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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.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pilots Personality

Thank you SWA for the great flight into Dallas Love Field!

Two oversold flights, bumped off American's jumpseat and Southwest brought me to Love Field. I finally arrived at the Women In Aviation Conference. Guys, this not just for women. It looks like there will be around 3000 guests this year, and the hotel and conference center is gorgeous. But tonight was filled with a great discussion on the pilot's personality, and the potential threats. A great topic for Threat and Error Thursday.

Operational and personal stress, pension loss, furloughs, loss of seniority with mergers, etc., impact the emotional stability of a pilot. But the pilot’s personality is such that they can do and handle anything. This is a positive outlook because we need confidence in the flight deck. However, there is a point where confidence and denial meet. How can a pilot’s mental health be self-monitored, and what can pilots do to maintain a clear head to perform their best?

This is a great topic, and one of debate. Do pilots have a God-like personality, and do they have control issues? And is this a good thing, or a bad thing, in the flight deck? And with all the stress in far can a pilot be pushed before they break?

Who is flying your plane?
Flight For Control
If you haven't read it ... you should.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. Balancing stress and work, pilots do it the best!!!

    Dallas Love field rings a bell, i was there 24 yrs ago!!!!!!

    1. Srinivas... isn't that the truth! This would be a fascinating study because I believe this is true on most pilots. Perhaps one of the tests we need to give to new pilots... how well we deal with stress. Interesting thoughts.
      Thank you!

  2. Karlene, great blog and though provoking for even us non-aviation folks. It's interesting to think of the stresses a pilot is under and compare it to the stresses of corporate executive (the world I understand). While they are somewhat the same (many of those you shared in your blog), the responsibilities of pilots are far greater. While I understand that corporate executives, at some companies, have shareholders to be responsible for – but that financial/fiduciary responsibility pales in comparison to being responsible for the lives of a plane full of people. I suppose that does warrant a God-like complex. But where you do you draw the line. Where does the confidence become too much and eventually become a hindrance to the success? Is that even possible? I wonder if it isn’t similar to that of doctors and surgeons. Having he life of so many in your hands has to lend it’s own stress to the complexity of your daily job. I used to complain about my four cube walls and lack of door, but now I am not so sure. I love my role, being able to see an impact … but thankful I don’t have such great responsibilities. My hats off to all of you. Thanks for helping us get from place to place … whether it is for business or for pleasure … you talents and career choice are far reaching!

    1. April, Thank you so much! Very compelling thoughts. And the interesting thing is that this is the same issue with doctors and surgeons. As a matter of fact, crew resource management and threat and error management training have moved into hospitals to enable these magnificent beings to become approachable by their crew, and help minimize the human factor errors.

      It's interesting that you discussed the fiduciary responsibility of executives. This is one of the issues in my novel, Flight For Control. Where does their responsibility lay? Stockholders? Employees? Safety? Who do they answer to? The board of directors?

      All good stuff. But mental health is essential.

  3. I hope the conference is fantastic! Enjoy, take pictures, and come back and tell us all about it.


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