I’ve kind of lost a little bit of this recently. It’s been nearly a month since I flew. Mostly weather related but the odd cancellation due to work, where I realised that working an event til past midnight wasn’t going to leave me in the best frame of mind for flying the next day.
For the first couple of weeks I was twitchy and p!ssed off at not being able to fly but as time went on, I started concentrating on other things and the time just kind of flew by (pun not intended!) As I said, somehow I found myself not having flown for a month.
The weird thing was I wasn’t in a massive hurry to get back into it either, at the time I stopped flying I was literally on the cusp of doing my cross country, to the extent that I had my flight plan and paperwork all done out and just needed to plug the wind numbers in from flight services and away I should have gone. Of course winter put paid to that.
Now I’m playing catch up, more in motivation than skill. Luckily it’s the fact that my skill doesn’t seem to have deteriorated in that month which has given me back my motivation.
When I finally did get back behind the controls, I will admit I was nervous but luckily it all seemed to come flooding back. Even though I was confined to the circuit due to crappy ceilings, I was happy that the basic skills were still there. Okay I overshot circuit altitude occasionally and I misjudged my first landing enough that I went around, but there was nothing inherently dangerous going on. I just needed to get the feel of the plane back again. Especially the fact that it handles so differently in the cold winter air than in the summer.
Bob complimented me on the fact that my radio work was still spot on, and I was happy with my situational awareness, particularly important in the slightly cruddy visual conditions. All in all it came back very easily but it opened my eyes to something else.
The AOPA reckons that 80% of people who start their PPL never actually finish it. Now I can completely understand how this happens. You don’t really mean to quit but the momentum just quietly slips away from you and before you know it, it’s been one, two, three, six months since you last flew. The longer the gap, the less the incentive to get back in the cockpit. Once(if?) you do get back though, it all comes flooding back and the desire to fly takes you over once more but I can totally understand how people wind up as part of that 80%
Once again I’m lucky, not only do I have RTH badgering me, I have Bob who keeps in touch even if it is just the odd text here and there but I also have a constant reminder looking out the window of what I’m missing.
I hope that I don’t have that kind of gap again. I need to keep this momentum going.