How Proper Attitude Helps Your Flight Training and Career

Photos by Jon Davison.

Winston Churchill once remarked that, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Does it ever. Having a positive attitude can lead to your ultimate success in helicopter flight training much more than intelligence, than circumstance, than skill, education, money or background. A positive attitude towards your flight training can spark positive outcomes and extraordinary results. And that same positive attitude can and will give you an edge through your entire flying career.


It’s practically unheard of in our flight school to encounter an individual who simply does not possess the ability to fly a helicopter. Granted, it has occurred that the occasional student will give up and drop out, but that decision to quit has much more to do with the student’s attitude than it does with his or her skill.

The reverse also is true: a student faced with seemingly insurmountable hurdles can overcome those barriers and achieve success with a positive attitude.

In the time that I have been with Mauna Loa Helicopters, I’ve come to know dozens and dozens of would-be professional pilots. From the 17-year old fresh out of high school right up to and including a gentleman in his late sixties, all express a desire to master helicopter flight. And over the years it has become increasingly clear to me that those individuals who possess the right attitude have an overwhelming advantage over those who are taking up space and wasting time. That’s because the quality and effectiveness of training absorbed by a student is directly proportional to how involved that student becomes in the process.

When a student shows up late for a session, unprepared, distracted and perhaps tired from a late night out, the behavior demonstrates a casual attitude towards the mission at hand. Even if that student manages to ultimately graduate and land a flying job somewhere, the lackadaisical attitude will haunt his or her every working moment.

Compare that behavior with one that I see in a current student in Honolulu. Brad (not his real name) is a reasonably bright guy who exhibits a genuine curiosity towards his training. He frequently comes to the school, even if he’s not scheduled with an instructor, simply so he that can concentrate on his studies. I found out yesterday that he’s been taping his flight lessons so that he can listen to each lesson later to try to find ways to improve what he’s doing. With a winning attitude like that, Brad can expect great things in his future. Even though he just soloed, he’s already a professional at heart.

Adopting a proper attitude and focusing on your training in a positive manner can and will work wonders. Remember: excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.

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