Friday, January 27, 2012

Lesson Learned

January 12, 2012
Paine Field
Cessna 152
1.6 hours, 18 landings

Let me just start off by simply saying; worse flight lesson ever. If I had known what this day had to offer me I probably would have canceled my flight lesson, well not really because I love flying too much to willingly cancel unless Im unable to fly the plane safely. Then I would cancel. Anyways, I did nothing but touch and goes for the full 1.6 hours. I will never do that again. I’ll start off with the fact that I started my day at 5:00am after having fallen asleep at 11pm. I can usually function just fine on 6 hours of sleep. However, I had to wake up and prepare for my college courses that start at 7:30, I was then in college till 11:30, to which right after I went to my flight lesson. Needless to say I was slightly drained mentally (especially since it was the first week back), but exhilarated to be taking my flight lesson. After a week of getting back into the college schedule and being swamped with work, it was nice to get away. Yet, this flight ended up being more draining than anything I’ve ever done.

At first I was excited to do a marathon of touch and goes. That meant I could work on my radio skills as well as my landings and get that much more closer to soloing. If my CFI had thought I was getting anywhere close to soloing I know that after this flight he changed his mind. For the first half hour I was doing pretty good in the pattern. That's the key word though; pattern. My landings were absolutely all over the place, I did okay at first, then did a bunch of horrible landings, off center-line, one with a bounce, then back to doing decent, but not that great of landings. Sometime after that I started to get not just mentally but physically drained. It sure showed as well. At some point I just wasn’t able to stay consistent, my pattern was fine but my landings were getting worse. Twice I started a nose dive towards the runway and one of thoses times my instructor jumped to quickly pull the plane back up. Another time I was getting frustrated with my approach and tried to force the plane to land- bad bad BAD decision. Lesson learned; never force a plane to land if it doesn't want to! Things wont work in your favor! You must fly the airplane, not let it fly you. After that I knew I was unable to continue to fly, I was too drained to process how I needed to have my landings. My CFI saved me the trouble though, he said we’d only do 2 or 3 more, so I held my tounge. I could do a couple more, and so I did. Once we did a full stop landing I let out a sigh of relief that I hadent known I’d been holding in. I knew I had pushed myself too far this flight. I also knew I should have spoken up to my instructor, but it was a great learning expirence. I’d rather I push myself while I’m with my instructor then do that when I’m alone. I am now able to recognize when I need to stop. So it was a good learning experience.

I knew I had pushed myself too far before I even made my next string of mistakes. I honestly, don't know what I was thinking here. Perhaps just the fact that I was ready to get out of that plane so I could go home and crash. I half heartedly went over the after landing check off list and ripped the mixture out unintentionally. My instructor thankfully being on his toes saved us before it was too late. I mumbled an apology about being tiried to which he told me I needed to tell him when I was getting worn out, I already knew that though. I can tell you, I wont be making that mistake again.

After we taxied back, I was slow to get out of the plane. I felt like I was in a fog. I couldn't move quickly nor think fast enough, it was an effort just to take my seat-belt off. I couldn’t even calculate how long we’d been flying, even though I’ve done it several times, my instructor had to double check it. I also left my kneeboard in the plane and had to run back out to grab it. I was a complete and utter disaster. I wasn't able to function or think clearly, and that scared me. If I had been alone, what kind of mistakes would I have made? I don’t even want to think about it. Lesson learned. I no longer need to guess about what my limits are. I now know and will be able to tell for future flights. I won’t make this mistake again.

Total cost invested thus far: $2769

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