Letter of the Week: A Lack of Recklessness

Flying reader Kevin Hynes shares his thoughts on gender and flying attitudes.

Sky Kings Pilot Passenger

Sky Kings Pilot Passenger

The article "Learning to Fly like a Girl" reveals human traits not necessarily gender specific. And "first, fly the airplane" may have little to do with one's experience level. Each article has everything to do with one's "mere presence of mind" to have the right flying attitude, all of the time! John King hit the nail on the head about such a flying attitude when he stated he admired (and hoped to emulate) another's "...lack of recklessness."

Recklessness: meaning to not think about or have concern for the negative (bad) implications of an outcome of some activity at hand. "Recklessness" is why most "on purpose" aircraft crashes happen.

Recklessness is often coupled with focus on perceived reward(s) masking thought about possible negative outcomes or rewards perceived as greater than the negative outcomes.

Pure and simple: Lack of thought means one has an attitude of recklessness, even if one hasn't crashed.

While gender might show a statistical bias against one gender's behavior (re: attitude of recklessness), it is the attitude that is the real problem, not the gender.

There is a possibility that perceptions created by "risk management" or "risk mitigation" really work against one's emulation of another's lack of recklessness achieved through elimination of additional risks (i.e. one's attitude to plow ahead and attempt to control or to defeat additional risks, especially in order to gain some perceived reward or thrill, can lead to recklessness rather than lack of same).

All three of John's examples pitted Martha's risk elimination against another's recklessness, perceived as management of what were easily defined as additional risks whose negative implications were not completely thought out nor apparently desired to be avoided. And to not always fly the plane, that might be the highest form of recklessness!

We are all susceptible to such an attitude and the consequences; even when flying in a crew, same gender or mixed. If John and Martha still encounter recklessness when together, they really need to redefine CRM and what a real PIC is supposed to do: keep everyone safe and happy! It doesn't do any good to be in control if anyone/everyone is still uncomfortable (accidentally or on purpose), and worse yet if anyone is permanently scared or saddened by such control.

So it doesn't matter if you're a low-time Pilatus pilot, or high-time crew of an Airbus, or even John and Martha King, all must have a lack of recklessness all of the time, with the ultimate reward in mind: fly to live another day! One must continuously think safety, and not just when unexpectedly called upon to do so.

The concept really is simple. Yet human nature makes it very hard to follow over and over and over again, especially without added effort and constant practice. So always strive to emulate a lack of recklessness for every task of every flight. And review each flight honestly, looking for one's lack of recklessness throughout.

Sincerely, Kevin P. Hynes, Kickapoo Airport, Wichita Falls, TX

(ATP MEL, COMM/INST ASEL/RH; CFII ASEL/AMEL/RH)

THINK SAFETY: No place it won't work!

T = Tasks at hand

H = Honest about negative outcomes

I = Identify required parameters and limits

N = Never tolerate undefined territory

K = Know before exceeding parameters and limitations

S = Sure of positive action for safety

A = Aware of negative outcomes

F = Follow safe actions to eliminate negative outcomes

E = Everyone on board with the plan? (Unfair to keep others in the dark)

T = Talk outloud about options and consequences. (self awareness)

Y = You are responsible for safety. You are responsible for and in control of eliminating risks.

The buck stops with you, one way or another. How will you perform?

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