Learn from the mistakes of others
Years ago, a pilot washed out of training because of lack of experience and expertise at the flight engineer's (FE) station. Much of the problem stemmed from his semi-serious outlook on new-hire training and the fact that he did not realize the importance of devotion to successfully completing the airline's course of instruction. Because he had nearly completed his FE course when he washed out, the airline recommended he finish up at his own expense, using a local school's simulator, so that he could demonstrate his ability to do the job to a future employer. The pilot moaned he would never get another job, but his next interview proved successful, and six months after his debacle at one airline he was sitting in the classroom at another.
Another pilot opted for an intense training program that tested his midlife-career-change skills. During his multiengine checkride, the examiner asked him to make a touch and go after rolling out from the previous landing. The pilot reached over and, intending to retract the flaps, hit the gear switch instead. The airplane damage was minor compared to his ego. Even after retaking his checkride and completing the school's curriculum, he was still devastated. I tried to show him how he could discuss the matter in a positive, "here's what I learned from the incident" manner.
Attitude is really the dealmaker in aviation. We've seen companies bend over backward to work with pilots who displayed an honest, sincere desire to do the job and work within the system. Being a new-hire pilot on probation, however, is quite different from having trouble once you're an established employee. It's important to recognize that your initial training is often an up-or-out situation. You must literally justify your existence and demonstrate you have what it takes to do the job.
Remember how hard you worked to get your job. Now, dedicate yourself to keeping it by learning to do it the company's way, asking for help when you need it, concentrating on your training with no outside distractions, and demonstrating that you are that exemplary employee the company hired to fly its airplanes.
Capt. Karen Kahn is the author of Flight Guide for Success: Tips and Tactics for the Aspiring Airline Pilot and a career counselor. A Master CFI and 30-year airline pilot, she flies the Boeing 757/767 for a major U.S. carrier.