I crossed over a few miles back. The man in the Canadian Customs uniform was about the same age as my second oldest son ,maybe 28 or 29. So,he asked, are you training or being trained? Perhaps my obvious age would beg the question was I a trainee or trainer? I like to think of myself as both based on my time in service and my varied experience, but in this case I was a trainee and fortunate to again be in the company of a very good Chief/ Instructor pilot.
I faced the problem that many pilots face this time of year. I was not really current but we needed to do a check ride that will assess my current abilities and return me to a proficient skill level.
The check ride went as expected and I am signed off for another year. One of the many benefits of check rides is to review and discover any areas that need improvement. Emergencies are always a subject of discussion and study amongst professional pilots but unfortunately we get very few opportunities to practice those emergencies. Not actually putting my emergency training to practice is just fine with me but I think we all wish we could get more training in emergency procedures.
The company is getting a simulator and its very welcome news. The senior pilots are getting to be a senior group indeed and in a few more years there will be a lot of fresh young faces hired. These new hires are very likely not going to be as seasoned as we were when we hired on some years back. I hired on with about 10,000 plus hours more than 10 years ago and I was one of the more junior pilots. Shortly after that less and less experienced pilots were hired. A less experienced pilot may very well be a better pilot in every area except the one area that he or she can’t change. Experience and the benefits that having been there and done that will give you can never be ignored. Giving pilots the ability to simulate bad situations and practice not getting into the situation or getting out with the aircraft and its contents intact is such a great innovation and advantage that its value can never be calculated or fully appreciated.
I look forward to working with many new hires and helping with what ever I can to make them better pilots,just as others have mostly done for me.
I say mostly, because,unfortunately some senior pilots either can’t or won’t pass on the benefit of their experience. I remember those pilots and the others who while not actually teaching at least provided a horrible example of what not to do.
I believe if we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that many of us have fit into both categories of instructor and bad example on occasion. The fact that we continue to strive for improvement and are willing to share our good and bad experiences is part of professional development.
A certified smart guy and consummate teacher, Leonardo Da Vinci wrote about the value of experience.
“To me it seems that those sciences are vain and full of error which are not born of experience, mother of all certainty, first hand experience which in its origins, or means, or end has passed through one of the five senses.”
A simulator allows a pilot to experience amongst other things ,the flights we never want to have.