Welcome to eClass 28:

So You Made a Mistake…


Here we go…

PART 1: So you made a mistake.

Definition: An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.


This definition sounds harsh – doesn’t it?!

Mistakes are a part of life whatever the definition. 

Everyone makes them or will make them. 

In the aviation industry is no different. 

To the general public, the thought of a pilot making a mistake does not make them feel good. 

The public do seem to have the misconception that pilots need to be perfect.  Guess what?!

It’s amazing how something you do in your personal life can be compared to your flying ability by the general public. 

Remember they are uneducated in what you do and because of this it is a mystery to them. 

It’s not their fault, just not their area of expertise.  People fear the unknown.  So really non industry opinion doesn’t count.

A common misguided opinion that I have had is when I play sport. (Netball is my sport of choice). 

I missed a goal once and the subsequent comment was “Gosh, I won’t go flying with you” – makes no sense does it?!

Craig’s saying…

When it comes to your flying ability, the people that matter, know.  The rest don’t count so don’t waste your energy worrying.

In a ideal world, perfect pilots would be great but reality is that this is unachievable and largely a waste of energy.

When you descend and land an aircraft you are essentially control the energy of it. 

That is, you are decelerating and manipulating the controls.  When you make your landing, you have conquered the energy. 


So when we apply this to mistakes we need to be sure that we are controlling your energy. 

You should always be striving to fly whatever aircraft you are in well but understand in doing so mistakes will happen. 

They generally are insignificant and insignificant is good when you compare it to the worst outcome.

Most great inventions or solutions have been created from some great mistakes.


It is your mindset towards mistakes that make you better and propel your experience. 

I have looked at reducing the grey areas in a previous eClass. 

This is a way for to reduce the risk but there is no way to completely eliminate it. 

Our plan is to keep mistakes insignificant.  That’s how we reduce the risk.

So the best thing that we can do is to give you some tools to keep mistakes in perspective. 

As I have progressed through our careers, I have developed a robust mindset to cope.  One of the great things about having a mentor is to find out that they made and continue to make mistakes.

How to program your mindset to cope with mistakes…

  • Keep mistakes in perspective
  • Ask yourself – did you achieve your objective?
  • Ensure that the area you made a mistake in now becomes your strong point
  • Remember that your mentors have and will make mistakes (why do you think that airlines require 2 crew?)
  • Be prepared to talk to a trusted pilot friend or mentor –  it can help you see the positive from the situation
  • Remember to get the job done and solve your problem first and THEN work back through it and decide what you will do differently next time
  • NEVER LET THE LAST MISTAKE CAUSE THE NEXT ONE – LET IT GO (a wise pilot moves on quickly and doesn’t dwell
  • Conserve your energy – remember to into the next problem

Always create the environment to reduce the risk and use all your experiences to add to your experience and improve.

Remember you’re not alone.


PART 2: So you failed a test.

In our experience, we would suggest that 80% of pilots will have failed a test at some point in their careers.  Whether it is a theory or a flight test. 

It’s a challenging and rewarding career so it comes with the territory.

I have failed at something during my career progression and you know what?  Life goes on.

Each licence theory syllabus that you do builds on the last.  Just like your experience builds over time.  It starts with the simple version and gets more in depth. 

As part of this new concepts are added to take you the standard required.  Everyone has a strong area and of course most people have a subject that they have to work a bit harder at.

If you miss out on a test it’s what you do next which separates a good pilot from a great pilot.

Feeling down in the dumps and dejected is a drain of energy – energy that is needed to take your problem through to solution.  

As trainers I know that if our trainee has checked out and dwelling on what they didn’t do well then there is no more training that can be done during that time. 

 So if you can pick yourself up and get perspective then you are remaining effective in your progression. 

Maintain your energy and move on.


One of my previous mentoring students has a story about when he passed an exam with a score of 95% his father said, “Oh so you’ll only crash 5% of the time”. 

Obviously not ok! 

It’s important to understand that the theory has been created to educate but also to measure. 

The regulator needs to set guidelines otherwise they cannot measure if you are compliant. 

Failing a test does not mean that you are not an effective pilot, it just means that you need to work on a particular concept more. 

No-one measures how much work you do on any area, just that you have reached the pre selected standard.

My advice is to ALWAYS strive for your personal best, move on to the next one if you fail a test and definitely have a trusted industry mentor to talk to.

(Unless your dad is in the industry!)


PART 3: Do this next.

Ok, so hopefully I have established that sometimes things don’t go as planned but I need to just get over it.  So let’s put it into a practical application for you to use day to day in the aeroplane.

Scenario 1: Got lost on a nav.



  • Take a breath
  • Look at what you do know
  • Last known position
  • Focus your eyes to the big distant picture in all directions
  • Remember your basic training
  • Trust yourself
  • Ask for assistance and/or talk to your mentor afterwards



  • Hold your breath!
  • Panic
  • Second guess yourself
  • Give in
  • Dwell on it once you’ve solved it

Scenario 2: Missed an instruction from ATC and took the wrong taxiway.



  • Let them know as soon as your work it out
  • Follow the corrective actions
  • Stay focussed and keep your energy on the solution
  • Worry about it later
  • Talk to your mentor afterwards


  • Try and cover it up as you could make it worse and more dangerous to others
  • Don’t dwell on the mistake as you will create the next one

Scenario 3: Failed a Flight Test



  • Listen to the reasons that the testing officer had to fail you
  • Offer an explanation as to why you may have had the situation
  • Focus your energy on fixing what the issue was and improve it
  • Understand that you learnt from the situation
  • Understand that your issue can now be a strong point
  • Talk to your mentor for support


  • Argue with the test officer unless you have a good reason
  • Dwell on it for days
  • Bottle it up
  • Think that you are the only one that it has ever happened to

So you can see that the scenarios are different but your actions are the same.  Keep your energy for the solution and make every failure into a learning experience.  By having the right mindset and knowing that humans aren’t perfect you will find that you will probably gradually reduce the effect of hard patches. 

Here is a saying and YOU WILL know when it is the right time to use it…

If it doesn’t matter in a year – it doesn’t matter.

PART 4: Questions for You.


1. Think of your last mistake that you thought was the worst thing in the world and look at it now.  Have you learnt from it?

2. If you have failed a test, is it useful to beat yourself up? 

3. In getting the job done in an aeroplane, where is your energy best directed to?

4. Do you think that you are the only one that has hit a rough patch?


Next week’s preview…’Recorded member mentoring session…’

Find out how doing anything that you can even before you start will be of immense value to your career.

Congratulations on completing this Eclass.  Check out below the Eclass calender to see what’s in store!

If you need to use our Pilot Advice Service or have any questions or comments please send them to info@ouraviationsecrets.com

Don’t miss out on a opportunity by procrastinating.

Look forward to speaking with you at the Webinar.

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To Your Flying Success!

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54492-156-8639FF5164CAE1AC8E9290F679F028DBCaptain Craig Baker

Airline Pilot and Professional Pilot Mentor