Sunday, February 2, 2014

Confidence at a Low Ebb

I forgot to mention to you all. My check ride is scheduled for February 8, this coming Saturday. In general I have what I've come to expect for my pre-check ride state. I've proven I can fly all maneuvers and perform all tasks to spec. I've passed my CFI's oral testing. Got the written test done with a great result. As usual, we are both confident in my ability to pass the oral. We both know I can pass the flight portion of the test, the question is only if I will.

This is where the confidence comes in. It's been a couple weeks since I've had a really good flight where I did well on all maneuvers. The mock check ride we did before scheduling my ride I was not having my best day at all and would have failed on 3 of the maneuvers we flew. I try to look at that positively and consider if I'm not having a good day I did all but 3 to spec, I should expect if I have a good day I should do well enough on all of them.

How does one ensure they will do well on something? They practice doing the something. A LOT. That was my intention. Last week I was out of town for three days, and then the plane I usually fly was scheduled down for maintenance for 3 days. It was supposed to be back on the line last Friday. I scheduled the plane for a flight Friday, two Saturday (one solo and one with CFI) and one Sunday. Then Friday rolls around, not only is the plane not back on the line, it was taken off the schedule until next Wednesday. Only three days before my ride.

The other Arrow at the club with similar wings and characteristics was out for the weekend, leaving an Arrow with shorter wingspan and lighter weight that I've never flown before. I went up with my CFI in this different Arrow and he summed it up this way, "You flew like you hadn't flown in a week and you're in a plane you've never flown before." In other words, it was not a good flight. Two hours we spent and the main thing I learned is I screwed myself by trying to visualize and walk through lazy 8s while out of town. I was doing it wrong on the ground and translated that to the air. It took a lot to break me of the habit that I created for myself - visualization is a powerful thing, use it wisely! By the fourth and last landing I finally had that dialed back in. However, I left feeling very down. My CFI advised I fly as much as I can before my check ride. I think that just might be a good idea!

Next problem, work has become crazy, as I expected. As I type this I'm flying back up to Seattle for a day of work (via SWA, not Arrow!). I'll be back tomorrow (Monday) around 11PM. I should be able to squeeze in a flight Tuesday afternoon in the Arrow that has similar characteristics to the one I'm used to flying. Wednesday I'm booked all day but I might be able to get in a flight before dark in the plane that I am used to flying, 55X. If it is done as promised. Thursday is impossible. Friday I'm scheduled for one more flight with my CFI in 55X.

Of course, to add to the tension, the weather patterns are changing. The incredibly great flying weather we had almost all of January is breaking down. Good for the state's water supply, I hope. Potentially troublesome for me. The weather is predicted to be OK for the work week but what might be an actual storm is forecast for the weekend. If there's one thing I've learned since I've started flying its forecasts are rarely right. So I'm trying not to give that too much worry, but I'm not being very successful.

I just hope that I can get in at least one good flight before my check ride. I want that so I can go into the check ride with greater confidence than I have now. I guess if I don't get one I'll have to try to look at it like getting out all of my mistakes before the ride. I normally do have one bad flight before a ride and that's the way I try to frame it. Unfortunately, this time most of my flying has seemed subpar recently. I really want to break that trend before I go up with a DPE.

Anyway, my friends, wish me luck, good weather, a fully functional plane, good studying, and good flying if you are so inclined. I'll need it these next 7 days if I'm going to pass my check ride this coming weekend!

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