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Looking ahead, beware the enemy of complacency

  • Published
  • By Col. Thom Pemberton
  • 927th Operations Group commander
Now that the Combined Unit Inspection is behind us and we proved that we were compliant in our regulatory requirements, we must be prepared for a new enemy: complacency.

It is easy to sit back and pat yourself on the shoulder for the hard work that was completed for the inspection, as it is well deserved. Now, however, we must all resist the tendency to become complacent and fall back into routine.

I'm reminded of my first Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Lynn Guenther. He was a true patriot and excellent leader. As a former prisoner of war, he presented unique perspectives that were heeded by all. The colloquialisms and sayings he had would easily fill a book, but that is another story.

Understand that all aircrews receive a flying evaluation every year that we call a "checkride." Lt Col. Guenther would always tell us to treat every flight like a checkride, so when the actual checkride does happen, they would be prepared. Sounds simple, right?

What it really means is following all the checklist steps in order and not taking any shortcuts. This can be difficult to put into practice, however.

"Have I treated every flight like a checkride and avoided shortcuts?" I can honestly say I haven't, but I do mentally prepare each and every time I fly. In the same way, we have to keep focused on maintaining compliance with our regulations and guidance. Tell yourself, "the next CUI is right around the corner," because before you know it, it will be.

By keeping our attention on doing it the right way and avoiding shortcuts, we will be prepared for that next CUI checkride.