PR to learn from pilots in crash scenario

CHARLOTTE, NC: Crisis communications firm C4CS has hit upon a new

approach to training corporate execs to communicate effectively during a

difficult situation.

The firm is offering training sessions that include time with a flight

instructor/pilot in a Boeing 737 flight simulator.

David Snepp, a C4CS managing partner and an amateur pilot, got the idea

after winning time in a flight simulator himself at a 1999 charity


Snepp was impressed by the procedures pilots use to avoid problems.

'They're using communications as a first tool of defense for safety,' he


Airlines encourage pilots to tell co-pilots if they're feeling ill, for

example, rather than risk problems that could arise with a sick pilot

trying to fly a plane.

Cockpit communications also need to be clear, effective and concise

during emergencies. 'In crisis management, a lot of people talk too

much,' Snepp said, adding that a look at how pilots communicate

effectively could help corporate managers do the same in a crisis


C4CS' new training sessions, called Virtual Aviator, consist of a

two-hour classroom session followed by 90-120 minutes spent in the

simulator 'flying' a 737 through emergency situations. A debriefing of

about an hour follows during which participants can review how well they

communicated with each other. Participants go into the simulator two at

a time. Each class is limited to four people.

C4CS hopes to hold the classes in Denver, Dallas and Orlando where

simulators are available. Its first session is scheduled for Miami May

21. A day-long session costs dollars 3,750 per person.

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