Friday, 1 November 2013

I once was lost

I’m not sure if what happened last flight was a good or a bad thing. I got a little, lost is a little over the top, let’s just say disoriented; for a moment on a couple of occasions.

Firstly heading out to Claremont I trundled along the shoreline and correctly identified Bluffers Park and Frenchman’s Bay. At the latter I made my position call to let people now that I was turning north and started following Brock Road.  Except that Brock Road seems to end rather suddenly.
This isn’t Brock road is it? Sure enough a quick glance at my chart shows this road touching the transformer station whereas Brock road is further east. I take a quick scan and quickly identify where Claremont actually is. Then I realise that I don’t actually have to make it as far as Claremont if I want to work SW of it.

I do some steep turns, pretty pleased with the quality of them actually. Even more pleased by the way I roll out of the left hand one exactly 180 degrees from where I started. Without reference to the Heading Indicator. Just by “feel” I guess. Less successful on the right hand one as I felt the nose starting to dip and just rolled out before I even got close to a spiral.
The next moment came after my forced approach. I bailed on it a little earlier than maybe I would have with Bob. I knew that I would have made the field, so didn’t see the point in going down any lower, plus it was starting to get a little “sporty” that close to the ground.

I shoved in the throttle and for some reason resorted back to my old bad habit of flinging up the flaps (but don’t tell Bob!). JPM is a little feisty in the cooler weather and immediately took up the attitude of a moon-bound rocket. All sky and no ground in the windshield. Momentarily I realised that I really didn’t have a clue as to which way I was pointing. For some reason I don’t recall I either didn’t look at or trust my Heading Indicator.  I had no idea where Claremont was. Once I was at a reasonably safe altitude I stopped the climb and lowered the nose slightly. Still no Claremont. This is where I realise that in dull light conditions, with my polarised sunglasses on; I can’t actually read the compass. Hmm, may need to do something about that.
Obviously some part of me has retained at least a vestigial notion of where I am in time and space, as I instinctively glance over my shoulder and spot the big pointy thing. CN Tower behind and to the left means that Claremont should be ahead and to the right.

Sure enough there she is.
While I’m happy that I can sort myself out of little moments like that, mostly by following Bob’s advice to “look for the big things first.” I am a little worried that I can still get lost out at the practice area, when theoretically I’m three flights away from my big cross country jaunt.


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