Jonathan David Settle – Chesapeake Flying Club Safety Officer
Have you ever considered the importance of taking a ‘Professional’ approach to being an Aviator and always being ‘In the Moment’?
Different definitions can apply; but, a Professional is someone who operates at the highest standards of excellence, manifests this in all of his or her behaviors and decisions, and always strives to be the best that he or she can be. Being In the Moment means you, when flying, are solely focused on your flight, nothing else, from the time you leave your house until a post-flight checklist is complete and the aircraft is secured in its’ hangar or spot on the flight line.
Let’s look at some opportunities to be a real Professional and always In the Moment! These are representative examples and by no means an exhaustive list.
- When you step into your car to drive to the airport, are you thinking about your flight, what you will do, events that could have a negative impact, and options to respond?
- Do you know the aircraft perfectly – every airspeed restriction and every published emergency procedure, as examples?
- Do you conduct a thorough pre-flight and if a discrepancy is discovered, avoid thinking ‘oh, that will be ok’ so as to not delay or cancel your flight?
- Do you precisely follow the checklist, understand each response, and why the item is present as well as the impact if ignored?
- Have you assessed the weather for your planned flight and made adjustments if applicable? An adjustment could mean that the weather conditions are beyond my skill level and I cancel.
- Will fuel capacity be a factor?
- If a problem develops once airborne, what are alternative airports available?
- Do I strive to be precisely on altitude and on airspeed for every phase? If not, does the same lack of attention to altitude and speed reflect how you approach flying overall?
- Do you read professional journals, attend refresher courses, and take advantage of industry resources to continually advance your knowledge?
- Do you seek out and fly with an Instructor more frequently than required to build new skills or improve upon skills you have but may not have used for a while?
Being able to answer ‘Yes’ to all of the above would certainly define you as taking a Professional approach to flying and striving to always be In the Moment. You then clearly recognize the importance of these to being safe and not having an incident or accident that would impact your well-being or that of the aircraft!