“I will always be thankful to the individual conducting the meeting for their support, helping clarify the possible options and outcomes but most importantly giving me the necessary confidence to overcome the anxiety caused by the failure.”
What follows is an uplifting account of failure, the range of emotions associated with this and ultimate learning and recovery from that experience.
Failing a Sim/Line Test
‘XXX’ was my first flying job and I joined the airline with the minimum training hours and experience required. This was a very intense and high pressure situation having spent an enormous amount of money, sacrificed a previous career, relocated and planned a whole new occupation and lifestyle. I really needed to pass and had staked an awful lot on making this happen. Unfortunately this stress probably impaired my ability to succeed in this ambition.
Towards the end of training I was struggling with landing consistently and safely. Those familiar with the Dash 8 aircraft will know that this is not an uncommon difficulty but I was approaching the regulation 40 sectors required before assessment I was becoming increasingly anxious.
The last hurdle before the final line check itself was the pre-line check assessment. I did not bond well with the trainer and this combined with my previous difficulties led to a great deal of anxiety. This consequently created a downward spiral of poor performance that led to me failing the assessment.
A whole range of emotions came as a result and in the days that followed. These included:
Regret and thoughts about what I could have done better
Anger and an attempt to blame others for the failure i.e. the trainers
Frustration about not being able to immediately jump back into training to resolve the issues
Loneliness whilst I waited for the next step
Embarrassment and worry about telling others, particularly peers I trained with
An overriding general anxiety about the unknown next steps and my future
Thankfully a very constructive training support meeting was conducted, albeit after a stressful near 2 week delay. I will always be thankful to the individual conducting the meeting for their support, helping clarify the possible options and outcomes but most importantly giving me the necessary confidence to overcome the anxiety caused by the failure. This experience has taught me a lot about the stress of line / sim checks and how performance can deteriorate without the necessary confidence and support network. The trainer and others in a position to support can have a big impact on the associated anxiety and how the individual can overcome any failures.
Pilot experience - SIMS and Line checks