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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Be The Captain...

 "You Must Be The Captain You Want To Become." 


While I was in Austin playing with my grandson this weekend my friend, Alex Wood, sent me a great quote from the movie, Bruce Almighty, "If you want a miracle, be the miracle." Which in turn reminded me of another quote from Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see." I'm sure the second quote inspired the first... which in turn inspired today's quote.


The reality is we can be anything we want to be. If you want to become a captain it's up to you to learn the traits of a captain and become one. If this doesn't come naturally... you can learn, change and grow, into anything you want to be.

While you start out as a first officer, airlines hire captains. They want leaders. Remember you are applying for a position as a captain when you apply for your airline job. When you apply at Delta, you are applying for a position at Delta Air Lines... not Airlines. It's all about the details.



Be a CAPTAIN: 

Communicative: Captains listen to their fellow crewmembers, enlisting feedback, then they communicate their decisions, decisively. They speak loud enough for all to hear, with the confidence that they have made the right decision. They create a plan with their crew, and then they communicate that plan with dispatch, ATC, and their cabin crew. They let everyone know what they intend on doing. They know there are people on the plane and in the system who need to know what is happening "after" they deal with the emergency. After they have a plan.
Assertive: Captains know that being assertive with ATC is essential. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, but more the strength to communicate what they want, and need. They do not allow controllers to lead them down the path of no return. When a captain is not ready for an approach, he or she asks for radar vectors, or a holding pattern, until they are ready. If dispatch tells them to do something that doesn’t feel right, they have the strength to override that decision.
Procedures: Captains are perfectionists in themselves and their performance. They know all procedures better than the back of their hand. They know standard operating procedures, set-up procedures, emergency procedures, departure and approach procedures, and with practice will perform them with precision. Knowing procedures, and checklist responses is essential to good performance.
Think: Captains think ahead of the plane. They plan for all contingencies before they step into the flight deck. When they brief the abort, they have taken into consideration the weather, the stopping distance, and any contingency that may limit stopping ability, as well as those that may limit the ability to fly. They think beyond the plane. Instead of being reactive, they are proactive in their thoughts and actions.
Attitude: Captains have an attitude of leadership. They are confident, communicative, willing to listen, and support their fellow crewmembers. They are positive, and encouraging and appreciate the feedback from their team. They instill in their crewmembers a feeling of importance as to the safe outcome of the flight.
Instill confidence: Captains instill confidence in others, by being confident in themselves. They instill confidence by being honest, upfront, and forthright.
Not afraid. Captains are not afraid to be human. They know that we all make mistakes and they encourage their fellow crewmembers to be comfortable in speaking out if they see something wrong. They are not afraid to say thank you, or to be humble.

What do you think the traits 
of a good captain include?

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene
Be a CAPTAIN:
Communicative: Captains listen to their fellow crewmembers, enlisting feedback, then they communicate their decisions, decisively. They speak loud enough for all to hear, with the confidence that they have made the right decision. They create a plan with their crew, and then they communicate that plan with dispatch, ATC, and their cabin crew. They let everyone know what they intend on doing. They know there are people on the plane and in the system who need to know what is happening "after" they deal with the emergency. After they have a plan.
Assertive: Captains know that being assertive with ATC is essential. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, but more the strength to communicate what they want, and need. They do not allow controllers to lead them down the path of no return. When a captain is not ready for an approach, he or she asks for radar vectors, or a holding pattern, until they are ready. If dispatch tells them to do something that doesn’t feel right, they have the strength to override that decision.
Procedures: Captains are perfectionists in themselves and their performance. They know all procedures better than the back of their hand. They know standard operating procedures, set-up procedures, emergency procedures, departure and approach procedures, and with practice will perform them with precision. Knowing procedures, and checklist responses is essential to good performance.
Think: Captains think ahead of the plane. They plan for all contingencies before they step into the flight deck. When they brief the abort, they have taken into consideration the weather, the stopping distance, and any contingency that may limit stopping ability, as well as those that may limit the ability to fly. They think beyond the plane. Instead of being reactive, they are proactive in their thoughts and actions.
Attitude: Captains have an attitude of leadership. They are confident, communicative, willing to listen, and support their fellow crewmembers. They are positive, and encouraging and appreciate the feedback from their team. They instill in their crewmembers a feeling of importance as to the safe outcome of the flight.
Instill confidence: Captains instill confidence in others, by being confident in themselves. They instill confidence by being honest, upfront, and forthright.
Not afraid. Captains are not afraid to be human. They know that we all make mistakes and they encourage their fellow crewmembers to be comfortable in speaking out if they see something wrong. They are not afraid to say thank you, or to be humble.
- See more at: http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-be-captain.html#sthash.BRrd1nuK.dpuf

26 comments:

  1. Awesome post! a great read to start a Monday morning.

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    1. Thank you Steve! We all need a little motivation on a Monday.

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  2. Hey I like that acronym! I'm learning more about that every day at this job and I think it is critical to have those skills and through processes when a major airline does call. They are absolutely looking for Captains and hold a high standard.

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    1. Thank you for the comment Daniel! You are so right about that...and you are there. I'm looking forward to flying with you one day. Soon.

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  3. Great acronym! It's something I bookmarked to go over in the future, when I'll hopefully be working into the airlines! (or Air Lines ;)

    Thanks for the great post!
    -Swayne

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    1. Thanks Swayne... no matter how you spell it...it's going to be great. And... you already have the qualities of a captain... so there you go. You have a head start.

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  4. I love acronyms so you got me with this post! Great stuff Karlene!
    Brent

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    1. Thanks Brent! I think we should all be the captains of our lives too!

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  5. I remember when you posted the first one... It's my favorite post.

    I think Captains have those elements as essentials. But added to this, I think they are proactive, efficient, connected, innovators, creative and have a rich personality. In the end, great Captains are great managers.

    Okay, maybe what I have just said is exactly the same what you wrote above.

    But here is the thing... It is really like how you said... You could either have it on your DNA or you can either learn it. Anyone can be a great Captain.

    Have you noticed I wrote "Efficiency" and "Innovation" in many comments previously? I believe both words are one of the crucial elements to build a new tomorrow.


    Brilliant post!

    Alex.

    PS: Air Lines! I love it! No exceptions for Airlines? Wait... Air has lines? lol Makes complete sense now.

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    1. Thanks for the great comment Alex! I was going to link to the other post, but I thought pulling it forward would be good. This ties into the post for Wednesday...a week of waking up and taking responsibility for your life.

      And the Air Lines versus airlines. Seriously, I think the person who came up with the name did not know that airlines was one word. And there you have it... a misspelled word goes down in history with pride. :)

      When we make a mistake...be proud! It's our signature in life. As long as it doesn't kill you...it will make you stronger!

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  6. I think a good Captain, buys the crew dinner.

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    1. At the very least adult beverages. Seriously... I flew with a captain about 6 months ago who said, "You guys will not pull your wallets out. I'm not sure when it stopped that the captain paid." Last week I flew with a check airman... averaging 100 hours per month, and had a student (pilots can do the math) and he doesn't tip the van driver half the time, cheats on the bill, etc. I like the first captain the best.

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  7. Very good indeed. In our Airline one of the principles we teach and follow is that the "Captain will lead by example". Respect others, and don't do what you wouldn't like being done to you.

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    1. I love that! Lead by example. Something that parents, teachers and everyone should do in their normal life. And definitely in an airplane. You know, those I want to emulate the most follow this trait. They don't have to tell me what to do...they show me who I want to be. Thank you so much!

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  8. Your post just doesn't apply to airline captains. It applies to any leader. I've take the liberty of passing it along to our staff including the flight department. Thanks.

    Corporate CEO, USAF Vet and CJ4 pilot

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    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment! And I always say, be the captain in your life. The leader! Thank you so much for sharing this post too. That is the greatest honor!

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  9. My favorite blog post thus far! Thanks for your contribution to our current and future pilots. It's so refreshing to see upbeat and positive attitudes in aviation.

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    1. Thank you Rachel! We need more positive attitudes. After last week's pilot shortage comments, tomorrow will hopefully change that attitude.

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  10. After 24+ years in the left seat, I agree - well said!
    Pete

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    1. Thank you Pete! And thanks for being a great captain for all those years.

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  11. Hi Karlene.
    You can also think of it in another way.
    In general aviation (GA) when you fly alone you are the PIC.
    But when you take passengers with you, you are the Captain.
    After all, you have to explain to them the procedures of a sterile cockpit during take offs and landings, and explain emergency procedures should they arise.
    You are the captain.
    NIGEL

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    1. Thank you so much Nigel. This is an excellent way to look at this.

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  12. This was an awesome reminder.....thank you.

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