Staying the Course

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B767Driver

New Member
After the CHQ post, I thought it might be time to start a thread to discuss the mental aspects of professional flying...or applicable to any profession for that matter. Childish behavior can strike any of us, myself included, when difficult situations arise. A professional should have the skills to continually self assess their mental state and make corrections if necessary. At times during your professional flying career you are going to encounter turbulence, be it operational, interpersonal or otherwise. How will you handle it? How will you continue to be an effective crewmember, employee, professional? How will you stay the course when the going gets tough?

When you lose control of your emotions, self discipline breaks down and judgment and decision making suffer. You cannot perform at peak levels unless your emotions are under control.

How do you monitor your emotional control? For me, I try not to get too up when things are good or too down when things are bad. To get psyched up for a big event or a favorable conclusion leads to a peak. And where there is a peak...there's a valley. Peaks and valleys...I think...lead to instability when trying to be mentally strong and excersizing control over your emotions. I believe this can lead to impaired decision making ability.

When you are facing a single engine IFR approach...keep an even temperament. Don't let your mental state sink to a valley. After you successfully land...don't reach a peak. Your mental state will be altered and you will forget to do the next thing on your list.

I was reading an account of Apollo 11, after Neil and Buzz had just landed on the moon...a landing that quite possibly was the biggest engineering accomplishment ever. The author asked Neil what their reactions were after making the landing. Did they laugh? Did they high five? Did they celebrate? Neil said he simply looked over to Buzz and said, "After landing checklist."

I suppose my point is that professional pilots should have a strong mental state and composure over their emotions. Since this is a board for profesional and aspiring pilots...it would be a good idea for the former to lead by example and the latter to practice for the future. Resist the temptation to act like Jerry Springer taught us and stay the course. Concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve and have the patience and mental strength to finish like a pro.

These are some things I've learned by pulling gear over the past ten years with men who have been flying for 35 years. I sometimes shake my head when I hear a fourth year commuter captain is getting pretty "senior".
 

fender_jag

Well-Known Member
Good post, B767. Some people do fly off the handle when things are out of their control. Think first, speak second.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
A thousand points of light


Really, though... Good post. It's definatly somthing that is a VERY good skill set to have and to constantly work on. I'd recomend a book called Flight Discipline by Tony Kerns. He doesn't use the same phrasing but comes to the same conclusion using accident case studies.
 

Aero_Engineer

Well-Known Member
Very good post, thanks for putting you time into it.
As a pilot (pro or just as a hobby) you gotta be able ti control your emotions if not you'll have big trouble on your path in future.
Thanks again for bringing this up.
 

Bog

New Member
Very well said! It scares me to read some of the rants on flightinfo and remember that they're coming from airline pilots.
 

cime_sp

Well-Known Member
Is it just me or did that whole thing sound like the speach that Tom Skerrit (Viper) gave Tom Cruise (Maverick) in Top Gun when he went to his house on his off day to discuss his "options"????? (Sarcasm)

Good post though. I've seen too many pilots both young and old, experienced or novice become too complacent in the cockpit. Lets all keep our heads on straight.
 

ETAV8R

Well-Known Member
Great post.
Sounds similar to life viewed by a buddhist, peaks and valleys and seeking to avoid reaching either due to the fact that the opposite will be experienced.
 

flyover

New Member
Excellent post. Emotion is the enemy whether it's making a go, no-go decision, CRM conflicts, checkride jitters, career decisions or life in general.

Just like anything else there are techniques to improve yourself in this area. I recommend one in particular. Just used it very effectively to make a rating ride a no pressure piece of cake. And once you learn it, it becomes second nature:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/102-2855946-5255322?search-alias=aps&keywords=the Sedona Method
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
flyover said:
Excellent post. Emotion is the enemy whether it's making a go, no-go decision, CRM conflicts, checkride jitters, career decisions or life in general.

Just like anything else there are techniques to improve yourself in this area. I recommend one in particular. Just used it very effectively to make a rating ride a no pressure piece of cake. And once you learn it, it becomes second nature:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/102-2855946-5255322?search-alias=aps&keywords=the%20Sedona%20Method
Looks interesting. I just put a copy "On Hold" with the local library branch. Thanks for the tip.
 

stultus

New Member
great post!

I have to admit that, especially lately, I've found that this profession can really mess with my psyche and what happens inside the cockpit can make (or ruin) the rest of my day--and the other way too what happens outside the cockpit can affect my performance inside of it. I guess that can easily happen when you are passionate about something, as most of us here are about flying. Part of being a professional is learning to temper and direct that passion to become better pilots and better people.

Where is this CHQ post?
 

TonyC

Well-Known Member
B767Driver said:
After the CHQ post, I thought it might be time to start a thread to discuss the mental aspects of professional flying...or applicable to any profession for that matter. Childish behavior can strike any of us, myself included, when difficult situations arise. A professional should have the skills to continually self assess their mental state and make corrections if necessary. At times during your professional flying career you are going to encounter turbulence, be it operational, interpersonal or otherwise. How will you handle it? How will you continue to be an effective crewmember, employee, professional? How will you stay the course when the going gets tough?

When you lose control of your emotions, self discipline breaks down and judgment and decision making suffer. You cannot perform at peak levels unless your emotions are under control.

How do you monitor your emotional control? For me, I try not to get too up when things are good or too down when things are bad. To get psyched up for a big event or a favorable conclusion leads to a peak. And where there is a peak...there's a valley. Peaks and valleys...I think...lead to instability when trying to be mentally strong and excersizing control over your emotions. I believe this can lead to impaired decision making ability.

When you are facing a single engine IFR approach...keep an even temperament. Don't let your mental state sink to a valley. After you successfully land...don't reach a peak. Your mental state will be altered and you will forget to do the next thing on your list.

I was reading an account of Apollo 11, after Neil and Buzz had just landed on the moon...a landing that quite possibly was the biggest engineering accomplishment ever. The author asked Neil what their reactions were after making the landing. Did they laugh? Did they high five? Did they celebrate? Neil said he simply looked over to Buzz and said, "After landing checklist."

I suppose my point is that professional pilots should have a strong mental state and composure over their emotions. Since this is a board for profesional and aspiring pilots...it would be a good idea for the former to lead by example and the latter to practice for the future. Resist the temptation to act like Jerry Springer taught us and stay the course. Concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve and have the patience and mental strength to finish like a pro.

These are some things I've learned by pulling gear over the past ten years with men who have been flying for 35 years. I sometimes shake my head when I hear a fourth year commuter captain is getting pretty "senior".

Don't try this at home.


No, really, I mean, don't try it at home. While these words are indeed wisdom for the professional pilot, they don't seem to work as well in a marriage relationship. I have a pretty even temperament, and it works well "on the job." But I can't count the number of times that I've heard things like, "Isn't that exciting?" or "Does anything ever excite you?". On the other end of the spectrum, there's, "I can't believe that doesn't upset you" or "Why doesn't that make you mad?". For some reason, them weminz seem to like to see some expression of emotion. They dig the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys, or something like that.


Maybe that's one of the reasons so many pilots get divorced. What works well at work doesn't work so well at home. Hmmmm... Maybe we've stumbled on to something here. Well, anyway, until we get the research study funded and draw concrete solutions, be aware. Even keeled at work, let 'er rip at home.



:)




.
 

B767Driver

New Member
stultus said:
great post!

I have to admit that, especially lately, I've found that this profession can really mess with my psyche and what happens inside the cockpit can make (or ruin) the rest of my day--and the other way too what happens outside the cockpit can affect my performance inside of it. I guess that can easily happen when you are passionate about something, as most of us here are about flying. Part of being a professional is learning to temper and direct that passion to become better pilots and better people.

Where is this CHQ post?

I remember sitting in a TWA cockpit at JFK with an old timer Captain. Our careers were in the dumps and it was looking like a matter of time before the airline was done...and there were all kinds of contentious and emotional issues going on. All the Captain was focused on was...where dinner was going to be at that night. Those guys were cool...not much fazed them. I supposed they had been 'seasoned' after a couple of decades of losses and bad news.
 

Bog

New Member
TonyC said:
But I can't count the number of times that I've heard things like, "Isn't that exciting?" or "Does anything ever excite you?". On the other end of the spectrum, there's, "I can't believe that doesn't upset you" or "Why doesn't that make you mad?". For some reason, them weminz seem to like to see some expression of emotion. They dig the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys, or something like that.
Dang. I'm not even engaged yet and I hear it. Sigh...
 

CapnJim

Well-Known Member
Another one out of the ballpark by B767Driver! Wonderful stuff, wonderfully written. Love the Buzz story- perfect summation of the temperament you describe to which we all strive. I loose my cool with the best (and worst) of them. The next time I get close, I'll be picturing Armstrong looking over and saying "After landing checklist."
 

B767Driver

New Member
Thanks Jim.

A good illustration of the ill effects of a poor mental state are illustrated in the Aftermath article, Flying Magazine, April 2006, p. 65. The author describes what happens when mental capacity breaks down and fear sets in. It can cause a pilot to get rattled, freeze and fixate.

A pretty good read.
 
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