Thursday, 31 January 2013

Part of something bigger.

Today was just awesome. No question. Despite not making even one third of our planned trip before the weather conspired against us. It was just a great day to be flying. The flight school was a hive of activity. Bob was down there with one of his other students*. There were a couple of familiar faces from ground school to chat to, fuelers to deal with, the owner to say hello to and just a generally bustling atmosphere. It made me feel like I was part of a community, a piece of something larger than me.

To an immigrant, when sometimes the smallest thing can make you feel like a stranger in a strange land that is an incredibly powerful and welcome feeling.
*Yeah, I have to share him sometimes J

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Screaming inside.

I’m going to admit to being more than a little frustrated by my (self-perceived*) lack of progress at the moment. I just seem to pound out circuit after circuit after circuit and I still don’t think I’m doing any better. Of course it is the italicised word that’s the key here. More on that later.

Today’s plan was for me to do some dual circuits and then get some solo time. It didn’t work out that way. For a number of reasons. First of all I legitimately developed a hellish headache and wanted to call it a day but to be honest I was ready to chicken out anyways.
I really don’t know what goes through my head. I fixate on my inability to do the most mundane things and convince myself that I just shouldn’t be up there alone. For example I hate the lack of run up area for runway 08. I convince myself that I’m going to beach it on the grass or seriously get in the way of a Porter or worse. Now I’ve never even come close to doing that but it is in my head and won’t leave. Stupid, stupid stuff like that stresses me out to the point of no return. While the big stuff , like a plane being on my runway when I was on very short final causing me to have to overshoot (more in another post), doesn't faze me in the slightest.
After today’s flight I could have cried with frustration. I’m doing fine up there. I know that when I review my flights but at the time I’m flying I feel like I’m on the ragged edge and barely holding on. It is only once I’m on the ground that I realise that safe does not have to mean perfect. So I had to do a couple of overshoots today, maybe they weren’t perfect either but they were SAFE. Why can’t I realise this when I’m actually doing them?
Bob has assured me 100% that he has no problems with sending me solo. He knows I can cope with whatever life throws at me up there. He wants to work with me on overcoming whatever demons are holding me back, he considers us a team, in it together. But there is only so much he can do. The problems inside my head are all my own doing. I have impossibly high standards. I judge others by them but I judge myself more
I’m SAFE. I really, really am. Gotta remember that. Got to move on. I'm the only one stopping me.

*Bob thinks I'm doing OK. He keeps telling me this. I don't think he's lying but at the same time, I don't believe him either.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

On the clarity of language.

As you may have noticed from reading this stuff, I like words. I like to read them, I like to write them, I certainly like to say them! I like to play with language, I like to mess around with words, and I like to explore the impact of phraseology. I’m intrigued how by how you can completely change the intent behind a phrase by subtly changing a word or two.  I have no qualifications in this subject, unlike my friend C whose first degree is in semiotics*. I guess I’m merely an interested amateur!

I like the clarity of well written instructions. At work people will write instructions for people to follow and give them to me first, to pick the holes in, to find the flaws, the ambiguities, the loop holes. I like this. I have a reasonable success rate, although I still stand behind the maxim “when designing a foolproof system, never underestimate the ingenuity of fools!”
In a bizarre way I think this is why I generally don’t mind the radio work and speaking to ATC**. Unlike speaking on the phone, which I hate. On the radio everyone has a very limited bank of very specific phrases that they use. The point is there should be no ambiguity at all. Contrast this, for example, to phoning flight services. I hate this, the call is unpredictable, they might be chatty, they might be hard to understand, they may be off topic. You may have to struggle to find a common reference point. It’s an unknown. I loathe it, I will actively avoid doing it if I can***

You may ask yourself, where is this going? Well there are a couple of communication points I’ve come across recently that have struck a chord with me. The first is my ongoing battle with the weather. Thanks to Bob’s minor bullying whereby every lesson he makes me stand in front of the computer and decode the raw METAR and TAF data out loud to him (to stop me hitting the decode button and “cheating”) I can now read them reasonably well. Occasionally I still have to look up the odd code or remark. Which got me thinking, why should I have to do that? It’s 2013. Even the smallest airfield I’ve been to has access to at least one computer with more processing power than was required to launch a mission to the moon. Hell, even my cellphone can decode METARS quicker than I can. Why, in an area where precision is important, are we still relying on (fallible) humans to decode something that looks like this?****
    METAR CYVR 281500Z 27016KT 15SM FEW040 SCT120 BKN180 OVC240 05/02
A3001 RMK SC1AC2AC3CS2 SLP163=

When a paragraph roughly the same size as the one above will give you all the same information but in plain English. With less chance of interpretation errors.

The second thought that occurred to me language-wise was what happens when ATC need you to overshoot for whatever reason. This happened to me last flight. Due to traffic still being on the runway when I was on short final, I was issued the following instruction “Juliet Papa Mike. Pull up and go around.”
This is perfect, textbook phraseology. Except it’s not what you should do.

If you “pull up” when attempting to overshoot, the chances of you becoming a smoking crater in the ground are quite high. Let’s think about this for a moment. You are on final; you probably have 20 degrees of flaps down at least and are flying at roughly 65knots. You pull the nose up. Your angle of attack increases, your airspeed decreases. You stall. You’re probably at less than 500 feet. You crash. Plain and simple.
What you actually do is apply full power immediately, without hesitation. Then you clean up the flaps in stages. You may actually have to ease the nose down a little for a moment, depending on how you are trimmed out, just to get that airspeed up in order to climb out safely. You DO NOT yank the column back but to me I can understand how you may instinctively do that if ATC yell at you to “pull up!”

So here ends my language rant for today. I’m lucky in that I’ve had plenty of experience in practising overshoots, both self-inflicted and ATC mandated. It really is instinctual now but I still spend time pondering over points like this!

* I had no idea what this was until she explained it to me!

** Apart from my old nemesis. He stresses me out.

*** Of course by admitting this on my blog. I’m fairly certain a call to them is on the cards for the near future courtesy of Bob!

**** I had to pull up the weather for Vancouver to make my point. CYTZ is currently in the midst of freezing rain and ice pellets, the METAR is actually about half a page long!

Monday, 28 January 2013

My head hurts.

Today’s flight was ok-ish, kinda. But I’m a bit annoyed at myself. The conditions were perfect for soloing and my circuits were tolerable. Not perfect but not dangerous or anything. The aim was to do some dual time and then go solo. It’s been a long while since I got any PIC time in. Trouble was something was just not quite right. I know I stress myself out but this was something different. On my final circuit, I realised I had the headache from hell. A band of pressure pressing into my eyes. Time to call it a day and land.

I don’t know what caused it, it may be that I need better sunglasses (mine are not aviator style ones), it could be that the band of my camera headstrap was pressing on me. It could be a combination of the glare and general winter yuckyness. Any or all of the above. Either way, time to land.
Annoyed about the solo time though.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Living up to my reputation

As the harbinger of crappy weather. We managed to find the only bit of descending cloud in the entire sky during pretty much the whole day!

Despite my meticulously planned route, RTH and I had to cut our little navigation exercise short at my first checkpoint because we were in danger of flying into the aforementioned crud. The conditions were probably marginal and it was hard to predict just what the clouds were going to do. Neither myself nor RTH has any real desire to fly into snow bearing clouds. We turned around and came back.
That’s not to say that the flight was wasted. Not by any means. I learned a whole lot from the right hand seat. I got an insight into RTH’s decision making processes. By incessantly quizzing him about what he was thinking and what he was basing his decisions on, it all added to my experience base. I learned that you can ask pilots up ahead of you what the weather is doing and what cloud conditions are like, on the area common frequency. I’d never thought of doing that! I also learned that there are many people who blunder through that area without making a single position call.

I also learned that today, the weather network, flight services, the METAR and TAF were all completely and utterly useless when it came to predicting the cloud layers! But I think I may have known that already!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Not so amusing weather stories, I weep for my native land at times!

As part of my job I have to deal with a certain international education organisation. They have offices around the world (so how come any meetings I get invited to are in frackin’ Bethesda?!) The organisation in question appears to have gone into shutdown mode for a while now. Why? Because the exam office is based in Cardiff and the U.K. has once more, ground to a complete standstill because of the white fluffy stuff. Yep, I’m talking snow.

Now Canada gets its fair share of this stuff and in recent years so has the U.K. In fact over the last few years my parents back in sunny Birmingham have probably gotten more snow than us in the Great White North aka Toronto*.  The difference is of course, that somehow we manage to cope and the UK shivers in its boots** while wincing at every snowflake that hits the ground.
So how do we Torontonians carry on while my native land acts like the apocalypse has occurred? I really think the answer lies in attitudes. Here we are used to a good run of winter (a solid few months at the very least) so we’ve figured that life somehow has to go on, so we make do. It’s why I have a desk drawer full of gloves and toques and a collection of shoes under my desk. It’s why I can be seen wandering the corridors in my hiking boots (ok that may have more to do with the fact that I forget to change out of them!) I own every possible cold weather accessory you can think of. If the snow gets really bad I own Yaktrax and spiked walking poles. Stuff like this is a necessary part of life, just like snow tires on cars. People get up at stupid O’clock in the morning to clear their drives and sidewalks of snow, because that’s what you do in winter.

Contrast this to the U.K. , which appears to regularly run out of rock salt for the roads (incidentally roads in large urban areas here are pre-treated to stop the ice forming in the first place) and the general public in the U.K. are specifically told not to clear the streets because “if someone falls on a bit you’ve cleared then they can sue you.”. Yes Canadians, read that bit very carefully. I mean, seriously WTF? I’ve had online conversations with people who don’t believe it’s reasonable to expect someone to swap the tires on their car twice a year and “where would they put the spare tires anyway?” You know somehow people manage, even if it does mean you have 4 spare tires sitting in plastic bags under your bed.
Another argument I here all the time is to do with the money. The U.K. doesn’t have the equipment to deal with this stuff and no one is willing to pay the extra money to fund it. I don’t buy this either. My tax burden (the bit of my paycheque that disappears each month) is no worse in Canada than it was in the U.K.  Somehow we fund this stuff.

From what I can see the climate in the U.K. is only going to get worse in terms of winter and snow. People you need to start getting a grip! (Pun intended!)


* misnomer for so many reasons, for one thing I’m  now actually SOUTH of where I lived in the UK!!

** part of the problem being that they probably don’t own boots!


Friday, 25 January 2013

Is this a little sad?

Another meeting with A, another useful study session.

The usual mix of hard work, pecking away at the theory and the exchange of flying stories, tips and anecdotes.
A is fun to be around for so many reasons. She’s as keen as I am, doesn’t mind spending time just talking flying (we both have friends who we probably bore comatose with this stuff!). She’s smart and has a quick mind; she asks tons of questions as well. This is great because it sends us spinning from one topic to another in rapid succession. I love this. The way we start off talking about the altimeter and end up pulling out our “theory of flight notes” because we want to know why temperature affects the plane’s climb performance (we came to this question via the concept of density altitude).

I don’t know what the other people in the coffee shop think , I guess we get a little enthusiastic sometimes, and let’s face it we don’t exactly look like stereotypical pilots. It could be worse though, A’s a very visual learner and I like to use my hands a lot when I teach, maybe I’ll get hold of some visual props and we can really attract an audience!
Anyways, the question in the title refers to that fact that A and I actually have set a date for her to come over so we can sit at the window, drink wine and listen to ATC. Yeah the things that entertain us pilots-to-be!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

I’ll take out the recycling while you just yell at your ruler, ok?

It’s a wise man who knows when to retreat. RTH set me a task of planning our sightseeing route for a flight next week. A round trip from City to Sunderland to Keswick and then back to City via Buttonville.  A trip of around 100 miles, give or take. The idea is to get me some trip planning practice beforehand and some navigation practice in the air. As well as me getting some video footage of our trip, although I suspect most of it will be of my head pouring over a map!

It looks to be a nice trip over some interesting terrain, with just enough curveballs thrown in to give me some food for thought while planning. RTH was interested to see if I could spot the potential issues. These included cable launched hang gliders over Brougham, a VOR en route (need to watch out for traffic practicing instrument approaches) and potential meat-bombs over Baldwin.
I also learned a really really important lesson about charts. I was looking at the different classes of airspace we would be transiting and got confused.  I’m very familiar with the class C airspace around CYTZ. I know that I need permission from ATC to enter, rather than class D airspace (like I encountered around CYOO) in which I just need to inform them that I’m entering. A subtle but very important distinction.  I was using these two types of airspace with which I’m familiar to try and figure out what we would need to do around Buttonville. And this is where it started to mess with my head, to me it looked like all three zones were the same, and yet I knew this wasn’t the case. RTH let me stew for a few minutes and then took pity on me.

Apparently the VTA chart I have on my kneeboard (probably one I stole from RTH) is out of date, by about a year. The last major revision that was made to it was changing the airspace around CYTZ from class D to class C. An important lesson learnt here, if I wasn’t familiar with the control zone around CYTZ I’d have messed up big time if I was using my out of date charts. Apparently getting you to buy new ones periodically isn’t just a money making scheme ( I have yet to be convinced by the three monthly CFS updates though!)
I look forward to reporting on the flight itself, watch this space (weather permitting!)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The many faces of WMAP

Not flying related (again!), but part of the crazy world that is my job.

I’m usually pretty good at dealing with outside contractors and suppliers. I adapt my technique depending on who I’m dealing with. Consequently WMAP at work has many personalities, there’s

·         Grateful WMAP, usually reserved for companies that have done me a favour in the past*

·         Jokey/Friendly WMAP, for companies I have long standing relationships with

·         Promising WMAP, for suppliers I’m trying to build up relationships with (always the hint of future business just on the horizon type thing)

·         Bitchy WMAP, for companies that have screwed me over. Can be used to negotiate huge discounts for seemingly small infractions.

·         Wheeler/dealer WMAP, used to negotiate with all contractors (The old "well this is a fundraiser/for charity/a good cause " line)

·         Cleavage WMAP, low cut tops usually reserved for dealing with IT/Tech people

·         Business WMAP, suited, booted and don’t  foxtrot uniform charlie kilo** with me

It can be a fine line picking which approach to use with a new client. Today had me completely flummoxed when a new company sent me what appeared to be a fetus as a sales rep.  I’m not sure if his mommy knew he was out. He came with no sales brochure, no notepad, pen, paperwork or anything.  I always carry some kind of notebook/file etc. Just to make me feel important. Even if it does look like this one

Part of WMAP’S I-really-object-to-being-forced-to-attend-this-stupid-meeting line of office accessories. There are more.
* No lie; I’ve got companies who have helped me out because I needed an emergency bouncy castle!

** See aviation related content! Kinda !!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pity our IT department

So work has gone from being crazy busy to its usual flow of steady-but-having-to-deal-with-bat-shit-insane-people-with too-much-time on-their-hands.

This week’s highlights include
      ·         Having to attend a meeting about a storage closet

·         A meeting actually being IN a storage closet

·         Having no lighting in our basement office for 3 days

·         Dealing with people who decided the best way to reorder information in a spreadsheet was to print it, write numbers on it in pen and then give it back to me to type up.

In protest and to maintain our sanity my office-mate and I have

·         Put in an IT help ticket enquiring “what eats wasps?”*

·         Put in an IT help ticket enquiring “who would win in a fight, God or Batman?”**

·         Started a chart on my whiteboard tracking the growth of our bamboo plant

·         Claimed we were being bullied by the “anti-bullying” survey she had to construct

·         Acquired a pair of lacrosse sticks to use as improvised weaponry to any who dare enter

·         Invented a student and put them in our community service database, complete with mock activities to see if anyone actually notices.

It’s going to be a long winter. Again this is what happens to me , sanity wise , if I don't fly. Getting my PPL apears to be essential to maintaing the mental health and wellbeing of those around me!

Of course the guys got their own back by phoning me and claiming to be from Transport Canada, wanting to speak to me about a certain incident. Sometimes I really hate them***


* To be fair the guys actually answered this one fairly quickly, complete with references!

** ditto this one, although they now claim I owe them alcohol

*** Not really guys, please don't break my computer

Monday, 21 January 2013

I am Canadian

Although being an immigrant can be tough sometimes. I am proud of being Canadian as well. I consider myself as British by birth but Canadian by choice. Its been a little over a year since we finally got our Citizenship here, now I’m secretly waiting for a politician to die, or a vote of no confidence in the government, or maybe a general election so I can finally exercise my political power and vote* after being disenfranchised for the past 5 years or so.

On a superficial level being Canadian makes some things a lot easier, like travelling to the USA for example. It also makes explaining both mine and RTH’s nationality a lot easier if we claim to be Canadian.
You see although we were both born in the UK and are therefore British, you can call me English but that would upset RTH terribly, because he’s not. You could technically call him Irish, but if you didn’t know what you were talking about, technically that could be offensive too! He is from the Island of Ireland and under the terms of The Good Friday Agreement, could claim an Irish passport, to do so would be making a political statement that possibly conflicts with his world-view.

Confused? Just watch this video.

Now do you see why it’s so much easier to be Canadian, eh? J
*Of course that would involve me having to understand Canadian politics, something I’ve done my very best to avoid the last 5 years! The best i can figure out about our government is that no one seems particularly interested in forming one!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I have the plague

Or possibly ‘flu, hard to tell at this point. It must be bad because I willingly cancelled a flying lesson. When this fact became public it triggered a flurry of worried emails/texts from work colleagues. I never cancel flying!

Unfortunately it is one of the side effects of working where I do. You catch anything and everything that is going around. That, combined with the fact that many of the people I work with like to feel indispensable and will turn up to work no matter what , thus ensuring we all get exposed to whatever lurgies they happen to be incubating at the time.
So I’m taking this weekend off, although I’m feeling a lot better. I’m still tired, flying and tired are not a good combination but I’m sitting here watching planes takeoff and am having withdrawal symptoms already!

So expect the posts to be a little light on the aviation content this week. I've got tons of back logged stuff though.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

You look like a student with your backpack on!

A text I got from a friend who was walking behind me on the way to work.

Well she’s right, because after work I was on my way to a little impromptu study group a fellow Pilot-to-be and I have put together. It was good stuff. We swapped resources, talked about flying in general and then got down to strategy planning.
It’s working really well because we both seem to be on exactly the same page. Neither of us is interested in learning just enough to pass the exam. We want to know the details of what’s going on, how it would affect us in the cockpit when we are up there all alone.

Consequently we didn’t cover much in the way of volume of material but we did cover a lot of depth. We read information and then had conversations about it, throwing out questions to each other, exploring the “whys” and the “hows”. Discussing the differences in our planes (she flies a C152). I tried not to revert to teacher mode too much, but it is excellent practice for me. I subscribe to the theory that if you can’t explain something to someone then you don’t understand it fully yourself. It helped highlight my weak areas as well as my stronger ones.
We also exchanged useful tips that we've picked up from our own experiences. I was able to explain what "caution wake turbulence" actually means and she was able to tell me why you don't fly with blocked sinuses.
Same time, next week. Should be fun.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Success finally- third time lucky

Today this referred to both my efforts at landing and filming.

Yes, on the minus side it took me three bloody attempts to land FJPM back at city today, no excuses just poor altitude management.  On the plus side, however; I finally got my shiny new camera working and managed to film my entire flight from City to Oshawa and back. Complete with the obligatory up-the-nose “is it working?” shot J, tres unflattering!
The camera is seriously awesome, now that I have it figured it really is just click and go. I didn’t even spend any time playing around with the angles or anything. I just bunged the headstraps on and went. I’m bloody impressed with the sound pick up as well. Unlike LiveATC it picks up all my side of the radio calls and probably too much of the ambient conversation in the cockpit*.

Reviewing my flight was a little weird. Kudos to RTH for sitting through an hour or so of video that probably isn’t that interesting to anyone else. The video of the flight looked a lot more relaxed than I actually remember the flight being. Which again means I’m probably better at this flying stuff than I think. My landings are pretty good I think and there didn’t seem to be anything on the video that made RTH wince outwardly ;). Either that or he’s very good at hiding his horror! Of course it also lets me see stuff that I don’t have time to appreciate when I’m the one actually flying. The view of the scenery is good, the view of Bob’s hands being nowhere near the controls, not so much!

* for this read me swearing, mostly at myself. I also didn’t realize how much I say “sorry” in the cockpit. I’m not sure who I’m apologizing to! I also need to stop saying "ummmmmm". It is bloody irritating!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Ok, who ordered the snow?

Landmarks look very different from the air when they are covered in a layer of snow. Previously familiar spots look different when they are frozen and/or snow covered. This doesn’t help someone who is already geographically challenged. It really doesn’t help when someone keeps changing the landscape on you. Also with the winter weather comes the joy of a semi cleared airport apron. Oh for sure they clear the snow and crap out of the big boys way, and add insult to injury by dumping it on our apron. When I first arrived down there the owner of the flight school was already on the phone to the powers that be to get them to move the damn stuff already. By the time I was trying to taxi out he was out with one of the dispatch guys, shovelling the last remnants out the way.

I’d never taxied through slush before. I got kind of stuck at one point and had to gun the power a little. Luckily I’d just been reading up on soft field takeoffs and stuff and realised enough to bring the control column back while I was taxiing over the really icky stuff. Again this screws with the head with someone who has finally gotten used to the inputs needed to correct for wind on taxiing. Oh and half the taxi lines were covered so I couldn't even do my "follow the yellow line" trick when navigating around the airport.
Determined as ever to look on the bright side of this, at least I’m being exposed to this stuff as a student. I’ve come to accept that my slow and steady pace of learning might not be a bad thing. I’ve gone from flying in +30°C weather to -10°C weather. I’m going to experience probably 4 seasons of flying as a student where there is an instructor to hold my hand rather than having to figure it out on my own.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Real friends…

…tell a girl when she’s forgotten to change her footwear and is currently wandering around work dressed in a jacket, skirt, tights and hiking boots!

I’m just sayin’!

Mean things that instructors do

Apparently it is perfectly OK for your instructor to phone the ATC tower while he is on his way to the airport to inform them that he intends to simulate an engine failure on takeoff, thus forcing you to land on runway remaining.

Hmm. I suppose I’ll forgive him J
Funny thing was that during our preflight we had a conversation about the importance of keeping your hand on the throttle during takeoff. Apparently I have a habit of pulling back with both hands. I hadn’t noticed this, so genuinely appreciate the feedback but when Bob tried to pull back the power I wouldn’t move my hand. We had a brief “battle of the throttle” before he won!

The actual simulated failure was fine. I did exactly what I was meant to and we landed quite happily on runway remaining (and then go to backtrack, yay!!) A lot went through my mind in a very short space of time. We were doing shortfield takeoffs, when I felt Bob going for the throttle I was thinking “what am I doing wrong that he needs to correct?” Then when he announced the failure I knew very quickly that I just needed to land the thing, so I did. Followed by shooting Bob a look of pure disgust that said “I can’t believe you just did that to me” Then I decided that the entire thing was actually quite funny, but it got my heart racing I can tell you.

Video is on YouTube. Check out my channel.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Guilty admissions

Bob approved of the quote in this post. He asked me if it was just coincidence that I’d happened to watch the movie recently. I then had to admit “errm, no I’ve kinda got pretty much the entire movie memorised!”

I mean come on, it has Tom Cruise AND Val Kilmer* AND it’s about flying. What more could a girl want?
I have strange mental flashbacks to movies sometimes. Random words or phrases will point my mind to film clips. During today’s flight, on final, I caught myself saying “my speed’s good” and then stopped myself and resisted the urge to say “I’m too close for missiles, I’m switching to guns!”

Because I’m trying to take this flying stuff seriously and stop with the crappy jokes in the cockpit. Sometimes that’s harder than the actual flying!


*going to be highly controversial here and say that actually Val Kilmer is hotter than Tom Cruise in that movie!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Point well made

One of the items from my flight debrief today was Bob chastising me for leaving my clipboard on the dashboard for the entire flight.

Now he’s totally 100% right. No arguments. It’s potentially dangerous for all kinds of reasons. I have no excuse other than the fact that JPM doesn’t have front pockets to stow it in, which leaves me scrambling looking for a space after I’ve used it to jot down the Hobbs, ATIS info and time up.  But to be honest today, I simply forgot it was there.  The dash comes quite high up and it was pushed back so I genuinely didn’t see it.
My camera, of course has a different angle on things. It sits higher up and I point it slightly downwards. Consequently I have 40ish minutes of footage, of which my clipboard is the prime star. Stage front and centre.  A constantly reminder of " you did something naughty!"
The really stupid thing is, because of the foreshortening effect of the lens it looks like I’m constantly head-butting the thing and anyone would wonder how I didn't spot it.

I think we can consider that a point well made.  40 minutes of my scrappy scribbling of the ATIS info is not what I was going for filmwise!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The most dangerous weapon in a flight instructor’s arsenal…

…Is the index card!

Bob likes to use these to cover my airspeed indicator at random*. He also uses them to note down any little “points”** he wants to discuss during our debrief. Any time I see the pen going towards the card I groan a little inside.
I, of course, get my own back by flying perfectly despite the fact he’s covering up my instruments! Seriously, last time he pulled the card back on short final, the ASI showed a perfect 65knots!

Keeps me on my toes (and keeps my toes off the brakes!)

 *RTH’s instructor’s weapon of choice was the Post-it note!

** For “points” read “screw ups”

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Back in the proverbial saddle.

Despite the dire weather forecast (less than 500ft ceiling) the weather was actually pretty damn good. Calm winds, slight mist but decent horizon. All in all, a bloody good lesson.

Exactly what I needed. A calm lesson, just reviewing standard circuits, reminding myself that I do actually know how to fly reasonable well. We practiced a couple of late overshoots. One of them was really late, as in just about to land kind of late. I even did a short field landing and managed to get the mental image of the edge of the runway (this has been plaguing me since the whole incident) out of my head and pulled off the landing.
So I’m good. I’m happy that I’m going to carry on with this flying stuff. I had a bit of a scare but I’ve moved past it. This was definitely a “get back on the horse” kind of lesson. Next time we’ll get back on track training wise.

In terms of my blog, it’s business as usual. I have a ton of stuff that I wrote while this whole incident and the implications were playing out. I will post it. But not now. I’m going to give it a couple of months.
At the moment it is fresh and raw and I don’t need to relive it again. Later on it’ll be a valuable lesson on how not to give up. Now is just too soon.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Normal service will be resumed…

…shortly.  Weather permitting I’ll be back flying soon. The blog’ll be back to its normal tricks soon as well. I’ll leave you with a quote to prove that, just occasionally, you can get something useful from watching cheesy 80s movies:

A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned

Anyone wanna guess the film?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

On a blogging break

Until I’m in a better frame of mind and various bits and pieces have resolved themselves.

I still have about 25 unpublished posts so the blog will definitely continue for a while no matter what I decide to do.

Now is just not the right time to post.