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Preparing for Command

Your Command Course will be hard work.

If you are suitably prepared and approach the course with the right attitude, you will find the process rewarding and enjoyable.

Nobody will force you to prepare for your command. So you must accept responsibility for your own command preparation.

Your airline will expect you devote a considerable amount of time to your preparation. It is also highly likely that you will get very little notice of your command course start date.

When to Start:

Do not delay your preparation. Start to prepare early. Certainly do not leave it until the week before your course begins!

You cannot cram for your Command, and you need the self-discipline to do a little work every day or week. Only then can you be confident that you are prepared for your course and go on to be a successful Captain.

How to prepare:

Essentially, there are several ways to prepare for your Command course:

  • Monitor the day-to-day activities of the Captains on your flights. What worked well? What didn’t? Ask questions.
  • Read as broad a range of aviation and command-related publications as you can.
  • Study ASRs, incident and accident reports, and decide what you might have done differently. How would you have broken the chain?
  • Read you old training reports. Is there a common theme that has been highlighted? Is there one aspect where you often don’t score as highly as the other categories?
  • Choose role models you aspire to emulate.
  • Talk to friends and colleagues who have completed their Command Course to get an idea of what it was like. But, be wary when discussing scenarios. One person’s perception and mental model will be different to the next. Scenarios are dynamic and there is no such thing as a standard answer to a standard problem – it often depends.

Choose your Command Style:

You may fly an aircraft smoothly and accurately but, if you cannot manage your workload and lead a team effectively, you have no right to be the Commander of a commercial airliner.

Therefore, it is important that you recognise what style of Commander you want to be.

The training staff will give you guidance and feedback, but an excellent way to develop a good style of command is to make note of the Captains you fly with and decide what their positive and negatives attributes and abilities are. Observe how they manage different situations(such as disruptive passengers or delays). Analyse them and try to understand what makes them who they are. You can then try to emulate these attributes into your own command style.

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