Saturday, 7 September 2013

The night before.

I’ve mentioned this before but flying is not like driving a car. Even for short, comparable journeys. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the thought processes involved in planning a trip to the same destination, by road and by air.

The trip in question is Toronto City Centre to Claremont, ON. A trip that according to Google Maps would take about an hour by road, considerably less by air.
I’m going to need a bit of poetic license here because, as you may know, I don’t actually drive. But I reckon I can take a rough guess as to what’s involved!

1)      By road

Hmm, Okay: keys, purse, vague idea of where I am going, cell phone. Let’s go.

2)      By air (I swear this was pretty much my exact stream of consciousness the night before a solo flight to Claremont*)

Okay haven’t soloed for a few lessons, let’s go over in my head what I need to remember, Weather is looking a bit dicey -  keep an eye on that, phone flight services in the morning, what direction is the wind likely to be coming from? Southwest OK so my “bolt hole” airport would probably be Oshawa, I know how to get to Oshawa, check the frequencies are still written on my chart, chart – did I put my VTA back in my bag after last time? Must remember to do that, Damn I need my CFS as well, do I still have it or did RTH borrow it for his flight? Add that to list of things to check, back to Oshawa I know how to get there, should still consider dialling it up on GPS if cloud coming in, that’ll help with distances so that I know where to make position calls and stuff, should ensure I have flight schools phone number in case on unexpected landing, OK relax a little bit, unexpected trip to Oshawa unlikely to happen, still weather is a concern, what to do if cloud starts to come in? how will I know that going back to city is bad idea? Ask someone? Who? Flight services- do I still have frequency list on kneeboard? Remember if visibility bad on way back-request special VFR, can't offer it, you have to ask, What would I say to flight services, doesn’t matter I can make myself understood on radio, a few “umms” never hurt anyone- just don’t make a habit of it, still my responsibility though, PIC and all that, damn paperwork, WMAP you really shouldn’t gloss over this like you do, check the damn paperwork on the plane before you take off, no one to blame but yourself if docs not on board – do you even remember what you need to carry? There’s an acronym, AROW…something or other, right you don’t know this get Bob to go over it with you, ask him now, text him now, right will look that up as well but get him to go over tech log and stuff again, weather had better bloody cooperate after all this, weather-winds, ok, you are not going to let the thought of a little crosswind freak you out, I’ve seen you land in a 10+ knot crosswind,, video evidence exists, no sweat- have a plan, maybe first landing aim for overshoot- take good look at windsock and plan second landing accordingly, no one would blame you for that, reasonable decision- it may be that you can actually pull off the first landing but aim-to-overshoot never hurt anyone………

…….and breathe!!!!!!!

On paper the plane might look the quickest but it is NOT the easiest for sure.
Do I over think things? Or do other pilots do this?


* no apologies for dodgy punctuation, my mind doesn’t do full stops!

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