10 Truths About Stress for Aviation Professionals

The aircraft maintenance and engineering department is stressful. You know it, I know it, we all know it.

Billions of dollars have been invested into new software and now what?

You have access to better probability distributions, decision analysis, and forecasting through time series and smoothing methods. Or maybe you have better linear programming applications for financial planning and production scheduling.

Aviation Professionals

And if that wasn't enough you now have inventory models through economic order quantity and inventory simulation.

But what does this all mean?

It still means that you have to rely on a human at the other end of the world to do something you can't.

This may be the supply of an aircraft part stored in Florida, a fresh test cell for your CFM56 in Europe, or the ferry transport of your B747-400 to Asia.

You see no matter what programs are available, humans are still at the forefront of every decision.

And this is when the problems occur (software isn't perfect either).

With all of the noise happening around you, plans change things happen and contingency plans are inevitable. During these times the term stress is an understatement.

The 10 Truths About Stress

Stress is bad news.

I know exactly how it feels and one thing I've promised to myself is to make sure that I control it at ALL times. As an aviation professional have you made the same promise to yourself?

Here are 10 truths about stress you may not have known:

  1. Stress has been called “the silent killer” and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, and an irregular heartbeat.
  2. Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver cirrhosis, and suicide.
  3. Chronic stress floods the brain with powerful hormones that are meant for short-term emergency situations. Chronic exposure can damage, shrink, and kill brain cells.
  4. Stress makes the blood “stickier,” in preparation for an injury. Such a reaction, however, also increases the probability of developing a blood clot.
  5. Chronic stress increases cytokines, which produce inflammation. Exposure to constant inflammation can damage arteries and other organs.
  6. Chronic stress worsens irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that irritates the large intestine and causes constipation, cramping, and bloating.
  7. Chronic stress decreases the body’s immune system’s response to infection and can affect a person’s response to immunizations.
  8. Stress can result in more headaches as a result of the body rerouting blood flow to other parts of the body.
  9. The hyper-arousal of the body’s stress response system can lead to chronic insomnia.
  10. When cells shrink due to exposure to stress hormones, they disconnect from each other, which contributes to depression.


With all you know now, is stress worth it? Not a chance.

But you're human and it's inevitable. Life and work pressures will always push your limit. You must be proactive and regulate how much you let it affect you.

Aviation professionals need to manage their stress

The primary reason to manage stress is for your health. Let's just get that clear. This is the single most important reason you should get it under control.

But there's more to stress than just your health. When you're highly stressed you're more likely to make mistakes. [TWEET THIS]

Maybe it's purchasing a wrong part or forgetting to follow-up with a vendor. Whatever it is, you have a much greater chance of screwing up then when you're level headed.

[dropshadowbox align="none" effect="lifted-both" width="autopx" height="" background_color="#f09825" border_width="1" border_color="#dddddd" ]Stress also makes you tired and your energy level sinks. This not only affects your productivity but you become a tyrant to work with.[/dropshadowbox]

When you sit back in your chair, really think hard. Think about when you're stressed and your energy level drops. How much does the lower productivity and mistakes cost?

Whatever the number is, it's still greater than if you were thinking clearly.

As an aviation professional stress is an epidemic. Did you know pilots are rated with having one of the most stressful jobs in the world?

In my opinion. I think many aviation maintenance and engineering departments have one of the most stressful jobs in the world.

Wouldn't you agree?

The point here is to manage your stress. You'll not only be more productive and increase the bottom line, you'll also be a healthier you.

As an aviation professional are you stressed? Comment below.