Friday, 18 April 2014

Mistakes, I’ve made a few.

Right it is confession time.  My cross country flight was not perfect. I made some mistakes out there.
But you know what?  That’s kind of the point. It is entirely possible to make mistakes and still be reasonably safe. The aim of this flight wasn’t to be perfect. 

I confronted my worst fears, situations arose that perhaps I wasn’t expecting. I couldn’t find Muskoka. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting that. So I did something. I did something right. I slowed the plane down and tried to figure out where the hell I was. You can actually see me on the video, physically pointing at lakes I could see and matching them with my index finger on my chart.

It worked. Apparently I can map read. Up until this point I genuinely didn’t believe that I could. What d’ya know, I can do this stuff after all.

Maybe I came in a little too hot at Muskoka given the traffic, I found myself staring down on a runway that was obviously going to have a plane still on it.  So I orbited. More importantly I told Timmins what I was planning to do.  I orbited. Looking back on the video maybe I had a little more room than I thought. I caused the plane behind me to extend.  But, I didn’t hit anyone, cut anyone up or cause anyone to have to take drastic action. Split second decision and I made a safe one.

So I got lost trying to find Peterborough airport, this was hardly unexpected. I briefly considered just flying on and back home but hey, I’m here, I may as well look for it.

And find it I did. I was high so I lost some altitude. Joined the circuit without too much issue and didn’t land on the runway until the plane in front had cleared.

The next challenge is, once again, parking. I’m a little disoriented, last time I landed short (too short!) and came off at a different taxiway. I spot a likely spot behind a row of very neat planes. Hmm, they look pretty and shiny. Too shiny.

Ah I appear to be on the local aviation college’s private apron. Oopsie!

Quickly , I scootle off to somewhere slightly less problematic and admit defeat. A quick call on the Unicom gives me directions to a suitable spot.

Again though, I stayed off the active runway, I didn’t break anyone else’s plane and did the right thing by asking for directions.

This flight couldn’t have gone better, I’m glad it got messed up in places. Up until this point I honestly didn’t think I had it in me to respond to these situations. I thought that I tended to mess up when stressed. I’m keen to debrief the flight with Bob. I think there are things that I could have done better but at least this will stop me obsessing over perfection.

I achieved the fundamental aim of the flight, safe calm effective decision making.

Perfection not required. 

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