Are you a Proactive or Reactive Pilot…in terms of your Flying Career?

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Are you a Proactive or Reactive Pilot…in terms of your Flying Career?

When I started my flying career, my first instructor, Suzanne Zima, often said to me “Stay well ahead of the aircraft”. This was I phrase, I often heard repeated as I built my skill and experience, throughout my 34-year flying career. It is crucial as an Aircraft Commander, that you are always proactive in terms of your flight progress and safety, anticipating threats and potential issues as you navigate your aircraft, passengers and crew. But what about your Pilot Career preparation? Are we always proactive, or do we regress into being reactive to what the airline pilot industry throws at us? With my clients, I can readily identify those who fall into the different arenas and can anticipate who will be successful and who will not be so lucky. Let me explain.

Proactive Career Pilot:

  • Has a job-ready CV that is updated each month, and is ready to go today, with approved references.
  • Is connected on LinkedIn with their target Airlines and the decision-makers, and regularly Likes & Comments on their developments
  • Has a thorough appreciation of their Personal SWOT analysis, competency question STAR techniques, and is comfortable talking about their suitability to be Professional Airline Pilot
  • Has contracted early, for Interview Coaching, to practice their performance in One-to-One and Group Interview scenarios, regardless of interview acceptance dates.
  • Is thoroughly familiar with their chosen airline application requirements and recruitment planning.

Reactive Career Pilot:

  • Waiting for the right time to consider writing and designing their CV.
  • Hoping they can update their logbook, & find Flight School/Employment references, before the closing date, for Job Application documentation.
  • Hoping their charm and good luck will ‘wing’ them through the Interview if they get that far.
  • Depending on the grapevine, to get the inside word on any jobs coming up.
  • Hoping for some Interview Coaching “tips”, days before the Interview date.

We all hope that we will get a break, when it comes to recruiting but why leave in the lap of the Gods. We wouldn’t do that when flying as an Aircraft Commander…

Make 2024 the year you become a Proactive Career Pilot, and ensure you are sitting in the cockpit of your choice this year.

Author Captain Conor Keeling

Conor is an Airbus A330 Commander with many years of experience in the aviation world. His primary focus is working with the next generation of Airline Pilots, providing professional coaching and pilot experience to enhance their skills and boost their confidence during Airline assessments. He is a fully accredited member of the Association of Coaching and European Coaching and Mentoring Council and operates strictly under their Global Code of Ethics. You can find out more about his services here: