New Day New Jet Part II
How I use the pilot’s mantra outside the cockpit.
To not be lost, read part I.
Part I recap:
Flying the monstrous Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy when all four engines shut down. Spoiler alert: I live!
Frantic crew coordination, several checklists and many great decisions and we land the plane safely (not the same as smoothly).
And the landing roll-out is where we resume today:
New day, new jet continued ...
“OK, new day, new jet.”
The simulator instructor resets all the malfunctions he dialed in. The emergencies he programmed are artificial but the tension it creates is very real. Nearly identical to the stress of an actual emergency had this not been a test and only a test.
Simulator rides are used to maintain our flying proficiency as well as test our emergency procedures and reactions. Since it’s much faster, cheaper and safer to run those tests in a simulated environment, they cycle through a lot of emergencies. The adrenaline surge from the simulations is realistic; the number of catastrophes that happen one after another after another in 2 hours is not. In these “dial-a-death” simulators, even Murphy would rule as a leprechaun wearing green with a 4-leaf clover nose ring and a rabbit’s foot necklace in the shape of a horseshoe.
The “new day, new jet” mantra signifies the end of one particular disaster and readies you for the very real, buy-a-lotto-ticket odds that another one is coming soon to a cockpit near you.
“New day, new jet” creates a mindset shift from the experience of one simulated emergency situation to a fresh start (a slate that will only stay clean until the simulator operator launches his next sadistic situation).
New day, new jet is the control-Z of the aircrew world.
“New day, new jet. New day, new jet. New day, new jet.”
My ears listen to the words repetitively spilling from my mouth.
My eyes glance around the inside of my Jeep, tears clouding my view.
My hands strangle the steering wheel even though I’m still in the parking lot and the engine isn’t even started.
My mind replays the scenario just moments before that brought me out to my car.
My mom ordered me out of her assisted living apartment. Her wishes were a result of a frustrating (for both of us) battle of wills. I was trying to care for her hygienically. She was not in any mood for it. I didn’t handle the situation stellarly and gave her an ultimatum, the rejection of which was me leaving. She negotiated with, “Fine, get out of here then.”
My tears started with those words, but I controlled them until I got to my car. Then they were uncontrollable.
Not even logic could dry them.
I know my mom has dementia.
Regardless of how we got here, we are here.
I know my mom loves me. I know my mom likes my visits. I know my mom’s retort was a result of my pushing too hard for something that, in the big picture, wasn’t life or death.
New day, new jet is not confined to the cockpit (simulated or real) and not applicable only to pilots (or sadistic sim operators).
New day, new jet is a good mantra to mentally reset after dealing with any challenging scenario in life.
Just like a pilot transitions from one mid-air scare to a ServPro, like-it-never-even-happened environment, we too can loosen our grip as if we’re starting anew.
New day, new jet encourages us to focus on the task at hand and not dwell on past challenges or distractions.
New day, new jet can help us maintain our concentration and be prepared for whatever comes next.
New day, new jet can develop our mental resilience to handle various challenges and trigger us to stay sharp and prepared, for the expected or the unexpected.
I new-day-new-jetted in my Jeep until I was able to reset my attitude and recalibrate my logic.
Just like in the aircraft simulator, I considered that last interaction to be resolved (even though it wasn’t a smooth landing) and let go of the negative emotions and tension from it.
New day, new jet.
New day, new jet.
I got out of the Jeep and headed right back in to see mom. With a clean slate, a fresh perspective, a new day and a new jet.
“Hi baby! How are you? I’ve missed you!”
And just like that, we new-day-new-jetted out of an emergency situation and into smooth skies.
The flying won’t always be easy. The flying won’t always be smooth.
But with a new day and a new jet, we can move toward leaving behind any distractions or past difficulties and prepare ourselves for the next unpredictable moment.
Resetting your mindset might be the only way you survive.