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Aug
30
2021

Post Flight—an Old Pilot’s Notes

Posted 89 days ago ago by Admin

Byron Edgington, a self-professed ‘Sky Writer’ author and a commercial and military helicopter pilot for 50 years, told me his vision for his latest published book, Postflight: An Old Pilot’s Logbook, was simple: “Educate wannabe and upcoming aviators by offering lessons shared by those with experience in the business.”

Think about it; when you started your aviation career wouldn’t it have been wonderful to sit down one-on-one with experienced rotary- and fixed-wing pilots and have them impart their first-hand knowledge of how they managed to survive? I can visualize listening to them, my eyes wide open, hanging on every word as they shared with me the do’s and don’ts drawn from their combined decades of experience and thousands upon thousands of flight hours.  

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.” This is the essence of Edgington’s new book that offers invaluable insights from dozens of pilots eager to share their stories for one common goal—so that you can learn from their mistakes.  

James Thomas Fletcher, author of Roses for the Canyon, observed:

“If you believe flying is your calling then this is a must-read book. Edgington's experience straddles military, civilian, air medical, and business aviation. Retiring after 40 years and 12,500 hours of flying, he has stories to tell as he helps you discover pathways to flight and the realities of getting there.”

Chapters in Edgington’s book: 

1. Timing: If you have the slightest chance to fly, jump on it like a duck on a June bug. Like the isobars on weather charts, there are no straight lines leading into aviation.

2. Student Pilot: Summer ‘69. Your training will be hard, exhausting, discouraging— and triumphant!

3. Where to Start. I’ll give you good advice, and great resources. Trust your gut, and you’ll decide well.

4. Stretching the Rules. I hope you don’t need this chapter, but you might. Safety first; but land safely, every time!

5. Fixed Wing? What aircraft do you want to fly? Here are reasons to stay in airplanes.

6. Rotary Wing? Flying is heavenly; hovering is divine. Or...you can do both!

7. Transition: Military to Commercial. Starting over is tough, and there are speed bumps you might not be aware of. I did the transition; so can you.

8. SA-Situational Awareness. Probably the most important asset you have, SA improves with experience.

9. High Points. I hope you have at least as many sublime moments flying as I did. 10. Low Points. I hope you have none of these, though I know you will. The lowest point? Your final approach and landing. I hope your career is longer than mine was.

11. Care & Feeding of Your Mechanics. The wrench-benders & spark-chasers are your best friends.

12. Care & Feeding of Passengers. I want you to remember the folks who trust you, and I know you will.

 13. Care & Feeding of You. Take care of yourself. Eat well; sleep well; exercise; meditate; take time off. Your career will be better.

14. Care & Feeding of Your Career. From start to finish, these are ways into the cockpit that will set you apart.

15. Confessions, Stories, Voices of Experience. Listen to my colleagues as they tell on themselves, and learn from them.

16. You can do this. Yes, you can, and these pilots back me up. Here are amazing people who were starting out once, just like you.

17. Crew Resource Management. Aviation thrives on systems, and CRM is the best one there is to keep you safe.

At the end of each chapter Edgington offers lessons to be taken from it. Then, at the end of the book, he reiterates those lessons as an aid memoire. Brilliant! To give you an example, the following are the lessons listed at the end of chapter 8 on Situational Awareness.

Lessons:

—SA, Situational Awareness is a real thing—Trust it, use it.

—If your gut says something’s wrong, something’s wrong.

—Aircraft don’t magically fix themselves.

—Regardless of how good a flying job looks, sometimes it’s advisable to walk away.

—You’re not flying for a paycheck; you’re flying to build a legacy.

—Risk can never be zero; but it can be minimized.

—It’s better to arrive late in this world, than early in the next.

—If it’s bad on the ground, it will only get worse in the air.

—The law of gravity is not a general rule.

The best way to describe this new book is through the words of those who have read it:  

American Airlines Captain Stephen Walton (ret.)—"Postflight: An Old Pilot’s Logbook speaks to the adage by Dale Carnegie, “Books are a wonder. For the matter of a few dollars a man will offer up a lifetime of experience and insight.” Herein is a lifetime that exposes the mindset, decision-making, and perseverance that contribute to a successful career in aviation. The book explores the various paths a pilot might take, and the personalities that might be encountered along the way. It expands on much of the core spirit that makes aviation a truly unique endeavor.”

Patty Bear, former military pilot and 777 captain (ret.)— “The ritual of storytelling among pilots passes on some vital knowledge soaked up by the brotherhood and sisterhood of the sky. Any experienced pilot will tell you there’s no such thing as a perfect flight, and the best pilots will tell you they learn something new each flight. Whether you are a new or aspiring pilot, or a grey-haired experienced one there are nuggets of wisdom slathered generously throughout this book.”

    Mandy Hickson, British Royal Air Force fast-jet pilot (ret.) and author of An Officer, Not a Gentleman offers words that echo the spirit of Edgington’s encouraging book—“How often do you steer away from taking on a new challenge or experience because you’re worried you might fail? I'm sure we’re all guilty of this at some point in our lives, but until you try you never know what you are good at. Once you have a goal to visualize, it's always easier to work towards it, to focus on it. So whatever your ambition is.....Dream it, Believe it, Do it!” 

My personal thoughts— “Postflight: An Old Pilot's Logbook documents over four decades of personal knowledge, tips, and stories, but this book offers you much more. It includes stories and anecdotes passed along from other experienced aviators as well, so you can learn from their time in the cockpit. This book is a must-read if you’re interested in learning from those who have ‘been there, done that’ because if heeded, their experiences will make your career in aviation much safer.”  

Postflight and Edgington’s other books are available in paper and digital format at Amazon.com.

About Randy:
Randy Mains is an author, public speaker, and a CRM/AMRM consultant who works in the helicopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves as chief CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero. He may be contacted at [email protected].