Saturday, 18 October 2014

Flattery will get me everywhere

As I flew with TOI it dawned on me that he just sees me as another potential PPL. He has no idea of what I’ve put Bob through on the road to here. Although it is possible that Bob has given him a little glimpse into my character as he started off our pre flight briefing with this statement. “So WMAP, Bob has told me that you do your best when you are calm, so I’m going to do my best to keep the atmosphere in the cockpit nice and relaxed for you.” I thanked him, said that Bob was right but that his actions would probably have very little to do with my state of calmness!

  Bob, in turn, had reassured me that TOI had a very similar disposition to the examiner we had picked and that he’d do his best to put me at my ease.

Yeah, it was a reasonable match all in all. TOI gave me a realistic assessment of my flying abilities, warts and all but was very careful to emphasise what I was doing well. Twice he even said “you’re a good pilot WMAP.”

I dismissed it the first time, maybe I hadn’t heard him right but then I bumped into him while waiting for the ferry. He was chatting with another instructor “Hey WMAP, I was just telling <so and so> what a good pilot you are, how you really have all your procedures memorised”

“I wish my students did!” the other instructor chimes in.

I accept the compliment; obviously I didn’t mishear him the first time. This guy has no vested interest in stoking my ego. He’s telling it like he sees it. Bob has mentioned this before as well, my ability to reason through a problem. And yeah, I guess I did that today when TOI asked me about what I’d do in icing conditions. After I’d mentioned the inevitable get the heat on and get the hell out of the area causing it. He prompted me for more info when I mentioned the possibility of a precautionary landing.

What landing configuration would I use?

Hmm, I don’t have the answer to hand but let’s think about this. Ice on my wings, landing in a field. Normally that’s call for soft field technique; low approach speed and full flaps. That isn’t going to work here though. Ice equals increased stall speed. I want to land faster than usual not slower.

TOI agrees. Flaps? He prompts.

Again I don’t know but reason it through. I kind of get the right answer but maybe not 100% for the right reason. I decide that flaps are a bad idea because they are going to alter the handling of an otherwise skittery plane. Best to stick with a known configuration.

Again TOI agrees but reminds me that flaps also increase surface area, more space to pick up more ice.

I file this away mentally as “something I probably should remember”

I’m slowly starting to believe people when they say that I might have what it takes to make it after all.

That kind of flattery I can believe. And it might just get me through.

I think.

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