I’m still in the pattern. But things are looking up. Yesterday’s flight was MUCH better than last week’s. Weather for a start was much improved – winds light and variable instead of 12 gusting 15kts. It’s amazing how much easier it is to concentrate on the roundout etc without being blown off the side of the runway.
The air was smoother too which made handling the plane in the pattern just that little bit easier. We did 8 landings with a runway change from 25 to 07 in the middle of those – much less traffic than last week too and to be honest I’m feeling a lot happier in the plane.
I’m making peace with the fact that it’s probably going to take 20hours for me to solo. I read a great article by John Bishop in this month’s Pland&Pilot about how flying simply doesn’t come naturally to all of us. I read this shortly after last week’s below par performance and it struck a chord. The thing for me is that in my head, I was going to be the ‘natural pilot’ who doesn’t struggle. I have the hundreds of hours on flight simulator, lots of online flying time and a good understanding of flight. But the aeroplane isn’t a flight simulator, and I’m realizing now how bad the modeling is in flight simulator. You can’t model control forces easily in FS but what I’m finding the most frustrating is how poorly p-factor and torque are modeled. Full power in the SR20 requires FULL right rudder application on the ground. In FS, the slightest application of rudder sends you off into the weeds – so my right foot is lazy in the real plane. In flight, the merest increase in pressure on the rudder is sufficient in the real aeroplane. In FS, you need to hoof the rudder in a bit more. The net result is that I’m not the sh*t hot pilot I imagined I’d be.
This realization has been good for me. I always said I wanted to be safe and not to rush and get the license with the lowest possible number of hours. I’m only flying once a week. I think I’m doing ok. And the best part is that I still get to look out the side window occasionally and think to myself “heck. I’m actually flying this aeroplane!” And that’s a wonderful feeling. The other wonderful feeling is when the instructor turns off the PFD and tells me to look outside, I do a turn and roll out on heading, on altitude and at the correct speed. Attitude flying. I’m getting there.