Michael Maya Charles is a former Flying Magazine columnist and editor, who is still teaching, flying, and publishing on a variety of aviation subjects. His primary passion, however, is spreading the pursuit of excellence and mindfulness with “Artful Flying,” a book Michael wrote 20 years ago. This captivating book explores mindful aviation and reveals the process through personal anecdotes and real-life flying experiences. Michael repeatedly illustrates the personal and safety value of operating in a continuously aware manner. The larger lens is that learning and striving for excellence are valuable skills for all of life – living fully in the present moment, eyes wide open.
“Mindfulness and excellence” are the same skills we already know in aviation as “situational awareness and metacognition,” the core values of safe flying. Michael had developed and lived this message and process over a lifetime of flying. His career spans all of aviation, from J-3s and corporate jets to heavy transport for Fed Ex (and just about every helicopter too).
His more recent efforts to spread this same message was his very ambitious recreation of this same book in a beautifully read audio format (with a free chapter HERE). This same message is now becoming available in a variety of interviews and lessons on YouTube. Though his channel is named “Extraordinary Pilots,” there is so much here for every dedicated educator that I named this blog for CFIs. With episodes like “I Know” and “What is Your Why?” this channel is an amazing resource for every pilot or educator who wants to improve and learn.
If you are a reader of this blog, you understand and value this focus on excellence and mindfulness; both for teaching and for flying. An honest, caring relationship with your learner is central to effective education. Unfortunately, these emotional skills are not often naturally in a pilot’s toolkit. For any serious pilot, the continuous personal struggle to achieve excellence is what motivates our every moment aloft.
Please take a look at Michael’s new channel and subscribe for future issues. The Crazy Horse picture on the front of his book reveals some of his future episodes with a lot of “aviation greats” who have internalized and demonstrated this same important message. Thank you Michael for your work and commitment to this cause. We are lucky to have such a persistent promoter of this critical discipline. Fly safely (and artfully) out there!
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