Our guest blogger today is Captain Sean Bishop is in his 33rd year as a professional pilot for a major airline. More than a third of his work experience has been dedicated to teaching and evaluating pilots in various simulator programs. Prior to the airlines, Captain Bishop spent several years flying military aircraft in the USAF. He has a BS degree from the USAF Academy, as well as an MS degree from the University of Southern California.
Flying an Airbus A350 for a major airline, as Captain, might seem like the culmination of 40+ years flying airplanes; but, it’s not. I spend most of my professional time in a full-motion flight simulator teaching and evaluating captains and first officers on contingencies, emergency procedures, and safe conduct of flight.
Does it take more than the gray hair that comes from decades of aviation experience to safely deliver a 300+ million dollar aircraft with 300 customers across 13 time zones, every day?
What’s the glue that binds us when the unexpected happens?
In a word - Training.
As a pilot, I operate in a world of flying machines, crewmembers, support teams, and culture. Everyone is trained to do their jobs - from the flight attendants and dispatchers to the mechanics and ground staff.
I began my aviation education 40+ years ago when I entered military service as a cadet at the USAF Academy. The military taught me a core lesson: Training is synonymous with preparedness. I carry that lesson with me each time I walk onto a flight deck.
Aviation is a team sport. Success is derived from how well the team is trained to execute on the task at hand.
My approach to leadership in the cockpit has always been essentially the same. Every successful sortie is a team win. I am constantly reminded and humbled with each takeoff and landing at the professionalism and dedication of the hundreds of colleagues and workmates who poured their training and expertise into every aspect of what I do.
So, whether we are flying into blue skies or the gathering storm clouds of Covid-19, economic uncertainty, terrorism, or political upheaval – the vector and approach to success are always the same. Fall back on your training. Trust in the training of your teammates. Value your team for who they are and the talents they bring to the flight deck. Respect their input and expertise on matters that require expanding one’s team.
Now, let’s go fly!