When I went for my private pilot checkride, the right seat was occupied by a DPE named Jim Higgs. While a checkride should be a time for the student to prove his competency and show off his nascent skills I still learned things on my checkride. While taxiing back to the ramp afterwards Mr. Higgs admonished me that as a new pilot I should be always ready to cancel my plans if things weren’t going well. He suggested a three strike rule — if more than three things go wrong, cancel the flight and fly another day. Jim Higgs passed away last week (circumstances unrelated to aviation), but his words were ringing loud and clear in my ears this past weekend.