Situational awareness in action

Learning to fly is one is the best experiences I’ve had. Benefits of learning to fly include improving situational awareness, learning new skills such as when to mitigate risk and ‘go around’, and studying interesting subjects including aviation law (looking at you now, drone operators). Flying helps us understand how to move and interact with our environment in a whole new way, providing a different world perspective.

Being involved with making the video below was very fun too.

Flying not only teaches us how to navigate the world, but it also strengthens important parallel thinking skills such as critical reasoning, logical analysis, and creative problem solving skills. It’s a real journey going through the Private Pilots’ Licence (PPL) process, and the six exams you have to sit provide lessons that can be directly related back to business:

  • Navigation

Cross country planning is detailed – where are you going, how are you going to get there, what are the conditions, what is your ETA, how much fuel do you need, what is your backup plan, and have you filed your flight plan? From a business perspective, ambitious growth or global domination will only happen with good strategy, business planning and disciplined execution. And don’t forget your marketing – you’ll need to let people know you’re on your way.

  • Meteorology

It’s not always going to be blue skies ahead. Be prepared for highs and lows. This one is too easy; keep competitors and sector trends on your radar, and maintain a look out for any cumulonimbus (storm clouds) forming on the horizon.

  • Air Tech

Air tech is a deep dive into how things work, and what to do if things stop working, to help with rapid decision making under pressure. Understand your business, and take stock of your operational systems. Ensure your business systems and processes are up to speed to take you to the next (flight) level.

  • Flight Radio

Communication is always essential. If you want to keep the circuit smooth, keep people in the loop. No unpleasant surprises, and everyone ends up flying in the same direction….and, well that’s pretty much the same for your business.

  • Air Law

Airspace? Well, it’s complicated and risk management is a science. Understand the different regulatory environments you need to operate in, especially if you’re exporting products or services globally. And avoid those (human) drones with your change management plan to keep them from blocking your flight path.

  • Human Factors

Most importantly, are you fit to fly? Consider an advisory board, business mentor, or investing in resources (eg marketing expertise) to ensure you have all the runways covered. The IMSAFE flying mnemonic used can be repurposed for business as: Investment, Marketing, Sales, Advisory, Fly (global domination), Expertise.

(Other suggestions welcomed!)