Teaching Strategic Thinking to Air Force Pilots

An Interview with Major John Webb, U.S. Air Force

Major John Webb of the U.S. Air Force teaches strategic thinking to pilot students with Concepts and his iPad.

“I’ve found that teaching a student how to get to the same answer I have is far more valuable than showing the answer.”

My name is John Webb, and I’m a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. I started my Air Force career through the Texas A&M ROTC program and entered pilot training in 2011. In 2012, I was assigned to fly the KC-10 Extender, an in-flight refueling platform. As a normal progression in the KC-10 career field, young pilot training graduates begin in the right seat, learning the nuances of their weapon system, such as flight characteristics, aircraft systems, and mission employment. After a few years, the copilots graduate to become aircraft commanders, and in due time, are then selected to become instructors. That’s where I am.

I’ve been an instructor in the KC-10 since 2016 and have since been developing my skills to usher in the new generation of military aviators. In my opinion, the three most important skills any pilot can have are flight discipline, cockpit/crew resource management (CRM), and situational awareness (SA). Flying is much like music or dance, in the sense that you rehearse and rehearse in your head, and when you’re in the airplane, it’s time to perform.

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