Ab Initio 17: “More of those days”

In which wind and ‘one of those days’ syndrome combine to turn me into a clutz all over again.

I was rather tempted writing this to just sum it up with “See entry 12: All over the sky“, because it was another one of those odd days where nothing seemed to ‘click’ and I just spent the whole lesson mushing about like I’d never been near an aeroplane before.

Not sure what you can say about a circuit lesson which opened with a go-around which turned out to be the highlight!

Nevertheless it had it moments–and misery loves company they do say, so everyone else can have my woes inflicted on them too! Believe me, anyone reading who thinks they’ll never get it, trust me you can’t be any worse than muggins here.

It started going pear-shaped while still on the ground where my taxying was, to put it mildly, abysmal.

“Well this is more fun than flying, where are you taking us?” Laurie enquired as I swerved around the runway trying to turn round in some fashion which didn’t leave us with half the runway behind us. You could have probably turned a 747 in less space than I used.

Finally in the air and my first approach of the day was way too high and way to fast. I dithered somewhat wondering whether it was salvageable but decided to chuck it and go around.

“Errr, um, ahh, I don’t think I can get down from here, ummm… I think I’ll go around,” is not exactly the recommended “prompt and positive” decision-making advised in such situations, I have to say! It was however my first unprompted such decision–I’ll be more definite next time. It might well have been recoverable for someone else but I couldn’t have made a tidying landing out of it.

I found it surprisingly difficult to make such a definite “Yup I’ve ballsed that up–now what?” decision. I can see more clearly why so many accidents seem to be caused by people pressing on with situations they’re not happy with.

Laurie appears to view a go-around as a prime opportunity to practice engine failure after take off. This time too, the moment my hand was off the throttle to retrim after putting the flaps away we ‘mysteriously’ lost power.

My eyes still pop open like a mad bunny’s but the nose down was pretty automatic and quick enough to be satisfactory, although my subsequent dithering over the not-too-appealing choice of woods, race track or caravan park as potential landing sites was less so.

I did notice on the climb away a rather handy looking flattish field off to the left. Think I’ll have a try for that one next time though with my luck it’ll probably be turn out to be a marsh.

The error-du-jour was convincing Laurie I was trying to kill him by letting our airspeed get too low. Repeatedly. For some reason today I was being decidedly on the slow side when lowering the nose as I reduced power.

I was also having ‘flap issues’ again, something I thought I’d fixed weeks and weeks ago, and was still, still overbanking in the turns.

Gnash gnash rant gnash…


Laurie’s idea of the bright side was “Well if you stalled it from here at least we’d never know it.”

Rant gnash gnash rant.

I’m laughing writing this, but definitely was not amused at the time. I haven’t been so knackered out at the end of a lesson since the first time in the circuit.


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