Principal Air - Flight Training / Charter in Canada

Principal Air - Flight Training / Charter in Canada, Learn to Fly


Unit D 30460 Liberator Ave. (Just past the Main Terminal)
Abbotsford International Airport
V2T 6H5
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The Four Keys

There is a grass area bordering on the transient aircraft day parking area here at Chilliwack (CYCW). Right at the edge of the tarmac, the ground drops into a shallow ditch. I have seen a number of people push their aircraft back off the tarmac to be out of the way only to find, when they are ready to leave, they cannot push the plane back on to the hard surface.

An older gentleman found himself in just such a position a week or so back. I was inside working with a student when I noticed the man struggling with his aircraft. Without a word or a hesitation, two younger fellows who had just parked their plane walked over, positioned themselves one behind each strut and provided the needed extra human power to solve the problem.

On the other hand, I had the opportunity to watch as a fellow instructor sat in the cockpit while his student warmed up a twin aircraft right in front of the terminal doorway, blowing bark mulch and other debris all over the walkways and up to the doorway itself. When a passenger waiting for his charter flight walked out to alert the instructor to the havoc he was creating, the instructor simply waved him off.

According to Transport Canada, as of the year 2000, there were a total of 62,800 licensed pilots in Canada: 24,231 Commercial Pilots and 38,569 Private Pilots, about 0.2% of the population. We are a small community.

Being a small community, I would like to suggest it is important to respect one another, and all of the non-aviation people we affect daily, and work together, as best we may, to continue to create a positive, working community, a community that helps itself whenever possible and is aware and conscious of its actions and how those actions affect others.

Each time we participate in a conversation about aviation, visit an airport or take an aircraft flying, we have an opportunity to help or harm the aviation industry. No matter how alone you may feel sitting in the cockpit of your aircraft, you are not. You are out there, on display in a public forum, representing all of us who take to the skies.

In training programs we often speak of the four keys to successful practice: knowledge, awareness, attitude and discipline. For the most part, these are spoken of in reference to flight and the flying environment. I would like to suggest that their application is, in fact, more broadly based.

Knowledge is defined as the, “…body of information, facts and procedures that needs to be known” (1). Knowing what you need to know as a pilot does not end with an understanding of aerodynamics, meteorology, and air law. I would suggest that knowledge of how others are affected by your words and actions is also critical.

Maintaining awareness of what you are doing and how that impacts others is always important. This applies in the air and on the ground, both in terms of safe flying and in terms of the image you portray of aviation. Being aware of the effects of your actions is a part of the total responsibility of holding an aviation license.

Think of the two cases presented in the opening paragraphs of this article. Both of these events were witnessed by the people sitting in the airport coffee shop and those sitting in the terminal building at that moment. Both of the incidents revealed important information about aviation. Which image would you choose for people to carry away? Which image would you choose for people to be holding when airport closures are being suggested, when government legislation affecting aviation is working its way toward enactment?

The attitude you take with you into the cockpit is critical to how well you manage the risks involved in flight. The attitude you portray to others when speaking about flying or exercising your license privileges sends a clear message into the world about aviation. Remember, you are the ‘expert’ to many of your friends and acquaintances; anytime you are acting in the capacity of a pilot you represent all of us.

Discipline is the last key and is a very foundational one. It represents the consistency we all need to practice both in the air and on the ground. The disciplined part of us is the part that says, “Do it right even if no one is watching or listening.” It is the part of us that demands we use our knowledge, remain focused and aware, monitor our attitudes and behaviours and attend to that which requires attention.

As a holder of an aviation license or as a student working towards one, you are a part of the aviation community. In the air and on the ground, you represent that community and present a picture and image of it to the people you interact with and the people who observe you in your interactions.

What aviation is and will be in Canada is, in large part, a reflection of those of us who make up the community of people involved in aviation. Ensuring you are knowledgeable, aware, develop and demonstrate positive attitudes, and remain disciplined in your approach to aviation serves all of us and helps create the background, the human infrastructure, which ensures positive growth and a supportive environment for the industry at large.


1. Transport Canada, Human Factors for Aviation, Instructor’s Guide, TP 12865 (E), Transport Canada Safety and Security, Ottawa, Ontario