...and other aviation experiences that may or may not be completely correct in the telling. Please add a "what I learned" if applicable. Anyone who has flown for awhile has scared the crap out of themselves a time or twenty. One time I royally screwed up was on an IFR X-CTY with a student. I was a Navy T-34C instructor. It's a tandem seat aircraft. For IFR training the student is in the back under an IFR hood and the instructor sits up front, relaxed, looking for traffic, monitoring the radio and eating snacks. At that stage of training, the students were pretty self-operational except for the landing. We were in IFR from MOB to NPA and had successfully intercepted the PNS TACAN at TRADR. I was eating an apple watching the student fly the route when I spied a 20,000 foot+ build up directly on the airway. Traffic was heavy on our UHF frequency and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. Being both relatively inexperienced and not very bright, I followed the rules of "don't deviate from ATC instructions" and we penetrated the cell. It was the wildest 5 seconds I'd ever spent flying. This frickin' cell shook us like a rag doll and spit us out 90 degrees off course and inverted, about 130 degrees over. I was mainly an aerobatic instructor, and quickly recovered, but it was a memorable "WTF?" moment. The aircraft was equipped with a G-meter. Aircraft limitations were, IIRC, 3.5Gs for maneuvers, anything over 4.5 Gs was a write up and both cockpit meters were pegged at 6Gs. Ours were pegged which meant we were grounded as soon as we landed. I aborted the IFR mission and flew directly to NAS Whiting Field rather than be stuck at NAS Pensacola...since my car was at NAS Whiting Field. Yes, I felt safe to fly which is why I continued but I felt stupid for getting into the situation in the first place. I never waited for ATC permission to deviate for weather again. EVER. Sometimes I've stated to ATC "request deviation", but that was always well ahead of time. A few times I've said something like "ATC, deviating 30 degrees right for weather" and been told "Standby" where upon I replied, "Sir, we're deviating 30 degrees right for weather." Sometimes I had to toss in something like "I can use the E-word if it helps, sir" but I did that as I was turning. They always cleared me.