One thing I've been trying to do ever since I had my first TIF earlier this year was, at night after the lesson, make an entry in what I suppose you'd call a journal (just a Word document). I have a template of sorts which I fill in, covering off / reviewing what we had set out to do during the lesson and most importantly what I had learned or thought was important to note for future reference / flights (ie what I got wrong so I'd try and remember not to do it next time).
I found after a lesson in the morning, working during the day, coming home and spending some "quality" time with the family (if they weren't asleep), it has been good to have some "reflection" time later in the evening to think about the concepts learned that morning or issues that arose and how I could maybe reinforce them so they might not happen as much in the future.
Now it may not be for everyone and since I'm not flying everyday it's probably easier to isolate each lesson at the end of the day and spend time in front of the PC. But some out there in training land might benefit from sitting down and going through some of their lessons and note down bascially what went wrong and type it out for reinforcement (eg, radio calls, effects of controls, pre-landing checks, HASEL etc)...for me this week it was pedals & hovering. If anyone has other suggestions on how they review or reinforce the learning process, I'd be interested to hear from you.
Two lessons this week, Monday was max power t/o's and steep approaches and yesterday limited power / circuits. Monday wasn't too bad, fairly long briefing but there was a bit to go through (overpitching and vortex ring state ). Out to the training area and instead of chugging along @ 70kts, this was lesson 8, let's crank it up to 80kts - look out Westland Lynx (sorry that was awful). It was a nice clear morning and we were at about 1,000ft and the instructor said see that little opening lined by trees, that's were we're going. I suppose it felt a bit different "driving" towards the target rather than "floating" down to it and the trees seemed pretty close the first time around. What caught me most by surprise was the powerlines just over from the treeline in front - now there's something I don't hope to ever meet. A few goes around and it did feel like a lot of constant adjustments depending on where you were on approach - definitely a bit of a work out.
Now yesterday was a bit more of a revelation - this was the first time I'd been up with this instructor and I'd been looking forward to it - he was the one who had been behind me in another machine during a lesson some weeks ago commenting on my use of pedals in the circuit . Well finally I could show him - not . We were out for limited power and we'd joined the circuit and were commencing the first turn to final when he said you've driven fixed wing before haven't you...yep I answered, about 16 years ago. You've still got the practice of using the pedal to assist you turn ...to be honest I hadn't realised that the old motor skill had taken over from the head skill but he was right. I'd been focusing more on the "ball" rather than the strings and my earlier flying days were haunting me. Last nights journal reminds me to trust more in the strings rather than the ball.
We'd done the first running landing and when I'd pulled up to a normal hover just to move over a bit he said, let's have a look at the way your pulled up into the hover there. In hindsight it's easy to see...how can I explain...it's like if someone bounces a ball up but you can't see it until the last second when you try and grab it. I was trying to grab the machine just after it was airborn. Not "hovering" once the collective left the floor. So we stopped there and did some 90deg turns hovering,landing and then up again, turn, hover, land and up... Then after the next running t/o and landing we'd do it again. After a few circuits we headed back and I could tell straight away I'd gotten a lot out of this lesson. Don't get me wrong I've gotten a lot out of every lesson so far (they've all been awesome) and every instructor has had a little bit of something different that the others didn't (suppose that's an advantage of a variety of instructors),but this flight was one those Aarh!!!! lessons. I just hope I don't bloody forget during next week
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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