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Monday, December 26, 2005 


I failed.

I failed my phase check.

The moment I found out who was going to be my check instructor I started to put undue stress on to myself. Notoriously known as someone who is very procedural with very high standards and is unforgiving. As my roommate said, "I've never seen you put so much effort into flying before." Usually I'd just look at the map, draw out my route, make some mental notes of control zones and prominent features to look out for and that's it. Takes about half an hour. For my check, I went through everything I could think of. Eventually I just made myself a bit confused as I found discrepencies between the college's standard procedures, what various instructors told me to do, and civil aviation law.

On the day itself I felt fine, just a bit numb. This is how I feel like when there's stress. Over the years, I've managed to block out a certain level of stress. What I didn't know was, it gave me tunnel vision, and narrowed my thinking to just accomplish one thing at a time. This is bad when flying.

Departing the airport, he commented that I was drifting slightly into control airspace. I was thinking this is the normal route I take with my instructor. As we reached the top of climb for my first leg, I started my checks, as I got to my second item, I noticed I haven't set my new heading and turned towards my new track. Cursing myself, I changed the heading bug and flew the plane towards my new destination. As I was going through the rest of the checks, I managed to get a fixed position of where we were. Saw that we were two nautical miles off track. Thought nothing of it since it was a small deviation, I'd finish off my checks, get another fix and correct my heading. Five minutes later, "OK, that's it, I have control, we're turning back."
I was stunned. "Why?"
"What heading are you supposed to fly?" he asked me.
"127 sir"
"Yeah, but you set it to 137, and you were off track and didn't do a 1 in 60 to fix it up"
"Sir, I was going to take another fix and get back on track in another five minutes at the next ten minute marker"
"Yyeaahh, not gonna happen. You made two big mistakes, your heading and you didn't do corrections."
As I was argueing with him that that wasn't fair, since he at least could test me on LOST procedures, he flew us back to the airport.
He commended me for wanting to show him that we could still go on as most cadets just slump and give up when he tells them they failed.

Back in college, people were saying that it really wasn't fair, that he turned back so early. Then again, I did let my nerves get to me. I know I could have gotten us back on track if he let me. Other cadets had worse tales of their phase check and yet still passed under other instructors. It irks me, but it's just a small hiccup along the way. I know I'll pass my next attempt. This is just a lesson learned. I'm not someone who does well when he over prepares. I do better when I say "To hell with it, I'll just fly"

Cheer up:)You'll do better next time,I'm sure you will:)

Cool shah..you'll make it next time with flying colours.. just be careful and be alert.. take care!! :)

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