January 30, 2005

The Doldrums

Only two flights in more than six weeks now, and I feel like I'm making no progress, just standing still (if that). Each of those two flights was a good lesson -- I learned a lot about managing workloads (and controllers) and the fickleness of GPS interfaces each time, and I chalked up more than 30 minutes in continuous night actual on last week's flight to Napa (not written up here, unfortunately) -- but I'm unable to put enough into this at the moment to keep last year's momentum going. Part of this has been weather-related (we've had a bad winter so far by Northern Californian standards), but it's mostly due to my business and contract-related pressures. I simply don't have the time at the moment to do more than turn up, mostly unprepared, once every week or two for a local flight late in the evening and take whatever comes my way in 2SP or 4JG.

I'm getting rusty, and my flying shows it. I'm not having any real problems with procedures and things like visualising what to do or where I am, etc., I just keep getting behind the plane and flying sloppily -- and wrestling with the old Death Grip. I still have problems with airspeed and altitude control (and yet I can do hold entries or procedure turns almost in my sleep, and I've been able to look at a strange approach and have little difficulty understanding how I'll fly it for some time now...). And some of the details keep tripping me up -- like forgetting to time the final segment to get the MAP right, or missing the fact that I'm turning off-course on the ILS while I talk to NorCal. And there's the Grace Under Pressure thing again. It's frustrating, but it probably won't change until I can stablise my current contract and job situation (the good side of this is that with the busyness comes the income that keeps me flying :-)).

The workload also means the blog suffers -- it'll probably miss a few more flights in detail as well. Oh well.

January 08, 2005

Or Maybe Not.

Three weather-related cancellations in a row -- two this week plus the one last week. Really bad weather by Northern Californian standards, and bitterly cold (the temperature may even drop to freezing level here in the next few days, the thought of which sends shivers up any normal Bay Area spine...). Very frustrating -- I'm in danger of losing momentum. The good news is that I downloaded the KLN 94 GPS manual for 2SP and read all 280 pages in one sitting (translation: I have no life). The scary thing was it all made perfect sense (translation: I am a real nerd). Ditto for the KAP 140 autopilot. I can't wait to try them out for real again....