Thursday, December 27, 2018

Closing a circle...

The end of my first week of being un-retired for the third time, and this time it is serious. It has been about 13 years since I last went through indoctrination at a new company. No one actually calls it “indoctrination” anymore. Instead it is “indoc,” which sounds a little less 1984 Big Brother-like. In fact it has been rather interesting, going around to various departments to get the low-down on what part they play in the business of helping professional aviators be even more profession still, and how what they do intertwines with what I am going to be doing. As in many things “aviation” there is a whole army of people behind the scenes making possible what pilots or (in this case) instructors, do. We (pilots and pilot instructors) get to launch and strut our stuff for all to see and admire but, without that support staff, we would be talking to empty caves while scratching lessons on the wall with a rock.

Not exactly Kintala's cockpit...

Things have changed a bit since the last time I joined a big company. “INDOC” now includes a long list of subjects addressed by computer-based training. The longest and most detailed instructions explore the areas of workplace harassment, cyber security, document security v privacy, protecting trade and military information and, as one can imagine in this post 9/11 world, preventing bad guys from using advanced simulator training to learn how to crash airliners into buildings. A lot of people clearly put a lot of effort into preventing such a ghastly affront from happening again. Instructors are the last line of defense, but its hard to imagine anyone getting anywhere even close to the classroom, let alone a sim, with such evil intent. Everyone on the planet, except the bad guys, should feel pretty good about that.

The sections on harassment and protecting private information could pretty easily be summed up the words of Confucius. “Surely the maxim of charity is such: Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you.” I know the Christians claim this one for their own, and that’s fine. But it seems pretty likely that they borrowed it from the Stoics, who likely borrowed it from Confucius…who likely borrowed it from someone now lost into history.) In today’s world the training on work place harassment and protecting private electronic files took up most of a morning. It seems a pretty sad state of affairs when so much emphasis is needed for something we should have all learned in kindergarten, “Don’t be a putz.”

All in all I am finding the transition back into a world I once knew so well, but have been away from for a while, smoother going that I had feared. Some regulations have changed, some procedures are different then they were. I am getting used to driving once again, and now expect at least one person to try and wreck into me on each commute. Keep an eye out, dodge as necessary, and all is well. Seconds later all is forgotten, just another day on a St. Louis road.

It also turns out that one of the instructors working in the same program I am about to join was, once upon a time, a student of mine when I worked at a University. I gave him his initial introduction to high altitude and turbine operations. Now he is a five year veteran at FlightSafety and fully qualified Sim instructor on the Legacy 500. In fact he may end up training / checking me out in that airplane. Which I think ranks pretty high up there on the, "How cool is that" chart.

Talk about closing a circle.

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