|Total to date||3.20||0.00||0.00|
I’ll try to keep this post relatively short. It’s been a long day – 2 hours in the air, with a lesson on Straight & Level flight at 0930 this morning, and then a lesson on Climbs and Descents at 1330.
Climbs and descents is exactly as it sounds. How to put the aircraft into smooth, balanced climbs to achieve different flight attitudes (best rate of climb, best angle of climb, cruise climb). And, how to do smooth and controlled descents – both powered descents (around 1500 RPM) and glides.
In general, OK, I think. But it was a hell of a challenging hour. It was later in the day, so there was more turbulence to contend with than this morning. And my workload is increasing rapidly! All of the things I got from Monday’s lesson on Effects of Controls, and all the stuff from Straight & Level flight, I need to remember and do, smoothly and in a coordinated way. And so far, I ain’t doing it that well. In true “bad cop” instructor mode, John was quick to let me know when I was slipping up, and was not backward in reminding me about repeat mistakes and demanding better flying.
Well, that’s probably a bit harsh on myself. In post-flight debrief this afternoon, I asked John if student performance was always this poor. (Actually, I used a stronger word to describe “poor”, but won’t repeat it here). He grinned and confirmed, generally, yes. But he was also kind enough to point out that I have a grand total of 3 hours flying experience and my rate of progress is consistent with the average for student pilots at this early stage. He concluded by cheerfully informing me that this was it for the “easy stuff!” Tomorrow it’s to be Turns, and Low Speed Flight and Stalls.
Wow. Truthfully, I was pretty shattered by the time I closed out Sierra Foxtrot Kilo at 1520 this afternoon. I really felt I’d been through an intense day’s learning, work and mistakes. It was actually quite a watershed half-hour for me. I’ll attempt to articulate my insight this way:
This is full-on, complicated stuff. It’s much more challenging than learning to drive a car. Any assumption that it’s going to be easy should be abandoned early on. Everyone will struggle along the way.
Possibly, somewhere in the back of my mind there may have been some tiny, arrogant, imbecile part of me that – in spite of my knowing better – somehow thought this would all be a breeze. I can safely say that I have been fully disabused of this notion today!
All good. I’m sure that most students hit this wall fairly early on. It seems amazing that I can expect to do my first solo within about 10 more hours of flying (based on averages). Right now, in terms of my knowledge and ability, this seems like a million miles away. Roll on tomorrow.