Ok negative or not, there are some things that I seriously need to get sorted out before I can even think of doing this cross country stuff on my own.
While superficially it would seem that the flight was a success, I got the three of us there and back with no collateral damage after all. Some things still really scare me.
On the way back, I lost my way. Not in a “OMG I have no idea where I am” kind of way. No in a way that actually I consider to be a lot more dangerous.
The fact is I knew I was off track, whether it was because I wasn’t maintaining my heading or if my calculations were off or the winds had changed, I don’t know but it soon became obvious that I wasn’t where I was meant to be.
Bob, in his infinite patience, tried to talk me through the process of reorienting myself and re-establishing a new heading but I was stubborn. I did something that probably would have seen me bust some serious airspace if I was on my own.
The trouble is when I get lost or disoriented or whatever you want to call it, I get flustered. When I get flustered my brain sees what it wants to see. I knew that the next checkpoint I was looking for was Uxbridge village, so I alter my course slightly and sure enough there’s a built up area. Uxbridge, excellent, sorted.
Except really my brain knows that this Uxbridge doesn’t look quite the same as the one going out did. But it would be soooo handy if this was Uxbridge, so let’s convince our self that it is. Despite Bob’s prompting I’m not picking upon the visual clues that I’m really not where I should be. It takes a blatantly obvious landmark like Frenchman’s Bay, and the realisation that I’m waaaaay further west than I should be to finally convince me.
I’m further west and further south than I thought. Continuing on this course would have seen me in Buttonville’s airspace before I knew it. As it is, I’m too high really. I need to get down before I’m in Terminal’s airspace. I put the plane in an ear-popping descent to avoid any nasty repercussions, mindful of the fact that it might not be so comfortable for my passenger but I’m too flustered to explain to them what’s going on.
The fact that I can now navigate by familiarity is eclipsed by the fact that we are now low and in dirty air. I make a note to figure out a new descriptor, we left “sporty” behind a while back and “feisty” isn’t even beginning to cover this.
Although I eventually got us back on track, I’ll be honest; this kind of stuff really scares me. Getting lost is one thing but the easy way I can convince myself that I’m elsewhere is a major red flag as far as I’m concerned.
Not sure how to move on from this. I simply have to do better.