I was fortunate, recently, to be able to travel to Guernsey, working with Aurigny Airline. My involvement was to join the back-end of a five day Train the Trainer workshop, hosted by a good friend of mine, Fleur Johnson, from Insight Solutions Consulting Group.  It was the first time in Guernsey for me, and I got to experience the short flight from London Gatwick in the ATR aircraft, a great deal smaller than the aircraft I would normally take from Gatwick!

Gatwick South Terminal, busy people, off to different parts of the world, all with their own agenda.

Gatwick South Terminal, busy people, off to different parts of the world, all with their own agenda.


Passengers embarking on the Aurigny Airline ATR, from Gatwick South

Following a pleasant crossing, slightly delayed, due to a fog-bound Guernsey I arrived and without further delay met the team we were working with.  Of course, having worked with the group for three days already, they had bonded well and I was interested to find out how they would react to a ‘new’ member joining the team.  Whilst I was there to deliver parts of the workshop and undertake feedback sessions on the final day, as always, I was determined to further my knowledge of the airline industry (having worked with different airlines for over 15 years).  Remember, we are always learning no matter how much we think we already know.

So what did I learn?  A Top Six Learning Points from my time in Guernsey (in no particular order)!

  1. How much does an aircraft weigh? Got that? Now, add on a load of passengers (of varying weights), luggage, crew, food and drink, fuel… and anything else you care to add… because we need to know this, in order that the aircraft is ‘light’ enough to effect a take-off.. AND… to land safely.  How many of us would even consider this, when we are queuing at the airport, on our return from holiday.. with those little extra’s in our suitcase.  Such is this calculation, that if the aircraft is painted as part of its maintenance, then that has to be noted also!  When you think about it, thats a colossal additional weight.  Consider how much paint would be needed to re-paint an aircraft (bearing in mind, the original coats are still on the plane) and then consider how much a can of paint actually weighs when you collect it from your local DIY store! Thanks Travis, for always getting the calculation right!
  2. What happens if you are on a flight and you become ill?  Not just unwell, but something serious, such as a heart attack?  Defibrillation equipment is carried on all of these flights together with trained staff… but how’s this for a few facts:- In Europe, every 45 seconds, a cardiac arrest takes place.  That sounds like an awful lot of people, but relate it to how many people are in Europe.  With intervention, early resuscitation and prompt defibrillation, within 1-2 minutes, a greater than 60% survival rate can be achieved.  Thanks Monika for raising our awareness and making us feel a lot safer.
  3. Ever considered what requirements certain passengers need on an aircraft?  Just how do you get a wheelchair user along the aisle of a plane?  What about a deaf or blind person, either looking or listening out for departure/boarding times?  Thankfully, there are procedures in place to assist with this, so thanks Martyn, for the enlightening training session!  Things we perhaps ‘know’ but never put into practice, because we never come across that scenario on a regular basis.  It was a pleasure to be able to use my acting skills for your session! 🙂
  4. It’s always important to have all bases covered and I’m always impressed by the amount of safety procedures we have, but I have to admit, knowing how much Oxygen is stored on a plane, even a relatively small passenger plane, such as the ATR or the Embraer Jet, in emergencies or times of decompression makes us all feel comfortable.  As we know, safety is paramount and I’ll confess to always watching and listening to the safety instructions from the flight crew, regardless of how many times i’ve seen it.  Thanks Faye, for your training session, together with some new phrases I learnt!
  5. Ever wondered, when you’re sitting on the plane, ready for take-off… what those guys and girls are doing, walking around the plane in their Hi-Viz jackets?  Well again, they are there for your safety, making sure there is no damage, ensuring everything is in order and carrying out a procedure that most of us take for granted.  Who’s in control of the plane during this time? Well most would say ‘The Pilot’, but it is in fact the ground crew, standing on the terra firma, during the ‘pushback’ procedure… once the plane is then ready to taxi to the runway.. The Pilot takes control.  Thanks Rob for passing on your knowledge and you’re right… you wear the Hi-Viz well!
  6. Finally, again on the theme of safety, how important is it that EVERYONE carries out their job, to the best of their ability and leaving nothing to chance?  Mike took us on a journey around the world, in particular the middle east, and highlighted the National Air Cargo’s Boeing 747-400 freighter crash in Afghanistan, that many will have seen on You Tube and rather than jumping to conclusions that because it was in Afghanistan, it was the subject of terrorist activity or military intervention.. the most probable cause was that a heavy item of cargo was not secured properly, thus becoming unstable.  For want of a simple procedure, the crew lost their lives.  What a responsibility… but this of course is not just limited to the aviation industry.

So you see, even though I was in Guernsey ‘training’, as always it’s a joy to increase my own knowledge.  Basic, little things, that we take for granted, or, more realistically, don’t even think about as they possibly may never affect us, directly… (until something goes wrong)!


Gary Boyes & Fleur Johnson from Insight Solutions Training Group, Quayside in St. Peter Port


St. Peter Port Harbour as the sun starts to fade.


St. Peter Port Harbour as the sun starts to fade.


You really can’t go to St. Peter Port, Guernsey, without sampling the Surf & Turf in ‘Mora’! Fillet Steak and Lobster.. Luscious!

You never know, what you don’t know… just think about that for a while.

Put this into the real world situation, of everyone’s busy schedules and whilst you’re undertaking your chores and work, why not glean some additional knowledge.  You’ll never know when you may possibly need it?  The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple attended Caligraphy lessons, just because he found it interesting… but of course, never needed it in his life.  A good few years later, when the initial font-types on computers were being thought over, there was Jobs, with his knowledge of different styles.  He refers to it as ‘joining the dots’, but you can only join the dots looking back, not forward.


The sun shines on the tail fin as we leave Guernsey. Great place, great people and I look forward to returning in the very near future. Work days like these, never seem to be ‘work’ 🙂


I took an ATR on the way to Guernsey and had the pleasure of returning to the mainland in the newest member of the fleet, The Embraer. Here’s the view, heading due North North East 🙂

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