Posted by Jeffrey on November 27th, 2013
Whether you are just now getting into commercial aviation or have been in it for awhile, you might have noticed that things have slipped a bit. Pilots are still breaking FAR regulations even with all the training we receive and pilots are even less engaged with the passengers than before.
Now I’m by no means perfect. In fact, I would just consider myself an average pilot…at best. But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to improve. I still make bad decisions and miss things, but I’m still learning. It’s a work in progress.
But what I do know is that being aware and trying to improve is half the battle.
So with that said, we have to “fight the good fight.” But what does that look like practically? Here are five key strategies that may help:
1. Think Aggressively. Plan and calculate, like a general preparing for battle, how to engage and defeat the enemy. Every flight should be a new flight. Check all the aspects of your flight plan: weather, fuel load, SID/STAR, threats, and airport diagrams for something that can get you…like speeds or altitude restrictions on the climb out. Put your hand on every piece of the puzzle.
2. Be Confident. Step forward with confidence. If you don’t think something is right, don’t just sit there, say something. Don’t be intimidate by ATC. Tell them what you need if necessary.
3. Speak Fearlessly. Many times over history, minor aviation nuisances have turned into big problems because someone didn’t speak up. As a pilot and crew member, it is your job to point out something when you don’t think it is. Sure you may be wrong, but so what?
4. Give Abundantly. This might sound a little silly, but when come to work, it’s not about you. You are there to take care of and work with your team. That means you should be helping out customer service, rampers, your flight attendants, and the passengers when you can. Stay out of the way when need to stay out of the way but live a life of generosity. Display empathy for your passengers and crew when things aren’t going right. This means recognize the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you.
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Tags: Airline, Airplanes, Aviation, Captain, Professional Pilot
Posted in Airplanes, Aviation, Captain Insights, Crew Gear, Flight Training, Flying Career, Flying the Line, Professional Pilot, Regional Airlines | No Comments »
Posted by Jeffrey on October 1st, 2013
Back in 2012, I wrote an article called, “Airlines Will Need To Hire Pilots, Are You Ready?” I really thought that at any moment there was going to be this huge demand for pilots. It looked like the perfect storm. But now, over a year later, no crazy hiring has been going on. Why?
Then it occurred to me. Changes in the airlines are imperceptibly slow. It’s like the forming of mountains. The changes are so slow, that you you don’t even know they are happening.
So do I still believe that the airlines are going to be needing pilots? More than ever!
Now this might get you going. Because, after all, pilots are still retiring, routes are still growing, airlines are still merging, and there are still a surprisingly low numbers of new pilots being generated.
The time is ripe to become a pilot because supply (pilots) are low, and demand (airlines) are growing. Many airlines see this and are taking the steps necessary to avoid a low inventory of trained pilots. Because remember, you now have to have 1500 hours (see: Pilot “1500 Hour Rule” and What You Can Do About It), in order to be hired by an airline.
So if you want to become a pilot, you should have started yesterday. But here is the catch, it is still VERY expensive to get those pilot certificates and ratings. How much you ask? A lot!
What do you do? Well, sorry to say, that is up to you and how badly you want it. I personally am totally against going into huge debt for an airline career. It is not like some professions that out the gate you are making enough money to start paying back your loans. As a pilot, you will slog through a couple years of either flight instructing or flying freight, and if you live through that and you get a job at a regional airline, your first year pay is going to be so meager, that you will be second guessing your career decision. As Ferris Bueller said, “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.”
Which brings me to the topic of this blog post and the question, are CRJ transition courses a good idea?
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Tags: Airline Career, airlines, Aviation, CRJ 200, CRJ Transition Course, CRJ200 Flight Simulator, Flight Simulator
Posted in Airplanes, Aviation, Captain Insights, Crew Gear, CRJ200, CRJ700, Flight Training, Flying Career, Flying the Line, Professional Pilot | No Comments »
Posted by Jeffrey on July 2nd, 2013
There are a lot of good habits and a lot of not so good habits when it comes to flying airplanes.
Checking your fuel load on EVERY flight is a good habit.
Transmitting to ATC like a a first grader, is not such a good habit.
Seth Godin says, “Habits are great when they help us get what we want. Bad habits, on the other hand, are bad because the shortcut that satisfies us in the moment gets in the way of our long term goals.”
In flying, if you take short cuts in your procedures, like when doing weight and balance, or flight planning, you are shorting yourself and others.
Flying is preparation and participation. If you don’t make it a habit of preparing for a flight both mentally and physically, you may become a statistic. But making it a habit to prepare and participate in every flight, helps make sure that you will get from point A to point B successfully time and time again.
The funny thing about having good pilot habits is that if you get in the habit of doing the right thing, soon it becomes a part of you and not a painful habit that has to be endured.
Here is to safe flying…let’s make it a habit.
Tags: airlines, Airplane Flying, Aviation, Flying, Pilot, Pilot Skills, Pilotage
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Posted by Jeffrey on May 3rd, 2013
In 2000, I left a nicely paying programmer’s job to become a pilot. OK, what was I thinking? I know what I was thinking, I wanted to live my dream of being an airline pilot, eventually.
Before I made my decision to the world, i.e., my close friends, colleagues, and my boss, I did a lot of research. But before I knew it, I had made of my mind. I was going to take the plunge regardless of what my friends said and regardless of what the economy was doing. I was going to make it happen.
Granted the economy was a little better off then. Pilots at regional airlines were upgrading fast, getting their 1000 hours PIC and moving onto the majors. It was a good time, or the good ‘ol days as they say.
Then 9/11, and the world crumbled as well as my airline career. Poof! It was gone. Or so I thought. Actually it was just suspended but at the time I didn’t know it. I always joke with my friends that I should have gone back into programming and maybe, just maybe, my life would be better than it is now. It’s a grass is always greener kind of thing.
But I didn’t quit. I couldn’t! The desire to fly was still to strong. I couldn’t walk away. The resolve to become a pilot was so strong that I never thought that anything would get in my way. I could live through the dip. I couldn’t express it at the time, in fact I didn’t even know that it was there, but it was. Looking back I see it but at the time, I didn’t. So after a couple of months, I did what I had to do to get a job flight instructing again. Suddenly the clouds parted and I was back doing what I loved. Back on track.
All through it I somehow knew that everything was going to workout.
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Tags: Airline Career, Aviation, Flying, Pilot Certificates
Posted in Airplanes, Aviation, Captain Insights, Crew Gear, Flight Training, Flying Career, Flying the Line, Professional Pilot, Regional Airlines | 5 Comments »
Posted by Jeffrey on March 23rd, 2013
Tax season is here AGAIN! Can you believe it? Didn’t we just do these things?
But maybe this year I can take a little of the pain out of it by showing you a tool that could help you get more money back this tax season. And save 10% while doing it.
Now, if you do your own taxes, then you know how long it takes.
If you don’t do your own taxes, it still takes a long time because you still have to get the documents together for your tax preparer.
Either way, you are always wondering if you are getting all the deductions that you deserve and whether you are getting all the money back that you deserve.
To help make sure that you do get all the money back that you deserve, there is a website called EZPerDiem.com which I’ve been using with tremendous success, to get more money back on my tax returns, for the last couple years.
(Click here for a quick video showing you how it works.)
So, how do they do it?
Now you may or may not know this, but if you are a pilot or a flight attendant, your company, if they pay you per Diem, may not be paying you everything that you are due.
“Per Diem” is a sum of tax-free money your employer pays you to cover daily expenses when you are traveling. And usually, but not always, there is a difference between what your company pays you and what the government says you should be paid.
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Tags: 2010 Taxes, EZPerDiem, Flight Crew Taxes, Per Diem, Pilot Tax Returns, Pilot Tax Software, Pilot Taxes, Tax Software
Posted in Airplanes, Aviation, Captain Insights, Crew Gear, Professional Pilot, Regional Airlines | No Comments »