When I started flying in 1959 pilots were expected to be individuals and forthright leaders. Their decisions were expected to be followed without question and everything about them wsa based on the military stereotype. And that’s why so many people with a fear of flying are pleased to discover that the ‘Hollywood pilot’ isn’t anything like the real thing.

The training that I now do is with newly qualified pilots, or very experienced ones. The new ones have to learn effective flight deck behaviour through a subject we call human factors. They learn about team building and leadership, decision making, situational awareness, communication, human error and enough other stuff to fill three days. The experienced pilots I deal with are learning to become training pilots. We do seven days of learning and teaching theory including two days of simulator flying. After years and years of doing everything correctly it’s great to become a student again and fly the simulator like a student pilot to test the skill and patience of new trainers.

Why then this blog about what I do?

Because I want you to be confident that though I’m retired I’m still in touch with operational pilots and secondly that although pilot training is intensive and requires high levels of skill… they are skills that anyone of average intelligence can acquire. So if your fear of flying involves worrying about what the pilots are doing and whether they can ‘manage’ it’s time to accept that they can.

Forget the Hollywood nonsense. Pilots are ordinary people.

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