Like most 20-year-olds, I didn’t dwell too much on risk in those days. When I did think about it, I accepted increased risk as part of being young, broke and building a new career. If age and experience have made me more risk-averse, improved circumstances have also made it more convenient for me to avoid it. Most of us were lucky enough to emerge from our young and dumb years with life, limb and license intact — but not all. Mike Ahn, my co-worker at three jobs, died covering my route in the Owens Valley — not in a snowstorm or hellish turbulence, but lulled to sleep on a sunny day. My first flight instructor, Slade Shipshock, fatally crashed in Watertown, South Dakota, on a frigid December night when he failed to deice on a quick cargo stop. Another former instructor lost his job and certificates (but thankfully not his life) when he aileron-rolled a nonaerobatic training aircraft in an apparent fit of boredom. Over the years, as my network has grown, I’ve heard of too many similar tragedies from industry friends, several of whom lost young pilots they were mentoring.