Mention the word poetry to a pilot and he'll act like he's in a hotel fire. He'll think: get low, get down, get out. Admittedly, even I get the heebie-jeebies at the mere mention of haiku (that's Japanese poetry, not the sound of someone sneezing). But poetry is more than cute rhymes with tinkered words. It's an alternate means of learning some of aviation psychology's most important lessons.
At first glance, consulting a poet to learn aviation psychology seems about as reasonable as visiting an arc welder for electrolysis. After all, aren't aviation psychologists supposed to teach us these lessons? Indeed, they are. Their contribution to aviation safety, however, is not without peer. Equal in substance but less recognized in stature, the poet is aviation's artist of influence and emissary of wisdom.