18 November 2014

Happy flights and less happy flights

A pilot I am helping told a tale of a recent where he just did not feel happy in the air and went to land. Other pilots continued to fly and seemed fine. He worried that he was losing his touch!
In this situation, digging deep with the pilot can reveal or sorts of reasons but many pilots just have days when they are happy and other days when they are not even though conditions seem the same. So it could have been just a bad day. Four thoughts for this situation:
  • Sometimes analysing the feeling can help you separate the rational fear from the irrational. Do you feel unhappy because it is dangerous or because it is uncomfortable but is still pretty safe?
  • I often tell pilots about the magic 1 hour. Stay in the air for at least 1 hour (as long as it is safe) and very often you settle into the flight and enjoy it more.
  • Change your focus and aim to achieve something which will put your mind onto constructive thoughts. Maybe aim fly to the far end of the ridge and back; try to reach 500ft above take off etc.
  • Check that harness adjustments have not slipped and consider adding ballast if you are light on your wing.
A "happy" day on the new Artik 4 (Photo - Phil Colbert)

The picture shows the new Artik 4 in action flown by Barney the day before I got it. Definitely a happy day!
(Review to follow in Cross Country Magazine in January).

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