The Self-Righteous Aviator

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The Self-Righteous Aviator

One of the phenomena that I have observed in the wild is the self-righteous aviator (SRA). You know the one; they think they know it all and everyone else is beneath them.

This curious species usually migrates to local airports where they can work the lobby making sure everyone knows they are ‘the real deal.’

When engaged in discussion, the SRA will offer opinions as facts and dismiss other’s input as sheer nonsense. Their bedside manner doesn’t improve in the cockpit either; they usually can’t be bothered with help from another pilot. CRM is definitely not in their vocabulary. Their responses usually come in the form of high pitch chirps that resemble, “yes, yes, yes” or “I know, I know, I know.” This is usually followed by a rationalization for the mistake that takes them completely off the hook. Training these people is a nightmare that should garner hazardous duty pay for their instructors.


arrogant pilotThey also don’t do much to promote aviation; they like to keep it exclusive – no interlopers allowed. Newbies that mistakenly wander into their lair are often subjected to a condescending vernacular that leaves them running for the door.

The best advice for dealing with an SRA is to carefully avoid them and when you are forced to interact, smart phones are great for showing them your passive-aggressive side. After a few minutes of Tetris, the disgruntled SRA will move on to a more engaging victim.

As a flight instructor I had the displeasure of placing myself in close quarters with these beasts and only because I was in a regulated position of authority could I maintain a delicate balance of power.

You should use extreme caution when dealing with packs of SRAs as they can be very unwieldy and leave you in the fetal position crying for your mommy. The good news is that unless there is an established pecking order, groups of SRAs tend to feed on each other in disgustingly cannibalistic sort of way. Best to move along if you find yourself in their company.

For those of us exposed to this aviation enigma, it’s not an experience you will soon forget.

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