New PPL Pilots Take Note!
I read the following article in the June 2010 edition of Pilot Magazine titled “New Pilot Psychology” the other day and it struck such a chord with me. Having passed my PPL Exams and got my licence back in 2006, my flying hours have not increased anywhere near as much as they should have, or could have. I have my own aircraft and could easily fly whenever I want to (weather permitting of course), but choose not to – WHY? You may well ask!
Read the article below as I think it says so much about what can happen to new PPL qualified pilots.
Article from Pilot Magazine – by Jesse Crosse
Taking to the air as a freshly qualified pilot is almost as daunting as becoming qualified in the first place. Apparently, ‘losing’ new pilots is through apathy, other distractions and in truth, probably just plain old fear, is a big problem for clubs trying to keep their schools profitable. I’ve held my shiny new licence for just over a year now and just 69 hours and 49 minutes into my flying career, I’ve already become aware how easy it would be to slide off my local flying club’s booking list never to be seen again.
It strikes me that when it comes to getting airborne the new pilot is his own worst enemy. Being too busy is not a good reason not to go flying. Neither is being short of cash (make a budget) and neither is the weather. I reckon the main psychological barrier is that flying isn’t as accessible as driving a car or riding a motorcycle because the aeroplane isn’t in the drive (unless you’re damn lucky). Making that booking at a busy club or bothering to check the weather are usually the first things that fall off the priorities list and the ball gets dropped.
I tackled the problem by buying an aeroplane and as I couldn’t eat a whole one, I settled for a slice of one. G¬-BAXZ is a 1970 Cherokee with a youthful engine, are-upholstered interior and is about to get a fresh coat of paint. It’s well maintained and at £2,500 for a share, £40 per month and £65 an hour wet, it was too good to miss. Ignoring the equity cost, the first hour I fly each month is still cheaper than hiring a club aircraft and the more I fly, the cheaper it gets. You see where this is going? It only works if I fly at least an hour a month. So that’s part one of the New Pilot Psychology taken care of, next task is to make new destinations a regular fixture rather than occasional adventure and for that I’ll add a satnav to the kit bag. But which one? -end-
The truth is its very easy to get put off flying due to some bad conditions. Your confidence is bashed somewhat and you are reminded of your own mortality, This happened to me recently. Not having the pleasure and back-up of your flying instructor with you, it is easy to let your mind get the better of you. Some tough thermals or strong crosswind landing can put you off somewhat.
So very recently I took an hour with my flying instructor, just to get back in the air as I had not flown for about 5-6 months. Being reassured that the thermals are not going to turn you over, or the wind throw you out of the sky is an immense help in regaining your confidence. It was fantastic, a lovely calm day although a bit misty, which we were blaming on the Icelandic ash cloud. But nonetheless it was superb and reminded me instantly of what I was missing. Don’t let it be too long before you fly again and don’t make excuses, you’re only kidding yourself! Book an hour or so with your instructor it can make all the difference.