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SKILL DECAY- THE PILOTS PERSPECTIVE

This week Resilient Pilot partnered with the ‘Halldale Group’ to present a Wednesday Webinar focused on Skill Decay. Our panel of pilots provided their perspective on being out of the cockpit for lengthy periods of time as a result of the pandemic. They also provided simple solutions to help combat Skill Decay that so many are facing.

Here are Five top tips that came from the discussion:

  1. Richard talked about the ‘Jam Jar Simulator’ – practicing the startle.

  2. Rebecca discussed the benefits of armchair commander practice. For example practicing a V1 cut - think about the position of your hands, feet, and eyes. What are you thinking about? What should you do next? Making a positive effort to put your brain into the ‘flying’ mindset can be greatly beneficial for revising handling skills.

  3. If you do not have robust SOP’s onboard, agree upon a system to work from with your co-pilot ahead of the flight (good CRM is essential).

  4. Review 50 memory items the night before your next flight.

  5. Stay connected! With your company, colleagues, or Resilient Pilot. Whether that be through formal networking sites, or more social group chats. It’s important to try and maintain these well-established links, and share your concerns, as many others will be experiencing the same worries.

Preparation reigned supreme…

Reading anything and everything that is available to you was also discussed as being highly beneficial. If you are employed, read everything that your company is sending out. If you are looking for work, review those ATPL books you so desperately tried to memorize to pass crucial examinations. Similarly bulletins specific to your type rating for more focused learning are extremely helpful. Finally reviewing accident and incident reports is also a useful to stay update to date by learning from current events, and safety conscious.


The topic then progressed to tackling, what would the pilots recommend to airlines to help combat this Skill Decay problem? Firstly do not change your SOP’s or do any upgrades! It is going to be difficult enough for pilots to ‘navigate their way back to the flight deck’ without significant changes to what we already know, albeit a little rusty. Many felt it was important for the airline to let them get refamiliarized and then make changes later on once initial skills have been reviewed.


What about confidence?

The clear message was; slow down, do not rush. Similarly if you are well prepared you will reduce the number of surprises you might encounter, preparation reigns supreme yet again. Remember, you might be better at loading the dishwasher than your flight plan at this point…


One of the big take-away messages to come from this webinar is that skill decay isn’t an isolated issue, its one facing so many in our industry, regardless of experience. Don’t feel afraid or complacent, combat it. This is where Resilient Pilot can help.


We have a team of over 70 mentors that can hop on to a zoom cockpit session to help keep your skills up. Likewise our weekly webinars can offer technical discussions and advice to refresh your flying knowledge foundations. We also have a team of specific wellbeing mentors who can help with a whole host of other things; like feeling good about yourself even if you have packed on some extra lockdown kilos.



Allyson is one of our Resilient Pilot Wellbeing and Resilience Mentors. A Life coach with additional qualifications in Career transition she can provide great insight into maintaining your personal wellbeing, and not letting issues such as Skill Fade have a negative effect on your mindset. Visit our ‘Meet your Mentors’ page to discover more.

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