In the data science / statistical consulting space, I think there are 3 kinds of “need,” whether that’s individual or organizational.

1. Someone who is drowning in data

2. The “we already have analytics” crowd

3. Working in their business (e-myth) data scientists

Drowning in Data

This is the person who is always putting out fires in their life and business–always working in one of two “quadrants”: important-urgent or urgent-not important. They may or may not know that they are drowning in data, but it’s taking all their effort to just tread water.

For example, when the flight sciences department asks for another test sortie to measure X, and you are over 1,000 sorties into the test program–maybe, just maybe, they could find that data in the many terabytes of data already saved–but the algorithms or processes or expertise to mine that data just isn’t there.

Or the Wing Commander who wants to know “how this happened,” an airplane crash that exposes the rest of the iceberg, a breakdown in risk management practices: ORM has been part of the culture for years, but every day, the ORM data–written in marker–gets wiped off the ORM checklist, so they can start with a clean slate.

“We already have analytics”

These are the skeptics, either because they don’t know what value analytical tools of mathematics and statistics bring or because they have been burned by other purveyors of the trade.  I believe these customers have the tools and need advice for mastering them.

The (e-myth) Data Scientists

Let’s be honest, many of us would rather work in our business, continuing to practice our technical expertise, rather than “on our business” as Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth, put it so profoundly.  Data scientists, statistical consultants, etc., might not know where to start. If you would rather learn a new computer language than learn to speak the language of the customer, we can help.

If you don’t know where to start, perhaps you can start be reading the white paper manifesto below…


Download the white paper manifesto below to learn more about ATOMs, Michelangelo’s paintbrush, and General Abrams.

ATOMs is a monthly column that introduces analytical tools of mathematics and statistics and illustrates their application. To read more about ATOMs, go to the incomplete index, read Where Do We Go From Here, or view the online workbook here.

Studies suggest that people don’t really know what practice is, especially not deliberate practice.  Geoffery Colvin puts it best:

Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don’t get better.

Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day – that’s deliberate practice.

Mark Sanborn quotes Covlin and makes some interesting observations about practice in our workplace here. And I’ve mused on practice before, in a sense, in Sharpen the Axe.

I’m wondering about two other applications.

1) As aerospace professionals

2) As dads (or more generally, as parents)

What are you doing to practice?

Send a tweet with your comment to @markjonesjr or better yet, start a discussion at

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.


You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs. Some people may not want the technical content that appears elsewhere on this website–if you only want to follow these more personal updates, I set up a special subscription for that option here: by Email or RSS.


The Empire Test Pilot School is in Boscombe Down, UK.  On final approach to their primary runway, one passes the ancient wonder Stonehenge, which is quite a treat.  While visiting ETPS during my time at USAF TPS, I flew a Tornado, an Alphajet and their Astra Hawk.

The Hawk aircraft at ETPS is a variable stability simulator, with an onboard computer that allows it to emulate the flying qualities of almost anything, including many other aircraft. This picture reveals the aircraft’s tail anhedral and some aerodynamic bandaids like a wing fence.

To find out more, watch this BBC documentary about ETPS (episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

QinetiQ, the aerospace company that runs ETPS, boasts this amazing simulator as a core part of the TPS curriculum.

The ETPSA is the alumni association that connects past with present and future test pilots.

While you are there, visit an amazing, hands-on aviation museum, the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection.

These videos describe the establishment of the  Empire Test Pilot School in Boscombe Down, England.

Part 2


Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter or visit the Test Pilot School pinboard on Pinterest for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.