Learning From Mistakes
This article originally appeared in IFR Refresher, July 2006.Throughout more than 8000 hours and 20 years of flying, I have, like most of us, had numerous opportunities to scare myself and marvel at my own incompetence. Flying -- and especially instrument flying -- is such a complex endeavor that, given enough time, it's inevitable that we all do something that's ... well ... not so smart. It's a process that's unavoidable and one that strikes even the best of us. The uptick is that each misadventure can serve as a lesson for the next pilot. I've learned more about staying alive from hangar flying sessions than anything I've read in a flight-instruction book. So, to the old-timers who loved to spin a yarn, I'm forever grateful. Since we can learn from each other's mistakes, I've decided to 'fess up about some of my personal misadventures. These occurred when I was freightdogging it in light, piston airplanes. Perhaps you've already been in similar situations. If not, hopefully you'll recognize them as they happen and take a better course of action. I learned from these lessons. Maybe you will, too.