There were a lot of rumors and or notices going around last year when we published this strip in the magazines that the FAA written test questions were going to change. Some guys were worried that everything would get harder and that all of their training materials would suddenly be useless. I kind of had to chuckle a little at those rumors. I don’t think the laws of aerodynamics will be changed by the FAA. This might just be why you should KNOW your stuff if you want to be a pilot, like Julio mentioned, and not just study for the test. It will definitely help you later. The FAR’s did get a little thicker since I started flying however and I was surprised during my latest CFI renewal process how much homeland security stuff I needed to know.
But my question to all you current flight students or flight instructors among our readers is, did the FAA actually end up changing the tests last year? I never followed up on the story …
Avgas and Jet Fuel sure are some nasty chemicals. At least Avgas dries on you very quickly (as the toxic lead gets absorbed into your body most likely) but Jet Fuel stays with you for a long time. I hate that smell. It’s weird how burned Jet Fuel doesn’t smell all that bad but with raw Jet Fuel you can totally imagine that it is not good for you, even if you haven’t done the research just by the smell alone.
I had my helicopter parked on an oil rig one time when a swarm of ladybugs landed (to rest? not sure what the ladybugs were doing 12 miles offshore) on the aircraft and literally covered the whole thing. It was a crazy phenomena but what really freaked me out watching them was that every bug died instantly the second it came in contact with any kind of oil, grease, or fuel on the aircraft (it was an old Twinstar so there was plenty of either fluid every time I flew the thing covering the engine bay and around the transmission). It kind of makes you wonder what all these chemicals do to your body if you are constantly around them being in this business …
As somebody who is self employed and works alone in his office all day, I don’t have the benefit of having somebody giving me inspiring pep talks like Chuck does in this strip. Like everything in life, it’s a two-sided coin: I have only myself to rely on for motivation. Many people who are or were self employed too, mention this as one of the biggest challenges. And it definitely is! Especially in times of the internet, where endless entertainment is only a mouse click away. On the other hand, I don’t have a boss bossing me around or coworkers who distract me. There’s no office politics either. I can be as productive as I want to be and all potential benefits of hard work accrue to me.
As for motivation: It started slowly over the years, but I have grown more and more fond of motivational books. When I was young, I was scoffing and secretly smiling at people who read self help books. Imagine that. I was a teenager and young adult who thought he knew it all already. I’m sure I must have been the only one! Anyway, now I like to read the occasional book about how to be successful or on investment etc. and even though I don’t put 95% of what I read in practice, I always feel motivated and energized after reading something like that. That feeling alone, plus the one or two lessons I do take out of a book are more than worth the money.
Some examples of simple lessons would be: “Try to remember more people’s names and faces” (Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People). “Don’t try to beat the market, buy an index fund.” (Burton Malkiel – A Random Walk Down Wall Street). “Eat less sugar.” (Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint). Etc. etc. Other books I enjoyed were the “Rich Dad – Poor Dad” series or “4 hour work week”.
The latest thing I read and now try to implement is parts of, dare I say my “colleague” Scott Adams (Dilbert), new book called “How to fail at almost everything and still win big.” The big point I took out of that book was to not focus on goals (e.g. I want to lose 10 pounds (which I don’t, my weight is fine, but just as an example)), but to create systems that take willpower out of the equation (e.g. remove all sugar crap from the house and replace it with healthy snacks like nuts, so, when you do get weak, you snack healthy stuff). That way, you don’t feel like “not reaching the goal yet” with one brief moment of satisfaction when you do, but more like successfully using a system every time you apply it.
Does anybody have suggestions for other self help / motivational books? Or do you think that is all bull crap anyway?
Being a flight instructor is a rather interesting job. You meet great people. They pay you to fly with them. You share the same passion, and often you find yourself hanging out with them after work or just bumming about the airport with them. You spend countless hours with them working towards the same goal. Yet … for some completely unexplainable reason … they randomly try to kill you every few hours. Why is that?
One thing is for sure, you can never let your guard down. I got in more trouble with more advanced students who I really like for that very reason. Any CFI’s in here have had similar experiences?
Let’s hear them!
Talking about forces … is anybody else counting the days to the premiere of the new Star Wars movie? Usually, when there’s a movie I look forward to, I try to watch as few trailers and gather as little information about it as possible. But what I have seen so far all looked pretty awesome to me! And the fact that Han Solo makes a reappearance is reason enough to see this one!
I wonder how many “rule number one”‘s there are out there. In aviation, this certainly is the most important one, of course! Unless you’re not on the controls, or a passenger …
Last weekend’s Vienna ComicCon was great, by the way! I have posted a couple of images in our Facebook Group. I later found out that the girl I’m posing with on one of the pictures is a real X-Wing pilot! I wish I had known, I would have asked her for flight lessons …
I have learned over the years that pilots, just like sailors, can be very superstitious people. I myself admit to it and have certain rituals I just don’t do well without. They’re not quite the same rituals that Chuck has, but then again, I have learned that there are as many ways of doing things as there are pilots.
Around the Cranes we do a lot of things we call “tribal knowledge” and some of these things may not have a scientific background and might be things pilots just started doing one day but we do them anyways.
A lot of people believe in what might be good luck and/or bad luck and I believe in not tempting faith either way. For example I have never heard of a Crane being renamed ever since I started with them even when it came out of the National Guard with a name that had no meaning to us because it is said to be bad luck renaming a vessel. And in good old Panaca Jane, nobody ever took out the fuzzy dice (maybe that is where the idea for this strip came from? wink, wink) once they were “installed”. After many years of wear and tear they finally fell apart and wouldn’t look like dice anymore so they were stashed in a little bag underneath the seat. But they were not taken out of the aircraft as long as I flew the thing 😉
Let’s hear/see some of your aviation (or other, for that matter) rituals!
You guys remember the discussions we had in the past whether to spell the instrument “gage” or “gauge”?
I think Sikorsky and my current employer must have had the same discussions in the past since all their manuals call everything an “indicator”, HAHA. I just looked it up!
And who of you has not tapped the old gauge here and there “just to make sure”? Let’s hear some stories!
What I find even funnier is our current switch from the old, what we call “museum models”, to newer glass cockpits. You won’t believe how many fingerprints I keep finding on the screens!
Are there pilots out there who are tapping the indication on the glass screens!?? Who does that!?
And, more importantly, does it actually work?
Maybe Chuck is working my cross shift! 😉
The world would be a much better place if people would listen more to each other, wouldn’t it? And that’s all I can think up for today’s blog, because I just downed a huge mug of coffee and have tons of things I want to do right now! Ah! Hyperactivity! Need to make use of it while it lasts! Cheers!
Now this is some Karate Kid style training going on here again! Chuck will turn into a veritable Mr. Miyagi at some point. Must be because he’s hanging out with Nobu so often …