Watch me fly Sunday
I'm going flying on Sunday! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it, I'm about to lose control and I think..... Sorry brain's got that garbage on loop! Yep I'm back in the PA38 on the weekend - weather permitting! It does have a habit here in west Wales of making a mockery of a fair forecast.
Lesson 6 - more circuits, introduction of Go arounds, flapless and glide approach and landings are next in the syllabus. In the words of Dave Jones, my instructor, now we're really flying. It does feel like that too, last lesson was my introduction to the circuit, it is the stock of the PPL student, and it felt great to get into it. It's true, the saying, time flies - every lesson I've had has felt half as long as it should of done. The first in the circuit seemed the fastest. It's a busy one and concentration levels are maxed for the duration - there are no transition stages of a lesson (say travelling between points or altitudes). Most Instructors, as you gain hours, shed responsibility and allow the student the privilege, Dave's no different. I am left to go do all the external pre-flight checks and then enter the cockpit to work through the pre-start and flight checks. Dave handles the radio for departure, but once airborne I take over. All handling of the aircraft is now up to me... Dave will step in if I contrive to do us a mischief but I am confident, well rehearsed and mentally prepared, I am so ready for this fast paced challenge. Whilst in the woods the other day, I described to Craig, my friend and colleague, every detail of the process of flying an accurate circuit - it took me longer to describe than it does to physically do.
That lesson was fantastic, It had been a long while since the one prior, so I put a lot of work in on my simulator, thoroughly read and researched what would be required and watched countless youtube videos. It payed off - preparation always does. It was an incredibly fulfilling lesson and I was happy with my performance. Apart from one aspect - the round-out or "flare". I was executing it a tad early, it's a common newbie mistake - born of a reluctance of the student to plow the plane into the ground... later, personal analysis brought me to the conclusion that maybe sub-consciously I just didn't want to come back down to earth and rescind a dimension. I'm not sure if you can rank aspects of safe and accurate flying in order of importance, every minor detail is integral, but I think the transition between air and ground is where so much of the art of flying is demonstrated. It is an incredibly precise and instinctive manoeuvre flown at a point when the aircraft is at it's least responsive. It is the flourish of the conductors baton, triumphantly marking the end of a masterpiece. It is also a marker that all pilots are judged on - by those qualified to and not. Most importantly though, It's not good for your health if you get it badly wrong. so my last lesson ended with me enthused, encouraged, elated and enlightened as to where I need to focus my practice.
This week is about that practice (alongside blogging and planning a stag do in Ibiza). I can't fly nearly as regularly as I'd like, until I raise the funds, so I do a lot of pre-lesson reading, mental preparation, sim flying, visualisation, obsessive checking of the weather forecast and frantic attempts to put a lid on my excitement.... then I give up trying and punch the air and giggle at myself. I'm going flying on Sunday!