How to Be a Great Pilot

Chris Oquist is a private pilot and web developer at Banyan Pilot Shop in South Florida. He is an avid blogger and travel writer. But, as an aviation enthusiast, Chris is most passionate about sharing his knowledge about all-things-aviation.

When it comes to aviation, there is one word that helps take the fear out of flying – simplification. When the going gets tough, simplify the situation. Although it’s easier to say than do, this theme has helped many pilots deal with the complex situations they face when piloting an aircraft, commercial or otherwise.

In honor of National Aviation Day, here are 3 “simple” tips to becoming a great pilot:

#1: Think rationally and stay calm

No matter the situation, remain in a demeanor that will not only keep others around you calm but also keep you thinking clearly. Panic or anxiety does nothing to help a stressful situation, and in fact they actually make it more difficult to deal with. Remember: simplification is the key. Do your best to detach from the stressors and objectively pursue the goal of the operation. You’re not a machine, but it is that type of mindset that will pull you through any of the tough times you have while in flight school or throughout your career.

#2: You are the leader who others will follow

A proactive individual can lead a team to produce great results. This is not only important in the business community, but also in the skies. Understanding the bigger picture and where each person fits into that picture is crucial to a leader. A leader can efficiently organize and motivate individuals to achieve some goal. This isn’t exclusive to being a pilot, but it is important to becoming a great pilot.

#3: The brain is your most useful instrument

Gauges, dials and GPS all produce information. This information is useless other than numbers on a screen. Only you can translate that information into practical decision-making. All those years of ground school, hours of flight time and in-flight training, and mental preparation are not for nothing. You have skills no one else has, and many of these are skills you aren’t even conscious of. The more you train yourself to work problems out within your own mind, the more efficient and productive you will be as a pilot.

Becoming a great pilot takes time, passion and prolonged effort. After finishing flight school, this doesn’t mean you will instantly transition from a trainee to a great pilot. Even individuals who have been pilots for years aren’t great pilots. Being a great pilot takes a motivated individual with a clear understanding of the aviation industry and the importance of air travel. If you’ve got the motivation to become this type of person, you’re already taking the first step to becoming a great pilot.

Featured Image: Future Pilot (

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