RTH noticed that I was less than enthusiastic about my performance from our inaugural flight. He, himself was quite reassuring about the whole thing, whilst acknowledging that, yes things hadn’t gone to plan, he was quick to point out that all three of us (LFE, RTH and SAR) were all in one piece. I know he was trying to be supportive, perhaps concerned that a temporary setback would destroy my confidence and that I’d be hesitant to try again (a situation not without precedent).
I’ll admit, there was a lot going through my mind and I really wasn’t a happy bunny but I’ve had time to think and it may have taken me a couple of days to get my mind around it all. I think I’m there though.
Firstly I am still a little annoyed, as I said to RTH “I’m a better pilot than what I showed you today”
Secondly though I’ve come to terms with a few things. Probably obvious things to some people but, as usual, I’m late to the party.
Everyone touts your PPL as a “licence to learn” and I’ve tritely batted that phrase around myself and glibly claimed that I understood what it meant.
I didn’t, until now.
At the moment the only difference between pre PPL LFE and post PPL LFE is a shiny blue booklet and two hours of flight time. I didn’t know everything then and I don’t know everything now. I made mistakes then and I’m going to make mistakes now. It’s inevitable.
The problem comes if you don’t use those mistakes as a learning experience and believe me I’ve spent many a mental moment evaluating that flight and working out what I could have done instead. A dangerous pilot isn’t necessarily one who doesn’t make mistakes, it is one who doesn’t evaluate and learn from them.
So we’ve got that part covered.
I’ll learn and move on.
The next phrase that struck home to me is from the internet* “Without the risk of failure, success is meaningless”
I set myself a near impossible goal to get my PPL. It was an epic struggle, at any point I could have stopped, the power on stalls could have gotten too scary, the wake turbulence incident shaken me up too much. I didn’t stop. I had failures on the way as well as successes. But I picked myself up, shook myself down and pressed on. I kept plugging away at it and eventually I succeeded. There was always a fear of failure but in the end the desire to succeed was just too strong.
My “Mission”, self-inflicted as it is, may turn out to be an equally epic struggle. Probably with as many bumps along the way as my PPL. So now that I’ve hit one of those bumps along the road, I have a choice. Just as I did with my PPL, either I learn from the experience and move on, or I quit.
Well I didn’t spend two and a half years and a stupid amount of money to stop that easily.
I’ll learn from the experience and carry on. It just sucks a little bit that this learning opportunity happened on my first bloody flight with RTH!
And while I didn’t show RTH the pilot that I wanted to that flight, next time it’ll be an even better pilot sat next to him.
* see useful stuff occasionally found here