Thursday, 26 September 2013

“… it just kind of happens.”

The most truthful and yet most useless advice for a student pilot.

The first time I was entrusted with a chart and some decision making in the navigation process, I knew I was in over my head.  I was struggling to even look down at the chart while flying the plane, let alone figure out where I might even be on it. When Bob instructed me to take a pencil and draw a line on it while flying, well he may as well have been asking me to leapfrog over the moon.
Even worse, I knew that there was more to come. I’d seen RTH’s meticulously planned cross country routes. I knew that he had been expected to use his E6b while flying! A piece of equipment I couldn’t even master on the ground. This was never going to work.

I may have expressed this opinion, in a self-pitying whiney kind of way. RTH shrugged “you’ll manage. It just kind of happens.”
Ditto with landings, crosswind landings, circuits, forced approaches and the like. “It’ll come to you eventually. You’ll be fine. It happens.”

This is the MOST infuriating advice you can give a student pilot. It’s useless.  But even worse is the fact that it is 100% true.
All this stuff just kind of falls into place eventually. One minute you are struggling to remember which way to move the throttle, the next you’ve got a diversion route drawn up on your chart complete with heading, wind correction, ETA and fuel calculations.

It just kind of happens.

1 comment:

  1. There are some aspects of flying that can ONLY be mastered through practice and repetition. You may be aware the 4 stages of competence unconscious-incompetent all the way through to unconscious competent. A lot of things will seem monumentally difficult until your brain gets used to prioritizing the tasks involved with flying an aircraft. Once it does that capacity becomes available to do other things, like wondering if you left the gate open so the dog can escape, or reminding yourself to return a library book you borrowed, or planning a diversion with the correct ETA and estimated fuel burn on the fly (nice pun there).