It takes a unique set of skills to earn your place in the cockpit. Rigorous training aside, the best commercial pilots all share a set of unique traits that make them the best in the business. Want to make sure you’ve got the goods? Read on to see if you’ve got the makings of an above-average aviator:
1. You’re a great communicator
Getting your cabin crew and passengers to their destination safely boils down to one thing and one thing only: superior communication skills. As a pilot, the buck stops with you, and if you’re unable (or unwilling) to communicate with your crew and air traffic control in a clear, calm manner, there’s little chance of you earning your wings. Successful commercial pilots understand all too well that communication is a two-way street. In other words, they’re masters of relaying – and receiving – critical information in the most effective way possible.
2. You’re a team player
If your aviation dreams are more about the prestige that’s synonymous with the jet-setter life, you may want to rethink your career ambitions. The most sought-after commercial pilots are those who check their ego at the door. More importantly, they’re ready and willing to work towards a shared goal. They know that flying is a team effort, and that every single crew member counts. Successful commercial pilots are “people’s people” – they view every single individual’s contribution as crucial to a safe, successful flight. What’s more, they know how to play up to their crew’s strengths and how to strategically assemble a group to achieve a common goal.
3. You can think on your feet
There’s no room for ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ when you’re cruising several thousand feet in the air. The best commercial pilots earn their wings due to their quick-thinking and decisiveness. If you can suss out a situation, make a decision about the best course of action (and then stick to it) while your peers are still acclimatising, you may just have what it takes to add ‘Captain’ to your resume.
4. You’ve got a head for numbers
If you’re a walking abacus, congratulations. Crunching the numbers – sans calculator – is an essential requirement of piloting a plane. More importantly, you need to be able to work out mathematical problems in the blink of an eye. While today’s cockpits are equipped with technology that does the maths for you, you need to be able to step in should there be any technical failure.
5. You’re a born leader
While the top commercial pilots are team players, they’re also adept at leading a team. As a pilot, you set the tone for the entire crew. To do this, you need to be able to read people and situations, decide on the best course of action and then communicate it in a way that inspires the rest of your team to bring their A-game. What’s more, the best commercial pilots get this right, all while keeping a cool head. As the pilot, your crew (and passengers) take their cues from you, which means there’s no time for losing your cool.