Speaker is Speechless

This video articulates the magic I have enjoyed in flying. Especially with friends in our heavenly skies over Vancouver Island.  Enjoy what we get to see on a regular basis.

Keynote Speech to Saskatchewan Air Cadet League

A true pleasure to offer insight on Success and decision making with practical tools for their future.

Exciting Radio Interview

Wow, the wonders of our internet age. I joined Twitter; gathered a following and followed others; made some connections and within no time, I have an interview invite from someone more than 3,000 miles away.

Domonick Domasky is an author and host of an Inspirational Talk show.  His friendly approachable character made the opportunity to share some stories a pleasure.  If you have time to sit with a cup of your favourite beverage, I invite you to listen in.

Just click on the Title below.

Taking Flight to Your Dreams.

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.


Ladies & Gentleman, This is uh – your Pilot?

It is a little humiliating to share my first P.A. with you as a new pilot with Air Canada.  Being a Fighter Pilot, this skill was not part of my portfolio.  You can imagine, I was anxious to do it just right. The plane was a Boeing 727 and I was the third pilot.  Sitting sideways as a Flight Engineer wasn’t the biggest thrill after the ethereal excitement of flying F-18’s but it was a starting position in a great new career.  Our 137 passengers were enroute from Ottawa to Edmonton and I was going to provide them with an update on our route.  Being prepared, I wrote my script about an hour early so I would have time to practice and complete my many systems checks prior to the grand oration.


‘Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I would like to give you an update from the cockpit.  We are at 35,000’ over Lake Winnipeg and our time to destination is 2 hours and 10 minutes. The latest weather is … blah blah blah.’


It was written, read and rehearsed in my head until I was certain I would do the company and most of all my entire crew, proud.  So, time passed and I eventually picked up the mic – and gave it my best.  I was quite proud, as it went well with no uhhs and or lengthy pauses. I even did the translation into French.  So feeling relieved, I continued my duties and light conversation with the other two pilots.


Then the flight attendant came up and asked if we had a map.  A map?  We’re pilots! Of course, why would she ask that?  They were actually aeronautical charts but they provided us our position and we knew exactly where we were.  This was before GPS, I might smugly add.  Then she said, never mind – it is just there is a German tourist onboard and he thinks of himself as a pretty good navigator and wondered where we were.


When she left, I leaned forward to glanced outside from my heavily instrumented side panel console.


My heart sank.


We were not anywhere near Lake Winnipeg – yet!  I had picked up my personal script early and rattled it off while over the numerous tiny lakes of Northwest Ontario.


I can’t remember if I confessed my error to the others. I think I did and they laughed it off – but I never forgot that day.  Could that be a lesson for prepare and then prepare again? Or was it simply a lesson to prepare, then sit back and assess all of the environmental and external variables before pick up the mic?

Pilot Announcements Part 1

I didn’t always know much about public speaking but as an Airline Pilot I did know how NOT to make an announcement.

“Ladies and Gentlemen: I hope you are enjoying your flight.  For those of you on the right side of the aircraft, you have a magnificent view of Niagara Falls.  One of nature’s greatest wonders. Notice from your unique vantage point that you can take in all of it’s glorious splendour – yada yada….  And for those of you on the left side of the aircraft?  Well … you should have booked your seat on the right.”

Funny but – to isolate a portion of your audience is both unfair and breaks trust.  And in the airline business, the marketing leverage of the pilot is – trust.

I also got a kick out of a story where the pilot of a smaller airliner encouraged all to  take a peak out the right window and with caution but curiosity, the passengers unstrapped and stepped across the aisle leaning on their neighbor’s armrest to catch the view.  When most were in position, he banked the aircraft to the right and proclaimed with urgency – ‘Not all at once!’.  A terrible practical joke to nervous passengers –

Building trust?  Hmm.

Until next time,  ‘Fasten your Seat belts, sit back and relax..”

Pilot Uniforms

Do you know the reason for the airline pilot uniform – and a hat?

I did some research on uniforms.  After all, I spent most of my professional life in one.  Air Force, airlines and even the unique executive business jet uniforms were either in my closet, in my suitcase or on my back for as long as I can remember.

(Oh – the laundry too, I guess?)

My final career outfit was unique.  A VVIP Pilot.  No hat, no tie. Black on black with black accessories. Or as once explained to me; Ralph Lauren meets Hugo Boss in a sort of Nightclub Bouncer kind of way.  It was comfortable, discreet and very sharp, especially for our crews that had a 29 inch waste.  Regrettably, that number departed my wardrobe more than 30 years ago.

Still, a uniformed pilot will always be present – and for many good reasons.  The objectives of Military uniforms include creating a sense of unity and belonging.

However, for other professions such as Police, Fire Fighters and Ship Captains or Aircraft Commanders, the objective is primarily to display authority, professionalism, confidence and for their customers – trust.

We are social animals and certain images trigger a gut response. The objective in this standardized clothing choice is to provide a level of comfort and respect to the observer. Seeing a properly uniformed pilot with an image of professionalism gives passengers that needed feeling of security that their lives are in good hands.

If that is true, then how would they feel about viewing a poorly fitted and improperly warn uniform and what gut feel might that invoke?  This isn’t a discussion about pride and hygiene, but about the fundamental needs of the customer.  For the Airlines, it is about business.  In your business, does appearance have any impact on your customers trust in you?  It is something we should all think about if we are to persuade our customers to be comfortable with our services.

Next… What about that first public announcement as an Airline pilot?

Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment – Breaking down problems into bite size pieces.   We have all heard that the action of ‘living in the moment’ works well at relieving stress and anxiety.  But can it help us obtain our goals as well?   I invite you to live in the moment for just a few minutes while I tell a funny story.

Big tasks can seem overwhelming and building a personal airplane would certainly qualify as a big task.  So how does one achieve this without the worries or concerns that would either result in failure; or worse, a collateral mental breakdown requiring therapy.

A dear friend was planning to build an aircraft that he saw flying overhead and was mystified by it. It was a 1928 designed open cockpit craft called the Pietenpol.  Trevor lived on a small ranch and his barn was the ideal workspace to welcome his new project.  One cold autumn morning, his first piece arrived. It was the cleanest specimen of the finest Spruce you could find.  A simple beam of wood measuring about 15’ long, 12’” high, and 6” wide.  Excited at his first tangible component of the grand project, Trevor ran to show his wife. When Monica arrived she looked at the beam of wood, paused, then shrugged and said, “Hmmm, some assembly required?”

I got such a kick out of her comment but as Trevor later explained; building an airplane isn’t a big job, it is just many, many small jobs.

How does breaking down large tasks help you and your organization relieve stress?   Is it not a form of ‘living in the moment’?   Let me know your thoughts in the comment selection below.  I look forward to sharing my next posts and hope you will bookmark this page and join in the conversation of Life Skills through Adventure.

You can look forward to hearing tales of dreams and adventure.  We will be revealing emotional health strategies, like this puzzle.  Which  ‘Circle’ do you rest your mind in?

Until Next time, this is Dale inviting you break down your large tasks and live well – in the moment.