I’ve just returned from another dual cross country flight, this will inevitably spawn a myriad blog posts but I’m still processing a lot of what happened.
Overall I’m really happy with how it went, I coped well with things which might seem small and insignificant to other people, but to me are huge achievements.
I’m feeling kind of warm and fuzzy inside at the moment because I got paid two huge compliments by the people who have been closest to me during this whole learning to fly malarkey.
It turns out that RTH had been watching and listening to me (until I cleared the zone to the west). This is nothing unusual, I used to do the same to him all the time. In the course of our conversation he asked me “did Tower hand you over to a frequency you weren’t expecting?” I laughingly confirmed that they had indeed. I had planned my radio set up meticulously for the handover to terminal that I was expecting only to get told to contact them on a different frequency.
“Well, you didn’t seem too surprised or shook up about it,” he commented “You know, I watched you take off and disappear to the west and well, I wasn’t worried. I mean I knew you’d be back in a few hours. I’ve never flown with you but I know you are a safe and cautious pilot. I knew you’d be fine.”
This means a lot to me, because at some point RTH is going to have to cope with being my passenger and to know that the idea doesn’t fill him with dread, well it is a good start. Seriously though, I think we are going to have less of a problem than I thought.
The next one came from Bob himself, in two ways really. On the last leg of our trip , where I was really beginning to settle in and relax, well it seems that he was too, because he seemed to spend most of the flight sightseeing! At one point he kept twisting to look out of my window. Eventually I asked him what was wrong, I thought he was eyeballing some traffic that I’d missed. But I was on flight following so that seemed unlikely. “Oh, we stayed in a nice little place on the escarpment down there, I can’t remember the name but I was trying to find it.”
Yep sightseeing! He also found the time to point out his house to me as we flew past it.
Finally he said to me, during our debrief, that he felt “a lot more relaxed in the plane with me now.”
I may have cracked a joke but in all I know where he is coming from. I’m still getting the same amount of feedback from him but the stuff I need to improve on is trivial compared to where I was a year or so ago.
Being told “have you considered holding your chart like this…” is a world away from being told “have you considered not putting us in a 2000fpm dive?”!
I’m kind of pushing through the agonising self-doubt that has plagued me throughout this process. Feedback like that from RTH and Bob has been crucial in helping me get through this. And I am getting there, one flight at a time.