The Trick to Precise Performance: Learn to Chair-fly from the Blue Angels


The Blue Angels are the US Navy’s elite aerial demonstration team. In precise formations, they fly as close as 45 centimeters (18 inches) while traveling as fast as 1125 kilometers/hour (700 mph).


That type of risky operation takes detailed and deliberate planning. Team members must follow each step with discipline, visualizing every move ahead of time. Pilots fulfill their roles without error, communicating clearly and exactly according to the standard.

One important technique they use to achieve that level of excellence is called “chair flying”. It’s a method of rehearsing each step in detail, often using visual aids, such as a map of the flight path, or a diagram. Chair flying engages the imagination and increases situational awareness during the actual operation. The practice makes their show perfect! Take a look at the short video below to see how Blue Angel chair-flying results in flawless flying.

While most operations don’t require the precision of the Blue Angels, we can still benefit from the techniques they use. We can use our imagination when planning and briefing a team. Previewing tasks step-by-step will increase teamwork effectiveness and awareness. It can help make sure you don’t miss anything important.

If you have a task that involves a series of actions that you must get right, try “chair flying” for precise performance.

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