Leadership For the New Aviator

Flying Naked: How Owning Your Issues Will Fast Track Your Career!

Lesson #1 The things that you’re hiding from will hurt you

  • I started out thinking I wasn’t smart enough to be a pilot
  • Now, 20000 flight hours and 35 years as an Airline and Corporate Jet Captain
  • I look back at how I progressed, slow but steady

Tip: If you think you can’t do it, you’re right

Lesson #2 When in fear or doubt ask for help

  • As a low time pilot I was afraid my questions would give me away as a newbie
  • And make me look stupid
  • But as I gained confidence I reached out for help
  • From my classmates, my sim instructors, my fellow pilots
  • Put your false pride aside and ask!

Tip: People are waiting to help; it makes their day…and yours!

Lesson #3 Don’t make excuses for who you are

  • My flying career started out with an excuse that my eyesight wasn’t good enough
  • That led to me not applying to Navy flight training
  • I was afraid I’d “wash out” so I didn’t even apply!
  • Fear keeps you from doing things that will prove you’re not good enough

Tip: Do the thing you fear: “Eat the Frog!”

Lesson #4 Vulnerability doesn’t have to be painful but it might be

  • Fast forward, when I had been flying as an airline pilot
  • One of my fellow crewmembers asked me if I was “ex-military”
  • That meant “did you fly as a pilot in the Navy?”
  • I figured, I’d “fake it until I make it”
  • I automatically answered “Yes.”
  • Vulnerability means being honest about your “issues”

Tip: Warning: Don’t spill your guts to just anybody

Lesson # 5: Use what is put in front of you to progress

  • The aviation industry slowed down long enough for me to learn
  • I was frozen in the flight engineer seat for 10 years
  • That gave me time to learn
  • By watching, from the flight engineer seat
  • But you can’t count on something like that

Tip: Scout out opportunities to learn and seize them! (Carpe Diem!)

Lesson # 6 Own your stuff!

  • I didn’t want to own up to the lies of my past, to be vulnerable.
  • I would leave out that I was an enlisted crew member in a Navy squadron, not a pilot.

It took me 10 years before I was able  to say that “Yes, I’m ex-military but I didn’t fly as a pilot!”

Tip: Accelerate your progress, don’t wait for “a sign!”

Lesson # 7  When you look for help you will find it

  • Reach out to people you trust
  • When you find them build trust slowly

Tip: Vulnerability means being uncomfortably honest about your “issues”

I still catch myself wanting to say I was a “jet fighter pilot…!”