Pre-licence check: part III

In which I fly badly.


My booking last week was cancelled due to the plane I was booked on being in for a service, so today, 2 weeks later, I got to fly again. I was hoping to finish my pre-licence check today but unfortunately it was not to be.

I preflighted 4964 (yay not 5231!) and we took off from 36L, but soon had to do an orbit on downwind as the wind changed slightly and started coming from the south, meaning that 18 became the active runway.

The first thing we did was a prec search. This was the first time I’d done a prec search on 18 and it was slightly disconcerting to see how much more I had to think about it simply because the picture was different. I ended up a little close in on my first search leg (750ft AGL) but overall it wasn’t too bad.

Then we did 2 flapless landings and a short field and all I can say about all of them was that I was having an off-day and they were all pretty terrible. J actually had to come onto the controls twice to help me which hasn’t happened in a while and I definitely didn’t want it to happen today!

I have to say that I flew pretty terribly today – my approaches were a bit unstable, my landings were fairly bad and I wasn’t correcting for the slight crosswind enough which led to some quite messy turns onto final. I think I had put pressure on myself thinking that this might be the end of my pre-licence check and wanting to fly really well and as I started flying badly, and knew that I was, I put even more pressure on myself and the whole thing snowballed. I am so so disappointed in my flying today, I can’t believe I flew so badly. I knew fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to be finished with my pre-licence check today and I have to admit that even if I had been told that I could book in for my test, I would have said no – I was very displeased with my flying.

During one of of the circuits I forgot to raise the flaps after takeoff. I was trying to work out why the engine didn’t seem to be producing as much power, despite full throttle, then after turning onto downwind J suggested “Perhaps you should rise the flaps?” I was just like “Ooops, let’s just pretend I didn’t do that” 😛

So, next week I have another round of circuits with J. I’m a bit worried about it, I feel like I’ve lost my confidence somewhat – I feel like I’ll just mess it up again. I keep telling myself to be positive, that I can fly circuits and I’ll be fine, but after my flying today I just feel like I’ll fly like that again next week.

One of my main problems is that I do not have a good relationship with practical tests – I used to do music exams and my teacher would say that I got a whole grade lower than I should have simply because of my nerves!

Still, maybe I can hope that I’ve done my lot of bad flying for a while and gotten rid of all my nerves here and I’ll be fine for next week and, hopefully not long after that, the test. But I still have this feeling that I’ve lost my confidence and next week will be the same as today.

Guess I’ll just have to wait and find out.


3 Responses to Pre-licence check: part III

  1. GraemeK says:


    I wouldn’t worry too much, we all have off days and I’ve had some shockers! The other day for me it was forgetting downwind checks and once even forgetting to throttle back for the base turn – never missed either before, I just think I wasn’t 100% with it (although maybe the turbulence early downwind was fazing me).

    Also, for some reason I always do better on 36 than 18 (including crappy turns onto final) for some reason – maybe more practice on 36, maybe the displaced threshold, who knows!

    I reckon next lesson you’ll find it all comes together again, better than ever …

    • Darky says:

      I agree, I generally do better on 36 than 18, the displaced threshold puts me off a bit too. I keep aiming for the end of the runway (as you do) then realising I can’t land for another half of the runway.

      Then again, some days I’m a demon with the displaced threshold and do a whole stack of good landings! 😛

      I just need to make sure I don’t let it get to me and let my confidence drop otherwise I’ll get myself in a mess. 🙂

  2. flyinggma says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about a bad day. We all have them. The fact that its been two weeks inbetween flights might have a little to do with it. I always spend about the first half of my lesson relearning what I did at the last one if its been too long. If 18 gives you more trouble than 35 make sure you spend more time with your instructor on it. I used to hate 5 at our airport because it was half the length of 13-31. Everything about it felt wrong. My instructor and I spent an entire lesson doing all the different kinds of landing and take-offs one day until the sight pictures felt just as normal as the longer runway. Good luck, I enjoy reading about your progress.

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