Top 5 qualities a Pilot must-have.

Captain Puneet Baldawa
5 min readJun 19, 2021


Pilots are the leading light of gentleperson qualities. Whenever you get an opportunity to talk to a pilot or see a pilot walking by, you almost skip a beat. They have that x-factor in them which makes people attract towards them like honey bees get towards honey. In this blog, we will be talking about those qualities.

You not only become a pilot academically but also persona-wise. We do not possess these qualities by birth; we need to inculcate from others and polish them through our experiences. These qualities are not a requirement for becoming a pilot, but they are the essence of it, and without essence, there is no fun in being a pilot.

In the movie “Sully”, if Captain Sully Sullenberger hadn’t decided to make a water landing, he would have crashed the plane. The only reason he could make that decision was because he had these qualities. (Keep him in mind and read the article so that you can relate the importance of these qualities.)

Captain Sully Sullenger and First Officer Jeff Skiles

1. Calmness

A pilot has to deal with a high-intensity situation and be multitasking. They have to fly an airplane, communicate with the ATC, look out for the traffic, etc.; if by chance an emergency comes up, they have to tackle the crisis and simultaneously continue flying the aircraft too. One of the utmost vital qualities of a pilot is calmness in their mind. “Anxious Mind is a Narrow mind.” An anxious mind clouds your judgment.

Calmness doesn’t mean doing it slowly; it is about doing it at the required speed, but not with an anxious mind. When you become nervous, you start making a series of wrong decisions, which lead to either wasting time or crashing the plane — every second counts. A pilot needs to be calm to make a sound decision, or else it might have consequences.

If Captain Sully hadn’t been calm, he would not have got to know what happened, not thought of switching the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) ON for the electrical power for the instruments.

A person meditating by the shore.

2. Situational Awareness

Being situationally aware is the second most important quality. But before that, to be situationally aware, you have to be calm. Being situationally aware is knowing what is happening every second, i.e., what you should be doing, what should be happening, and what will happen. To keep the aircraft on track, questioning yourself with these questions at every moment is crucial.

The efficiency of the decision depends on your situational awareness. Situational awareness for everything like traffic, terrain, and weather is the pilot’s priority. E.g., if you are flying an aircraft on approach, you should know the terrain, speed, nearby traffic, attitude and mode of the plane, clouding, turbulence, etc.

If Captain Sully wouldn’t have been situationally aware, he could have gone for Teterboro or LaGuardia and crashed the plane.

3. Determination and Patience

Before going ahead, we should know how much patience a pilot requires and how determined you should be. The reason is,as we all know, to become a pilot, we need to put in a lot of money and time, keeping in mind the risk involved.The journey of a cadet to a qualified pilot is arduous, but you have to be patient and determined.

Many obstacles might come in your path, like there will be a time when you do not get to fly for a week, there will be a time when you do not clear your papers by a mark or two or wait for the medical approvals, etc. In these situations, only the determined people will be able to pass this life test. Being patient is equally important because if you are not patient, you might start rushing things and making mistakes.

2 pilots of Antonov 225

4. Leadership and Teambuilding Skills

As a pilot, you are the leader of your team involving the cabin crew, passengers, and all other ground personnel that help you to fly the plane. You will be the person people will be looking for in an emergency.

You have to work with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Crew Resource Management (CRM). There were crashes observed that instead of the crew working as a team, they were working individually and crashed the plan. That is when they introduced CRM.

Along with flying the plane, you have to think for your team too. You have to take care of your crewmates, just like how parents take care of you at home, manager at the company, coach on the field, teacher in school, etc. Don’t just be a pilot, be a leader too.

Captain Sully was a true leader because the first thing he did after coming out of the aircraft was calling his family and communicating his safety, and asked for the count of the safe passengers.

Leader leading the group.

5. Communication

The last must-have quality for a pilot is Communication skills. Pilots have their communication language, and you have to be well versed with it. Knowing what to transmit is not enough; you need to know when to do it and how to do it. While talking to the Air Traffic Controller (ATC), the other pilot, cabin crew, dispatcher, or staff, the communication should be clear and articulate. In an emergency, you can’t waste time transmitting any message twice. So, make sure every transmission is audible and understandable.

Crashes have been seen due to a lack of communication. A simple lack of transmission of their position on approach had disrupted the approach procedure of other aircrafts. In the Aviation world, loss of communication calls for an emergency, and once an emergency is declared, the whole nearby airspace has to be cleared off.

Communication that is required between the aircraft and tower

So, these were the key qualities pilots have. Which all qualities did you find yourself? Are there any other qualities I missed? Let me know in the comment section?

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Captain Puneet Baldawa

I am an A320 Rated Commercial Pilot flying with IndiGo. I have finished my flight training from India. I am a Cofounder of Streamline Aviation Academy.