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

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, 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. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Motivation: You Can't Fail

“You can’t fail if you never give up.”

Last week I received an email from a future pilot who recently experienced a snag in his longitudinal axis.

As promised, my update about last stage Psychomotor and Psychology test, sadly, I didn't make it through. I just receive the email awhile ago, I can feel my heart is burning. This is my third attempt, but the first and second one I failed in the first stage, so it wasn't that depressing as this one because it's the last stage. What can I do to improve myself?? I even bought the aptitude software to prepare myself for this test, but it came out to be not the same kind of test. They used some kind of Vienna Software.

Failure is not uncommon, I knew some people tried for 7 times only they succeed! But its really heart pain when you want something so badly, and you don't get it. Also, the pressure given from the people around me make it even worst especially when they constantly tries to pull me down or telling me not to waste anytime to chase something that I've been failing in. I wish my heart is made of steel, so I don't get hurt deep inside me even though I always show the positive face to them.

Remember this: You cannot fail if you never quit!

The way I see it is you have four more times to catch up to those other people who eventually succeeded. And then if you don’t make it at lucky number seven... you have as many times as it takes to be a motivation for someone else.

This type of testing is the same during all psychological testing phases. None of this is secret stuff. The secret part is how to pass. You can pass by training your mind how to perform. Here is some advice on how to prepare for these tests. Below are samples from my airline tests, and those of my friends recently hired at the regionals. The testing can be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours and from what I hear, they're now on a computer. My NWA was 99% on paper. I thought they were pretty fun tests. If you view them as games, they can be.

Below are some typical tests you might see:

Memory test, they will probably flash a photograph up for a second or two, and ask you some questions about it.

This is all about a scan. Learning to see an instrument and interpret it without spending a lot of time. Practice with a child’s picture book with lots happening on the page. Open the page quickly… see and think: Tree, 2 clouds, red car. Think color of the object you see. If it’s multiple items, then think the number. If not, then think only the object, that way your mind will know it’s only one. Open the book for a few seconds. Then try to write down everything you saw. Details of clothes, etc., Practice. Go to the next page and continue with the entire book. You can also practice glancing at a clock, then look away. Do you remember the time? Pay attention to ever detail you see in your world. Open your cupboard for a second. Write down all you saw with as much detail as possible. You are training your brain to see detail and recall. You can train your brain.

Logical reasoning can be confusing box patterns that the applicant will guess the next logic pattern in series. There might be some shapes that are inverted, upside down, or a mirror reflection. There are IQ books to practice, but you may not get the same test. But they are still useful.

How to prepare for this—use your practice test to not memorize, but ask yourself these questions: How can I identify the pattern? What is the subtle clue? Talk yourself through them. Pretend you have to explain to someone the reasoning why the next object falls into the pattern. This will train your mind to look for it.

Personality test could be up to 500 questions.

The best thing to do is answer honestly, and be consistent. They'll ask many of the same questions in different ways. If you are honest, who you are won't vary from question to question.

They may give you some flying type questions. A typical question may be about coordination asking about longitudinal, lateral, vertical axis. The basic flying stuff here, but they want to know that you know.

Know the terms and envision the lines. A little memory gouge I just made up for you:

Longitudinal—it’s a long way around the world. Best way to go is follow the line straight ahead.

Lateral—Flex those arms and show us your lats. Then stick those arms out as far as they can go to the side.

Vertical—Stand tall and look to the stars.

Once you have the lines figured out, and their directions, if they ask you what axis a plane uses to yaw, pitch, or bank, you can answer any question. See the lines on the plane above? Visualize what line that plane will rotate about for various maneuvers. See how it rolls over the longitudinal. Pitches over that lateral line. Yaws around the vertical.

You may get a reaction type test with a variety of digits, and you'll be required to identify numbers, words, letters, or pictures that appear in the second table. Yes, there is a time limit.

Then you might be asked to perform this test while they're asking you questions. A good question is, if the Oak is larger than the hemlock, and the hemlock is larger than the spruce tree, which tree is tallest. They're not difficult questions. These are for reasoning and logic. Can you think and do while you fly?

Make some and practice tables of your own. Train your eyes to see numbers, and letters. The observation game with the kid’s book will help with this too. You can teach your brain to remember. Create this chart to look like a bingo game. Actually, playing bingo will help. Playing kids bingo will help. They have bingo games with pictures.

For the questions, writing notes can Help. When I took this test I had a pen and paper. I would do the Oak and Hemlock question by writing the first initial for each tree the size relation. In seconds you can see who is the biggest: O h s. But now with computers, I suspect you can’t do this on paper, but you can think it.

There was another hand eye coordination test where different colors and tones flash at the same time. This was kind of fun. Just another game.

I have a game like this: Simon. Just checked on Amazon, and the game is $99. But for $10 they make a key chain. Might work. Simon Link.

I've hear lately there is a portion of this testing that uses a joystick control. I had a small hand held ball on the end of the stick when I played this game. key is you have to move your stick to match the object they display. The object moves and you chase it, hold it, stay with it. A bit more of a challenge than you think.

The best thing to do is go to the video arcade and practice playing with your right hand. That old game pacman is great. This is why I excelled at this game. We have a pacman game and before the kids broke it, my husband and I played it often. I found an on line link to one you can play for free! Get a stick for your computer and play this, with your right hand. Practice writing with your right hand, too. Click HERE to play pacman.

Don't worry if you think being left handed is a disadvantage, despite the tests being set up for a right-hand world. It's not. I'm right handed and did my A330 check in the left seat with the left hand, and did just fine. Now… playing games, that’s another story. But with practice you can do this!

Train your mind. Believe you will pass. You can pass this test!

Remember… stress destroys the memory. Don’t give stress a chance at attacking yours. Have confidence in yourself, and do not listen to those people who say otherwise. You really can train your mind—it’s one of the most powerful computers there is. If only we could access all it’s capable of. Start now training your brain.

Enjoy the journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. I think the key word is constancy. If we fail, it doesn't matter how affected we might be, that's experience gained and let's try again. It doesn't matter how negative things people tell us, let's show them they're wrong. Don't ever give up!

    1. Mario, that is so true! As long as we keep trying, we will never fail. Each time we make an attempt, we do gain experience. Success isn't not failing, it's about getting up after you do, and learn from it.
      Thanks for a great comment!

  2. Karlene, you are so right about making it into a game. I used to love tests and checkrides - before I decided "in my head" that I had SO Much Riding on Them!! Then they became stressors instead. Also, my end goal wasn't to be an airline pilot - it was just to fly, so I didn't recognize the "importance" of these tests and just enjoyed them. Ahh, the good old days....

    1. Kath... isn't that the truth. The power of the brain can help or hinder us. But we can control it. Thank you so much for the comment and all your support!

  3. I think the key thing is about belief and the fact that one is willing to accept that there is scope for enhancement and is willing to learn or change. Practice makes one perfect and even if it were a simulator check ride, the very fact that you went through the motions mentally few times before the check without actually handling the simulator, itself is a testimony that a well thought of plan of carrying a task is better than none at all.

    1. What a great comment. There is so much to the power of the mind. And what we can do to succeed with practice... before we touch the simulator. Everything we do... every failure is actually a success, if we learned something. Thanks so much for the great comment!

  4. I love those ideas for training the brain. It's like laying down track in our gray matter--the more we run the track, the easier the running comes to us, and the less likely anything (like stress) is to get in the way. Very clever to use games!

    1. Yes, we can train the brain. I'm thinking for writing too. I'll explain at the workshop! Oh... or when I see you Friday! Thank you for the comment.

  5. Today's morning I read this story,and am motivated a lot.I really like every message.Thank you so much for sharing strong messages,and games.I also try to think positively all the time:)
    Best wishes,

    1. Thank you Jun. I know you are so busy with your flying, and reading twice is so appreciated. Your comments of support and encouragement are appreciated so very much!

  6. Wow that sounds like a tough test. I'm taking a few notes off this post. You're right, the only way to not fail is to not give up.

    1. Heather, you will never give up. I know this. And you have the power of seeing your future and making it happen. We could all do this for writing too. Thank you so much for the comment. I know how busy you are.

  7. This is so true, in every aspect of life -- you cannot fail if you never quit! It's so easy to give up, but if we actually think that we are not a failure because we are not quitting, the feeling of defeat is gone. It's still hard to accept that all that time and effort spent on a preparation for the test was (somehow) wasted, but if we pick ourselves up and keep going, our well-trained brains (I love this concept) will forget about the failure, shrug it off and keep plowing ahead.
    I hope it won't take you more than just one more attempt to pass. I'm keeping my fingers very tightly crossed and I admire your positive attitude.

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment Angela! I know she will pass. I also know she will keep trying. Every experience gives us strength and sometimes it takes a failure or two to learn. Sorry about coffee and lunch today. I had so much fun flying!


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