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6 Answers

Solo Fear, Part 2?

Asked by: 1678 views Student Pilot

I solo'd for the first time recently - it was one trip alone through the pattern due to time constraints (so maybe not much of a solo?).  I was so excited that day and felt a real sense of accomplishment!  But now it's been 3 weeks since I've flown, due to bad weather & instructor's schedule is full, and all I can remember is everything that went wrong. It was NOT a pretty landing.  On the positive side, plane & I walked away.  I feel like looking back, landings are worse now than they were 2 or 3 months ago. I'm hoping I will get to fly soon, but also dreading the landings still.  Is it normal to feel like you're going backward instead of forward?

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6 Answers



  1. Ash on Dec 04, 2013

    Very normal. In fact, so much so that there’s even a term coined for what you’re experiencing, the “plateau effect.” Best cure is to focus on other aspects of flight training for a while,

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  2. Ash on Dec 04, 2013

    Very normal. In fact, so much so that there’s even a term coined for what you’re experiencing, the “plateau effect.” Best cure is to focus on other aspects of flight training for a while, instead of becoming hyper-focused (and getting really frustrated) on making perfect landings. You should discuss this with your flight instructor.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Dec 04, 2013

    If it makes you feel better, I went through a rather long phase when I simply could not make a good landing. It was accompanied by a fear if the ground that resulted in a bunch of drop ins where I was concerned that I actually managed to damage the airplane (luckily I didn’t).

    At the time I had my commercial certificate and I was working on my CFI.

    So it can happen to any pilot, at any stage, not just soloing students.

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  4. Kate Braddock on Dec 04, 2013

    Yes, it does help. I kind of have the feeling in the back of my mind that this is a sign that I’m not going to “get it”, that my instructor is maybe sitting there thinking “why doesn’t she just give up already??” I see other students that are progressing so much more consistently than I am. But if other folks have had the same problem, and progressed past it, then there’s probably still hope for me!

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  5. Mark Kolber on Dec 05, 2013

    Strangely enough, hitting a learning plateau is a sign that you are getting it. It’s often a sign that you mind has the basics and is trying to tweak things to make things more precise. Mental distraction from the focus is a by-product and makes other things fall apart. But only temporarily.

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  6. Joanne Brown on Dec 05, 2013

    Hello All,

    I have been lurking on this blog and reading most Q and A’s for some while now, but this is the first time I’ve ever been moved to post something.

    Kate – I completely agree with both of your comments, except that I haven’t yet reached the solo milestone. Weather not cooperating, instructor’s schedule busy, feeling like I’m never going to ‘get it’, etc. I have to constantly give myself pep-talks and convince myself that I’m too stubborn (and have already put in too much cash!) to give up now. Very frustrating.

    So, I have no answers for you, just the thought that I am in a similar place and hope this plateau can resolve itself and that we can both make progress after all.

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