Bobby pic

Did you know that the left seat in an airplane is a lot hotter than the right seat? When people are learning to fly they sit in the left hand seat. The flight instructor usually sits in the right hand seat. While the student is learning many new tasks, the flight instructor looks on and gives instructions. These instructions include how to handle the ailerons, rudders, elevators, throttle, flaps, radios, and helpful advice whether to go up or down, left or right, faster or slower, and then there is the reminder to look out the window to make sure you don’t hit another airplane. This entire sensory overload can take a toll on the student. At the end of a flight lesson, the student will have a shirt that looks all wet and the flight instructor will still be wearing a jacket.

There is an easy explanation to this. The student is struggling to learn many new things. The instructor already knows these things. The instructor demonstrates and the student tries to do the task just shown to him.

Learning a new task is not always easy. It takes a lot of practice. Stress evolves because the student watches the experienced instructor and has trouble doing it for the first time. Thus the sweaty shirt. There is another factor that can really cause even more stress: The Genius Seat.

My friends Sue and Brad are both retired airline pilots. They’ve had to contend with someone in the genius seat many times. The genius seat merely is someone else in the plane that can fly but is not responsible for the flight. This is merely a back seat driver in a plane.

Talk about added stress. In an airline cockpit there is a lot to manage, if a problem comes up, the workload increases. There is a lot of time spent on a complex problem while still managing the aircraft. Meanwhile back in the genius seat, suggestions can flow out effortlessly. Remember the guy in the genius seat is not responsible for the flight or the passengers, does not have to fill out any reports and probably won’t have his job in jeopardy if something goes wrong during the flight.

It really is clear from the genius seat. There is nothing to do but watch and criticize. They can watch the instruments and watch outside and not be burdened by having to fly the airplane. With all these things to do, the genius merely has to pick up on tiny errors and mention them.

An added benefit is they only have to say, “I would do this.”  Isn’t that great? Sitting back there with nothing to do but critique. It is just like having your mother-n-law in the back seat telling you that you are going too fast.

This isn’t going to change much. No matter what you are doing unwanted advice can come from anywhere. There is an old joke about being lost in the desert. To be found, you pull out a deck of cards and begin to play solitaire. Someone is sure to come up and tell you “Put the black 10 on the red jack.” Works every time.

My grandfather built a gas once. He started construction and people would come by and ask what he was building. When he told them he was building a gas station they would tell him that he didn’t know how to build a gas station. His reply would be the same, “Enough people will come by and tell me how to do it.” He did complete the station and it lasted nearly 50 years.

It’s fun to sit in the genius seat. After looking at other people making mistakes it proves just how smart you really are.