Well now that it’s been a year and I’ve had time to reflect, let’s see how it has gone.
While I still remember what happened, but I don’t have the vivid mental picture of that runway edge emblazoned on my mind. Whatever “paperwork” that needed to be taken care of (notice the 'yes" notation under "further action required?" in the initial report), Bob did without me ever knowing. No one ever suggested that I shouldn’t be flying. The owner still chats with me about this and that and shows no signs of remembering the incident ever occurred. I don’t drag it in under power anymore and I’ve even encountered roll due to wake turbulence since. I instantly recognised it and executed a flawless go around.
I’m a lot more confident in my own abilities. I realise now that a lot of my overreaction emotionally was due to me feeling like an “imposter”. I was still waiting for someone to turn around and tell me that I had no place in the cockpit. I had so little faith in myself that I genuinely didn’t think I should be there. As far as I was concerned this incident was the proof of that. Now that I’ve got more flying experience and have proven to myself that I can make the right call, I don’t feel like that anymore. Bizarrely enough the internet has helped with that, all my virtual flying buddies who take the time to read my blog, watch my videos and email me.
The one thing that my virtual friends have done for me is make me realise that I’m no different from any other student pilot out there. If you don’t know me other than my web presence, if you ignore my self-proclaimed fears and psychological hang ups, I haven’t done or experienced anything that any other student pilot hasn’t.
Of course RTH has been a solid rock, by talking frankly about the challenges he experienced during his training, about the things he found difficult, he made he realise that sometimes it was OK to be scared, that everyone finds somethings tricky whether it is physically or psychologically.
And finally I have to give a lot of credit to Bob, whose reaction was the exact counterpoint to mine. Calm when I was terrified, de-escalating when I was hyped up. Confident in me when I had lost all faith and pushy when I was reticent. He never once waivered from his utter belief that I could do this.
I don’t know if I’m a better pilot because of or despite that incident. All I know is I AM a better pilot. And that’s all that matters.