I've been a UK based fast jet pilot since the early 2000's having joined the military in 1998. I've flown fast jets for all of my career and have never had a 'ground tour' (that's when you have to fly a desk for 3 years...not good). I currently teach instructors and students to use the BAEs Hawk T2 as a weapon system in the applied phase of their training. I realised some time ago that there were many things that we were teaching young pilots that were applicable to many other professions; after all, high performance is high performance whether you are at 20,000 ft or attempting to climb to the top of your career.
Before I post about performance, it makes sense to talk about what exactly a fast jet pilot is
A fast jet pilot is normally male, in fact only 11% of the RAF is female (the highest number of all the UK's armed forces) - how many fast jet pilots are currently women? I can count 8 out of approximately 160 active pilots that I know of.
The premiership has 220 players this year so it is true that there are fewer fast jet pilots in the UK than premiership footballers
Fast jet pilots are mission oriented compartmentalisers who lack emotional sensitivities
A flying squadron can be a tough place to be especially if you are not good at banter and are unable to make fun of yourself. Banter is the thing that pilots use to keep other pilots in check. The squadron is a place full of egos and your social standing is decided by one of 4 things - rank, seniority (age/flight hours), ability in the air and personality. Banter is 'taking the mickey' out of people, it lightens the mood but to an outsider can appear as exceptionally harsh.
Fast jet pilots must be the ones in control - they are systematic and methodical
If you tell a pilot about a problem you are having they will attempt to give you the solution even if you haven't asked for it
If you give a pilot a pen, they will take it apart - pilots have inquisitive minds
Pilots deal with facts and find it hard to accommodate inaccuracies
For a fast jet pilot everyday is potentially the last day of their career
Lastly we are extremely predictable, we like routine and lack spontaneity. So how are fast jet pilots high performing individuals who are able to excel in highly dynamic environments?
Until we slip the surly bonds of Earth again - fly safe!
Copy this to your phone or iPod and rock out, kinda.
Let me know what you think about the Podcast in the comments - I'm learning about mics, editing etc and I know I probably need voice coaching - I'm a jet pilot and normally speak too fast - I'm trying to slow it down, thanks!