Sunday, June 17, 2018

When All Else Fails

It never fails... whenever I work on a new certificate or rating (I'm working on my 6th now), I reach a point where I struggle with something and get frustrated. Good for me, I've been reaching that point quicker and recognizing it sooner with my recent efforts than I did for Private, for instance.

I'm working on my Multi Engine Commercial certificate now and as usual, hit that frustration point earlier this week. Struggling to master a task and failing mightily. In the after flight debrief my CFI was telling me what he thought the issue was. I argued with him. I thought the issue was something else. I left frustrated and annoyed.

The usual thoughts were floating through my head. "I'll never be able to....", "I should be better than this!", etc. etc. But as the evening wore on I started thinking about what my CFI was trying to tell me. And, while I still didn't necessarily agree with him, what I was doing certainly wasn't working. Maybe I should just stop thinking about it and do what he tells me. I figured it certainly couldn't be worse than what I was doing, and would probably be better. After all, he's been doing this for much longer than me with a much better track record of success.

We met the next morning and sat down to discuss the plan for the flight.
CFI: "Any thoughts or suggestions before I DICTATE what we will be doing today?"
Me: "I thought about this long and hard last night. You've been doing this a little more than I have so I figured I'm best off just doing what you tell me to do."
CFI (blink, blink): "OK then."

He proceeded to outline the plan for the flight. When we were walking out to the plane I asked him, "You were ready for a fight weren't you?" He was. And he wasn't going to let me hijack his syllabus anymore.

The result of the flight was predictable. I did what my CFI told me. It worked splendidly and I learned a lot. So, once again, the lesson for all pilots, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, and especially me. When all else fails, do what your CFI tells you.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Happy (Aviation) Birthday To Me!

Eight years ago today... June 4, 2010 was the first time I was onboard a light aircraft with a CFI and flew the plane. I was scared to death... I really wasn't that interesting in doing it. But I wanted to get over whatever my problem was and be willing to go flying with my spouse at the controls.

Eight years ago today, I took the flight controls and felt the wind beneath metal wings... to feel the reason for the bumps and jolts of turbulence. The pure joy of controlling a flying machine all on my own. I still had fear but I fell in love that day, fell in love with flight.

Today, my 8th aviation birthday, I've logged over 1570 flight hours in my logbooks, and I'm still learning. Today...

  • I started my day working with a new commercial candidate on his 2nd flight in a complex aircraft. We did a normal take off, manual gear extensions, emergency descents, power off stalls and a normal landing. 
  • After that I saw my private pilot candidate off on the continuance of his check ride. He performed extremely well in strong wind and strong up / down draft conditions and passed with flying colors. 
  • My next flight was supposed to be a multi-engine training flight for me. However, we decided not to do it with the bad drafts they experienced an hour before. 
  • My last lesson was an instrument lesson for a private pilot seeking his instrument rating. 

On my 8th birthday I touched four aspects of aviation.. private, instrument, commercial and multi-engine. Not a bad way to spend my aviation birthday.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Friends don't Let Friends Drive

A friend of mine, Steve, was taking his commercial check ride today. I was thinking about him. Wondering how it was going. Around 2PM I got a phone call. It was Steve.

Steve asking 1455X, "Why!?!?!"
His voice had a smile in it when he said hello. I was hoping it would be good news. Then he said, "Guess what I did on my check ride?" I said I hope he passed. He said, no.. he didn't pass. He was taxiing out to start the flight portion of the check ride with the examiner and the plane was backfiring. At first he tried to believe it didn't happen. But the backfiring continued. He reluctantly discontinued his ride. Which was good because he would have failed if he took off with the plane in that condition!

Steve was calling me to see if maybe I could come pick him up from Salinas Airport, only 40 NM away from Reid-Hillview. I was happy for an excuse to do something on a weekend day. Luckily a plane was available so I flew down to get him in a Cessna 172. It's been a long time since I flew left seat in a 172 but it was fun.

We returned from Salinas and shared a drink, chatting about his day and other random stuff. While chatting I sent this picture to our mutual CFI. The CFI replied that his wife said I was really nice to fly down and get Steve. Then he, the CFI, told his wife, "Friends don't let friends drive!".

Ain't that the truth?