A reader sent me this Air Taxi Pilot Decision-Making Simulator. I hate it. I hate it because it's true and accurate and needed. It's hauntingly, terribly familiar. I've been there on almost every branch of every decision tree. For the branches I haven't explored to the end, I have attended the funerals of friends who did. It's even set up so that you can do the wrong thing and still live. Just like real life it means you can get away with something and think you made the right decision, reinforcing that behaviour for next time.
Work your way through the scenarios and then consider what your life is like when this kind of thing is is what you do every day, but the end of the day doesn't bring a neat lecture on lessons learned and the ability to know that you chose the best possible route. All you know at the end of the day is that you survived the decisions you made. You are still being questioned for every decision by your copilot, chief pilot, passengers, room mates and yourself. You don't know if the airplane is misbehaving, if you're incompetent, if every company is like this and this is what the rest of your career will be like, or if you're at the worst company in the world.
I showed it to one pilot who thought it was ridiculous, that the decisions were simple to make and that they were just playing mind games. But it's well-researched and based on a lot of pilots who got caught out in such situations. The scenarios are drawn from real experiences and accident reports, and there are a hundred more they could add. I've always been more likely to ask those questions before departure, but there's a price for that, too. Within your cadre of pilots, asking questions may be perceived as weaker than simply fumbling on in ignorance, even when the people you asked the question of don't know the answer either.
Some people think that flying airplanes is hard, but it really isn't. You learn how in a few hours from watching someone and reading the manual. The hard part is never being complacent, and always deciding what to do when the airplane isn't following the manual.
It's not like that for me these days, but before you have the experience and knowledge it can be. I admire the way aviation safety research has gone beyond understanding why airplanes have accidents and delved into why pilots have accidents, even when they have and understand the information on how not to.