Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Setting the tone.

As I’ve been informed by many many people, passing your flight test is all about setting the correct tone. I knew that my flight with TOI was really my only chance to pretend that the person sitting next to me had the power to grant me my licence. I needed to put aside all my embarrassment and hesitation and talk to them as if they were my passenger.

Taking a huge breath in, I smiled and started my passenger briefing with a confidence I sure as hell didn’t feel. I pointed out how the seat and belts worked, the fire extinguisher and first aid kit. Being mindful of what a passenger really wants (or doesn’t want) to hear. I phrased my emergency landing brief in terms of “In case we need to land somewhere other than the place we were expecting to” and point out the ELT switch and advise them that I may well ask them to switch it to “on” as they exit the plane.

TOI obviously enters into the spirit of things and decides to have a little bit of fun with me as he asks “so can I use my cellphone to access <some-web-service-that-I-don’t-recall-the-name-of>”

This throws me a bit of a curveball. I’m not 100% sure of the “official” answer so I settle for telling him that it's not such a good idea as many people find that staring at a small screen when flying can make them feel ill. “Besides it is a gorgeous day, just think of the view you’ll be missing” I say with a brittle cheerfulness I’m certainly not feeling.

TOI takes pity on me and allows me to continue the flight. Throughout it all I’m explaining to him what I’m doing. He’s never flown with me before; he doesn’t know my little quirks, things that Bob has seen a thousand times before.

He doesn’t know that I like to level of at 2400ft to give myself a bit of a margin, even though the airspace says I can go to 2500ft. I explain as I make a slight turn so that I’m facing north, to make it easier to know when to roll out of my steep turn. Every so often I mutter “temperatures and pressures are in the green and fuel is looking ok”

I don’t do a thing to that plane without an explanation as to why I’m doing it or what my thought processes are.

It seems to work. On my soft field landing I explain that I know that you don’t use brakes on a soft field landing but here at City, they want me off the runway ASAP so I’m going to have to.

During our debrief this is one of the things that TOI commends me for.

Strangely enough it felt a lot easier doing it with a stranger in the plane than it does with Bob flying in the other seat.

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