In Focus

How to become a better pilot during COVID-19

Indeed, we’re encountering some tough times. This article isn’t about explaining what we all already know; it’s about looking at the silver linings and making the best of a difficult situation. Pilots are some of the most resilient people I know, so let’s look at the opportunities that have prevailed and see what we can do to make the most of our downtime.

Improve your aircraft systems knowledge

Can you confidently describe your engine, fuel, electrical, hydraulic and ignition systems to a 12-year-old? If you can’t, you probably don’t understand them enough. I say this because we tend to use jargon and filler words when explaining a topic to others that we don’t understand in depth. Aircraft are engineered with great precision, with a large number of independent components working in unison. Try to visualise how all of these components and independent systems are intertwined. If you’ve never seen an aircraft undertake a 50 or 100 hourly service, make sure you use your spare time to watch one take place. If you have the option of getting your hands dirty under the supervision of a LAME, then do so. The knowledge you’ll obtain will be useful one day. On a handful of occasions, I’ve encountered technical issues in flight with my aircraft. Each time, I felt confident in my diagnosis and decision making to either fix the problem, continue to my destination or divert to a nearby aerodrome because of my existing systems knowledge.

Try this learning technique devised by Richard Feynman:

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