•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
Happy place Adam… go paddle to the Mokes .
Thanks for sharing!!
I’m actually setting up my Kahekai as we speak, heading out in a few. Had to get that off my chest BEFORE I hit the water or I’d be writing it in my head for the next tree hours!
Hopefully Newcomers read this. I think people should read this to understand what the job really is all about. Most who don’t read it and are new to aviation for just the salary will not have a lot of sunshine up their skirt. Hopefully this sets the record straight for a lot of people.
Unreal. TWO HOURS of flight time???
Great piece! A good kick in the rear for us prospects. I always heard that ATP should be treated like UPT for military pilots. I think the saying there was something like “Diamonds are forged under pressure.”
Honestly I’ve never been a fan of the “pressure” method of training, at least not from your instructor or school. Personally I believe the pressure to excel should come from within the individual and we should all strive to be the best we can be as aspiring or current professionals. Sadly that’s not always the case so yea sometimes a kick in the butt is warranted.
Life is a tough mistress to tango with…and real world experience will grind most overly confident types into dust or at the very least humble them. Sure, there are still going to be a few that continue to have an entitlement attitude, but overall this is a profession that rarely lets the inept slip through the cracks. I think most of us will see those that had an unrealistic expectation of their own skills either flunk out of flight training, or quit/be let go at the regional level. From what I know of major airline selection process, it is still an industry that values professionalism and will right-size an ego. Well said, Captain! Rant on…
That is a great way of looking at it. I know I am guilty in the sense that I focus too much on the end goal of hoping to be at a major. Like you say, there needs to be a desire to do well from within the student.Prospects like me should be more focused on doing their best because of internal drive or the love of flight. While money is nice, so is doing something just because you love it and there is no price on that. However, airmanship is a discipline and as you mention, there are lives at risk. One reason I like ATP’s curriculum is because of how you are put into that world and live it as demanding as it may seem.
I think you summed it up perfectly in an earlier post about staying at a regional or going to a major. You mentioned you were successful because you liked what you did. I think you said “Desire is one thing, desperation is another.” Desire to do well and challenge yourself is more powerful than any extrinsic reward. However, some of us tend to forget about the journey and focus on the end goal.
I do not know if the movie Sully has a good rep with professional pilots, but what you mentioned about experience reminds me of a quote from it:
“Funny thing is, I’ve delivered a million passengers over 40 years in the air and in the end I’ll be judged on 208 seconds.”
A little louder for the people in the back!
Honestly, you bring up a very good point and I hope that others will read this post. Thank you for the share!
Totally agree with you Adam. Being a 42 year old commercial student I have flown with many young and new instructors and can tell you that another common thing I have encountered one to many times is how I only need 200 more hours until go to the airlines or just 1 more month until I am out of here. While that’s great some of us worked our rears off to save enough to pay you 150-250 dollars per hour for training. I have had a couple great instructors that really care but most are just concerned about how many hours per month can I fly to get the heck out of here and fly for the majors.
Thanks…… Now I feel better:
I really do not see an issue with an instructor being excited to move onto the next step of their career. After all, moving onto the Airlines is generally the whole point of going to flight school. Now, that excitement should not affect their professionalism, but it will definitely be there and will be for you also when your time comes.
Not that compensation should affect professionalism, but no CFI is making $150-$250 per hour and none of them are going straight to the majors.
That being said, I would expect a CFI to be fully dedicated until his last day on the job is finished.
Sorry maybe the point I was attempting to make was missed. I was just trying to say that yes I have seen some professionalism lacking in the last couple months from a few. Also the dollar amount I referred to was including plane rental. I am as exited as anyone to become a CFI but certainly don’t remind my coworkers how long until I am out of here. My goal as a CFI is to be as dedicated on day one as well as on my last day just as I have been for the last twelve years with my current employer. This was just my way of adding to Adams post that so many are in such a hurry these days its not just the rookies.
Thanks for the response.
Thanks for speaking your mind Adam. You got my attention and I believe many others. Stay here we need you to shed this light! Thanks to you also Chris!
My antagonist is my helper…
That should be the Day 1 induction speech at flight school Adam. Well put.
I gotta reciprocate and say this is the most important advice to any person prospecting to be a pilot. I’m a perfectionist and years of the Navy drilling risk management into my head made my training go a lot easier. Was I confident in my ability to fly? Yes, but I also remained humble as the perverbial *#@! can hit the fan if you don’t measure all the risk from start-up to shut-down. Even on the tarmac you have to consider risk. Mahalo Adam!
Very well said. Please don’t stop with the ranting. Some version of your post, along with the two examples that you referenced, should be part of a ground school session regarding Risk Management.
We all make mistakes and some times do some dumb things. But just to clarify, the two unfortunate accidents were not the result of pilot error, but rather pilot stupidity. Sadly, both student pilots could easily have kept their promising pilot careers on track.
True confidence comes from a combination of education, experience and good judgment. I would imagine that the very best of the best pilots, don’t stop learning and trying to improve.