, camera cables, and LED lighting today!

the art of flyingThe question of what we can do personally to be better at our craft is something that I don’t feel we ask often enough.

For me, it usually takes a couple of well placed screw-ups to rattle my cage and make me think introspectively about my flying. These weren’t metal-bending events, but rather instances where I know I was not executing at the level I am capable of performing. 
I won’t dive into the specifics regarding my most recent transgressions, but I will say the themes were complacency and situational awareness. 
Of course, we all have our own demons when it comes to our flying. The question becomes what are we doing about them?
The first step is identification. Like the examples I gave above, I have already categorized my blunders at a high level. I’m not looking at the actual thing – that is just a symptom – but rather I’m focusing on what caused the issue to begin with.
Let’s explore a couple of relatable examples.
Example – Directional control issues on landing.
Causes could be one or more of the following:

Lack of recent experience – Maybe your last flight was four months ago. Flying is a perishable skill
The fact you are out there in crosswinds without recent experience can also be an Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) breakdown

Breakdown in situational awareness (SA) – 
Not recognizing the stiff crosswind

Not recognizing the airplane is diverging until you have to make the ‘varsity play’ to get it back straight

Complacency – 
“I’ve landed this airplane hundreds of time before”

Could have led to the lack of SA or ADM

Stick-n-Rudder skills
Failure to recognize that more training or practice was needed to be able to handle the situation at hand

Another Example – Pushing a landing that should have been aborted.Potential causes: Complacency – Go-arounds are never executed so they don’t even come to mind

Lack of situational awareness – Failure to recognize you are in a situation where a go-around is the most prudent action

Poor Aeronautical Decision-Making
  – Knowing you should go around and pushing it anyway
This is not a perfect list of categories and you should go through the very useful exercise of creating your own, this in itself will create self awareness. Whatever you choose, they need to be actionable in terms of how they are mitigated or fixed. 
Sometimes the issue was simply human-error and that you may not find a good cause. As an example: A missed radio call. Sure you can label that as situational awareness or complacency, but what would be your mitigating action? Listen up more on the radio? Maybe. We shouldn’t get too hung up on the minutia, but rather focus on stuff that can have a real detrimental affect on our flying if left unchecked. 
So the lesson here is to figure out how we can exercise those demons so that we can become better pilots.

Some of the causes are easy. If we are talking about lack of recent experience, flying more frequently should do the trick. Other causes are more insidious. Take the go-around example above. If the cause came down to ADM, was it our ego that led us into harm’s way? It is something we should certainly look at. Like other endeavors, flying a very cerebral exercise and I don’t think we spend as much time on that part of the equation as we do on the motor skills. 

Sometimes the best medicine is to just be honest. Have that tough conversation with yourself – don’t make excuses – but rather determine causes and create actions that mitigate those causes. You are the Pilot-in-Command and you are responsible.

This self-realization can help refine your craft and ultimately make flying that much more rewarding.
Fly well!

VISIT OUR SPONSOR for Training DVD's, affordable headsets, cable adapters, headset parts, LED strobes and lights, and more! They cover ALL EXPENSES for to keep it coming FREE to you FOREVER!



Subscribe to the iFlyBLOG Mailing List to get the latest blog posts and news to your E-Mail instantly! PLUS TWO FREE eBooks!

learning to fly


Share it