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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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What Every Pilot Needs

By Chris Oquist, 
Flight To Success Guest Blogger

Chris Oquist is not only a private pilot and web developer at Banyan Pilot Shop in South Florida, he has a way with the words too. Chris is aviation enthusiast who is passionate about sharing his knowledge on all-things-aviation.

What Every Pilot Needs

Pilots are a unique breed. We are adventurers at heart. We seek excitement and tend towards boldness, competitiveness, and self-reliance. All in all we are passionate individuals. I do admit to possessing all of these traits on a regular basis. But let us not forget what every pilot needs to be truly successful….

Planning and precision

Even with all the safety training and procedures in place, risk is still there. We are inherent risk takers, so it is a huge draw for a lot of us, even if we don’t realize it. Preparedness, planning, and precision are skills that we must be well equipped with. Successful pilots plan their entire flight before takeoff and review their performance after landing. It is a continuous effort of learning from mistakes and finding ways improve.

Authority without arrogance

Having the right attitude is just as important as competence when you are in the cockpit. Courage and confidence is necessary and will get you far. Arrogance is always destructive. It is so easy for that feeling of authority to morph into arrogance. Never forget how different they are.

A level head

Before you even settle into the cockpit having a clear, level head is key. You can’t successfully fly a plane without it. You need to have a solid ability to make good judgment calls and stay focused on the task at hand. If something were to go wrong, a clear head yields a better ability to handle an unexpected situation.

Respect and humility

Respect for your equipment, procedures, regulations, and process of flight is essential. Be aware of your capabilities and limits. Over-confidence will get you nowhere. No, you do not have super human abilities, nor do you know more than your plane, or manual. Learning from your mistakes and seeking the help from others will keep you humble.


And finally, passion. I’d say it is the most important and probably the most universal quality pilots possess. Becoming a pilot is never a spur of the moment decision. It is one we contemplate well before the day of our first flight lesson arrives. As a general rule, we are obsessed with planes and aviation before we ever step into a cockpit. Don’t forget that – it will keep you going


  1. Excellent points, Chris!

    "Authority without Arrogance"..."Respect and Humility"...Each one comes with a balance.

    Often times airline pilots, sadly, show little of this out of the cockpit. But the vast majority, I believe, demonstrate all of these qualities to an exemplary degree in the cockpit!

    Thank you for the post!


    1. Thanks for your comment Eric. I wonder why they don't carry this into their normal life. But quite often I see that too. Could be an interesting topic of research. Happy Thanksgiving!


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