March 2013 Issue

Head In The Game

To help reduce stress and allow them to focus, air show pilots formally embraced a quiet period, the “Sacred 60,” to help them prepare for a flight. You can, too.

Pilots of personal aircraft ultimately have all the responsibility to ensure a flight is conducted safely. To help meet our responsibilities to ourselves and our passengers, we need to minimize the outside world’s distractions when we sit down in the cockpit to focus on the task at hand. Different pilots have different ways of focusing, but one common thread is blocking out anything unrelated to ensuring the upcoming flight’s success. That’s a major challenge when we serve as baggage handler, dispatcher, meteorologist and pilot. It’s also a major challenge in the dynamic world of air show pilots. An air show’s sights, sounds and attention-grabbing activities perhaps make it one of the worst places a pilot can be prior to a flight. But pilots about to fly their air show routines have implemented a formal “quiet time,” allowing them to focus on their upcoming flight and get into “the zone” or “the game,” if you will. Here’s how they do it.

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