Aviation is Now Normal – What a Pity


I recently saw the trailer to the upcoming documentary, Invisible Highway.

I look forward to seeing the program as it is aligned with my deepest beliefs.  My love of flying, my gratitude to the pioneers and visionaries that have made the amazing strides in flying efficiency and wonder.  These men and women  have steered my  soul since I was a teen. It saddens me to think that most of us have become complacent, even openly critical about our air transportation system.

It is legitimate to feel frustrated if you have an expectation, however we also sadly miss the opportunity to be grateful.  We lose when we don’t make that marked effort to appreciate how fortunate we truly are. The fact that just a century ago our world had no ability to connect at these speeds and locations.  Today the masses have access to safer transportation and you no longer need to be in the elite or the daredevil class to fly.  This gift is only due to man’s curiosity, courage, tenacity and belief in a dream.  Let us continue to nurture these virtues. Let’s not lose out on the pleasure and fulfillment of gratitude.

Flying has come so far and it is moving faster and better at exponential rates.

Hang on for the ride.  I know I am.

Your Life – Painter’s Canvas or an Office InBox.

Many of us seem to live our life as a never empty inBox.  Tasks stack up and we work through them.  Just when the pile is getting lowered, another pile of duties and problems roll in and we are forced to handle yet another crisis or mundane task.  This is hardly an appealing way to look at our lives and for many the option of breaking free from this drudgery seems hopeless.

But what if we kept these tasks. Continued to handle them and yet felt freedom and creative energy of a brilliant artist?


I propose that we chose our state of mind

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. ~ Brian Tracy

So how do we make this subtle but critical twist?

In aviation, we often complete repetitive tasks that require attention and precision but can become at times boring or laborious.  One of the joys of flying is that every trip or mission is different and even though many of the tasks may seem the same we have an opportunity to perfect them. Just as a musician makes a better example of her work each time she plays a piece, a pilot can see the results of his efforts at the conclusion of his flight.  A debrief will illuminate what went well and what could have been improved.

The best way I know to stay focused and motivated on each and every flight is to conduct it like I was given a blank artist’s canvas.  Each check, radio call, communication with the crew or timely switch selection is recorded like a painter’s brush stroke.  Some perfectly placed and others –  well ‘smudged’ at best.  The satisfaction is stepping back and looking at your completed piece at the end of the flight. What went well and what could have been improved.

So how can you turn your tasks from a dreary mundane inBox into a creative Canvas.

Remember, there are no shortages of canvases. Tomorrow, you will have more tasks and problems that challenge your creative gifts to solve.  Try to imagine them as a chance for you to paint a canvas that is a fine piece of art.  Attempt to execute the routine and the mundane in creative motivating ways that solve problems more elegantly and with less effort.  Perhaps benefiting more of those around you.

This perspective can change your outlook to your working world, whether at home, office or away.

Good luck on your new painting!

Accident analysis – Reason’s Model how does this apply in Life

What can we learn from Accident Investigation in our own lives?  And, what valuable life lessons can we use daily?

Dr. Reason provided a model that has become known as the Swiss Cheese layers for accident prevention. His example demonstrates how a  variety of processes can interrupt the chain of events leading to an accident.  However each step set in place no matter how close to perfection,  has holes (like swiss cheese) and when the holes line up, a chain of events that can lead to an accident may occur.

So, when it comes to our own lives, what can we do to ensure a safe and desired outcome – in any endeavour?

1. Build layers of protection into our lives.

Here are some examples. We can think of healthy exercise, proper eating, and rest, as layers of defence against disease and illness.  Or, planning our budget, building a savings and investment portfolio to assure financial independence when we no are no longer able or have the desire to work.

2.  Pre conditions.

Fatigue, complacency, attitude, beliefs.  These behaviours can set us up for a disaster.  Samples include: Allowing insurance policies to lapse, driving while tired, believing preparation is unnecessary without regard to the potential failures and hazards. These can all result in reduced layers of protection.

3. Unsafe acts.

Most of us have survived some pretty foolish acts.  Perhaps it involved excessive alcohol/drugs, a daredevil stunt or simply ignoring an obvious precaution.

These are just a few of the latent or active failures that allow an accident chain to breach through all of the layers of defence.

We not only want to have a healthy successful life, but we also enjoy the journey when we can overcome challenges and risk.   The greater the challenges, often results in the most satisfying rewards.

Smart risk therefore, is when we consider the hazards, plan our defences and then tackle the challenge with the confidence that we have put effective planning and preparation in place.

To have a truly exciting and satisfying life we must occasionally take actions that expose us to risk.  It is also most satisfying when we can achieve difficult goals by skillfully navigating through various challenges and hazards.

By creating effective layers of protection as demonstrated in Dr. Reason’s model, we can confidently take the risks required to achieve our goals.