•a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
"she’s brimming with confidence"
Yes kids I believe it’s time for another rant. These usually don’t get much attention which is fine. They’re therapeutic for me and allow for my continued participation in this forum without losing my mind
I’ve been on this forum for a while and while there are few questions that are really new or unique there has definitely been a “shift” in the overall attitude of the prospective students. Back in the day I believe the #1 question we received (and on occasion still do) was “can I REALLY do this?”. Can I really become an airline pilot? I don’t know if pilots were held in higher regard or if the purple dinosaur and Oprah really convinced the youth of America that ANYONE can do ANYTHING but I’m here to tell you that just ain’t always so.
I moved to Hawaii 5.5yrs ago and started outrigger and standup paddling. Both I enjoy tremendously but I outrigger more and I occasionally race. I started late, I’m not that coordinated or strong and while I work hard and have improved greatly I don’t standup much because I suck at it and I’m NEVER going to win the Molokai Hoe (the top canoe race on the planet). Thing is that’s OK. We all have our strengths but I digress.
These days we get much more questions regarding THEIR (the prospective pilot’s) “future”. How much will I earn as a Delta Capt? How FAST can I get done? How fast can I upgrade? How fast can I get to Delta? Why can’t I go straight to an airline? Why can’t I go straight to a Major? and more frequently than not somewhere in the post is “because I KNOW I’ll be an AWESOME pilot”. Well maybe you will be BUT maybe you won’t and even with ALL the talent in the World these are skills that must be learned over a period of time with a fair amount of dedication so NO you can’t work and train with ATP part-time, NO you can’t earn your degree while you’re going to ATP, NO you won’t have a lot of “personal time” while you’re in training. Why? Because flight training is HARD! The idea here is not (or at least SHOULD NOT be) to get done ASAP while checking boxes and meeting the bare mins. You’re going to be a PILOT and yes it’s different from most other jobs on this planet. This is not to say it’s better or not but it’s definitely different. Know why? There’s something called RISK. Fun fact: part of the ICAO description of a the job title “Pilot” is “Risk Manager”. You work on Wall Street and have a bad day you lose money, maybe lots of it but chances are everyone is going home. McDonald’s bad day? You burn the fries. Ok if you’re surgeon sure you can do some damage BUT there is no ATP for surgery I’m aware of and no one is asking why they can’t start cutting during their “Intro Course”. We have a bad day and we’re on the 6 O’clock news and if it’s a REALLY bad day no one’s going home. Understand? There can be grave consequences to our actions (or inactions) and THAT’s what makes it different.
Now, just in case you’re wondering where this is coming from or what prompted this rant I just saw the following article online this am: https://www.flyingmag.com/student-pilot-crashes-during-premature-solo-flight and this is only a few short weeks after I read this story: http://www.yourbasin.com/news/student-pilot-confirmed-flying-plane-that-crash-in-midland-last-month/1227445294 (those and I watched America’s Got Talent last night and I’m trying to understand why EVERYONE gets a standing ovation?).
Now a few years ago I would’ve thought this was just some unfortunate crazy person but I don’t believe that’s the case in either of these. Why? Because everyday we get posts saying “I just took my Intro flight and I did great. The Instructor let me do EVERYTHING, I’m pretty sure I could’ve landed myself if he let me”, or my favorite “I have 5,000hrs on MSFS do I really need all that training?”. Well my friends no you couldn’t have and yes you do. I’m not trying to turn aviation into some mystical art and no this isn’t the Shaolin temple where you’re a grasshopper until you can lift the smoldering cauldron BUT just because you sat in the back of an Airbus going to Cancun (or stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night) and didn’t throw-up and saw the pilot and he “didn’t look any smarter than you” doesn’t mean it’s easy. In both these incidents the STUDENT pilots falsely believed they were good to go and in all likelihood were probably doing well in their training. As always everything is Ok until it isn’t.
Confidence is a positive attribute and a desirable quality for an airline pilot to possess. BUT the kind of confidence we’re talking about MUST be based on a foundation of learning, training and hard work and a REALISTIC idea of where we are in the process. If it’s not it’s nothing more than an inflated self-image and all that hot air will not help you in the flare.
End of Rant… ok I feel better…for now