Get Home-itis, from Chris Tucker

September 9, 2009 |

Flying is a risky proposition at all times, there are just so many, many ways to err in a completely unforgiving manner. One of the things that kills a lot of private pilots is "Get Home-itis". The need to get back can easily overpowers ones good judgment. "Perhaps if I hurry I'll beat that storm" or "visibility isn't really that bad, I've flown in worse" or "Yeah, icing conditions have been reported, but if we fly high enough I'm sure we can avoid it" and even (yes, pilots actually make this mistake) "I think we should have enough fuel to get back, no need to top off the tanks, Let's Go!" Good pilots are constantly reading about and discussing the mistakes that have killed other pilots. Not because we are morbid, but because there are always valuable lessons to be found in them.

The need to "get back" in pilots I think is synonymous with the need for traders to do the same. Wanting badly to get back to even can prevent one from focusing on the higher priority goal of doing it safely or at least with a modicum of judgment.

Alston Mabry adds:

One of the differences between the markets and an activity like flying is that in flying, if you decide to be prudent and land the plane rather than brave the worsening weather, you never know what would have happened. You might have been perfectly safe.

But in markets, you get to see what would have happened. With a catch: The deceptive part being that you don't know how you would have reacted along the way. "I could have been up 50% if I'd just bought the index in early March!" Except that if you had bought the index, you might have sold to capture the first 15%.





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2 Comments so far

  1. Mark Johnson on September 9, 2009 5:01 pm

    Good point. I just watched a segment last week in which a German airliner with 270 aboard crashed (all killed) because of this exact reason in 1996. The pilots had been in Santo Domingo for three weeks and they overlooked many things that were not even close. On takeoff the air speed pitot tubes were malfunctioning on the pilot's side and they could have and should have aborted but decided to go ahead. Things went from bad to worse within several minutes and the crew, mainly the captain, continued to make many errors that caused the plane to crash. The investigation determined that the crew wanted to get home and overlooked many serious issues. They still had chances to save the airplane — however, the captain panicked and made every wrong call. The copilot and flight engineer had the right idea, however failed to override the captain. Many regular folks in today's market want to get back to even and have missed the rally. However i would submit that here at Dow 9547 there are many bargain stocks for buy and hold that investors will be rewarded for over the next five years. The frustration level for those who sold at 6500 or so must be mind bending.

  2. Nemo Lacessit on September 10, 2009 10:47 am

    Amateur pilots also need to be aware of the "100 hr" milemark. When you solo, you have to solo for a specified period of time (40hrs) to get your pilot's license. Then amateurs get cocky — at 100 hours the likelihood of having a fatal error is high. Amateurs forget to check their flaps, check their altitude, check their pitch on approach… basic basic stuff. But at 100 hrs they get cocky.


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