We sat in the least scuzzy of the classrooms for our debrief session. I was cautiously optimistic in that I knew I hadn’t done anything majorly stupid. I hadn’t steered 180 degrees of course during the navigation section, I hadn’t kangarooed my way down the runway. I mean I had no illusions that it had been a perfect flight but I wasn’t expecting TOI to say “who the hell ever put you in a plane solo?”
“I’ve got good news and bad news” TOI started.
“The good news is, you are really only making one mistake. The bad news is that it carries through pretty much every exercise.”
I knew what was coming.
I’m chasing the needles, staring at the instruments. My head is inside the cockpit. I’m not looking outside nearly as much as I should be.
And the worst thing…. I can’t argue with this assessment. I know he is 100% correct. I was so engrossed in making sure I hit all the tolerances for the exercises I was obsessed with monitoring my progress inside the cockpit. What I should have done is had faith in my ability to fly the plane and have faith that if I did it right then the needles would magically find their way to the right values. All that would be needed was a quick cross check occasionally.
Taken to its extreme “failure to maintain an adequate lookout” is an automatic failure, no partial pass, game over time.
TOI was quick to point out “you’re a good pilot WMAP, all the exercises were done well. Make it easy on yourself. Flying on the instruments like that is exhausting, you’re fighting the plane. Take a breath, slow down and you’ll do it. Just look out the window while you are doing it!”
Although I am a little annoyed at myself, I know better than that really. I’m also kind of okay with it. When I think back at how much I’ve struggled with some of the basics, how much blood, sweat and tears it has taken me to get to the stage where I can even bring myself to put the plane in some of the configurations I have to. To have someone mention so casually “oh yeah , your airwork is generally fine”
They’ll never know how far I’ve come.
But I do, and so does Bob and I have no doubts that between us we will fix this issue easily.