Do you ever feel like the plane isn't there?

dbahn

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Dave Bahnson
I had the weirdest sensation this year while towing gliders in the Pawnee. I had already done about thirty tows and on one of the last ones that day I had the strangest fleeting sensation that the plane wasn't there and that I was just floating in space in a seated position, with the cockpit still clear in my visual field. It only lasted for a few seconds but was very vivid. One person suggested that it was likely due to fatigue, which is possible, but I've been much more fatigued than I was then and never had a sensation like that, and I felt very alert and wide awake during the whole tow. Earlier in the year I had started some meditation sessions (which I insisted I would never do, but now I'm kind of appreciating them) and there may be some connection with the "mindfulness" that's associated with that. For the past few years I do about 500 tows a year. This was the one and only time I've had this rather weird experience.

Anyone ever experienced this?
 
As a student who shares a few planes with many other students, yes I feel that way all the time :p

Apologies since I know that's not what you meant, but my comment comes from a place of envy.
 
I've had the feeling of being one with the tow plane, but never of it not being there.
 
Not to extent of the plane "not being there", but several times in the past year, I've noticed myself doing things automatically, manipulating controls by muscle memory as opposed to actually looking at them. Flying the plane becoming as comfortable and effortless as driving my old pickup. Started about the time I crossed 400 hours in my plane. On one hand I feel good that the plane feels like an extension of my body, on the other I do worry about complacency.
 
I had the weirdest sensation this year while towing gliders in the Pawnee. I had already done about thirty tows and on one of the last ones that day I had the strangest fleeting sensation that the plane wasn't there and that I was just floating in space in a seated position, with the cockpit still clear in my visual field. It only lasted for a few seconds but was very vivid. One person suggested that it was likely due to fatigue, which is possible, but I've been much more fatigued than I was then and never had a sensation like that, and I felt very alert and wide awake during the whole tow. Earlier in the year I had started some meditation sessions (which I insisted I would never do, but now I'm kind of appreciating them) and there may be some connection with the "mindfulness" that's associated with that. For the past few years I do about 500 tows a year. This was the one and only time I've had this rather weird experience.

Anyone ever experienced this?
Is marijuana now legal in Vermont? o_O
 
I remember a brief "here am I sitting in a tin can" moment flying the 162 back from NY as I gazed out at the blind riveted recycled jiffy pop pans that suspended me a mile and a half in the air.
 
Sounds to me like it might have been what I think is called the "NLP Learning state"...but my memory is fuzzy on the exact name.

I took a NLP course many years ago, with my wife. I never would have guessed I'd ever do anything remotely like that....but she kinda drug me in & there I was. It was long and intense....6 or 7 very loooong days in a row...maybe 12 hours or more every day in class. It was actually a really great experience. Became a certified hypnotists among other things. Sadly I haven't really practiced much if any of it and I've forgotten a lot of the terms and techniques. Anyway, it was in part a deep dive into conscience and the unconscious minds. Human behaviour stuff. Actually very outside the box for this ISTJ engineering type.... but still I found huge value. I wish I'd acyually used the stuff more so I could have held on to a firmer understanding of it.

Anyway, I remember learning about one state that was like a 360 degree awareness. I think it was called the learning state. Basically, as I recall, it's letting go of all the little things that don't matter and allowing your unconscious mind to use all of your senses to become aware of your environment. I think it's kinda like how a blind person can adapt to use their hearing and sense of touch to basically see the room they are in. A person can sit in a room, head and body still, close their eyes...and become aware of the clock over on the wall behind them ticking. They are aware of a housefly buzzing between the blinds and the window glass, etc.... and with practice can become aware of tiny little things happening behind them. You start to become aware of other people breathing..... you know when someone else quietly walks into the room...or when the leave. Eventually your mind might even be aware of what time that clock on the wall behind you is showing
it's like when a person sneaks up behind you and you don't hear them but you know they are there.....somehow. With practice a person can be like that except on steroids!

So I'm imaging that in your story. You were relaxed...at one with the aircraft....not having to make conscious decisions about every control input...just doing it... like breathing. You were aware of the green field beneath you..that you could not see because the floor was in the way....but you knew it was there...etc....
 
I have experienced something sort of similar while riding motorcycles. I wouldn't describe it as feeling as if the "bike isn't there", but instead I would describe it as as sudden increased awareness of the fact that my body is loosely balancing on a 900 lb object with no real protection while bouncing down a road at 70 mph between a bunch of 80,000 lb objects that can barely see me. After a bit, this passes, and I suddenly feel like I am welded to the machine again.

I don't think the above is anything unhealthy as much as it is the 'survival' part of your brain making sure you're not getting too comfortable with risks.
 
Hypoxia?

Kind if felt like this once when I took my plane up higher than my brain could follow.
 
That's what it's like flying a hang glider, the glider is above you and the control bar is below you, and you don't notice either. Once you get grooved in, the glider feels like an extension of your body. It's as close to being a bird that a human can get.
 
About 2 or 3 times a year I have a dream where I am flying a twin and the entire floor falls away. Nothing falls out, it just gets windy and the dirt blows around. The plane flies as if nothing happened.

I look down and can see the ground while thinking, ''this can't be good...''
 
It's somewhat rude to just get up and leave mid-flight.
 
About 2 or 3 times a year I have a dream where I am flying a twin and the entire floor falls away. Nothing falls out, it just gets windy and the dirt blows around. The plane flies as if nothing happened.

I look down and can see the ground while thinking, ''this can't be good...''
It is your subconscious mind trying to get you to buy a Pitts.
 
It is your subconscious mind trying to get you to buy a Pitts.
I drove a race car years ago that had expanded metal for a floor board. I was always worried it would come out and I would have to Fred Flintstone the brakes.

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But it provided a nice breeze to help me stay cool at speed... :lol:
 
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