Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Stuff I don’t remember

While having my eyes checked, I got chatting to my optometrist about flying. Like many people she says that it is something she’d like to try*. She asked me what my motivation was, why I started in the first place. I explained that I used to be scared silly of flying and now I wasn’t so much. She asked what the turning point was, obviously I’d been scared for a while, so what was the thing that made me start this journey? I explained that RTH flew and she seemed to be happy with that explanation.

But it got me thinking. I don’t remember an awful lot about that very first “intro flight”. I mean I remember flashes, I recall being absolutely horrified when Bob suggested that I might be responsible for the actual takeoff. I remember being genuinely interested in the walkround and what all the bits did, but I knew it wasn’t sticking in my head.
The main thing I don’t remember is how the hell RTH got me down to that airport in the first place, knowing that I was about to fly a plane. I mean I must have known that I was going to go flying, because I was clutching the spare headset in its little bag. At this point RTH was still a student as well, I think he had a lesson booked but had cancelled it or something and I took his spot. I’m still not convinced that I really knew that I was going flying. To this day I maintain that RTH tricked me into starting this whole business!

I don’t remember a lot of the instruction for those first few flights either. I mean Bob must have woven some kind of magic in the plane to get me back there in the first place, challenging stuff when I wasn’t that communicative at all really.
I remember being scared and anxious (and nauseous!) just before I got in the plane but I distinctly recall the feeling of elation that accompanied my walk home.

I don’t remember talking to Bob about taking more lessons. Maybe I emailed him? I have a suspicion that RTH acted as a go-between for a little while at least. You may ask yourself why I was so reluctant to even admit to Bob that I wanted another lesson. The truth is that I’ve always been ashamed of my flying fear, for all kinds of reasons. I didn’t want to admit to someone who was obviously so calm and confident in the cockpit, that I was so darn scared. I didn’t want to admit that I threw up before every flight despite his (and RTH’s) assurances. But mostly I think I was scared that if I admitted to myself, RTH or Bob that I wanted to become a pilot, that they’d laugh out loud.
I don’t remember when that feeling stopped either.

But it did.

*So many people tell me that they'd love to learn to fly but...... I wonder what stops them? I mean if I can do it anyone can.



  1. I have pondered the "why don't people who profess a desire to fly actually do it?" question. I boiled it all down to the obstacles people deliberately and unwittingly place in front of their ambitions.

    Here's an example of an unwitting obstacle.

    "It's too expensive." A rather ignorant statement that with a bit of diligent research and financial nous can be quantified and compared with your current financial situation. For some people it will be too expensive, but considering I know a teenage girl who stacks supermarket shelves to pay for her flying training where there is a will there is a way.

    Here is an example of a deliberate obstacle.

    "I am too uncoordinated/stupid/mechanically illiterate to fly." You and I are both in the category that the majority of student pilots start in. Not naturally gifted. Flying just like any learned skill is just that, a learned skill. Just like driving a car or operating a mobile phone, it is a skill that can be acquired by just about anyone with the drive. I have met someone who simply isn't a pilot, but this is an extreme case.

    1. I often wonder if we, as pilots contribute to this a little bit as well. I mean we want it to sound hard and difficult because we want people to acknowledge what we've achieved.

      Of course it is hard and difficult, but it isn't impossible, it just seems that way when you first start!

      I firmly believe that if I can do this then ANYONE can.