On Final: Perfectious Pilot

On Final: Perfectious Pilot

DavidMillerby David Miller

per-fect-ious (pur fek shus) noun. 1. The art of attempting perfection. 2. Description of any pilot.

There you have it. I have created a new word. Perhaps you have not given this word much previous thought. But recently, I had two occasions to do so. The first was during a visit to ProFlight in San Diego for my recurrent training in the CJ3 simulator.

There I was at 10,000 feet in a steep turn. Power precisely at 67% N1. No, make that 70% as the turn began. Precisely at a 45-degree bank angle. With an acceptable tolerance of 5 degrees of bank, plus or minus 100 feet in altitude, within 10 knots of airspeed, and rolling out within 10 degrees of heading. In addition, I had to avoid any indication of a stall, abnormal flight attitude or exceeding any structural or operational limitation.

All this, just to meet “minimum standards.”

For two and an a half days, I had to perform all sorts of tasks, multiple times. Rejected takeoffs, engine failures, recovery from unusual attitudes, holding, precision and non precision approaches, circling, missed approaches, no-flap landings, and more.


Our flying vocation, or avocation, leaves little room for error. And, as good as we are, we never master it. I realized after my simulator ride that I have been attempting perfection for over 40 years and will never achieve my goal. I just have to keep trying.

Perfectious also describes one who is a stickler for details. For instance, we must memorize countless emergency checklists and vocalize them during the most stressful situations. With no mistakes. I try to be perfectious in my writing too. It just doesn’t always turn out that way.

Thus, my second experience.

In November’s ON FINAL, “Do You Remember?” I wrote that in 1965 I was “in junior high school.” Shortly thereafter, I penned that in 1968, I was “a junior in high school.” Although both statements were technically correct, I led many of you astray.

Boy, did I hear about it.

From Fred, “Was David Miller a junior in high school in 1968 or 1965?”

From Ralph, “David, I always enjoy reading your articles In Twin and Turbine. I am sure that you have heard from many readers like me who were surprised to learn how successful you have become after spending 3 years as a junior in high school. Keep the blue side up and may the wind always be smooth and on your tail.”

From Jeff, “Your Do You Remember article in Twin and Turbine was very interesting, but it seems you were a junior in high school in 1968 and 1965.”

Fred, Ralph, and Jeff are all prefectious pilots. I’d bet they could all fly circles around my steep turns.

From one perfectious pilot to another,

Fly safe.

With 5,000-plus hours in his logbook, David Miller has been flying for business and pleasure for more than 40 years. Having owned and flown a variety of aircraft types, from turboprops to midsize jets, Miller, along with his wife Patty, now own and fly a Citation CJ1+. You can contact David at davidmiller1@sbcglobal.net.

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