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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.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce:

Does Generation and Gender
Influence Curriculum Development?

Yesterday I received an invite, via Curt Lewis and Associates, from Kurt Reesman, Retired Air Force Instructor, who is giving back to the aviation industry by pursuing a PhD with research in training development.  After taking the survey I wanted to learn more about the person behind the research. 

Kurt Reesman

In the Air Force Kurt Reesman flew the T-37, RF-4C and F-15E, and instructed and evaluated student performance in the T-37 and F-15E. He also served as an instructor and evaluator to the Royal Saudi Air Force in the F-15S. After retiring from the Air Force in 2005, he was hired to help Liberty University start their aviation program. 

During his nine-year tenure at Liberty, Kurt served as an associate professor, flight instructor, and National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) team coach. While at Liberty, he also represented the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as a Safety Seminar presenter and Flight Instructor-Refresher Course instructor. Additionally, he was invited to serve as an industry representative for the re-write of the FAA Private Pilot and Instrument Rating practical test standards. Those documents were converted into the recently released Airman Certification Standards for the Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating. 

After leaving Liberty, L3 Commercial Training Solutions contracted Kurt as the project manager for the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATPCTP) course creation. While at L3, he also served as their manager of curriculum development and quality control, redesigning their training curriculum, streamlining their training process and establishing a quality control process. In October, 2015 Convergent Performance contracted Kurt to serve as a certified instructor and quality assurance subject matter expert for courses taught during United Airline’s Leadership, Excellence and Professionalism (LEaP) Training Program that was given to every United pilot. 

A portion of this program focused on Convergent Performance president Dr. Tony Kern’s books “The Blue Threat” and “Going Pro.” (Both excellent books, that I highly recommend.) Most recently Kurt was a lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University in their professional pilot concentration. While serving at Middle Tennessee he made significant contributions to the revitalization of the Crew Resource Management course. 

Kurt Reesman brings a wealth of academic, 
flight and industry experience to the Department of Aviation


Calling All Pilots (and Non-Pilots)

I am a graduate student in the Department of Aviation at Auburn University, and I invite you to participate in my research study entitled Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce: Does Generation and Gender Influence Curriculum Development? where I seek to answer the following three questions: 

1. Do non-pilots and pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

2. Do pilots in the Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z generations have learning styles or preferences that differ from each other? 

3. Do male pilots and female pilots have different learning styles or preferences? 

You may participate if you are 18 years or older. I am asking that you take 5-10 minutes of your time to complete an anonymous, on-line survey that asks you to provide basic demographic information and then answer 44 questions that only have 2 possible answers each. These questions are from the Felder and Solomon Index of Learning Styles questionnaire. If you are interested and eligible to participate, click the link below to begin the survey. If you would like to know more information, or have any questions about this study, you can send an email to Kurt Reesman at

Thank You
Kurt Reesman
Ph.D. Candidate
Auburn University

Thank You for Your Participation!

Enjoy the Journey!
OX Karlene

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Become Unconsciously Competent

Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise vs Rote Memorization

Automaticity and adaptive expertise are essential for airline pilots to improve Situational Awareness (SA). Without automaticity and adaptive expertise, decision-making ability is limited, reducing the pilot's ability to deal with the unexpected. 

What is Automaticity and Adaptive Expertise?

Automaticity is when a pilot’s knowledge is at a level where he or she does not have to think about what to do and their response is automatic. Automaticity is achieved by over-learning to the point where the pilot becomes unconsciously competent, in that they can perform tasks without conscious thought. Adaptive expertise is where understanding and contextual-based knowledge, combined with motivation for problem solving, creates adaptive and flexible strategies for unexpected events. 

Performance in a changing environment demands a deeper level of understanding that will adapt to unique situations. Rote memorization, however, limits the pilot's ability to transfer task at hand duties tconscious thought that would be necessary to adapt to changes in the environment. The distinction between automaticity, adaptive expertise, and rote memorization is the level of understanding. 

Rote memorization does not guarantee the pilot understands the automatic response. Knowledge-based automaticity and adaptive expertise, however, imply a deeper level of understanding than simply memorizing. Adaptive expertise requires precise knowledge, in both quality and content, to be structurally organized in the memory, as well as required for metacognitive skills necessary for planning, monitoring, and memory. 

Becoming unconsciously competent is where knowledge is at the highest level of understanding. Automaticity and adaptive expertise further differ from rote memorization because rote memorization is associated with routine experience, whereas automaticity and adaptive expertise improve performance during novel situations. Rote memorization could result in limited understanding of memorized procedures that may not transfer to the aircraft or emergencies beyond events practiced and anticipated in the simulator.

Time And Place For Rote Memorization

With all this said, there is a time and a place for rote memorization. Practicing flows for example. I am an advocate of memorizing the procedures we call flows, or the processes, to configure the plane for flight during the many phases---preflight, before start, taxi, before takeoff, taxi, shutdown.... While we memorize where to go, understanding what we are doing while there makes the difference. 

This week I have memorized my flows and procedures, but I'm working to that higher level of understanding to achieve automaticity and adaptive expertise in order to become unconsciously competent. The best thing about this goal is that everyone can work toward it as it's a moving target because in aviation, it's not possible to know everything. Just when you think you're there, you get to learn something new. 

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene 

Saturday, October 2, 2021


Forward Movement Toward a Destination!

The MCDU even has a button for today!

The good news is, after all the flashcards and studying myself to the bones I finished my electronic test. While I was striving for 100% I missed four questions. In business they say, 

"It isn't what you know that counts,
it's what you think of in time." 

When your'e taking an electronic test, it's not necessarily what you know, but how you interpret the question.

Success is being done with the electronic test, having a through understanding the aircraft, and moving forward to the next phase of training. Before I do, I thought it would be a great idea to explain one of the most nonintuitive instruments on the Airbus: The brake pressure gauge.

The A330 brake pressure gauge does not directly monitor normal brakes, it monitors the blue system alternate brakes and accumulator pressure. Normal brakes use green hydraulic pressure. Therefore when you see the break indicator sitting at zero pressure, this means you have normal brakes. While the top indication identifies accumulator pressure, if the indication on the bottom of the gauge increases it's either due to the parking brake being set (by blue accumulator pressure prior to engine start, or the blue system after the number 1 engine starts) or the loss of normal brakes.

Now, back to studying! Today is procedures training. Let the fun begin!

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene