Learning the Hard Way

There are some industries and occupations that are more forgiving than others.

By that, I mean that the consequences of bad decisions are not that painful, easily forgotten or written off with a financial/other penalty. Aviation is not that type of industry for reasons that I don’t need to be explicit about.

A large part of my pedagogy as an instructor pilot is that you are going to make poor decisions and mistakes in the cockpit. it’s just going to happen. Period. They are unavoidable.

BUT, as pilots, we strive to keep mistakes small and catch poor decisions early. If we can do that and not let them compound into a negative chain of events, we greatly improve our chances of a safe landing, which is the ultimate goal.

I have been meaning to write about this for a long time because I believe in it so strongly. Thankfully, I read a blog post by Fred Wilson this morning about his mistakes in the VC world, and it reminded me to write this. I’d say 7 of 10 his blog posts are direct analogs to aviation. I’m amazed at how closely aviation mirrors many other aspects of life.

The value of onboard weather

I am always learning. Especially about weather. Mother Nature is so powerful and you sometimes don’t know exactly where or at what intensity she’ll require that you yield to her.

At the entry-level training of general aviation, we often have a Sirius XM feed or less frequently, an actual radar antenna. 

In teaching, words matter and I appreciate when someone is able to simply get a point across powerfully. On that note, someone recently told me that you should use XM for strategic planning and radar for tactical execution. That is exactly right. Often, weather (like above) is not dangerous and XM is perfectly fine to get through it. However, when it gets bad, you need to respect weather and use radar.