Flying is not natural for me, nor does it come easily. I don’t have a natural mind for mechanical things as such, and I don’t absorb new and strange facts easily or quickly, I need to go over them again and again and again. Not sure if its just my age, my gender, the subject matter or the need to line up all my ducks in a row, but it is mightily frustrating.
Someone asked me at the airstrip today if I was winning the war yet! Bless his cotton socks, he was so encouraging. I’ve had a bad run over the last few weeks where we’ve been smashed by the westerly’s every time we went up. The continual washing machine turbulence in the circuits left me feeling unable to fly the plane and nauseous to boot; it just frustrated me to the point of tears.
Happily, the JB crew aren’t easily deterred and my instructors suggested I do early morning flight in calmer conditions.
It worked a treat. Last Sunday on a gorgeous wind free 7am morning, we rocked up to the airstrip for my flight; and with the windsock still asleep, we snuck in an hour of circuits in the most glorious conditions. It was just what I needed, gave me back some confidence and I found my aviation joy again.
By the time I had my lesson today, I was SO much more relaxed with the turbulence, I had a whole different mind-set to it. I still bunny hopped down the runway in my attempts to flare, but I know that learning to do those greaser landings will come with time in the air and repetition.
Even though I felt I made no progress over those bad weeks, I actually learned some really valuable lessons.
- Don’t overcompensate in turbulence; it’s just a pocket of air and the airplane will right herself when she’s ready.
- Remember to use trim! It stops me constantly over-correcting (those ducks again) AND stops me strangling the controls.
- Fly by ‘sight picture’ and just glance at the instruments. The sight picture is crucial for visual flying (no kidding!)
- On final, negotiate SMALL corrections as soon as they are needed instead of large corrections too late.
- Trust your instructor (not that I didn’t already), she’s not going to let you do anything crazy; and be free in that knowledge to test and try, as you hone all those new skills.
So, the moral of the story is, even bad flying days are good! As the adventure continues to unfold I’m looking forward to the day when I can fly instinctively and effortlessly – when flying becomes second nature, like breathing.
Until next time,
Here are some pics from the airstrip in August.