On May 16, 2001, I passed the rigorous check ride with Norm Robinson, a local Designated Pilot Examiner with a well-earned "tough but fair" reputation. His parting words were "Be careful out there. Students will try to kill you, and you need to let them go just far enough to learn from it." As a new commercial pilot who had never held a flying job, and with all of 15 hours' experience in LA's congested airspace, swarming air traffic and mountainous terrain, I was suddenly deemed competent to instruct prospective private, instrument, commercial, multiengine, and even airline transport pilots. It would prove to be a frantically busy, occasionally frightening and often eye-opening summer spent teaching — and learning — in the sunny, hazy skies over southern California.