The plane doesn’t know

“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.”

Higher cause than personal safety

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

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

Meditating military helicopter pilots

A peer-reviewed scientific study published this year shows the positive impact of meditation on personnel in two Norwegian Air Force helicopter squadrons. This was not new-age wishful thinking, or sloppy science self-reporting that some people felt good. No, this was university and Air Force doctors and scientists taking chemical measurements of salivary cortisol, testing performance on computer-based cognitive tasks, and comparing the results to a control group. The subjects were all high-performance airmen during a prolonged period of high-demand work. This is real-world stuff. The results: From a mixed between–within analysis revealed that the [mindfulness training] participants compared to the control group had … Continue reading Meditating military helicopter pilots