A good pilot is always learning
The needle stubbornly refused to budge. I hoped anytime soon it would swing back to life. It was barely a few weeks since I had gotten my private pilot license and I was really a novice at this thing. The aircraft lifted of the runway, but still the airspeed indicator read “0”. It was a glorious summer day and I had taken my best friend from college who was visiting me, flying up the California coast to Monterrey. She was only my second passenger since that extraordinary spring day when I had earned my wings.
Until that minute, pitot static failures, were something I had read about and learnt during my private training but here I was a brand new minted pilot facing the challenge of it on my own.
“Xtry. Where is Bakersfield?”
A succinct entry encapsulated that summer day when I ventured east to Bakersfield solo outside my comfort zone. But it had to be done. Who knew that my transponder was inop? Who knew that highway 5 extended from San Diego to Seattle and beyond? Thank god for radar!
CREPE 3 FRAMS DIRECT SNS LOC RWY2 MISSED VFR HOLLISTER (W/ CAMILLE NELSON)
Read the memorable entry when I shot my first actual instrument approach. It was one of those nice summer days when low clouds and fog hug the California coastline. If I was disappointed to see it rapidly burn off and clear the skies in SBP much sooner than our departure time I was thrilled to see it remaining stagnant overcast at 1600 feet at Watsonville which was the destination of the SLO99s flyout.
“Final route CRP3 MQO DIRECT RZS V27 VTU DIRECT AVX 50 MILES OVER OCEAN GPS B MISSED Visual 22 (w/ Michelle Torres Grant)”
Read the entry for a fun filled adventure to Avalon. If the flight out there and the subsequent attempts at landing was thrilling, it was equivalently comparable to the bus ride down to Avalon.
“99s Flyout. No DG. One Radio. CRP3 PRB ROM PRN CNC… ILS W/ Michelle Torres Grant”
Read that memorable flight when midstream we realized that we had a single NAV/COM, and no directional gyro, when we had to refresh our memories from instrument training days on Partial Panel flying.
However much one plans and prepares for a flight, there is always some unknown factor that could through a curve ball. Practicing and constantly improving one’s skill set provides the necessary tools to handle these unforeseen circumstances. We will not always know how best to react or possibly react in time in the correct way. But even the mistakes we make provide the best experiences we learn from so we don’t make the same mistakes in future.
As the saying goes, a good pilot is always learning.