Sadly, many pilots do not even know what this word, airmanship, means.
This from Wikipedia: “Airmanship is skill and knowledge applied to aerial navigation, similar to seamanship in maritime navigation. Airmanship covers a broad range of desirable behaviors and abilities in an aviator. It is not simply a measure of skill or technique, but also a measure of a pilot’s awareness of the aircraft, the environment in which it operates, and of his own capabilities.”
Pretty good definition in my opinion.
As a CFI, I see basic skills lacking in the general aviation pilot population. Sadly, airmanship seems to be nearly non-existent.
An example from a recent flight for breakfast. I flew to Grants, NM, landed, and tied my RV-3 down at a tie down spot. A short while later, a pilot in a Cessna 182 arrives. He taxis up next to my aircraft, turns 90 degrees from it (so the prop wash is blasting my airplane from the side) and proceeds run his engine up to near full power. He spent a good bit of time at this power setting trying to get his airplane to turn or something. What he was doing still totally escapes me – it was completely stupid.
So, I proceed out to have a little talk with this fellow. I told him that rather than blast other aircraft (including the Bonanza parked next to me with a cloth canopy cover), I would be HAPPY to help him PUSH his aircraft into the parking space. Needless to say, I was pissed and he knew it. He stated something along the lines of: “I’m really sorry, my brain just wasn’t working.” Really?!? You just got done with a flight and your brain is not working? Perhaps you should not be flying if that is the case??
That is POOR airmanship. He was not aware of the environment in which he was operating. Additionally, he had no regard for others and/or their property.
Now, one might think this was just an accident and the fellow is really a quality guy. Sadly, no. Later, after eating breakfast, a group of us were standing in the parking lot of the restaurant waiting for our ride back to the airport. This fellow proceeds over to a pickup truck parked there (not belonging to any of us) and leans on it. Your kidding right?? Whatever happened to the ‘do not touch something unless it is yours’ philosophy?? Was this not taught to every child by their parents when they were three years old? Apparently it was not. This fellow, again, exhibited a total disregard for other people’s property.
Perhaps this post is really about the consideration for others and the respect of their property. I suppose it is.
My plea is to consider what it is you are doing as a PIC and ALSO consider how it affects others.
Airmanship is not difficult, it is really about respect and courtesy.