Flying (Part II)

Knowing Yourself

by Flickr User: PhillipC'sThroughout the one hundred plus years of aviation history, accidents and fatalities have played an inevitable role. In the early years man learned from his engineering mistakes and the airplanes he designed became safer and more reliable. Yet accidents continued to occur, and today it is estimated that 75% of aviation accidents are due to human factors. This broad terminology covers the crew on board, the crews of other aircraft, and controllers on the ground. Human factors include fatigue, illness, proficiency and experience, emotions, and psychology. Part of a pilot’s pre-flight routine is a mental check against the five identified hazardous attitudes, including: anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho, and resignation. Mistakes on the chessboard can also trace back to thinking patterns you may not even be aware of in yourself.


This attitude occurs when the pilot, or chess player, goes against proven principles without just cause. “I know what I am supposed to do,” he or she thinks, “but I am going to do it my way.”


A decision made based on emotional appeal, without considering all the factors or implications, qualifies as impulsiveness. Stanley Kubrick’s quote applies:

Chess teaches you to control the initial excitement you feel when you see something that looks good and it trains you to think objectively when you’re in trouble.


Watch out for this hazardous attitude when you are winning or doing something extremely well. Overconfidence leads to invulnerability, the feeling that nothing can touch you, or prevent you from succeeding. This phenomenon inspired Emmanuel Lasker’s famous quote:

The hardest game to win is a won game!


“Because I can,” is the mentality behind this attitude. Macho, is showing off. “I am not just going to win, I am going to win with style.” Players who have just learned a new trick, trap, or chess openings like Scholar’s Mate are particularly susceptible to this.


This attitude is easier to detect than some others, but it is hard to correct. If you think yourself outmatched, it can occur before a game has even started. During a game it can follow both minor and major mistakes. And during long, involved, and intense games—it can happen when you reach your mental endurance limit.

Pushing Limits

by Flickr User: stuka115The point of this discussion is not to squash initiative or creativity. Becoming more self-aware will help you become a stronger player. In aviation, pilots are encouraged to continually be aware of their thought processes, fatigue levels, and personal wellness. As the aircraft they fly become more technologically advanced, pushing the envelope of both physics and engineering, this helps ensure successful missions and a safe return to earth.

Flying, like every freedom we enjoy, comes with responsibility. But, there are few things better or more thrilling than darting through puffy white clouds, chasing the sun over mountains as it sets on the horizon, or enjoying the city lights in a quiet cockpit by night.

Watch Wingsuits In ActionHowever, there is one thrill even aviators only dream about. To fly like a bird… It is at the root of man. We see the birds and say, “I want to do that!” Some have strapped on wings and leaped off of cliffs. A chess game with mother nature ensues, split second timing and cat like reflexes are mandatory. The right decision at the right time—EVERY TIME!

To push limits, you first have to realize where & what they are! When you take risks—knowing yourself—will help remove you from the equation determining success or failure.

Lukas Andreas

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