Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Something’s got to give

Now that I’ve accepted that the cross country isn’t going to happen just yet, I’ve moved my focus to the flight test standards themselves. I know that there’s no inherent reason that I can’t fly to these tolerances, I just need to do it.

When I look back over my flights I often get frustrated by stupid things, the fact that my second bash at instrument work is fine but the first attempt is a disaster, ditto with steep turns. I get annoyed because obviously I can do them, so why don’t I?

I’ve had time to think a lot about this and as with everything in flying the answer is “attitude, attitude, attitude!”

I need to stop with the smart arse remarks, I need to stop with the nervous tics, I need to stop spending my mental energy on beating myself up for every blip. I need to FOCUS!

So I did. I made a massive effort to remain totally and utterly on task at all times. Bob’s acting more like an examiner than an instructor now, no idle chit chat to distract us from our goal. 

It worked. That last flight was honestly the best I have ever done. I was so happy with it. Even when things started to go a little out of tolerances, I just concentrated on bringing them back in line. My instrument work was the most accurate I have ever achieved.  My steep turns amazing for someone who probably hasn’t attempted them in near two months.

They were not perfect, but rather than let them get away from me, I just fixed them. My left was better than my right (as always) and my angle of bank wasn’t always consistent but I was so determined that I was going to claw them back no matter what. And I did. Consequently they were both probably within flight test tolerances. Certainly my altitude was spot on.

Next came slow flight, previously something I disliked a fair bit. No issues this time. Smoothly entered, minimal altitude deviation, stall horn bleating intermittently, a little bit of yaw but that was soon sorted out. In and out with no problems whatsoever.

Stalls; power off with and without flaps. A little aggressive with the recovery initially but the big improvement was with allowing the plane to fully stall. Bob was very happy with that and I guess I complained less than usual.

I made the field on my forced approach, holding off with the flaps until I was 100% sure I was going to make it.  10 then 20 and then 30 degrees just over the tree line. Some things to work on, mostly my briefing and other checks but nothing that’s going to be too much of an issue.

More instrument work on the way back, again easily within tolerances and finally a landing on 26. Every single exercise would have been a pass according to Bob, and who am I to argue!

The more I treat it like a test. The more likely I am to pass the real thing. This isn’t a game anymore.

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