It’s been too long since I’ve flown from the left seat, and even longer since I’ve written about it. That’s the way things have progressed, and I can only look forward. Right?
Since last post, I’ve done a lot of training, flown a few dual cross countries, soloed a few more times (not cross country), and had two significant learning experiences with Captain Glickman – an aborted takeoff on a wet grass strip that almost had us in the trees, and an IFR night flight into a thunderstorm. Yes, significant learning experiences.
At some point I may take the time to fill in the blanks (and share those two stories), but for now I need to focus on moving forward. And upward!
I hardly flew over the Winter, and then as Spring approached, it seemed like every time I had a lesson scheduled, the wind was 20 something, gusting to 30 something. For months, it had been like this. Then on a beautiful day, both planes at SCH didn’t pass my preflight inspection. Lovely. That was completely discouraging. So I just sat here waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what I was waiting for.
It seems that I’m at the point where a lot of aviation students stall (pun intended) in their training. Just at the point when it’s time to make that first solo cross country flight. For whatever reasons, hesitations, confidence issues, etc., it’s a stall.
No one pushed me to continue. My flying community has been quiet. My EAA boys telling me “you’ll finish up in the Spring”. I think I was waiting for someone to push me forward, even though I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I had to come around to my own approach to this endeavor. What do I really want to do?
I want to fly. I know that. I needed to remind myself that I want to fly from the left seat. Not just in the right seat of the N7292J. I want the left seat, and someday I want to land on the water. It’s a silly dream, but it’s my dream.
I’ve drawn a line in the sand, and I’m moving forward. I’m back over at 5B2 with my original instructor, who I think may be a better fit now that I have more experience behind the yoke. It’s time to fill in the blanks (I feel like I have a LOT of blanks), and I think he’s the best fit for doing just that. My tactic now is to just move forward as aggressively as I can afford (financially and work-time wise) – hoping to get into the training plane at least twice a week.
I took to the sky this morning in an older C172, with Dale, my original instructor at 5B2. Getting to know a new plane is fun, and I like the N3688L. Some of the instruments threw me off a bit (there’s no blue on the attitude indicator), but as Dale says, “there’s plenty of blue outside”. It’s a different type of training, and it’s what I need.
Yes, I’m still ground shy. Yes, I still have issues announcing in uncontrolled airspace (I think I’m one of the few students that prefers a towered airport). Yes, runway 23 seems so short and everything happens so fast at 5B2 for me. Dale worked really well with me on all of this.
There’s no GPS in the plane, so I need to rely on what I know about where I am. I need to look outside more, and rely less on the instruments. Look at the map before I go anywhere. I see all of this as a good thing at this point of my training.
I had a great morning in the sky. A few power-off stalls, 360 turns, a nice flight over my favorite lake, and then touch and gos, focusing on the visual reference for the right pitch. It’s a different plane, so it’s a different picture, but my landings were just a bit bumpy. Oh, and yes, he pulled the throttle for a simulated engine out right over a grass strip that I couldn’t even make out as a runway. I would have picked any one of the many fields that we were over. Yes, time to learn all of this all over again.
Happy to be back behind the yoke. Happy to be in the cockpit with Dale. I think he’s the right man for the job right now. And the job is for me to move forward.