Ben Lovegrove

Author Archives: Ben Lovegrove

August 24, 2018

10 Leadership Tips from Jet Fighter Pilots

Leadership Tips from Jet Fighter PilotsBeing a good leader is not something that can be taken for granted. It takes regular focus on self improvement to maintain a high standard. Strong leadership skills come with time, dedication, and intention.

So it’s always useful to have a quick summary of the strengths of character needed to be one of life’s leaders. It’s particularly interesting if the advice comes from jet fighter pilots who, by the nature of their training and profession, have some strong characteristics.

Their personality traits usually include self-control, motivation, persistance, confidence, and patience. They are also opportunistic, risk takers, and have strong leadership skills.

So here are ten leadership tips demonstated by the example shown by jet fighter pilots:

1. Be Dedicated

If something needs to be completed then dedicate yourself fully to the task and invest all your attention to it. That is one of the first lessons a jet fighter pilot could teach and it’s the primary tip to remember if your goal is to inspire others. And inspiring others is one of the most important attributes of a great leader.

Half measures and half-hearted attempts are not acceptable. Put the attention and in the intention in and get the job done.

2. Be Reliable

Jet fighter pilots can find themselves in highly stressful situations while operating very advanced technologies, yet they can be relied upon to deal with all that responsibility.

Leaders are dependable. They accept their responsibilities without complaint and can be relied upon to fulfil them. There’s no way they could avoid total responsibilities for their actions – and as a leader, neither should you.

3. Be an Inspiration

People will feel drawn to follow those who inspire them. Aim at simply being the best version of yourself, in any given context. No matter what it is you are expecting from your team remember always to set the example.

When others see that you are setting that example instead of demanding that they behave in a certain way, they will more motivated to emulate you and grow their owns skills.

4. Be Cooperative

Jet fighter pilots don’t work in isolation. They rely upon, and trust their lives to, their navigators, operators, mechanics and others who comprise the team that keeps a fighter in the air.

Although leaders know that they have to be the pathfinders at times great leaders know they have to rely on their team to get projects completed. Strong and successful teams have a flat hierarchy and everybody has to bring in their best to contribute to the whole.

5. Be an Example

Being a strong leader doesn’t mean your skills and knowledge are taken for granted.

It’s often reassuring to see a leader prove his or her knowledge and skills. By doing so it demonstrates to the team that their leader strives to maintain standards and works on self-improvement

6. Be a Motivator

It’s an old saying but jet fighter pilots would remind you that if you fall seven times, you should get up eight times. There’s no point in berating yourself for even the slightest mistake because there is no such thing as failure when you are committed to moving on to successful outcomes.

Everyone experiences highs and lows, so it all comes down to keeping your motivation strong in the face of setbacks or errors.

7. Be a Visionary

There’s an old saying in aviation, “Never let an aeroplane take you somewhere that your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier”. For jet fighter pilots this is especially true.

Similarly, leaders maintain a vision of the what is to be accomplished. Their imaginations maintain a strong vision of the eventual outcomes and successes.

It is this vision, when communicated to the team, that serves as a reminder and an inspiration, a goal to aim for and a heading for your internal compass.

8. Be Organised

A cockpit is devoid of any unnecessary clutter. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Strong leadership requires a similar level of organisation; of all resources and of time. No leader could inspire and motivate a team if they are constantly stressed and overwhelmed with chaotic and unplanned activities.

9. Be a Communicator

Another saying in aviation is, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate”. It’s a reminder of three most important things a pilot must do; fly the aircraft, maintain a heading and altitude, and thirdly, communicate with the crew, the ground, and other aviators.

Team leaders need to communicate regularly and effectively with their team members. It’s impossible to be a source of motivation and inspiration if you’re absent or if you fail to engage with your team, both as a group and individually.

Relationships need to be built and maintained through regular contact and nurturing.

10. Be Humble

Learn from jet fighter pilots and keep this important tip in mind: great leadership is all about life-long learning.

Change is a constant so there will always be new skills and technologies that need to be mastered. The fact that you can admit that you don’t know everything but you’re curious and always keen to learn new things will make you appear more approachable. Passing on those skills and the found knowledge will reinforce your status as a leader.

You don’t have to become a jet fighter pilot to be a good leader but you can learn from these examples.

If you fly any type of aircraft these tips may help you become a better pilot too.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this post of interest and of use.

Please give it a like and share with others. If you have any tips you would like to pass on please add a comment below.

Happy Landings!

August 21, 2018

Pilots’ and Flight Attendants’ TOP 5 Tips for Beating Jet Lag

tips for beating jet lagThere’s no way to turn this around: jet lag is tough, and all pilots and flight attendants have been through it. From insomnia, exhaustion, dizziness and so many other more symptoms, jet lag can really get a grasp on your wellbeing and comfort.

Going through so many time zones on such short notice can be exhausting and make you dread long distance travelling.  But there’s no need to get to this point because there are many valuable tricks on how to make sure you keep this jet lag far, far away from you.

If maybe you never got to understand what is there for you to do to keep yourself feeling good while moving along different time zones, there’s surely someone out there who have given it a lot of thought and trial: experienced aircrew members!!

Here is the most precious advice that the world’s most experienced jet lag fighters could give you!

1. Check Out Which Way Around the World You Are Flying

Aircraft Dispatcher TrainingThe first thing in efficiently addressing jet lag is knowing if you’re flying West or East.  Studies have shown that it’s easier to adjust to flying west rather than east, so if East is your direction, make an effort in waking up as early as possible for the days before your flight and try to stay away from light as much as you can.

When you arrive, try to let as much light in – this will make your internal clock adjust faster.  If instead you are heading west, you should do the opposite and try to stay as late as possible for the days before your flight and soak as much light as you can.

2. Exercise and Drink a lot of Water

drink lots of water when flyingThe one thing all experienced aircrew members would advise you is to make sure you exercise and stay hydrated. Getting those endorphins up and running is the sure way to keep your body not only in a state of flow but also to make it abler to seek and restore its balance.

So the next time you’re getting ready for a long distance flight, try to keep a workout routine throughout the days before your trip but also try to stick to exercising at least for a short while after you land. Keeping your body active and hydrated are the basics for it to be as receptive and able to adjust to such intense changes.

3. Skip the Caffeine

melatonin for jet lagThis one is a tough one for many. You might even ask, wait, doesn’t caffeine help me stay awake when I need to? It does, but when your body is under such stressful changes, caffeine only brings more turmoil to your system.

If there’s anything you should much rather consider instead of simply resorting to caffeine and ending up with headaches and even stronger discomfort, is making friends with supplements such as synthetic melatonin.  This hormone can really do wonders into resetting your body’s natural sleep cycle and help you adapt.

4. Don’t Forget Your Eye Mask

airline eye masksAircrew members love eye masks, and the reason is a very simple one: when your body is confused about whether it’s time to sleep or not, you can simply push the switch button whenever you want. Another valuable insight?

Give in to sleep whenever you body craves for it, regardless of whether it sounds like a reasonable idea or not. Remember, your body is going through quite some rough patches with all the changes, so it’s only fair you give yourself time to process everything and sleep through the exhaustion. After all, your body does know best.

5. Keep Your Meal Timings

reducing jet lagThis one applies especially for short trips, as it assures that you won’t have to put your body through too many changes in such short notice.

If everything else changes around you and your inner clock is turned upside down, you can give your body some comfort by allowing it to stick to its normal meal timings, even if it means you’ll have to have lunch at midnight. This way, you won’t have to readjust to your body’s meal routine once you come back home.

When you’re just starting out in the aviation industry, jet lag can seem like a colossal challenge. But, with the right tips, you can learn how to beat it and stay fresh regardless of the time zones.

~ Guest Post ~

July 11, 2018

Air Traffic Control Jobs – How to Start a Career in ATC

Air Traffic Control Jobs - How to Start a Career in ATCAir traffic control jobs are available for anyone seeking a first or second career in aviation.  The demand has been created by both the natural churn of controllers and the growing aviation industry.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft in and around airports and other-high traffic areas. They coordinate take-offs and landings and make sure all the aircraft stay a safe distance apart.

Controllers communicate with pilots during flights to direct them during take-off and landing and to tell them about their route, weather conditions, runway closures, and other important information.

The main purpose of air traffic control is to help the aircraft safely get to its destination. The job is also important for minimizing delays at the airport. Air traffic controllers help aircraft arrive and leave as smoothly and quickly as possible while staying safe.

What It’s Like to Be an Air Traffic Controller

What it's like to be an air traffic controllerAir traffic controllers usually work in control facilities or towers. Because most are responsible for aircraft take-offs and landings, it’s common to work near large airports. The lighting and air conditioning in control centers is optimized for comfort and concentration.

Air traffic control jobs are essential, but they can be stressful. Controllers usually work eight-hour shifts, but they have to focus carefully the entire time. Aircraft fly at all hours of the day and night, so air traffic controllers may have to switch between day and night shifts or work on weekends and holidays. The FAA limits shifts to 10 hours and requires that controllers have at least nine hours of rest between shifts.

How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

One way to become an air traffic controller is to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program. There are 36 schools in the United States that offer AT-CTI programs.

You can also become a controller if you have at least three years of work experience, a bachelor’s degree in another field, or a combination of the two. According to the FAA, one year of college or 30 semester hours is equal to nine months of work experience.

To begin a career in air traffic control in the United States, you must be younger than 31 years of age. You also must complete training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, pass a pre-employment test, and undergo a medical exam.

Career Prospects for Air Traffic Controllers

As of 2017, there were just under 23,000 air traffic controllers working in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of air traffic control jobs will grow by 3 percent by 2026. The field is highly competitive with many candidates applying for each opening, but jobs do open up fairly regularly as air traffic controllers are eligible to retire earlier than most people.

Air Traffic Control Jobs – Salaries

In 2017, the median salary for air traffic controllers was $124,540. The highest 10 percent of workers earned over $175,800, and the lowest 10 percent of workers earned less than $67,440.

Your salary depends on your years of experience, the location of your facility, and the complexity of your flight paths. As you complete extra levels of on-the-job training, your salary may increase.

October 31, 2016

The Evolution of the Realism of Flight Simulator Software

Realism of flight simulator software

A new product for flight sim fans

Flight sims have been around for almost as long as the personal computer.  Flight simulator software has always been a best seller over the past few decades.

It was the idea that there might be a realistic alternative to actual flying that first attracted me to PCs. I was learning to fly in the 1980s but I didn’t have enough money to fly as often as I’d like.

To have a very realistic flight simulator on a powerful home PC seemed a great idea.  However, it was to be a long time before the software and the processing power evolved into something satisfactory let alone a package that was truly impressive.

The evolution from the first attempts to the visual, auditory, and process realism of today’s flight sims are demonstrated in this video  (it’s over 30 minutes long so you might want to scroll through it for glimpses).

Perhaps you can remember those early versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator.  At first they seemed poor subsitutes for a real cockpit and instrument panel.  As the years passed they began to take on a depth of realism that has evolved into something very close to the real thing.

The Realism of Flight Simulator Software

Today, realism is everything.  Real pilots who want practice on light aircraft and aviation enthusiasts who want to fly airliners demand accuracy.  They want total immersion in the experience.

Combat flight sims have always been popular but as the realism has improved the demand for civil aviation simulators has increased as well.

Today you can fly an airliner from startup to shutdown and select every button for every task, just as the air crew would do in real flight.  Perhaps some of those flight sim enthusiast daydream of being asked to assist with any emergency that results in the air crew being incapacitated!

The Virtual Cockpit

Realistic Flight SimThe idea of a passenger being able to land an airliner in an emergency has often been the subject of debate among pilots and aviation writers.  As the realism in affordable flight simulators improves it can only add more fuel to the fire.

Today’s flight sims contain fully functioning instrument panels to the front, overhead, and to either side.  You can turn and select buttons and turn dials.  The instruments give clear and accurate information based on your flight parameters.

For some years now it’s been possible to select the time of day, weather, and random flight emergencies as well as dozens of aircraft types.  Given the amount of locations and terrain available it is not possible to live long enough to try every combination available.

What’s Next?

It seems likely that the next generation of flight sim developers will exploit the potential of virtual reality.  Surely there can be no greater fully immersive experience.

As well as, and perhaps in conjunction with VR, there is likely to be more advances in the feeback from the control columns and pilot seats.

So, whether you’re a pilot who is unable to fly due to bad weather or an enthusiasts looking for the next best thing, there is plenty of scope for exercises and enjoyment in the world of flight simulator software.