Imagine that you're learning to fly an airplane. You've already spent hours and hours flying with instructors, and now you're flying solo.
You just took off on a solo training flight and the tower radios with the following news:
"...your right main is now missing from the airplane - it's fallen off the airplane. Say your intentions."
What would you say?
I know exactly what I would say and I'm not going to write that here. But let's say it translates to roughly:
I'm generally very calm under pressure, but this would freak me out. I don't know much about flying (I flew Cessna once, and that's about it), but it seems like one of the main objectives of flying an airplane is to land the airplane (I did not land the Cessna—my uncle took care of that).
And the tower just said, "One of the things you need to land the plane just fell off. State your intentions."
I'm not sure I'd be all that calm.
Maggie, on the other hand, remained calm as a cucumber and landed her plane like a pro.
That seems sort of like a spoiler, but it's really not. The beauty of this recording is in the story itself—knowing Maggie lands at the end only makes it better.
Do yourself a favor and watch this—it's well worth your time:
Then I'll share just a few of my thoughts.
All done? Wasn't that fantastic?!
Every now and then real life gives us a story that's better than the best screenplay or audiobook. This is one of those times.
Three things stood out to me in this recording.
Maggie's voice over time
She's cool, calm and collected at first (:59 in), then she sounds a little concerned, but not overly so (1:13), then it sounds like the full weight of the situation sets in (1:30), then she sounds much more relaxed once an instructor jumps on the radio (3:00).
Even when she was talking with the air traffic controller, she wasn't nearly as calm as when talking to the instructor. Talking to the right kind of expert for that situation made her a lot more comfortable.
Once she knew she could rely on a veteran pilot's expertise to help her get down, she knew she was going to be ok.
The importance of her training
Most of the instructions she's given mean nothing to me because I'm not a trained pilot. I just hear a bunch of lingo punctuated by words I technically know, but don't really understand.
If I were talking with that instructor, he would've had to stop every few seconds and explain basic things to me. I'm sure he could've done it, although it would've been a lot more work.
But Maggie already knew how to fly a plane, so they could skip over basic definitions and jump straight to the tactics to land the plane (even without one of its wheels).
It's a lot easier to conquer difficult situations when you already have a grasp of the basics—then you can jump straight to tactics to help you get through it.
Everyone says "Good job, Maggie!" when she lands
It's great to hear everyone applauding Maggie and acknowledging that she's the one who actually landed the broken airplane. Sure, they helped, but Maggie had to execute the plan to land safely. She executed the plan to a T.
As a teacher, instructor, or coach, the most satisfying thing is to see your student deliver a perfect performance. That's how you know you did your job well.
There are lots of other great things about that video—it's definitely worth 12 minutes of your time to watch it!