Learning to Fly – Day Four (and so it goes)

So, Gerry was off to fire training and I was meeting up with my 1-day temporary instructor. Yannick, from France, and there was no mistake about it.  Inspector Clouseau on the Radio: Warrioh forh-zero-wun, downwind fur wun-wun. Very sweet indeed.  Actually, the guys at the school told me that 2 days before I arrived Yannick had been involved in an air-rage incident.  He was at the run-up area with a student going through the power checks.  There are many checks and you have to do them right and for someone who is learning it takes a little while to read from your check list and do the checks.  Too long for a redneck “Lake” parked behind them. Sorry, but all the natives around the flight school are called rednecks even by the Americans at the school.  Goes a long way, I guess, to explain the noise-abatement order put on runway 22 but that is another story. Anyway, the pilot in the Laker called on the common frequency:  “Hey you guys in the Piper, are you moving or not?!”  Well, Yannick got on the radio and in his best Frenglish explained that they would be going soon enough but he should be sympathetic towards a student pilot.  “God damn foreigners” was the reply “you bomb our cities, pollute our airspace and are kind to our women” (for the last bit, those were not the exact words, mind you, but I am sure you get the drift).  Yannick then continued to explain the finer points of cross-cultural sharing at which point the airwaves really got blue.  Until a guy going downwind, obviously hoping to avoid explosions on ground, had to remind them that there could be ladies present on the frequencies.  Anyways, I was now sitting with Yannick. We would be going trough the same things as I did day three so I won’t bore you with the details.  One thing was interesting in two different ways:  There were a number of subtle differences in how Yannick wanted me to fly compared to how Gerry wanted it. Yannick wanted a 5-knot higher rotation speed. Climb at 70 knots instead of 80 (Meaning a better angle rather than a better rate), no power manipulation during steep turns and a circuit height of 1,000ft above sea level instead of Gerry’s 1,000ft above ground level (=ca. 1,100ft amsl). I am happy to say I was “smart” enough not to mention the differences in instructions and just take the corrections and follow them as told. I then later checked the details with Gerry and we have figured out some good compromises.  The circuit height, btw, was changed recently from 1,100 to 1,000 above sea, which is why Gerry had been flying at the wrong height. 100ft in circuit is not going to kill you anyways, neither literally nor metaphorically.  One last final interesting point I took away: It is an easy trap for students to lock onto the instructions as rules, as a fixed way to do things. What this little experience showed me is that you learn to fly safely, fluently and efficiently. Exactly how you do, it is not that important as long as you are comfortable with your chosen technique. It is the resulting quality of flying that is important. From the training itself, I can only say that I felt I got better and I felt a lot happier at the end of the day.  My Welsh mate from the student’s house took and passed the final FFA skills test today as well.  I immediately went and quizzed him about the examiner, as she would very likely be my examiner as well. The future will show if it was useful but he informed me that she was very focused on the human performance aspects. Emergency scenarios, planning etc.  Not so much a gadget person who wants to know the path of fuel from tank to carburettor as someone who wants to know what you will do if that fuel-flow is interrupted.  At some point, so goes the plan, I will take the FFA test and the day after the CAA test.

At least Yannick was of the opinion that I would be going solo “in a couple of days”. My own revised target is end of Thursday.

Summary after 4 days
Flown: 2 hours and 48 minutes.
Total flying time: 10 hours and 20 minutes.
Solo: 0 hours and 0 minutes.
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