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7 Answers

Lost confidence after first solo

Asked by: 2347 views General Aviation

Basically guys, here is the deal.  I am at about 20 hours and I have been flying full time working towards my commericlal.  I  have done sevearl hours of Touch and Goes with my CFI and then yesterday I went and did 8 with him, I did the pattern and everything great... It was a bit windy, but not bad.  Then i went up and the crosswinds picked up but Wx didn't say anything and I ended up doing a shit first landing and then the second one was alright but both of them I had to crab heavy and now my confidence is fucked... I went up today with the instructor and it wasn't going well at all with him in the plane.  It is the first time I feel like I hit a wall and went backwards.  Any advise or do I just need to keep pushing on?  Thanks.

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7 Answers

  1. David on Feb 28, 2013

    Don’t stress out about it. This takes time. Think about this – when else do you fly the plane to within 1′ precision laterally, and even less vertically? Never! Landing is easily the most demanding part of flying. Keep practicing and remember even old hands don’t grease it every time. My instructor told me he was at 250 hours before he “got” landings. Just relax, and be safe, that’s what matters right now.

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  2. David on Feb 28, 2013

    Remember that not even old hands grease it on every time. Landing is the most demanding part of flying – when else do you fly within 1′ tolerances? I struggled with landings too (and a new plane always makes me feel like a student again), but my instructor told me it took him to 250 hours before he “got” landings. Just try and relax, keep practicing, and stay safe.

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  3. lo_fly on Mar 01, 2013

    have you ever heared “learning plateau”?
    basically your brain can’t digest all inputs at a constant rate: at the beginning of the training you learn a lot and improve quickly but all this can momentarily “stall” and you feel like regressing and you get frustrated, which lead to an actual decrease in capabilities…
    as i tell to my students: “CALM and FOCUS!”, it’s just temporary, keep practicing and give your brain/body enough rest.

    blue skies!

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  4. Kev Hughes on Mar 01, 2013

    Thanks guys, my CFI said the same thing, it is frustrating to hit the plateau. I think we are going to do some other maneuvers and then come back to it. Thanks for the input guys!

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  5. David Eberhardt on Mar 05, 2013

    “20 hours and working toward commercial” or are you working on your Private Pilot License (ppl)?I’ll assume ppl … yes, it could be a learning plateau as has been mentioned. Happens to everyone. Sometimes, experienced pilots can regress also – can happen for a variety of reasons.

    Crosswind landings can be a bit trickier than a nice calm day. What is challenging is when the winds are not steady, in either direction or velocity (gusts) or both. These type of conditions require quite a bit of mental focus and constantly changing control inputs to respond to the wind’s effects on the wing. Landing an airplane requires you to keep working the controls all the way to touchdown and even after that to maintain control while rolling out after the touchdown. Sometimes, we can get lax and become a spectator during our own landings. It’s a sporting contest where you are the athlete; it’s not a spectator sport. Stay positive and keep working at it.

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  6. David Eberhardt on Mar 05, 2013

    one other thought on crosswind landings … there are two techniques for x-wind ldgs;

    1) crab till short final then switch to “wing low and opposite rudder” to keep nose straight down the runway. this requires good timing and finesse to get it right

    2) use the wing low method for most of the final approach. this allows you to stabilize the approach a little earlier and get a feel for the strength of the crosswind a little better in my opinion. It removes the need to switch from crab method to wing low method – might simplify the technique for executing your round out and flare….

    With 1800 hours experience under my belt, I still prefer the second method for Cherokee 140. I might get good at the crab/wing low transition method if I practiced it more.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Mar 06, 2013

    >>one other thought on crosswind landings … there are two techniques for x-wind ldgs;<<

    Ultimately, there's really only one. The only real difference between the two you describe is when the crosswind slip is entered. And that can be anywhere from long final until well after short final; some folks are able to time it down to the moment before touchdown (which you might describe as a third technique?).

    But I agree wholeheartedly with your bottom line: different situations and different aircraft may call for a pilot to choose to begin that transition earlier or later in the process.

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