Saturday, 20 July 2013

The opinion of strangers

Obviously I have no problem sharing my flying thoughts with complete strangers, via the medium of this blog and my YouTube channel. I have quite a collection of people whom I now correspond with because we’ve stumbled across each other on the internet. Despite this I’ve made a conscious choice, for example, to turn off public comments on my videos. I’ve seen too many “OMG incomptent (sic) pilot almost crashes plane” comments on a fairly routine go-around video. I don’t want to deal with that crap. If people have something sensible to share then they’ll email me, which a few have and generally if people go out of their way to email me, it is because they have something sensible to say and I’ve had some pretty sweet conversations with people from all kinds of places.

This post was actually inspired by a conversation with Flyinkiwi, my Antipodean* blog pal, with whom I swap regular emails about all things flying related. Flyinkiwi is usually the first to comment on any videos I upload and had a lot to say about my solo to Claremont, all of it nice!
The general gist of the conversation was along the lines “you demonstrate good flying skills, even from your earliest videos you were doing stuff right, maybe without even realising it.”

Now I have a lot of respect for Flyinkiwi, he’s always been there with steady and helpful advice and freely admits that it wasn’t all plain sailing for him either. His comments spawned the following reply from me, edited a bit for various reasons:

Your comments mean a lot of me. I know I have blogged about it but it is really hard for me to express just how completely and utterly terrified I was at the start of this whole adventure. The whole thing was just too overwhelming to consider that I might actually manage it on my own someday.
I know that most people are intimidated by flying when they first start because let’s face it no one knows how difficult it is until they begin, but those people usually have a desire to learn, you always hear them say “I’ve always wanted to fly.” Up until recently I never held any ambition to be a pilot, now I can’t think of being anything else.

For me it was very different. I just wanted RTH to be able to share his passion for flying with me. I literally trust him with my life, so I wanted to be in the plane with him but knew I couldn’t unless something changed. There was no way he’d be able to put up with me having a panic session and fly the plane.
The trouble is that flying is totally bewitching and mesmerising, as I’m sure you know. I still don’t understand what possessed me to keep getting back in that plane lesson after lesson after lesson, when I was bone shakingly terrified about the thought of flying it.

I’ve been thinking that this is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, mostly because, yes I’ve had to work at it so much.
I’m fairly smart and quite frankly a lot of things in life come fairly easy to me. If they don’t then I move on and try something else. Flying has been a massive challenge, completely out of my comfort zone and yes I have had to WORK at it.

But the biggest eureka moment is realising that to people like yourself, who have no vested interest in whether I feel good about myself or not, I’m indistinguishable from any other student pilot out there.
Sometimes the opinion of strangers matters!


* I guess new Zealand isn’t the antipode of Canada, bah, well it was in the UK!

1 comment:

  1. I'll tell you why I thought you should have posted this on your blog. This was the first time you shared your motivation for undertaking this journey, and the way you wrote it was so poignant it just had to be shared with others. Thank you for doing so.