Monkey Business – Monkey Flying

Monkey flying is a pilot’s propensity to demonstrate an aerial maneuver as a muscle memory exercise. In pilot school a CFI demonstrates a maneuver to a student, then CFI and student perform the maneuver together and then the student does the maneuver alone. Monkey flying is a term that describes when the student commits those control inputs to memory but his understanding of the maneuver never goes beyond that muscle memory. A common example is how many pilots explain stall recovery as too “push the nose down and add power”.
Monkey flying is a pilot’s propensity to demonstrate an aerial maneuver as a muscle memory exercise. In pilot school a CFI demonstrates a maneuver to a student, then CFI and student perform the maneuver together and then the student does the maneuver alone. Monkey flying is a term that describes when the student commits those control inputs to memory but his understanding of the maneuver never goes beyond that muscle memory. A common example is how many pilots explain stall recovery as too “push the nose down and add power”.
Mastering the skills of an aviator can be taxing of our time, emotions and mental focus. Sometime we need to take a break from serious focus on our objective and contemplate with levity other important issues; for example, my focus on monkey flying draws my attention to Monkey Business.

Monkey Business is the newsletter of Darwin’s Theory, a very popular bar in Anchorage Alaska. Recently in Monkey Business Darwin [his]self asked some puzzling questions.

• If athletes get athletes foot, do astronauts get mistletoe?

• If you can’t drink and drive, why do bars have parking lots?

• Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

• Why do we sing “take me out to the ballgame” when we’re already there?

• If peanut butter cookies are made out of peanut butter, what are Girl Scout Cookies made of?

• Why is it that when you’re driving and looking for an address, you turn the radio down?

• Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor and dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

My thanks to Darwin [his]self for those deep and insightful questions.

Become aware of, recognize and avoid the propensity to monkey fly. Pilots form good habits, safe pilot habits, when they consider how they fly, think about their technique and seek understanding about maneuvering an airplane.

Click here to see this month’s feature video Pilot Habits.

My two books, in paper back or E-book, and both Key Point videos are available from Amazon.com. Search “Jim Alsip” at Amazon or click here.