How Experience Can Allow You To Evolve From Rote Learning To Strategic Solutions…


Here we go…

PART 1: Why we start learning from rote and what is that?!

Ok people we are going to look at a definition.  It is the best way to demonstrate learning by ‘rote’.

By Rote….
From memory, without thought of a meaning; in a mechanical way.

To turn this into an aviation related conversation, this means to be taught a way and JUST DOING IT.  I don’t worry about this at the start as because I am putting faith in the training system to get the correct information.

The aviation training system has evolved and is regimented to within in an inch of its life so in the early days of your career this is ok because it works.

It’s got a lot to do with the massive learning curve a human has to go through to be able to fly.  Let’s face it – it’s not natural!  Perhaps if I was meant to fly I would have had wings!


It also has a lot to do with cost (and the nature of the beast!).

A training syllabus is driven by the authority to ensure a safe standard is reached and to keep it financially viable.  (Although many of you may argue this right now as you fork out thousands of dollars!)


If humans couldn’t learn by rote then believe me it would be a lot more expensive that what you are paying now.

Learning by rote has its advantages.  When you practise something – you get better at it whether you have natural talent or not.  By doing this you are re programming your brain with additional information.  You are teaching your brain a habit for each skill you learn.


That is why it is very important to put all you effort into learning the good habits as these will become your response.  We all develop bad habits at some point often because we weren’t in the right brain space at the time we first learnt it.  Bad habits can be broken if you realise you have one.  It first takes for it to be recognized by you or someone else then discipline over time to eradicate it.

When you are learning by rote you are filling up your ‘knowledge’ bucket which eventually becomes the place where you deliver an automatic response from.  This occurs for some years as you progress through your career.  Each new type of aircraft and each new type of flying you do.

So how many good habits and good automatic responses can our brains handle?

If you think about a bucket – what happens when it gets full?


Yes it overflows!  Or I like to put it in the words that when your bucket is full and you add some more knowledge in then something else will fall out.

At this point you are good at what you do but you are only using your knowledge centre only.  Each pilot gets to this stage and has a choice to become ‘great’ rather than just ‘good’.

It can be hard in this industry to talk yourself up but all we can do is tell you what happened to us when our buckets got full.

At different times, I reached a point where I felt like that I had reached a glass ceiling of our ability.  I fought this feeling for a time and whether it was maturity or something else – I changed.

I describe it as ‘letting go’ of trying to be perfect.  It was unrealistic.  I ACCEPTED when we had done a good job myself rather than waiting for recognition from others.  The key was not to need their recognition.

What happened next was the more we patted ourselves on the back, the more acknowledgement I got from the others.

So for you right now keep filling your bucket with knowledge and when you are ready to let go – you’ll know.

PART 2: How To Get Strategic.


The shift from rote learning to strategic thinking is individual and will evolve when you are ready.  It takes a level of experience and aviation maturity to make the shift.  So don’t try and force it because it will elude you if you don’t let it naturally evolve.

I will try to explain how it looked for me so that you put yourself in a place to recognize the signs.

A simple way to look at it is to compare knowledge to imagination.

Knowledge can be applied easily to similar situations that you or others may have seen before.  For example applying a checklist to non normal from memory like Fuel, Mixture, Carby Heat initial checks for piston engine failure or rough running.

Imagination comes into play when there is something new to you to deal with.


At any stage of your career you will have enough knowledge to solve a situation.  Never doubt that.

However, when you use your imagination to turn information from your bucket of knowledge you are creating a strategic solution.

Whether in hindsight it was the best solution or not, it was good enough if you achieved a safe outcome.

You may just find that it was great!

Let’s look at some signs for me that I had reached a place where I truly trusted myself to be strategic. 

[Our disclaimer for you is always continue to learn even when you feel you are strategic in your thinking…we do]

  • Spending less time in flight saying to myself, “If this happened right now, what would I do?” to “when it comes up I know I have enough knowledge to draw on”
  • Performing feats in the simulator that I hadn’t pre-studied for which even surprised me at the level of performance
  • Getting to the core a problem quicker and/or recognise when things are turning pear shaped sooner (solve before it’s a problem)
  • Truly understanding that our flight management is the key to applying the knowledge I had


If this stuff is a bit heavy then maybe you need to file this eclass for reference for later when you are ready.  The great thing for you is that it is yours for life.  This program is your library and your secret weapon so use the power wisely!

If you are into Star Wars then you will understand that this program makes the force strong within you!

In Summary….
Accept that at whatever stage you are at – you have enough knowledge.  Always keep learning from your experience even when it wasn’t perfect.  You can learn just as much from mistakes.  Remember aim for perfection in a realistic sense because no human is perfect.  Strive to be as good as you can be and measure it by safe outcomes.



Happy Flying!

PART 3 : Questions for You.

  1. Have you ever thought that you don’t know enough?
  2. If so, did you still achieve a safe outcome? 
  3. Look back at some of your flying so far through the eyes of this eclass, have you already thought strategically to solve a problem?
  4. Even if you are at the initial training stage, are there some skills that you find your hands naturally doing?  If so, that knowledge is now a habit!
  5. Write down all the things that concern you about the way you learn and please raise them at the Webinar.


Next week’s preview… ’Real Scenario Training 2…’

Find out how doing anything that you can even before you start will be of immense value to your career.

Congratulations on completing this Eclass.  Check out below the Eclass calender to see what’s in store!


If you need to use our Pilot Advice Service or have any questions or comments please send them to info@ouraviationsecrets.com


Don’t miss out on a opportunity by procrastinating.

Look forward to speaking with you at the Webinar.

Don’t Worry!

You will be sent the Webinar Invitation Link and Instructions closer to the time.


http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54492-156-8639FF5164CAE1AC8E9290F679F028DBCaptain Craig Baker

Airline Pilot and Professional Pilot Mentor[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]