As this is being written (September 2020), the world is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, which has caused, besides the terrible health effects on some of those who were unfortunate enough to catch it, some unforeseen and very strange changes in government policies, businesses, and even society as a whole.
I’m fairly certain there are already an adequate number of articles written about these current events and am certainly not here to add more to that discussion; however, when perusing the news the other day I happened upon an article which got me thinking about some parallels between the world at large and our small faction of aviators. The gist of the article was that many “Preppers”, those folks who actively stockpile food, weapons, and all manner of supplies against what they believe is an inevitable collapse of society, feel vindicated by the onset of the pandemic. These events make many of the preppers of the world feel justified in their actions and preparations for such an event (“preps”, for those in the know), even the ones which seem extreme or excessive to the uninitiated.
It’s not a far stretch to draw the parallel between those folks who want to be prepared for any eventuality (even the worst-case scenario) and a well-prepared pilot. Every good pilot is basically a prepper, in that all sorts of scenarios have already been run through, practiced, envisioned and addressed before the airplane ever leaves the chocks.
Would you want to fly an approach into Aspen with a pilot who had not briefed the approach ahead of time and is clearly scrambling to get the airplane configured? Who barely grasped the skills to remain IFR current, and who took a laissez faire, check-the-box approach to his training? Personally, I would rather take a 3-hour Uber ride with Kenny G playing at volume 11.
The best pilots I have flown with embody the cliché’ of hoping for the best and planning for the worst. These aviators have done the legwork for each flight: instead of breezing over the performance numbers because the flight is supposed to be routine, they calculate them. Instead of printing out a weather briefing and handing it to a copilot, they study the weather intently until they understand the likely scenarios and have a plan for each. They study, review and train like they mean it, because they do.
While preppers are storing water and rice, the competent pilot has a cache knowledge and experience. The prepper looks toward the future with a grim foreboding of things to come, while the good pilot looks ahead and extrapolates to confirm his plans are coming to fruition; if not, he makes the adjustment now, while he is still ahead of the curve. While the prepper obsesses over tactical flashlights….ok, pilots like cool flashlights too.
These pilots inspire confidence in passengers and other pilots alike, by having prepared themselves through training, diligence and consistency in their actions against a literal doomsday. To fly with them is actually inspirational, because their preparation and professional demeanor leaves little doubt about the smooth outcome of the operation, and you can envision being the source of that confidence yourself. Each one of us has the potential to be that pilot, through doing the real work of study, training, and holding ourselves to a high standard even when no one is watching. We hope that PilotProficient.com can play a role in becoming the prepared pilot we should all aspire to be.
Every test is easy when you know the answers….are you properly prepared?
In the mean time, we are excited to begin work on the next course at PilotProicient.com: the Pilot Proficient Biennial Flight Review course. This course will satisfy the requirement for ground training towards the Biennial Flight Review of 14 CFR 51.56, in an engaging and useful way. We are excited to announce a launch date for the course soon!