Flight Ops

Act Like a Leader Before You Are One

weblog via HBR.org by Amy Gallo on 5/1/13

If you want to become a leader, don’t wait for the fancy title or the corner office. You can begin to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion. Even if you’re still several levels down and someone else is calling all the shots, there are numerous ways to demonstrate your potential and carve your path to the role you want.

What the Experts Say
“It’s never foolish to begin preparing for a transition no matter how many years away it is or where you are in your career,” says Muriel Maignan Wilkins, coauthor of Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence. Michael Watkins, the chairman of Genesis Advisers and author of The First 90 Days and Your Next Move, agrees. Not only does the planning help you develop the necessary skills and leadership presence, it also increases your chances of getting the promotion because people will already recognize you as a leader. The key is to take on opportunities now, regardless of your tenure or role. “You can demonstrate leadership at any time no matter what your title is,” says Amy Jen Su, coauthor of Own the Room. Here are several ways to start laying the groundwork. (more…)

Are You the Top Gun You Think You Are? Unsafe Perspectives and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

I can remember my father, an Eastern Airlines captain, saying to me as a young aviator, “The most dangerous time in a pilot’s career is after they get their Commercial license up until about the time they get their ATP.”  I hadn’t given that much thought until recently.  I fondly recall that period of my career.  I was cautious, but I also had a sense of unfounded bravado that I really knew what I was doing.  Looking back, boy was my perspective wrong.

Lately I have been running across many operators who are not best practices or IS-BAO, are not particularly safe, or are even operating under CFR 14 Part 91 illegally – not because they want to, but because they don’t have the perspective to know any better.  Moreover, their bravado puts them, their companies or owners, and the general public at risk.  Please read on…

You’re saying, “Hey, that’s not us.”  Research shows, however, if you are in denial you have a high likelihood of overestimating your knowledge.  I challenge you  to see if perhaps your operation is at risk from what’s been called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

One of the best titles for a scientific paper has to be the Ig Nobel prize winning “Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments“.  The paper compares people’s skill levels to their own assessment of their abilities. In hindsight, the result seems self-evident. Unskilled people lack the skill to rate their own level of competence. This leads to the unfortunate result that unskilled people rate themselves higher than more competent people. The phenomenon is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, named after the paper’s Cornell University authors. (more…)

Machu Picchu Earns Its Distinction as “One of the World’s Most Interesting”

As you may know I love to write.  I often apply that passion on Yelp!, the foodie web-community.  It’s a give and take situation where I frequently search reviews taking recommendations for cuisine, rating and value.  The advice on the site is very insightful, and I’ve found many hidden gems with the “locals knowledge” provided.  I enjoy “giving”, too, with over 300 reviews submitted.

Similarly, as a business aviator I find Rick Steve’s travel shows and other travel logs quite interesting.  In a recent consulting engagement I met a great guy and fellow pilot, Lee Hale, who shared with me a story of his recent visit to Peru, Cuzco and the famous ruins of Machu Picchu.  It was quite an interesting story – one that he has shared in his local newspaper, The Coloradoan.  I urged him to share this with us, and he graciously obliged.  I hope you enjoy Captain Hale’s travel blog on Machu Picchu!


By Lee Hale

The first view is every bit as spectacular as I had hoped.  The green mountain pillars surround the ancient ruins, with wispy clouds moving up and down the valley opening and closing views of one of the world’s greatest sites: the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.

I travel a lot, often too much.  After all, I am a professional pilot and have been “raising money” for my family driving airplanes for more than forty-five years.  This means that most trips are ho-hum affairs that simply represent another week or two away from home.  My recent eleven day trip to South America did not fit this mold.  It was interesting and exciting every step of the way. (more…)

10 Leadership Lessons From George Washington

You may remember Valley Forge from Junior High history, but to refresh your memory, it was where the American Revolutionary soldiers wintered in 1777-1778.  Conditions were brutally cold.  Clothing in tatters.  Shoes nonexistent. Many wounded soldiers died from exposure.  And those left living had to contend with typhoid, jaundice, dysentery, and pneumonia.  George Washington wrote, “To see the soldiers without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie upon, without shoes…without a house or hut to cover them…and submitting without a murmur… can scarcely be paralleled.”

Approximately 2,500 American soldiers died in Valley Forge that year.  Why? Yes, these men loved freedom.  But according to historian David McCollough, it was mainly their love for Washington. They would go anywhere with him and do anything for him. They knew how much Washington cared for them and how he put himself in harm’s way.  In earlier battles, Washington’s two horses were shot out from under him and four bullets passed through his coat. The American soldiers knew this. And bled for him. (more…)

When Playing Lego’s, Just Play Lego’s

Posted on by EdWhite
Being Present Matters & A Kindergartner’s Carpe Diem

In this era of Twitter, Facebook, texting and 24/7 digital access we’ve all been guilty of being “heads down”.  Sadly that often means engaging your connectivity device while in meetings, while driving, in public, or while one-on-one with someone – maybe even during family time.  It occurs to me such distractions, while increasing the social interactions we have with the world, take away from the deeper, more human interactions we very much need in our life, and as a result weaken our relationships.

Why, for instance, is it ok when you are investing time in a group or with someone, perhaps a loved one, that we are constantly taking time out from the interaction at hand to type a text message or email to some non-present person.  We’ve all done it.  But think about it.  Such actions are a value proposition.  Is a text (more…)

Safety Management System Information Library

Posted on by EdWhite


So, Zeke, you want a comprehensive guide to SMS.  Well, here you go, courtesy of the International Business Aviation Council and Business Aviation Solutions, promoting aviation safety and best practices flight operations.


The Ultimate Safety Management System Information Library

•ICAO Safety Management Manual and related material:

•ICAO SMS Training Materials

•SKYbrary – an initiative of EUROCONTROL and ICAO to provide an aviation safety knowledge exchange.

•European Strategic Safety Initiative information: http://www.easa.eu.int/essi/index.html

•Transport Canada SMS (more…)

5 Ways To Make the Second Half of Your Life Count

Posted on by EdWhite

Many mountaineers have lost their lives on the Swiss Matterhorn and are buried nearby in a Catholic church cemetery outside the small town of Zermatt. A recent study by a historian found 2/3 of the climbers in this graveyard made it to the Matterhorn peak, but died on the way back down.  They started strong but could not finish, mainly because they were not adequately prepared.

All of us are susceptible to this danger; if not on a mountain, then in life.  It’s easy to go full out in the beginning, but it’s much harder to finish well.  That takes diligent planning and preparation. (more…)

When No One Else Is Watching

Posted on by EdWhite

The new issue of Fortune Magazine includes their annual section about the best advice people have ever received.  It touches on both business and life issues.  Reading it made me think about the best advice that I have ever received.  This idea of advice also plays into the upcoming (February 2013) NBAA Leadership Conference theme of “Leaving a Legacy” and what advice those people passing the torch of leadership in a flight department want to impart upon their peers.

I am lucky to have received a lot of great advice over the years from my parents, teachers, friends, clients and colleagues.  And, I have spoken about some of it in my blogs before like “in a negotiation, work to turn a square table into a round table” (http://jetsales.com/blog/2012/05/06/negotiating/).  The piece of advice that stands out in my mind today is that “life is about what you do when no one else is watching”.  (more…)

The Importance of a Clear Chain of Communications with Accountability in Business Aviation Flight Departments

“What did he say?”

“Was that for us?”

These are perhaps the two most common phrases heard on the flight deck.  Clear communications between the crew and ATC is critical to safe operations.  We all know that.  But too often I observe less than optimal communication all around the flight department, like between maintenance and flight ops, and between downtown and the folks at the airport.  What does that mean to an operator, and how can we improve understanding between all of our stakeholders?

Let’s first talk about why clear lines of communication are important.  If we chat with the boss’ travel coordinator and don’t get the departure time right or if we incorrectly order his catering request there could be a tongue lashing or worse.  Poor communication may delay a maintenance or refurb project, possibly wasting both time and money.  In the maintenance shop if we don’t effectively let the scheduler or flight crews know of an aircraft’s status, well, that could allow scheduling – or worse yet, flying – of an aircraft that’s not fit to be in the air. (more…)

Keeping Your International Operations Publications Library Complete and Current: Here’s a Great Resource for You…

Posted on by EdWhite

Happy Aloha Friday from a chilly ISP.  It’s a brisk 18 degrees here this morning.  Apparently my nearly ten years in California has made me soft…  Anyway, as I warm up and write this  I found a neat little resource  today that may be of interest to you IS-BAO librarians out there.

I visit lots of flight departments and find many operators struggling to maintain an international publications library.  Do you have all the pubs required?  Are they current, and how do you keep them current?  (more…)