“At last I understood what true professionalism is. Being a pilot isn’t all seat-of-the-pants flying and glory. It’s self-discipline, practice, study, analysis and preparation. It’s precision. If you can’t keep the gauges where you want them with everything free and easy, how can you keep them there when everything goes wrong?” Charles D. Svoboda Flying magazine, November 1976. Old editions of Flying magazine are archived by Google books. This amazing article is online for free in the November 1976 edition, and certainly deserves a new audience. It’s about making a foggy zero/zero landing in a huge prop plane. Lots of good … Continue reading Zero/Zero, Charles D. Svovoda
Roger Cruickshank is a front-line RAF Typhoon pilot. The Queen’s version of Top Gun‘s ‘best of the best, tip of the spear’. He has intercepted 22 different Russian aircraft, including the Tu-95 Bear, Tu-160 Blackjack, Il-78 Midas, Su-34 Fullback, Mig-31 Foxhound and An-26 Curl. Before this posting he was a RAF flight instructor and Olympic skier. So when he talks about making mistakes and perfect flights, we might all learn something. Turns out, he’s not perfect. But he knows it. And he knows how to keep getting closer. This quote is from the (excellent) aerospace podcast Xtended, episode 65: I’m not anywhere where I … Continue reading Roger Cruickshank on the perfect flight
“Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot … You just have to perform.” Lt. Col. Christine Mau, USAF. The plane also doesn’t know or care if you’re tired, or if you were going to study more tomorrow, or if you’re in a hurry. Quote is in a nice article, Meet The First Female F-35 Pilot, by Tom Demerly. “You just have to perform. That’s all anyone cares about when you’re up there — that you can do your job, and that you do it exceptionally well.”
There are times when you devote yourself to a higher cause than personal safety. John Glenn, first US astronaut to orbit the Earth, on this day 1962. Maybe true for pioneering test pilots, less so for us regular pilots. Original NASA photo from a camera aboard the Mercury-Atlas 6 spaceflight captures Glenn as he uses a photometer to view a sunset.
How you do the little things everyday is important. Why is explained by former RAF Tornado F3 fighter pilot and Red Arrows display pilot Justin Hughes in his 2016 book The Business of Excellence. The full quote is: How you do the little things is how you do everything. You don’t choose a different behaviour just because it’s a big important job and you’re under a lot of stress. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; when you’re really under a lot of pressure, you revert to default wired-in behaviours because you have too many other things to worry about than … Continue reading How you do the little things