I’m no stranger to frustration. My entire flying career to date has been littered with this. Mostly because I hate the irrational fears that overtake my mind and prevent me from doing what I need to do.
For the longest of longest times my flights consisted of a constant battle to push through the fear and get on do what I needed to do. Every time I flew solo I had to force myself to get in that plane and takeoff on my own. Every decision had the little spark of fear driving it on. Was I cancelling because the weather was marginal or was there a thread of fear driving that decision?
Lately though, this has been tapering off a bit. I happily did a solo flight knowing that the crosswind was a good 8 knots and maybe even forecast to get worse. I had a plan. I was confident I could execute it, so I hopped in my plane and set off without a second glance.
The next flight was a dual one, I happily set off in conditions that were gusty and not ideal by anyone’s definition. As I contemplated the 45 knot low level jet stream on the GFA, I joked with RTH “Hey I could enter slow flight and go backwards up there!” I wanted to fly in those conditions. I wanted to “push the envelope.” I wanted to add to my set of “I’ve flown in that” numbers. Consequently I was looking forward to experiencing it. There were a few bumps and jolts that caused me to revert back to my usual sweary self but the panic in the pit of my stomach was gone. Ok so it was replaced by a slightly different feeling (more on that in another post!)
Then we came to the power on stalls. I’ve never been a fan. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to them but I wasn’t scared either. This is a big improvement for sure.
Unfortunately this can’t be said of my actual recovery technique. I won’t bore you with the details but the one thing you absolutely should not when recovering from this type of stall was the one thing I couldn’t stop myself doing. Intellectually I knew what I needed to do. I just couldn’t make my limbs do it.
Bob in his infinite patience tried and tried and tried. Even resorting to taking control and letting me see the difference when you do it correctly. I just couldn’t get it.
Frustration oozed from every fibre of my being. But not my usual kind. Not the rising panic, not the “OMG this is so hard and I’m never going to be a pilot” kind. No this was more like trying to thread a reluctant needle. You have everything you need in your hands, you’ve just got to get the steps right and with a little bit of coordination, eventually it’ll click.
I will admit, I was p!ssed off at myself. I know I can do this. I’ve just got to think of some ways to get my limbs to cooperate. I’m working on it.
But I’m left with a little bit of a dilemma. I’m determined to get these right. I want and need to do this. My next lesson should be a solo one and while I love my solo lessons (Wow, I never thought I’d be writing that!) I’m not able to do those power on stalls solo at the moment lest I do something stupid (like spin the damn thing). I can’t help wondering if I should do another dual lesson to beat these demons or if I’m just being impatient and it’ll come eventually and the wait will be good for me.