Safety and Training
This was interesting and gives some perspective on why aircraft service is so expensive. On the list of things I definitely don't have time for, but think are cool, I'd love to get my A&P. It's a massive commitment of time and energy, which is, of course, why it's appealing. From hard work, you get mastery of a complex subject. That's the reason most of us are in aviation to begin with.
This accident discussion is pretty lengthy, but the short version is that two well-trained, highly-experienced pilots did not respond favorably to a failure of one of the artificial horizon instruments, leading to their deaths. It's hard to do, but the moral of the story is to just slow down. If you see a really unexpected indication, give it at least one crosscheck. These loss of control accidents, like the Air France flight, take minutes to unfold, and almost always have as a step in the accident chain pilots doing something with the airplane, when they would have been better served to just cross their arms and reflect for a moment.
This month's AOPA Pilot Magazine profiled the second TFP mountain flying trip from last summer. It was an awesome trip--as this year's trips will be. Read the article. Sign up. Come fly with us. The June trip is almost sold out.
Numbers 1, 3, and 9 all come down to the same thing, which is that you need to study. Flying is more cerebral than kinesthetic. It's a street fight every day getting students to put in the time with the books. All students are eager to get in the plane and fly their maneuvers, but their time would be so much more enjoyable and progress speedy if they did their homework beforehand. My number one tip for any pilot wanting to be better (student pilot or already certificated) is to not worry so much about their actual flying, but to spend more time studying. What you study depends on your existing knowledge level, but almost everyone could stand to be more disciplined about hitting the books. Chair fly your procedures, read the POH, read the FAA textbooks. There's plenty to do for all levels.