Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crew Resource Management/ S-271

The powers that be decided it was time to add depth to the staffing in Air Operations. As the only certified ACE (Aviation Centered Education) instructor, I get to lead the S-271 class. S-271 is a week long course that's an introduction to the 'special use' part of the aviation industry. I like teaching. The hard part is, this course will be attended mostly by folks that outrank me. I'll have the active support of AirOps there though so it's all good.
Crew Resource Management, or CRM, is really big now. There were quite a few aviation mishaps that could have been avoided had the pilot not tried to take the entire crisis on himself--elicit input from the crew, keep lines of communication open, that sort of thing. We apply that philosophy here. 'Three to go, One to No'.
The harder part of training is the concept of 'soft skills'. In the public sector, everything must be objective. 'Hard skills' are things you can evaluate and document on skills checklists. 'Soft skills' are one's ability to adapt to dynamic situations, things you haven't seen before. Only real goal is to keep everybody safe. If we identify someone as not safe, and we're not able to train a correction, we have to have the ability to exclude them from flying. Even if they outrank you. Invariably that individual will not be able to see in themselves what the experienced airmen are seeing and will assume it's a personality issue..... We'll take that hit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Gonna Do It

Friday is Bike To Work Day. I've been wanting to do this for some time, enough so that I had my brother Jim build me the right bike for the trip. AnnaMarie and I had a date planned for Thursday anyway so she'll just meet me when I get off work Thursday morning; that way I can leave a car here for the trip home.
56 miles. I lose 4,500' in elevation, so that's about a 1.5% grade. That should give me a little boost. I have to be at work by 08:00 so I'm planning on leaving about 03:00

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm judging YOU

I've always thought one of the more lame defenses is when someone says, "I think you're judging me!" Here's a warning---I'm constantly judging you. It's a necessary survival tool. What's wrong is if I use my conclusions to assume any sort of superiority.
There are different levels to this evaluation, and you can't convince me it doesn't go both ways. Is this person going to hurt me or anyone else? Are they going to make things better or worse? Are they interesting or boring?
The ongoing judgment is based on your personal growth of wealth. I don't mean money or stuff, though. I'll do my best to figure out what God gave you to work with, mixed in with the challenges you've faced, and look at what sort of rich life you've carved for yourself. This rich life by no means has to be MY idea of a rich life. As long as you have some interest--raising children, living off the land, collecting Beanie Babies, ice fishing, making soap....and you passionately pursue these interests, you're building wealth towards a rich life. If, though, you put more effort into distracting yourself from wealth through addiction to food, alcohol, porn, video games, gambling, defining yourself through things you did long ago, whatever---you are squandering life. That's poverty.
The wealthiest people I know are the ones that were handed some pretty daunting challenges yet developed some very keen interests and continually pursue them. Most of the wealthiest people I know are Moms.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mount Sentinel, Montana


The couple in these pictures went hiking on Mount Sentinel in Montana recently. They went up the mountain, left the trail, and were hiking across this grassy knoll. They had to have been there May 2nd or 3rd, because those were the only sunny days. They might have been eaten by a grizzly or abducted by aliens, but all I really know for sure is they dropped their camera. Pretty far from the trail.
If anyone recognizes them and they can contact me to describe the case and camera I'll ship it back. I'm really hoping this isn't some sort of extramarital tryst that I've now broadcast across the internet. If so, I'll pay the postage.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Somewhere Helibase


After over a week in Montana, here's what I can do now that I couldn't before. It will still take a season or two to get my task book signed off so I'm official. The position is 'Helibase Manager'. If there's a really big incident, you create a helibase somewhere. The test that carried the most weight was this sand table exercise. They set it up in advance with a little town, a big fire, and roads. You get to read the synopsis of the fire and the plan, then you get to work with the role players, delegating construction of the base. Meanwhile the copters that were ordered are coming in, as are the orders from divisions to use them. It was actually kind of fun. No way I'm ready for prime time yet though.