Businesses Need Look No Further

As a pilot, I have been tested and challenged since my very first flight with an instructor. And when I was flying without an instructor, I still found ways to be tested and challenged. It comes with the territory of keeping an airplane above the ground until you're good and ready to be back on the ground.

Every business can benefit from the skills that a pilot has. It happens that the type of business I know best is Marketing. From websites to email campaigns to event planning, I have dabbled in just about everything related to Marketing. I'd like to say I'm better prepared in my career now than before I began flying. Think I'm full of myself? Here's how being a pilot is good for business:

Multi-Tasking - You cannot be an effective pilot without the skill to multi-task. You must be able to monitor all the airplane gauges while listening to air traffic control while scanning the skies for other traffic while entertaining your passengers in chit-chat while staying on course to wherever you're going. The ability to juggle many tasks at once is a regularly exercised skill of most pilots. Businesses looking for someone who can easily multi-task need look no further than at a pilot.

Ability to Work Under Pressure - I contend that pilots would easily pass the "under pressure" requirements of any hiring manager. From day one, a pilot is trained to handle life or death situations. Every time you prepare to land an airplane, you're under pressure. There are so many variables that need to be just right: airspeed, altitude, fuel settings, confirmation of landing gear to be operational, communications with other pilots or the tower, the ability to see the runway and line up for it. Pilots learn to push a little fear aside to make decisions and corrections. Businesses looking for someone who can work under pressure need look no further than at a pilot.

Quick Thinker - Most businesses want people who can think quick. Pilots must be quick thinkers to adapt to situations and make corrections for every take-off, flight and landing. Quick thinking is most evident when it's windy and when landing conditions aren't just right necessitating a go-around. Businesses looking for a quick thinker need look no further than at a pilot.

Project Management - If you're a non-pilot, you probably have no idea how much work goes into proper flight planning under visual flight rules. Every cross country flight is a project that involves: researching the weather; plotting your course; figuring out your check points, distance, fuel and estimated time; filing a flight plan and/or getting flight following; then actually flying the airplane to your destination just as you planned it out. In business, Project Management has many similar characteristics of planning ahead, checking with other departments on your plans, and implementing your project. Businesses looking for someone adept at project management need look no further than at a pilot.

Quality Assurance - Prior to every flight, a pilot inspects the airplane and the weather before even starting the engine. To help pilots avoid complacency, we use checklists to ensure every critical component is considered before flight. If anything is less than ideal, the flight is delayed or canceled. Student pilots are accustom to the scrutiny of their instructors. It's not until the student performs basic operations without error that they are released with a license. Businesses looking for someone adept at quality assurance need look no further than at a pilot.

Intelligence - I can't say all pilots are intelligent. But I can say there's a high bar set for anyone who wants to fly. There's so much to learn: weather reports, airplane performance, radio communications, charts, performance charts, and so on. New pilots learn the lingo of control and tower communications, they must pass a written exam and demonstrate abilities in flight. I guess this also means pilots are hardworking and ambitious.

No matter what industry it's in, a business looking for a stellar addition to the team need look no further than at a pilot.

Fuel Cap Mishap

"I need a destination.
That's what Rusty said to help me understand why he wasn't good with just going up and flying around the area for practice and staying current.

Sulphur Springs, TX has an airport right next to a small lake. Across the street from the FBO is a restaurant. We have a destination!

Rusty was going to be the pilot-in-command to Sulphur Springs, I would fly us home. So my job during the preflight prep at Addison was to safety brief  the boys and get them settled into the back. While we waited to taxi around a construction zone, I noticed the gas cap on my side was lifted a bit. I noted it to Rusty and at the run up area near the runway I hopped out to settle it back on.

After the rest of our run up, we took off. I snapped a few pictures of the boys and us:

"What do you call a pig who knows karate? Pork chop!"
Waiting to taxi at ADS
Addison's tower during take-off
Josh checking out the city from 2,000 feet up

Then I saw this and panicked briefly. "Oh [expletive]! We need to land! The fuel cap is off again. We can go back to Addison, or land at Rockwall."

Gotta love the wire that keeps the cap from falling away.
This also affirms my love for low wing.

Rusty thought about this for a second then decided on Rockwall. "Where is Rockwall?"
"Just past that bridge over the lake," I pointed. He hates Rockwall, but I guess that seemed better than Addison in that moment.

Rockwall Municipal Airport has a couple hazards to know about. High electric lines run perpendicular to the runway so you have to see them, come in higher than you normally might for a runway, then descend quicker than you normally might. The runway is short with a raised middle. And there's full grown trees at the other end of the runway. It's a real joy of an airport if you're into that sort of thing.

Rusty landed us safely at Rockwall. Along the taxi way, I hopped out again to secure the cap, this time tugging on it and testing it thoroughly before getting back in.

No fuel was lost in the incident.

Rusty inquired about a caution light that was on. I noted the Alt switch was off. I'm not sure if it had been off the whole time or inadvertently en route. Either way, we flipped it on and the caution light went away. We continued our flight to Sulphur Springs without issue. Elliot fell asleep so soundly, he missed the second landing and parking!

Elliot is our Sleeping Beauty


We ate at the Red Barn Restaurant. It was OK food, but nothing to write home about.

I was pilot-in-command going back home. We had trouble starting the engine. Either I flooded it by advancing the mixture too soon (most likely) or there's some electric issue. It finally caught to everyone's relief. The flight home was fast. Along the way, Rusty noticed volts were measuring low. I landed fine and taxied us to parking.

We've decided to have the alternator looked at this week by the mechanics at US Sport Aircraft. We now know something is not just right. So we'll have that looked at and hopefully it will be a simple fix.

Lesson Learned
We practiced extensively for emergency situations. Having the fuel cap off during the flight surprised me but I kept my wits and knew what we needed to do. Even though we didn't need to land off of an airport, my first reaction was to look around for a spot just in case.

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