Thursday, April 12, 2012

It Must be Tough Being a CFI

April 12, 2012
Paine Field
Cessna 152
1.2 hours, 4 landings

After 3 weeks of not flying, I cannot describe how good it felt to get back up there. I missed it so much. How can people go their whole lives without even trying to fly? Don't they know how great it feels?

Oddly enough, I did better than I thought I would do after going so long without flying. We worked on stalls, steep turns, did some s-turns and then we went back to Paine Field for touch and go's. Coming into our first landing I felt too high, or maybe too fast, then a gust picked me up further worsening my approach. I didn't like it at all, so I did a go-around. Coming back around the second time I did much better, and was surprised that my landing wasn't too bad for being my first in weeks. It's funny how horrible landings used to be for me, now its almost as if something has just clicked. My landings aren't perfect, at all, far from it, but they're much better than before. Though I still have my moments like today. The whole time I was flying,I was battling the winds. They kept pushing me back, so I kept sinking and I would have to add power. The problem with that though, was that I kept coming in faster than I wanted. I ballooned once, came back down and am pretty sure I landed on one wheel, then ballooned back up, at that point frustrated, I decided to do a go-around and right when I initiated it, both wheels landed. Due to that fact that I had already established full power, I just continued on with my go-around. Ripping out the power probably wouldn't have helped the situation. I was feeling a bit bummed about that. I haven't ballooned in a while, and today, that was a horrible balloon. I think Ryan may have sensed my disappointment because he started to justify it for me by saying that I was coming in faster than we needed and then we hit ground effect and with the strong headwinds it  just made us balloon up. That was nice of him, but I knew that was a disaster.The next round I had a much better approach, though as I was getting into the ground effect I bumped up a little, slightly ballooning once again, but instead of forcing the plane down or making any sudden adjustments I just held it there and let her settle herself down nicely. I know it wasn't a bad landing but I wasn't happy with it. I was starting to feel defeated, as I usually do when I continuously have landings that I am not happy about. And this is where having a good CFI really counts. Even though, I wasn't doing horrible, I definitely wasn't doing as good as I wanted to be. So we landed, I put the flaps up, carb heat in, and applied full power all the while thinking about how I could make the next landing better and then my instructor said one little word taking me off guard, "Excellent." I almost faltered as I began to take off again because I wasn't expecting it, and it was just what I needed to hear.

A CFI has a lot on their shoulders. The way I see it they have the ability to make or break a student pilot. If I had an instructor who didn't drop some encouragement every now and again, these lessons would be an uphill battle. A few words of encouragement are sometimes needed to help our motivation. Thats not to say a CFI should be giving out compliments unnecessarily. But, if the student does something well, or finally accomplishes whatever it was that they were struggling with, well don't you think that deserves a "good job"? I certainly think so.

I really don't know what was so great about that landing, but Ryan saw something in it that I didn't. Maybe, he saw how I struggled to keep the plane in my control? Always trying to fly her, not let her fly me. The way I fought the wind? Or was he talking about how I let her settle? Who knows. But, here I was beating myself up over it, when one tiny word spilled into my headset. He even said it so nonchalantly, the word probably nothing more than a simple thought spoken out loud to him. But it brought me back up, and my uphill battle became just another walk through the park.

Even though I know he doesn't read this, or anyone that I know for that matter. I still feel the need to say one last thing. I don't think I could have a better instructor, thank you. 

Total cost invested thus far: $5089

Friday, April 6, 2012

Against The Odds

April 6, 2012
Post surgery

Waiting to get back up there

Those who feel the pull of the sky, are a rare kind indeed. We are not meant to fly. Yet, despite all the odds we feel it deep within our souls. It’s something that lurks beneath the surface, but is instilled in all of us from the beginning. The need for freedom, adventure, to simply escape the earths surface.

To one day no longer call myself a student pilot, but a pilot. Something, that I am working hard towards, will be the day the world is in my hands. That doesn't mean that being a pilot comes easy. And anyone that says it does is either lying to you, or is not a true pilot them-self. Have you ever noticed how every pilot you’ve met has had this air of confidence about them? It isn't because they think they’re awesome for being a pilot (though that’s true too). It’s usually because their training has provided that confidence for them. You see, as student pilots, we will struggle. We will make more mistakes than we can count. We will be defeated many a times and we will be tested to the point where we will want to give up. I have walked away from my lessons feeling like a failure. Feeling like I will never get that maneuver down. Defeated in every way. After every lesson, I’m raw, open and exposed and simply feeling way too much. But, isn’t that the point? Only someone who truly has a love for flight will get back up, no matter how many times they’ve been knocked down. They will get up, because it’s not the victories or losses that count. It’s the love for flight that only lies within a true pilot’s heart that keeps them going.To be cast among the few and to one day be able to call yourself a pilot. Someday, I hope to achieve that. There’s this quote by Titus Maccius Plautus that comes to mind as I type this, “flying without feathers is not easy for my wings have no feathers.” A perfect title. I fly without feathers, but by no means is it coming easily.