Owning an aircraft or knowing how to fly one does not necessarily make you a good pilot. Within every hangar or airport that you visit, you will encounter both good and not-so-good pilots. How can you tell the difference? You don’t have to get in the cockpit with someone to find out if he is a good pilot. All you have to do is look for these signs:
Takes maintenance seriously
You must regularly inspect your aircraft if you want to ensure that you are safe while in the skies. Before every take off, pilots should go through every item on a pre-flight inspection list to make sure that the aircraft is ready to take flight. But, some pilots get tired of going over the same items on a list before every flight, so they cut corners or skip over things that they don’t feel like doing. Good pilots, however, will never take shortcuts when it comes to maintaining their aircrafts. These pilots understand the importance of maintaining an aircraft, and know that it’s never smart to take a chance by skipping inspections. Good pilots are the ones that repair parts as soon as they identify an issue, keep their planes clean and polished at all times, and follow all FAA inspection and maintenance guidelines.
Willing to help
Good pilots have a genuine love for aviation, and they are eager to help others discover this passion as well. If there is a pilot that is always stepping in to help others, this is a sign that he is an experienced, well-trained pilot. Good pilots have a lot of aviation knowledge, and they are more than happy to share some of it with people who are willing to learn, which is why they make the best mentors for new pilots.
Actively involved with caring for the aircraft
The best pilots are interested in learning more about the structure of the plane itself. If you spot a pilot who stands by while a mechanic services the aircraft so he can ask questions and learn by watching the mechanic work, you may have found a good pilot.
Strong pilots recognize that understanding how each part of the plane works can make them better pilots overall. These skills could help them identify potential problems with a plane before they get worse, troubleshoot issues they encounter during a flight, and take on some of the maintenance work without the help of a mechanic.
Knows his limitations
Good pilots are very self-aware, so they know what they are and are not capable of doing. These pilots know when to cancel or postpone a trip if they feel it is not safe to fly due to unexpected storms. They are also able to identify their own shortcomings and recognize the fact that they may need additional training in order to become a better pilot. Good pilots are willing to put in the work to get better, while others may take the “fake it until you make it approach.” If you encounter a pilot who is constantly bragging about his skills or experience, chances are he is nowhere near as good as he claims to be. Instead, look for pilots that are confident, but not afraid to ask another pilot for tips on how to navigate through a challenging situation in the sky.
Involved in the aviation community
The best pilots are the ones that are so passionate about aviation that they are active within the aviation community. Good pilots may be involved in flying clubs with other pilots in the area. Or, they may attend seminars and other educational programs on a regular basis to meet other pilots and broaden their skillset.
If all of the pilots within your area seem to be familiar with one pilot in particular, it may be because he is well-known within the aviation community, which could indicate that he is a good pilot.
Calm under pressure
Good pilots must remain calm under pressure so they can think clearly and make the right decision when faced with a challenge in the middle of a flight. But, good pilots must also remain calm under pressure when on the ground. For example, if a pilot is preparing to take flight, but realizes at the last minute that there is a major issue with his aircraft that needs to be addressed, he does not become worked up or angry that he cannot take off as planned. He remains calm and begins to plan how and when the repairs can be made so he can reschedule his trip for another time. If a pilot exhibits calm behavior while on the ground, he most likely behaves in the same way while in the sky, which means he is more than capable of handling the pressures that come along with being a pilot.
Use the right products
Good pilots know that it’s important to choose the right products to use on their aircrafts. Inexperienced pilots may choose the first polish that they find or the one that is priced the lowest, but this isn’t always a good idea. The best pilots understand that they should only use high quality products on their planes. If you see someone using Bright Work Polishes to polish the exterior of his plane, this is one of the signs that you’ve spotted a good pilot. Bright Work Polishes are aviation approved and designed to remove oxidation, water spots, and corrosion from the surface of planes. Pilots love the creamy consistency of these polishes, not to mention the deep shine that the polishes leave behind on aircrafts.
Do you recognize any of these signs of a good pilot in yourself? If not, there’s always time to better yourself and become the pilot that you dream of being.