Alexis Fecteau – Why Should Pilots Be Good at Communication Skills

Alexis Fecteau - Why Should Pilots Be Good at Communication Skills


What makes a good pilot? This is a question that most students aspiring to become a pilot ask their flight instructors. Though people generally have this conception that pilots lead a glamorous life, this is not true. Pilots are not only skilled and trained in aviation, but they have the strong responsibility and duty of keeping everyone on the flight safe from taking off to landing. Moreover, they need to be mentally and physically fit, manage pressure, and navigate the aircraft in challenging weather. So, here they need to remain cool, so all the passengers on board are comfortable and safe till they reach their final destination.

Alexis Fecteau – Good pilots are nurtured and not born

Alexis Fecteau is an esteemed pilot in the aviation industry in the USA. He holds the rank of Captain and says that being a pilot is much more than just flying the plane safely from one place to another. The first myth that he busts is a common perception that pilots earn millions. This is not true. They do have a handsome remuneration if they are experienced and skilled; however, their remuneration is not much at the beginning of their careers. This means if you aspire to become a pilot in the near future, you must be prepared to earn and learn at the same time before you rise up in ranks to earn more.

How do communication skills help?

When it comes to communication skills, he says they help with every job. However, for pilots, it is an indispensable skill they must have. He says that pilot-controller communication needs to be accurate, or else there is a risk of flight accidents. He says 80% of these accidents are the result of mis-communication.

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In his opinion, the priority of communication between the pilot of the flight and the controller establish –

  1. Purpose- Whether the aim is a question, request, instruction, clearance, a conditional statement or proposal and confirmation.
  2. When- Whether the time is immediate, anticipated or expected.
  3. What & How- This indicates the altitude (descend, climb, maintain) heading (right or left) and airspeed.
  4. Where- This is before or at the waypoint, for instance.

All ATC instructions like traffic information, radar vectors, emergency advice, and more should be correctly communicated to ensure the safety of landing and flights. In case there is any form of miscommunication, the plane will be in grave danger. During training courses for pilots, they need to be good with written communication, but they should be efficient orally.

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According to Alexis Fecteau, some interpersonal skills are less critical in nature; however, they come in handy when pilots are talking with passengers, their co-workers, and customers. For example, there are some pilots of charter and corporate plans that greet all their passengers before they board the flight, while some of them manage customer complaints as well. In short, pilots need to be dedicated not only to flying their planes but also towards their passengers as well

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