KFF!!

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by 1000RR, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    Keep Focusing Forward!!

    Well, today sucked! Flew this morning... 42hrs seat time into getting my PPL over 5.8 months. Generally getting up a couple times a week. Not yet solo'd but I'm within a couple flights probably so excited about that. I see that big number of 42 and not having solo'd and part of me says WTF... not in a hurry, but still that seems pretty high.

    Why did today suck? Today was my "Pre" pre-solo flight review/test. The flying club I belong to takes what I would consider a very good approach in getting to solo. You fly a pre-solo full review with the instructor. Once you knock that out, you fly with the Club Owner (who is also an FAA DPE). Then he says yay/nay/ or yes, but... Then you solo.

    I felt really good, but for some reason when he had me demonstrate a power off stall, my brain kind took a nap on me. I know how to do this, even more so, I know how to prevent it! It dawned on me, my CFI has probably been 'too' helpful up until now and not let me just venture on without a peep just to test me along the way. I always had a little word here or there from the right seat just polishing the fine points but during the maneuver. Turns out (at least this is what I believe) I think today was the first time I was truly on my own for all maneuvers. You could ask me anything about whatever maneuver and I'm 90-100% sure I could talk it through just fine. But for whatever reason - that didn't go so well today.

    I've read that some days you just have off days. I've also read that you need to have a bad short term memory - forget the bad that just happened. So today I wasn't proud, in fact down right disappointed. I know that today's flight was not me and I am better than that. But now I'm pi$$ed, and more determined than even what I thought I was before. We're going back up tomorrow morning. Tonight I'm going to chair fly everything in a quiet room somewhere just to rehearse. The expectation is not that I'm perfect as this is not a real check ride... but today I just stumbled a little too much. So now I've shared my $chit day with you, I've got it out of my head, now I'm going to just Keep Focusing Forward (KFF!)!

    That is all, not looking for pep talks, just had to get that out there - learning to fly has definitely been humbling! And today was a prime example. Safe flying everyone!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    zhit happens. it's happened to all of us, you're not special :)
     
  3. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    Sometimes flight training is "psychological warfare with yourself".
    If you're used to one CFI who "steps in early" or "talks too much", and then fly with a different one who does neither, it can make you feel asea.
    But that's the point of the whole exercise, right? To make the transition to doing everything totally alone? Which means it's not wasted time in any way, or a bad day. Every hour is an hour learning something...
    Keep at it, and keep the positive attitude!
     
  4. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    @eman1200 - haha, yes... but I would like to be special!

    @kath - I am in full agreement. I usually start our post flight briefing with my own self assessment (I hold no pride...). I'm brutally honest. Today, my debrief of myself went like this. "Well, today sucked... The person flying up there was not me - I'm better than that, but today didn't show it." I also told him that today was the first day I was really all on my own (simulating a check ride type environment) and I was free to screw it up without discussion during the maneuver. I told him the bright side was just as you described Kath... it was what I needed - to make sure I can do it on my own with out a voice from the right seat. Definitely keeping with the positive attitude. Two of my girls play competitive Fast Pitch Softball - so it's time for Dad to take some of his own advice - haha! Onward and Upward, can't change the past, but can definitely affect the future!
     
  5. AMFlying

    AMFlying Filing Flight Plan

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    I did that same thing on that same maneuver a few weeks ago. I'm at about 20 hours now but I have been getting very few lessons lately due to weather (only about one lesson every couple weeks). I have really been focused on looking ahead in the lesson plan and trying to be as prepared as I can be to make the most of the little time I get. I saw stall review coming up on the next lesson so I studied up several times the week before but, for some reason, when we got in the air and the instructor said 'give me a power off stall' I just sat there 'uhhhhhhh'. I mean we are not doing barrel rolls here- it is not a complicated maneuver and I just went blank. I was pretty bummed. I completely nailed them the next time though so there is still hope :) .
     
  6. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I can tell you as an instructor, that one of the hardest things is knowing when to shut up, and when to step in. It's easy to handicap a student by being too involved, or on the opposite allowing bad habits by not correcting them. And every student reacts differently to situations.
     
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  7. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    @midwestpa24 - absolutely... there's no one right answer. Just like raising kids, they're all different, they all need different things at different times. Sometimes you just gotta cross your fingers.

    Tomorrow is going to be a good day!
     
  8. flight2000

    flight2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd be asking WTF too.... flying that much over 6 months should have been pretty easy to get past your solo. Are you changing instructors frequently or is it the same one? I don't know the situation but that just seems high to me. Every situation is different so....hang in there, you'll get there. :)

    This is just a single data point from a long time ago, but as a reference...I was 19 when I started flight training and I'm by no means a fast learner or great stick, so....

    First flight 9/11/1991 (The irony of that day is not lost on me....o_O)
    Solo'd on 10/9/1991 @ 12.1 hrs TT
    Passed PPL checkride on 3/12/1992 @ 55.1 TT and that was after taking the entire month of January off because Northeast Ohio winters generally suck for flying....:rolleyes:

    Brian
     
  9. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don’t see how any of this is helpful. The guy is upset cause it’s taking him a while and u throw the “well > I < did it in 12 hours” shtick his way. I’m sure he feels much better now and is well in his way to soloing with this bit of info.
     
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  10. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    @flight2000 - Same instructor. Historically I learn fairly quickly. Roadraced motorcycles, dabbled a little bit in a couple pro races, dirt biked, and plenty of water sports, snow skiing, snow boarding... HOWEVER, admittedly, I have truly been humbled by the amount of things to know, do, learn, and perform with flying. At the point I was at, with 12hrs of seat time, I'm am 100% confident I would not have been ready to solo. So maybe this flying thing is an exception to my past learning experiences. I've gotten the maneuvers pretty quick, today I just had brain farts. I like my CFI and I've helped him help me along the way to some degree. We missed the boat on some things on occasion and I've humbly volunteered some insight to what would have worked better for me. I am an instructor for business related classes, so I have been on the other side too. He's been a CFI for 2yrs and I suspect I'm about his 5th, maybe 6th student.

    I go back up tomorrow morning, and I am hopeful I can show (myself) that yesterday was just a fluke day. I really do believe I know this stuff...
     
  11. flight2000

    flight2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I didn't sense he was upset, just asking WTF and wondering if this was normal. We are seeing this a lot, it wasn't meant as a poke, just a data point as I said. Why are we seeing students with high times before solo? It makes no sense to me....

    Had a flight school in El Paso tell my son it was a minimum of 18 months to get his PPL. That is insane as well.

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  12. flight2000

    flight2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I hate to suggest it, but it might be time to move on to another instructor, if for nothing else than to get another set of eyes and another assessment of where you are. You may be selling yourself short on the skills you've learned and mastered already. You've certainly got the right frame of mind though. Best of luck to you and hope it gets better.

    Cheers,
    Brian
     
  13. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    @flight2000 - He has mentioned me going up with the other instructor with the club. Maybe I've reached a plateau?! I will see how this next flight or two goes and then may give that a try if need be. I've had some ah-ha moments landing the past few flights... And really do believe I'm close.
     
  14. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    The best part of lessons like this is that you will not repeat the same mistake. Determination builds confidence. Go into tomorrow like you own that airplane!
     
  15. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    ^^^THIS^^^
     
  16. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    My first question is did your instructor have to jump in and help you "save" it? If not, then my opinion is you're getting close. It might not have been perfect but if you corrected your mistakes without "needing" the instructor to save you, you're on the right path to solo. You got this. Good luck!!!
     
  17. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    I don't recall anything recently that was really "saved". He's made minor corrections with his own inputs but generally speaking, it usually wasn't something I was not in process to do - he just knew it was coming before I did and therefore was a little ahead of me... if that makes sense.
     
  18. WDD

    WDD Line Up and Wait

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    It's not. The one or two people who soloed after 2 hours post about it all the time, so it just seems that everyone solos early. (For yuks, see if you can find the old Andy Griffen episode where Aunt Bee learns to fly a Cessna at the local Mayberry airport; and solos in 8 hours. A definite jump the shark event). In the real world, you're completely normal. Average time to get ppl is 60 - 75 hours. Which means even if you double what you currently have, you're still fairly "normal". In my school, you do almost all the requirements, then solo locally, solo x country, checkride prep, and end with the checkride.

    Besides - who cares? The only thing that matters is what works for you.


    As far as "Oh Shoot" - I for one (and everyone else should they care to be honest about it) had 1 or more occasions where your brain just popped out of gear. It happens. Like when I entered downwind and sort of forgot to slow down. Or when the..... well, you get the picture. And I fully expect to have more in the future. I'm a new pilot - which means there is SO much I still need to get good at. Really, this license for me now is just the opportunity to solo with the convenience of not having the CFI instructor sign off on the flight.

    But these occasions are truly a learning experience. They're burned into your mind - trust me, the next time the occasion presents itself, you'll flash back to that moment and not make the same mistake again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  19. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    Well, I showed up this morning and my instructor got called out to something else and couldn't make it. Airport is about 45 minutes away from me so I was going to just chair fly in the plane... but then I thought - why not call the other instructor and see if last minute he wants to fly. So I texted my instructor and asked him for the phone number and an hour later we were back on track with a different instructor this time.

    So today, we just stayed in the pattern, a gusty windy day, so there was that. We did a good preflight debrief and I explained where I was, my challenges, etc. He went through his approach to landings and his concepts were overall the same, so everything we discussed preflight made perfect sense. BUT - he very much described some key points quite differently and changed my focus a bit. I found that my landings were MUCH more consistent today albeit I had to dance on the pedals and yoke a bit with the wind gusts.

    His postflight assessment was - everything to the threshold was great. He believes I have the rest of the landing but with the gusty day, there was a lot of dancing. His first question when we got back - have you had any days that were totally calm... I had to think about that - nothing recently. So his recommendation was to come out at the crack of dawn and get a nice calm morning free of anything else to capture the landings. His gut feeling was, I'd be soloing right after.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  20. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's great news!

    As I was reading I was wondering maybe there's more to it.... sounds like this instruction is through some sort of club..... maybe they are trying to get you to some more advanced place before solo than the norm?
    or...what aircraft is it? Makes me think of my attempt at conventional gear endorsement years ago.... I just never could seem to master the thing.... an excuse I know, but I honestly think the tailwheel was never adjusted right...it always shimmied and shook making things more difficult than they needed to be. Anyway my point is maybe a different aircraft? Is there something unusual or out of rig about it?

    Anyway, keep looking forward...it's gonna be amazing!
     
  21. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    Thanks Brad. Nothing crazy or unusual, learning in a Cherokee PA-28-180. It is through a Club and the more I talk to folks about what they had to know before solo'ing, the more I believe you're right. In fact, my [new] instructor today said he solo'd at 9.2 hours when he went through a ways back. He said, they first taught him to land, then solo'd him. He said if he had been out practicing maneuvers and had an engine out or something - he probably woulda been SOL. Basically, for my solo - I need to be able to perform all the maneuvers and the format will be sort of like a check ride... slow flight w/flaps, slow flight clean, power off, power on stalls, steep turns, emergency landing (engine out or engine fire), rectangular course, S-turns, turn around a point... then do some landings. I may have missed something in there... but that's the idea. And although they don't need to be (to the "T") to ACS, they need to be pretty close it seems or at least not really crappy... so +/-10 degrees, +/-10mph, +/-100'.
     
  22. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    Try this... Instead of simply making the motions necessary, annunciate everything that you are doing. Much like your CFI did when you first started flying. If they were like other CFIs, they hardly ever stopped talking while the airplane was in motion.

    If you are talking your way through the flight, you are not only keeping your mind on the task at hand, you are demonstrating to the CFI that you are actually thinking ahead and are about to act. The toughest part of being a CFI is allowing the student to get themselves deep enough into a situation to see if they can figure a way out but not let them get too far that even the CFI cannot rescue them.

    A sample monologue for a trip around the pattern may go something like this...

    <Sample only. Not to be used for Navigation>
    Okay... Cleared for takeoff. Lights... Camera... Action... Lining up with the centerline. Smoothly applying power adding right rudder to counteract left turning tendancies. Airspeed coming alive. Engine instruments in the green. Developing full power. Eyes outside holding centerline. Rotate... Pitch for climb. No more runway left. If the engine quits now we will land in that field straight ahead. Passing the end of the runway. If the engine quits now, there is the golf course over there. Passing 400' AGL starting left turn to crosswind. Turning not quite 90 degrees now to correct for wind drift. Here comes pattern altitude. Leveling off. There is pattern airspeed. Power back to pattern speed power. Trim for level flight. Turning downwind now. Landing checklist (I use BCGUMPS here). (Transmitted on the radio) Tower/Airport traffic, N12345 Left midfield downwind for the option runway 12. Touchdown point coming up on the left. Abeam the touchdown point. Carb heat on, power back to xxxx. Slowing down to the white arc. In the white arc, first notch of flaps. Keep the nose from coming up/going down (whichever is applicable for your airplane) Pitch and trim for xx. Coming up on the 45. There's the 45, turning base. Turning a little more than 90 to account for the wind drift. On base, next notch of flaps. Keep the nose from coming up/going down. Pitch (and maybe trim) for xx. Here comes final. Turning final. Holding airspeed. Looks like we might be a little low. Adding a little bit of power. Adding correction for crosswind. Short final, going full flaps. Keep the nose from coming up/going down. Pitch (and maybe trim) for xx. Crossing the threshold. Gently reducing power to idle. Getting ready to level off a couple feet above the runway. Here comes level off. Slowing down. Increasing pitch to flare. Using rudder to keep it aligned. Holding it off, slowing down... Don't let it land... Don't let it land... Don't let it land... (Squeak, Squeak, Squeak) Darn it!! It landed!!!

    There is a LOT to say while making a simple circuit in the pattern. The "trick" is for YOU, at this point in your training, to be doing all the saying and not let the CFI get a word in edgewise.
     
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  23. LB 408A

    LB 408A Pre-Flight

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    There is a LOT to say while making a simple circuit in the pattern. The "trick" is for YOU, at this point in your training, to be doing all the saying and not let the CFI get a word in edgewise.
    I'm thinking that that is not a trick but instead part of the overall process to becoming always ahead of the airplane and positional awareness. I also had more hours than expected but now I'm beginning to suspect that the reason for that is me. The fact that I was flying intermittently I had began to treat some lessons as a joy ride with the flight instructor. That wasn't so obvious to me previous to reading this post so thanks to smv.
     
  24. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    You are correct. I should not have called it a "trick". Tricks are for kids, we have techniques...

    :)
     
  25. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    Great tips/techniques. I actually use this technique (talking my way through) for my power on/power off stalls when my CFI asks to demonstrate one. In the pattern I don't talk my way around it (other than my radio calls, non-towered). The pattern is pretty good as far as navigating it. These days I've been cleaning up (or "crisping" up) my turns, making them more intentful (instead of lazy/flatter turns) as well as doing a better job of looking for traffic on the 45, straight-ins, etc.

    I'm back up with my regular instructor on Tuesday. He said - by all means to go up with the other one too if the chance presents itself. So I think I'm going to just do as much with both as I can. I kinda like the two different approaches to the same theory. You - know... it takes a village to raise a .... wait that's something else.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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