There is a natural tendency to assume that more hours (experience and ratings) somehow “automagically” makes a pilot almost wiser and safer; NOT! I can tell you from experience (50 years in the game) there is also a definite force toward stupidity in every added hour unless you work very intentionally to learn more every day and sharpen your awareness. The peril of more flying hours might be called the “ground hog effect?”
A pilot can experience thousands of unique learning experiences while accumulating hours (eyes wide open) or alternatively they can have that “same hour” thousands of times due to complacency. The repetition can either be deadening, or be a unique learning experience that is joyful (and safer). The difference is all in our awareness and attitude. The same force that makes a 300 hour pilot (in a “fifty mission leather jacket”) dangerous, also makes a jaded 50 year flying pilot dangerous; pilot attitude!
The safety challenge of “attitude” is not necessarily the practice of skills (though heightened awareness will inspire skill practice and improvement). This daily challenge is awareness; how we mentally approach the whole process of flying. Greater awareness and attitude is the heart of safety because risk hides in the familiar. Surprisingly, 73% of accidents start at the perceptual level. They involve a failure to even perceive the threat in front of us; arghh!
One way to inspire greater awareness and combat complacency I would recommend for *every* pilot (at every level) is listening to an excellent audio book by Michael Maya Charles; “Artful Flying!” I have written about the hard copy previously, but during COVID, author Michael Maya Charles recorded an audio version of this book that is even better than the written version (my opinion). He is an amazingly engaging reader that makes his message come alive.
Download and listen to this excellent book, and I guarantee it will improve both your safety *and* your enjoyment of this amazing flying adventure we are blessed to be part of. What Artful Flying inspires is “beginner’s mind.” This is disciplined approach to living/flying, which is ready to learn and avoids the “comfort zone” (and associated complacency that we as humans tend to crave). To stay sharp as a pilot, we must conscientiously stay a little “on edge” and constantly anticipate new and novel situations. A fresh view of the world avoids stereotyping and is open to surprises. Give this audio book a try here with a FREE intro online. Full disclosure; no freebies for me, I bought this new audio book and I love it!
SAFE #OSH22 Dinner and Poll
Thanks to everyone that was able to attend our SAFE dinner at #OSH22! This was a much larger venue (on the EAA campus). We swung for the fences and filled the house. Richard McSpadden was an incredibly engaging speaker with a wonderful message for all educators. This larger venue on the EAA grounds was a big success, thanks for your support and also for ideas on our SAFE poll.
There are more pictures from this show in our SAFE Strategies. Professional photographer (and SAFE member) H. Michael Miley provided a full Flicker file from the event. Subscribe to our “SAFE Strategies” Magazine for a monthly bundle of CFI resources and flight training news. (10K subscribers now and growing)! Update your CFI knowlege with CFI-NOTAMS. (all these are on the SAFE App) Fly safely out there (and often).
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