Stranded In The Southland

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just Not Worth the Trouble

Last Wednesday, I went up for another flight with C., and it was, again, pretty miserable. It must've been pretty obvious, 'cause C. asked me what the problem was, and we talked about doing things differently, and maybe finding a different instructor. I suggested to C. that I'd be happier with less "tactical" input -- "You're losing altitude." "You're slowing down." -- and more of a critique after the maneuver -- "Here's what we want the airplane to do, here's what happened, here's what you did, here's what you should do differently."

I don't know if that got to the core of the problem, and I spent some time scratching my head thinking about the process -- after all, if I expect my instructor to be analytical and thoughtful, I, too, oughta be analytical and thoughtful.

I finally figured it out. C. is a nice guy and good guy (he was trying to get my hooked up with another instructor), but he just wasn't changing the lesson based on my progress. For instance, in the six lessons I had with him, every time we pulled up to the run-up area to check out the plane before taking off, he'd give me the same lecture about not just checking that the control surfaces moved, but that they moved in the right direction, since a mechanic could've cross-connected 'em.

The first time he said this, I thought, "Gee, I never would've expected that, what an interesting failure mode." The second time, I thought "Gee, I'd kinda forgotten about that, it must be important to him." After that, I kinda checked it during the pre-flight, and was careful to check this on run-up, pointing with my thumbs towards the aileron that is down.

And, still, I heard the same lecture, at which time I started to think, "What kind of idiot does he think I am?" I mean, sure, repetition is key, but once I get it, maybe we oughta move onto something else. I mean, hopefully in his 1,000 hours of flying, C. had a few more interesting tidbits to share with me. But honestly, this seemed like the start and end of his suggestions. Argh.

This kind of extended into all of our lessons, in which it seemed like we repeated even the simplest maneuvers again and again until I was goin' nuts. Like I said, C.'s a nice guy, but I think that we are poorly matched. I'll keep lookin' for a better match -- I think I'm far better off taking a break from flying rather than spending $140 a hour on unproductive flying. :-(