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5 Answers

Is this normal?

Asked by: 1804 views Student Pilot

I'm an older student (45) enrolled in a great Part 141 school. I've wanted to fly since I was 19 and am finally working on it. I had my discovery flight about a month ago. Was nervous, but set that settled down after a bit. I've adjusted my work schedule so I can get 2-3 lessons a week and have had four ground lessons, but today was my first time in the air (due to weather). I logged 1.6 hours on maintaining a heading, level flight, level turns, etc., but I felt like I was a mess. At times, I felt super task saturated and a bit overwhelmed. So, two questions:

1. I did the weather check today: DUATS and had the AIM/FAR out to make sure I read everything correctly. Still, we had gusts that were about 17k and that I didn't see in the winds aloft, METARs, TAFs, etc.? What did I miss???

2. I had a lot of trouble maintaining the centerline on takeoff (left drift) and that really unsettled me -- along with the gusts from takeoff to landing (forecast was 6 knots). Though the instructor said I did really well (maintained course, power management, held altitude through the turns, great situational awareness), I was really nervous for a lot of the flight. I'm going up again tomorrow. Does the anxiety go away? How can I better handle the task saturation? 


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5 Answers

  1. Jim F. on May 27, 2013

    Yup, every new pilot will go through that, regardless of if they admit it or not. Heck, I was so nervous, it took me several flights before I even got on the radio. All this for you is due to the massive, sudden immersion into a large amount of information. As you continue on and learn about that information, it will as start to work together and make sense. Welcome to aviation!

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  2. Aaron on May 27, 2013

    soundss like you had your first experience with left turning tendencies. I don’t know if you’ve covered those in the ground lessons yet, but put in a bit of right rudder to hold your centerline and you’ll be golden. Jim definitely knows what he’s talking about. Every new pilot goes through this anxiety, and it’s only natural to feel a little bit overwhelmed at first. Just think about how it would be learning anything else that’s new to you. trust your CFI. you have to realize that he’s been doing this for a long while, and if he says you’re doing a good job he genuinely means it. just understand that you’re learning something that’s completely new to you, and there’s going to be a learning curve. But as with anything else as soon as you start to feel comfortable with it, you understand it and it will just come naturally. just try to relax and focus on the tasks at hand and soon they will become second nature. again, trust your CFI, he is there to help you and see you succeed. any CFI worth his salt should be encouraging and he won’t let you do anything he isn’t comfortable with. there will be good days and there will be setbacks, but just remember to relax and enjoy the experience, and have fun with it!!! 🙂

    sorry for the long winded answer :/

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  3. Mark H. on May 28, 2013

    Thank you, fellas! I appreciate it — I like how the GA community is just that: a community. I talked to my CFI about the things I shared here. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fly today (weather) but had a good ground lesson. We’re going to try again tomorrow and Friday, too, and he’s got some exercises planned to help me get a little more confident with myself and the airplane. I can say I’m glad we’re doing multiple sessions a week, I couldn’t imagine trying to retain this once a week or a couple of times a month.

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  4. Ale on May 31, 2013

    The best person to ask is your flight instructor; he/she is trained to analyses your performance. To me, all what you have mentioned is VERY normal. Have fun!

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  5. Mark H. on May 31, 2013

    Had a blast tonight with slow flight! My CFI actually laughed tonight because my anxiety with takeoffs is still there (crosswind takeoff tonight) but the landings don’t bother me at all. He’s pretty confident I’ll overcome it — tonight I was way to the right instead of left and the rate of climb kind of surprised me — that and everyone on the commuter jet behind us got to see my super sloppy takeoff roll … Stalls next Tuesday and loving it. Having fun and flying safe!

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