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Flight Crew: Training Should Include Professional Development

We’ve heard the old saying, “A great pilot is always learning.” Well, the same must be said for everyone in a business aviation flight department. Professional development is critical to building a solid career path.

“Whether you have one aircraft or a large fleet, I can’t overemphasize the value of continued professional development training in today’s environment,” said Elliott Taub, CAM and director of corporate aviation for a business aviation operator. “It’s especially critical now because of the rapid rate at which things are changing in our industry.”

“We need to invest in training beyond what we typically think of in aviation.”

Elliott Taub CAM, Director of Corporate Aviation

“Our jobs are a lot more complex today than just a few years ago,” Taub added. “To stay ahead of these changes, we need to invest in training beyond what we typically think of in aviation.”

Yes, earning an ATP or achieving master-level maintenance skills on a particular aircraft type is important – those skills are the foundation of what we do every day. But looking outside the norm and discovering what new skills can help you do your current and future job better is essential.

“You need to look at the things you need to make sure you continue to grow in your profession regardless of your current job,” said Molly Hitch, NBAA’s senior manager, professional development. “It’s just smart to commit to continually investing in your personal development.”

You wouldn’t take off without having a flight plan, and it’s the same with mapping out your career.

Both Hitch and Taub stressed the need to explore all of the professional development options and then match them to your goals.

“Training for the sake of training is pointless. There has to be intent in selecting the right training for your needs,” Taub said. “What will provide you and your team the biggest gain while fitting into your schedule?”

Hitch agreed. She also suggests asking yourself a few key questions to further define your needs. “What’s next on your career goal list? Do you want leadership training, or are you interested in other facets of business aviation?

“NBAA has an array of professional development programs available to our members,” she said. “But there are also a lot of other opportunities out there. We are here to help our members.”

A side benefit to professional development training that’s often overlooked is the opportunity to network and learn from a peer group that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with.

“Networking with others is the best way to learn how people in other flight departments handle the same issues you deal with,” said Hitch.

“There’s no better way to bring new ideas back to your operation than learning how they benefit others.”

Taub said that while his NBAA CAM certification has been essential to his current role, he has also achieved a lot of personal and professional satisfaction through attending programs at other institutions.

“The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has a certificate program in corporate aviation management,” said Taub.

“Completing the program has not only been very beneficial, but over the past few years, I’ve been invited back to be a guest speaker.

“The opportunity to both learn from and contribute to the business aviation industry has been invaluable.”

Review NBAA’s Professional Development Program resources at

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