Saturday, July 7, 2012


"Just listen to the music!" my frustrated flight instructor told me one day as he tried, yet again, to help me demonstrate consistently the last few PTS maneuvers required for me to earn my private pilots license. He told me how I reminded him of a guy that was in a ballroom dancing class that he took. The guy kept asking the dance instructor just how to get this one move right. He kept trying to turn the dance into a series of procedures. The dance instructor got frustrated and told the guy, "Just listen to the music!" And that was what my CFI was telling me. He couldn't explain to me any more often how to do the procedure, I knew how to do the procedure. I could recite it by rote but I wasn't able to DO it.

In the end I think that frustrated exhortation by my CFI was a turning point for me in my journey to my PPL. I figured I could not do any worse than I was already doing the way I was doing it. So maybe I could relax, think a bit less, focus less on the prize (the procedure, the license, the checkride, whatever) and trust that it would happen. I had the training, I knew what to do. I just had to relax and do it. That was the hardest lesson of my pre-PPL training I think. To relax and let it flow without fixation on the result. To this day my CFI says I became a different person when I made that decision. I keep reminding myself of that decision to listen to the music, relax and let it flow, and embrace my mistakes as I go forward with my Instrument Training. I think it is working. Training is certainly a more enjoyable experience this way.

Flying, for me, has become as much of an art as it is a science. A joy as it is a task. It fulfills me on both a mental and emotional level that I cannot explain. I stumbled across a great quote today, I thought I would share it with you... enjoy and please don't forget to listen to the music.

By now you understand we are not merely speaking about flying. This is every high-performance challenge we have ever accepted, every limit we have ever dared and the thresholds we've yet to cross. This is mortal human reaching for that harmony found in perfection. It astonishes some people that we could build such magnificent machines and, having built them, that we could do such extraordinary things with them. As you watch this creature of the skies, it loses its mechanical identity. The plane is flying the pilot as much as he is flying it. Together, they reach for those limits for which we strive to touch with music, with dance, with painting, with sculpture . . .

This is an exercise in being alive!
— Frank Herbert

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