Thought for the Day: Least Qualifed for Command?

Builders:

In recent weeks, one of the presidential candidates was dubiously said to be “the most qualified presidential candidate in US history.” Leaving that claim aside for a moment,  almost every historian agrees that on paper, Lincoln, a man of numerous failures, and a single term Congressman, was the ” least qualified” person by experience, ever to be elected. 

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Lincoln in 1858.  People can think what they like, but uphold that he is the greatest American who has ever lived, period.  It is not possible for me to express the depth of my admiration for this man. Without his integrity to the purpose of saving the Union, the United States would have effectively ceased to exist, millions of people would have spent their lives in slavery, and western civilization would have returned to monarchy as the dominant for of government. Not bad for a person who had no prior experience of significance. experience without judgement and integrity to purpose are meaningless; yet, with these essential qualities, there is no practical limit to what a person may learn and accomplish. 

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Your aviation Connection: 

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Most people new to homebuilding live with two illusions, one dangerous, the second crippling; first, they believe that the experience of others, like 20,000 hr pilots is a guarantor of safety and judgement, and second they  believe that such experience is more important than their effective training and good decision making. I ask no one to believe my 27 years of observations on this matter; there is stunning statistical evidence comparing the records of well trained 200 hr Light Sport pilots to 5,000 hour pilots who didn’t take transition training seriously. Before jumping to debate, look at the 2011 accident stats that were a wake up call to our branch of aviation.

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 Just like being Commander in Chief , on paper experience as Pilot in Command is meaningless without integrity to the purpose of safely.  In the worst cases, experience only serves to quell the natural alarm of people who recognize that it is primarily being used as a database of what can usually be gotten away with.  

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If you are new to aviation, undertand that low risk is synonymous with good training and judgement, and there is no absolute relationship between experience and safety, particularly when the task at hand or the aircraft type differ from the experience.  This should be taken as a simultaneous message of empowerment, and a warning about trusting those who’s actions and attitudes are at odds with their touted ‘qualifications.’

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Only the illiterate or the self delusional would claim any presidential canadate today is ‘the most qualified’ by experience. 

Our third President, Thomas Jefferson was previously Secretary of State, Vice President, ambassador to the most critical ally we have ever had (France), a critical contributor to the Constitutional Convention, governor of Virginia, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and something of a rennance man of his day. JFK once said to a large group of distinguished Nobel Prize  dinner guests at the White House, “This is the most extraordinary  collection of talent and human knowledge gathered here with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined here alone.”

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