In flying, we are undertaking an effort that contains a greater element of risk (and higher price to pay for error) than almost anything else we’ve ever done. It is extremely important to establish fundamental procedures that will not only stick with us as we advance in and explore our own aviation envelope, but procedures that will step forward when we need them the most, in an emergency. Too often, in the training environment, it becomes easy to relate to our instructors as friends. After all, our instructors see us through it all and do develop an intimate relationship that is as important as its need to be managed. My advice is to view your instructor as a coach and demand that behavior from them. It’s a great comparison to consider because many of us have the experience of a great coach (or professor) in our past. We understand that good coaches can be tough, forgiving, demanding and encouraging. It can be useful in understanding that we are the athletes, we are the superstars. At the end of the day it is us who has to perform and play the game. It is our instructor’s role to prepare us for that game. We should demand rigidity and support. I’m not suggesting we tolerate abuse (which I do occasionally see on the flight line) but we should not look to be coddled either. The analogy carries further. With scenario based training we can divide our training into exercises, drills, and scrimmage. We can go to the practice area to do exercises (stall exercises, for example) with our CFI. Have our CFI run us through some drills, and create real world exercises (hence, ‘scrimmage’) like mock check rides, and scenario based lessons. Having solid fundamental procedures is critical if you find yourself falling behind the airplane. The time to build these is in your first 150 hours. Practice, study and continuing education will all help ensure that the house of skills you are building is a brick house. Get yourself a trainer, a coach. Build a brick house by demanding the best.