We learn from every pilot we fly with, every pilot we talk to. Sometimes we learn a lot. These links to interviews and essays from master pilots I’ve been lucky enough to talk with gives us a peek inside their heads. They’ve flown loads of cool airplanes, in different missions all over the world. But what’s interesting here is not technical details or differences; but finding the common connections, the core inner airmanship that holds true for every type of flying.
A huge thank you to all the pilots who’ve been very generous sharing their insights:
Captain John Wiley
I believe there can be little doubt that there are aerial artists. Having done some painting, I was surprised to find how much science and how many disciplines are involved in putting paint on canvas. It is more than just slopping color onto a surface. The really good painters are also very disciplined and learned. And, in many cases, they continually seek to improve their efforts. They are not satisfied with maintaining a skill. They want to enhance and broaden it. …
It’s important to pick the brains of the best pilots you can find. Pilots who are really good know all kinds of things you’ll never find in a POH. By associating with them, learning how they think, and talking about the strategies they use, you have a better chance of becoming one of them.
Dale 'Snort' Snodgrass
It costs nothing to ask a successful person how they succeeded, but it may deliver more value than 1,000 hours of hard work. Others are under no obligation to tell you their secrets, but it is surprising how much you can learn from sincere, direct, and thoughtful questions.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject.
Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
Henry David Thoreau