Make Mistakes Your Friend


    Recently, I delivered myself to a local simulator company to get an Instrument Proficiency Check. The simulator was a Beech 1900, a type I’d never flown before, though I had some distant memory of flying it’s little brother, the King Air 200, decades ago.

    My reason for subjecting myself to this simulator training was twofold: One, I wanted to fly something better than the ubiquitious Redbird simulators available in the area. I’m just not that impressed with their fidelity or capabilities. And two, I wanted something more complex than my Cessna 185 Skywagon, in which I’ve been flying single pilot, no-autopilot IFR for many years. I'm often challenged finding enough real-world IFR weather to shoot low instrument approaches, or play in the system with weather. 

    When the instructor and I met before the session, I briefed him on what I wanted; surely the required six instrument approaches, holding pattern, intercepting and tracking, etc. as required by FAR. But I told him that I also wanted to make a lot of mistakes. From his expression, I don’t think he had heard that before. 

    But I wasn’t being facetious. I really wanted to make mistakes while flying the sim. That was one of my main goals

    Flying the Beech 1900 sim turned out to be a wonderful experience, though its fidelity was wasn’t great in several areas, especially with a V1 cut. I succeeded in making a lot of mistakes, and I learned a lot. After three hours over the course of a couple of days, I felt renewed and refreshed. Capable. And we still managed to get all the required boxes checked for the 61.57 sign-off. Win.   

    Too often, we avoid our mistakes, hide from them, and the opportunity that they provide. Mistakes are our friends. That’s where the learning lives. 

    Want to do something brave and heroic? Unusual and hugely instructive? Tell your evaluator, instructor or mentor that your goal is to make mistakes. Then, make those mistakes with impunity. And prepare to learn more than you ever have, trying to protect the ego or look good. 



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