Hello everyone, sorry about the delayed post. Yesterday (06/06/2012) was yet another wonderful day for flying with an absolutely clear day with bright sunshine and only a slight breeze. I left for school at 8.30 am and reached there at about 8.55 am and after having checked in, I went to pre-flight the plane. During pre-flighting I discovered the beginnings of the formation of a new nest under the cowling! I had read and heard about this during my discovery flight pre-flight process but I never thought I would get to see this myself. Anyway having finished the process of pre-flighting I returned to Thunderbird and informed the linesman of the nest. He went and removed what he could with his hands and then used a blower to blow the grass, twigs etc. from the engine. By this time Sarah, my instructor on Wednesdays had also arrived and was ready to begin today’s lesson. I greeted her and said that the linesman was removing a nest from the engine. “Oh okay, we’ll just practice some landings here at Thunderbird today” she said. Sarah has been solely concentrating on teaching me landings and I agreed with her and was excited to improve upon my recent progress. The linesman returned and said that the plane was now ready.
Initially my pattern work and takeoffs were good said Sarah after the first few times we took off, but I overshot the base leg so had to make a major turn to get on to the final leg, the first couple of times. I asked Sarah what I was doing wrong. “Sarah, am I turning in to base too early that I’m overshooting to reach the final?” “Yes there’s that but you’re also not taking the wind into consideration. The wind is coming in from the south and is behind you during base and so it’s pushing you over too far. So you have to turn a little earlier in to final. Also during the downwind leg you’re getting closer to the runway as the wind is blowing you to the right, so you need to make a wind correction during downwind by turning the plane away from the airport as you turn from crosswind.” said Sarah. Further, although I knew which speeds I should be at each stage in the Air Traffic Pattern, I had difficulty in managing these, and Sarah said it was very important to get the speeds right as it affects the whole traffic pattern.
Well I must say I was disappointed with my performance today. We did about 10 landings and I think I probably made one okay landing, if that. I eventually had to tell Sarah that I had had enough and wanted to end the lesson. “Yah you’re not having a good day today” Sarah said and continued, “but don’t be disappointed as this is normal. Students and even instructors have good days and bad days. But remember the lesson for today is to always take wind into consideration and to get the speeds right in the pattern. Check the wind direction before takeoff and/or check the winds aloft before flying and that will help you.” she concluded.
That was it for Wednesday’s lesson and as I drove home I found it hard not to be disappointed in spite of Sarah’s advice. Then I remembered that it was all part of the learning process and also remembered the quote I had posted earlier in one of my posts:
“Learning of any kind has a saw-toothed progression, three steps ahead, two back. In learning to fly, however, it can sometimes be exaggerated: there are days you can’t do anything right and it’s impossible not to get frustrated. That’s not the problem. The problem may lie in what you do about it. If you’re not a dust-myself-off-and-get-right-back-on-the-horse kind of person, maybe you’d be happier doing something with fewer challenges. However, if you like the feeling of coming back and conquering something that has previously defeated you, you’re going to love learning to fly. It’s amazing how great the feeling of accomplishment can be. That alone is reason enough to learn to fly.”