February 2011 Issue

A Military Perspective On General Aviation

Comparing military flight training with its civilian counterpart highlights the fact GA pilots have a squadron’s worth of responsibilities.

For most general aviation pilots, military aviation is something of a mystery. The equipment usually is different—though many civilian designs have been placed in military service—and it’s the rare GA pilot whose mission involves dropping or shooting things. Of course, the process of taking someone off the street and turning them into a pilot commanding several million dollars of often-lethal hardware—after only months of training and a few hundred hours of flight time—is much more refined than most civilian flight training. But military aviation can offer several lessons for general aviation, especially when considering risk management. And while civilian operations also are vastly different from the military’s, that doesn’t mean the transfer of valuable lessons is one-way. After years of Marine Corps flying, I recently "transitioned" to general aviation. I learned a few things worth sharing.

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