Losing one's confidence

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Scaredy Cat, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Scaredy Cat

    Scaredy Cat Guest

    Learned to fly as a teen. Flew up until my early twenties and then stopped (did the whole family thing and no longer had the ability to waste the money because I was no longer a young single dumb@$$, got a "real" career that demanded all of my time and then some, etc).

    A few years ago, I decided to get back into it. Did a flight review and all of that fun stuff, but one problem... My confidence evaporated! That was a few years ago. I've kept my biennial flight reviews more or less current since then, but that's about it - I can't bring myself to fly solo.

    I do NOT have a fear of flying. A band of goons could break down my door and kidnap me, and if they took me to an airport my first thought would be "hey sweet we're going flying!" I'm pretty much willing to go flying in anything that leaves the ground - hell, I get excited to go on commercial flights, despite the associated suck factors.

    See, the problem here is that any time I try to kidnap myself and go to the airport for a solo flight, I end up with a totally different mindset. Thoughts begin to race through my mind, like... "what if I have an engine failure after takeoff?" "What if this 40 year old hunk of begging to be beer cans is corroded all to hell from the inside and is going to disintegrate in mid air?" "What if the aileron control cables are held together by two strands of wire?" "How long since the last annual? Did the IA actually look at everything? If he did look at everything, could he actually see anything?? Do the wing attach bolts get looked at? What if fatigue cracks are developing in the wing attach bolts right now?" "When was the last corrosion treatment? Did the corrosion inhibitor actually reach all of the critical areas?" "What if I hit a bird on landing, shattering the windshield and the airplane sits out overnight and it rains, allowing water in the cockpit and thereby destroying the salvage value of the airplane and my renter's insurance isn't enough? Will I get sued into oblivion, lose my house, my wife divorces me because she doesn't want to be married to some poor loser that kills birds with airplanes and then has the pants sued off of him and I end up living under an overpass with alimony payments racking up by the month? Will she hire some goons to kidnap me and beat me up? If so, will they fly me somewhere to do it because that would be pretty sweet..."

    Ok, sorry to go off on a tangent playing out some of my overactive imagination, but I want to make it clear how my mind works.

    I feel like the next time I'm up for a flight review I need to find an instructor, and come clean that I have a confidence problem and that needs to be the primary focus of our work. But, I also feel like that with the machismo present in aviation, this would be not only a difficult subject to broach, but I might also hear something that I don't want to hear - and that is that I should just hang it up... which leads to my other concern.

    So, I guess my questions are:
    1. Has anyone here ever felt the same way, and if you did, what did you do to overcome it? From my research on the matter, this seems to be a fairly common mindset of students, but that's to be expected. Licensed pilots are another story, something I've not found much on.
    2. Should I just hang it up? A part of me feels like my conservative nature* is a good thing for a pilot to have, but another part of me feels like that p***ies don't belong in the left seat. What do you think? Do I just need to take up getting old and yelling at kids that ride their bicycles too fast down the street?

    *I'm a very conservative and risk adverse person, but aviating is the riskiest thing I partake in, and it seems to be the one area where my risk aversions go into overdrive.
     
  2. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why wait for your next flight review?

    Go up TOMORROW with an instructor and address the fear problem.

    Fear doesn't get better with age.
     
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  3. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Agreed, then after going up with the instructor force yourself to fly solo for a few flights and I bet the fear will dissipate.
     
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  4. Skates97

    Skates97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Treat it just like the first time you flew solo. Meet an instructor and take a few turns around the pattern, then drop him/her off and go take a few turns around the pattern by yourself. Once you do it I think you will feel much better about it all.
     
  5. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Actually yes. It happened the first time I flew King Air by myself.

    It went away as soon as the wheels left the ground.
     
  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    This seems the simplest way to handle it.
     
  7. robert lomax

    robert lomax Pre-takeoff checklist

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    just bought 6329R 66 PA 28 Im a plane owner mpg
    Read the ad...
    Call the guy...
    Drive 600 mi, in 10 hrs..
    Look at the plane, read the logs, sleep on the couch...
    Get up, look at the plane a lot, again, go for a fly, sit down, give him cash money, get all the papers signed!!!
    Tell him "I'll Be Back" in a month.......
    Drive 600 mi, 10 hrs home..
    Fall down, break some ribs, get a respiratory infection, think you are going to die....
    The weather goes to hell for the next 2 months..
    You pack up all you need for the trip and its all in the bag for at least a week, waiting for the "time"!!!
    Spend too much money and too much time on, a ferry, on a cab, a bus, another cab to get back to Your plane!!!
    101 days since you bought it...
    Sit in Your plane,,, Alone...
    You have planned this for years,, you have been ready.
    Push in the throttle, accelerate, raise the nose, rise to your training, allow your fears to drain away..
    You could do this,,, I just did it!!!
     
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Robert! You're back! :)
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You say you don't have a fear of flying when someone else is flying you but yet you list situations that cause fear in you. I don't see a lack of confidence in your abilities but a fear of dying. Doesn't matter if you're on the controls or Sean Tucker is flying you, if the aircraft "disintegrates in midair" you're done. That's just something you have to come face to face with.

    Your fears are based on situations that aren't likely to happen. I'm not going to give some BS statistic that says you're more likely to die in a car crash, but I do wonder how you can cope with driving. I pick up people from car accidents on a weekly basis but it doesn't prevent me from driving. I realize the benefits of driving outweigh the odds of being in a violent accident.

    So, you need to realize the benefits of flying, outweigh the remote odds of being in an accident. Only YOU can come to that conclusion. Now, riding motorcycles? That's just crazy, don't do it! :D
     
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  10. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn't hesitate to reveal my fears to an instructor and ask him to do an extensive preflight with you to address the issues you raise. Or maybe talk to the on-field mechanic about peeking into one of the birds he has in for annual or 100 hr. I don't know what level of access you have where you are.

    Every time I visit my mechanic's airport there are multiple planes in various stages of pulled apart/reassembled so I can look at the things that worry you. He also lets me participate in my annual so I get to see and touch my plane's pieces parts. That's very reassuring and kinda what Robert Lomax is getting to above: ownership comes with many positives & negatives, but as owner you control the condition of your A/C.
     
  11. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I'm spit-balling here, but on those flight reviews did you hear "This is just a review, it doesn't have to be to PTS (or ACS) standards" I've heard that on airplane checkouts and on Flight Reviews.

    Grab an instructor and tell him you want to do mock check rides until he's convinced you would not "just pass" but actually impress the examiner. (kind of like @denverpilot and other say, they are minimums, why accept that?)

    A few hours of doing it perfect will probably bring that confidence back. At which point we'll be discussing one of the hazardous attitudes - invulnerability. ;)
     
  12. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    Why the fear, sit back relax and try and find the cause for the fear. Most of the proposed solutions are dealing with facing the fear, not finding the cause of the fear.
    When I started flying, and to this day, I prefer twins and Cirrus for the emotional aspect of a second option in case of engine failure. I know the root cause of this fear, my first wife constantly worried about being left behind in case of engine failure and it infected me. I know intellectually, the chance of engine failure is incredibly small compared to me screwing up, but there it is.

    Tim
     
  13. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    ^^^ seems she eventually got left behind anyway. Without a life insurance payout.


    [Note: I assumed it was a divorce. Otherwise I'm an insensitive ass and am truly sorry]
     
  14. tspear

    tspear Line Up and Wait

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    Nah, statistically divorce is more likely. She passed away to natural causes, at a young age.

    Tim
     
  15. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    I went through the same thing after a several year hiatus due to largely the same reasons you posted (married, house, time, etc.). I got back into flying about 9 months ago and I was super excited... but after my flight review I scheduled the plane to do some solo flying and I had lost nearly all my confidence as well. Same thoughts you did... what if the engine quits and I plow into the industrial park off the runway, what if there is corrosion in that old Archer wing from 1977 and it snaps off.. etc.

    The only way I got over this was to do a couple instructor flights and then put myself back in student solo mindset and started to go flying at least once a week. Before each flight I did a full preflight and plan, called the briefer, etc., and off I went.

    The confidence for me came back exponentially.. my "first" solo was incredibly nerve wracking, but after a couple weeks (and now months) I'm back to my old self and confidence. I do find however that if I go more than 5 or so days without flying that confidence starts to erode again... so I try to go weekly, even if it just means 0.6 in the pattern or out to the practice area and back

    *I'm an incredible risk averse and conservative person as well, but nothing is risk free in life and if you are smart responsible then just about any risk can be mitigated. Use the checklist, trust the engineers who designed the machine and the annual inspections are doing their job, and go flying. Most plane fatalities are because of dumb mistakes, not wings falling off planes.. that made me feel better in that I am the one in control of my fate
     
  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum Cleared for Takeoff

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    That really grinds my gears when I hear that. Any time I am with a CFI I want to be held to a higher standard so my skills don't erode over time. I try to stay from CFIs that have a reputation for being "easy" - F that - I want to use that $80/hr for instruction wisely and make sure I get something out of it, not just a generic "you didn't kill us so you are safe to fly" rubber stamp
     
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  17. Jimmycooper

    Jimmycooper Guest

     
  18. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    Find an old pro instructor, ( verses a 300 hour wonder) I had the yips several times as I quit flying off and on over the years due to work and money. The same 10,000 hour commercial pilot - CFII, got me going quickly in both a 180 Cessna and a Mooney. He was a real pro and was amazing on landings and takeoffs. Find someone like this and you will be just fine. Good luck!
     
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  19. Paulie

    Paulie Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I used to get like that to the point of taxiing the airplane and then not flying. When I was skydiving it was worse. Once I got myself in the air, jumping or flying all the fears went away. The hard part is getting off your arse, give someone a treat and take them for a ride, most will be excited to go and it is infectious.