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Nerves and flying for the sake of keeping current

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Nerves and flying for the sake of keeping current

Old 12th Mar 2016, 20:26
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Nerves and flying for the sake of keeping current

Hi everyone,

Quick question that I wondered while I was flying today....Two fold actually..

I've been flying since I was 17, so 14 years and I still get a bit nervous when I go up given the fact that it's always in the back of my mind that when I'm up there I'm totally responsible for getting myself back down. Does anyone else still have this after so long?

The other thought was that given that flying is quite an expensive hobby, does any else ever feel like sometimes (only rarely) they're going flying just so it doesn't cost as much to revalidate when the SEP runs out!? Maybe I need to branch out and visit more places...

I'd just be interested in everyone elses thoughts on these matters!
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Old 12th Mar 2016, 21:06
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Yep i get this every two years. Same thing over and over.

Im 29 now and passed when I was 21 I believe.

I purely only fly to keep current. I don't make a thing out of it and I wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoy it. When time allows in the coming years I will make more time to enjoy it but for now I'm just keeping legal.

I wouldn't say nervous about getting down as I feel like I'm a very competent pilot. However as a safety precaution I fly with an instructor for the first 3 or 4 hours of the 12 I have to complete. Then I do my own thing. Usually consist of taking friends up who have wanted to fly with me.
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Old 12th Mar 2016, 21:31
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I've found its a function of how long since you last flew. consider flying for less time but more frequently. once you feel more comfortable then do longer but less frequent! :-)
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Old 12th Mar 2016, 21:48
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The nerves thing I don't get every flight by any means, but do get it - from time to time, when something puts me out of my comfort zone. A new type, above 8/8 cloud, taking an IAP for the first time in months. There are various things that can give me that sense of deep nerves - the only solution I've ever found to it is being as prepared as I possibly can be for what I'm doing, and that's not so much a nerves prevention measure, as an accident prevention measure. (And for what it's worth, I've been flying for 27 years, and had a licence for 23.)

Regarding hours and currency. I do fly for currency - more usually currency of skill than legal minima, but that's just a variation on the same thing. But I think that if that's normal, you're failing to find a reason and justification for your flying beyond "just because".

There are many reasons people find to keep doing and enjoying their flying - here's one you might think about. I put a bit of effort into getting one of their badges (in my case, "just because I could" to be honest, but actually I rather enjoyed it.

LAA Wings | Developing safer pilots

There are plenty of other ideas and opportunities out there - but it's well worth finding something, for all sorts of reasons from pure fun to making you a better pilot. Some of the rallies can be a lot of fun as well - I did the microlight round Britain Rally two years, and gained a lot as a pilot from that, for example. Dawn to Dusk? Top Nav? Aerobatics course towards doing a club competition?

G
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Old 12th Mar 2016, 22:44
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Originally Posted by Licence to Learn View Post
it's always in the back of my mind that when I'm up there I'm totally responsible for getting myself back down. Does anyone else still have this after so long?
Yes. After rather more than 14 years.


I do not however include it in my passenger briefing: "Hey folks, the only way we're going to be alive an hour or so from now is if I don't screw up".
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Old 12th Mar 2016, 23:04
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Originally Posted by Licence to Learn View Post

I've been flying since I was 17, so 14 years and I still get a bit nervous when I go up given the fact that it's always in the back of my mind that when I'm up there I'm totally responsible for getting myself back down. Does anyone else still have this after so long?
From the time I line up and push the power in, till I touch down to a full stop on EVERY flight. Flying for over 20 years, with 1000+ hours on a commercial rating, flying a tail dragger in and out of every half assed farm strip, beach or barley field North of Hadrians wall.
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 05:13
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Does anyone else still have this after so long?
Nope, I delight in being on my own. There are certain flights I accept, where the risk is higher, and I'm nervous because of that, but, I accepted a risk over my normal comfort level.

I believe that a pilot who flies the minimums to maintain currency, will be minimally current, unless they are doing it based on many thousands of hours of previous experience.
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 08:39
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I think a small amount of “nervousness” is good, let’s call it “heightened awareness” instead. On the arousal vs. performance graph, you want to be somewhere in the middle, not towards either end.

If you get into an aircraft without thought of any eventualities, your risk exposure is much increased, IMHO.

Achieving that state where you have peak awareness of your environment but are not inhibited by fear of it can be difficult, especially if you don’t have much experience or currency to fall back on. Best to be a little bit nervous than brazenly overconfident...
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 09:08
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Being slightly apprehensive = a sense of self preservation.

Worry when you stop being nervous prior to flying. ;-
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 09:12
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Really out of my comfort zone here, as I am an ex-military pilot who has never touched a cockpit for 60+ years; all I can bring to the feast is an aphorism heard in a Commons debate donkey's years ago:

"The more you fly, the more you want to fly; and the less you fly, the less you want to fly".

From my limted experience, I believe this to be true.
 
Old 13th Mar 2016, 10:35
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Great to hear I'm not alone.

I have to admit that I left out the greatest part of it all... every time I get back home there's that great sense of achievement and satisfaction that you have the skills to fly which makes you want to go up again asap.

It is nice to know however, that there are other more experienced pilots out there with the same thought processes!
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 12:33
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You are certainly not alone.


I can remember the early years of having a ppl. In those days it was 5 hours every 13 months or a GFT (handling check).
I struggled to be anything other than safe.


In later years I have checked out many ppl`s wanting to hire an aircraft.
Often they would not have passed a handling check but I had to look for a safe standard (would I sit in the back of an aircraft being flown by them?)


The fact that a pilot "knows what he dosen`t know" and knows that he is not in current practice is more important and therefore adjusts his operating minima accordingly (x-winds etc).


Flying shorter more regular flights (as has been suggested) would help.
Also what you do during the flight.
It is a shame that fewer airfields allow circuit practice these days. 1/2 hour in the circuit ( tight as you can with glide approaches) every month is better than 1 hour straight and level every 2 months.
If circuits are out, then some general handling (accurate 30deg banked turns through 360 deg, then 45deg bank if you are confident). Also slow flight (stall +10kts) and simulated go-arounds at a safe height.


When you do the flight with an instructor, discuss with him/her what you feel least confident at, you will then get more out of the flight. Try not to treat it as a test


Sharing flights with other ppl`s can help. You can learn a lot from others (minor) errors and whilst he/she is flying you will be mentally flying the aircraft as well.
You can visit new airfields that way.


By knowing that you are out of your comfort zone and wanting to do something about it suggests that I would sit in the back of your aeroplane.


J.J.
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 14:52
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The more you do the less nervous you will be! But then if you increase to a more demanding aviation challenge the nerves will tear again and so on so on !
I think it's normal to be slightly apprehensive before a flight!
I remember from my car racing days before a start nerves were high, as soon as the flag dropped they went and that extra shot of adrenaline helped you perform better ))

Pace
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 18:54
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What some others have said. It's normal to be nervous if you haven't flown for a while, and slightly apprehensive every time you fly. Currency is the key - the more often you fly the more at home in the aeroplane you'll feel.

There are those on here who will disagree but I divide pilots into two types; tourers and aviators. Or as someone a lot more experienced than me (probably either Brian Lecomber or John Farley) defined them, 'pure' and 'applied' flyers. The 'pure' or aviators fly taildraggers short distances to farm strips and aerobat them on the way.The 'applied' or 'tourers' use the aeroplane to go places, sometimes IMC. Which are you?

I put myself firmly in the 'aviator', 'pure' camp. I have or had little interest in going places and love nice handling aeroplanes, interesting strips and simple aeros.

Aeroplanes cost 'X' per hour to operate or to hire no matter what you do with them (though capable tourers cost more than fun taildraggers) and I always thought (a purely personal view!) there are more bangs per buck doing it the way I did, or maybe that's just me.

But you can spend 1 hour flying to a strip and doing some aeros on the way there and back every week for seven weeks (different strip, though, probably). Or you can spend the same time / money on one flight every 7 weeks going to LTQ for lunch.

If you are rich, you can go to LTQ for lunch every Sunday, and do your stripping and aeros in your other aeroplane on Saturdays. I am not rich. I had to choose.

So, to maximise the 'richness of experience' per hour be an aviator. Stick to one type (get a share) so you have the time on type to 'meld' with it and become as one with it. That takes away a lot of the nervousness even if finances, wx, or availability mean a lay off for a few weeks.

That's what I did. It may not be what others want to do. I may not be what you want to do. But I offer it as no more than a suggestion which may or may not appeal, as a possible answer to your very real question.
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 04:30
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About a month or so ago I decided to go flying to keep my 90 day passenger currency up. I was in the middle of a set of night shifts but the weather was too good to miss and my shared Cherokee was available for the afternoon. I did all the checks as far as starting to taxi but something just did not feel right so I shut down and was angry with myself for feeling the nerves that I was feeling and decided to go home. The weather was brilliant though and I wrestled with my thoughts till I came upon the idea of seeing if an instructor at the airfield might have had a cancellation and went to Ops to ask. I felt a bit of a wimp explaining my situation but one was available and I had the best circuit workout for long time and though I didn't get the hour in my log book I was so glad I did that..it really boosted my confidence and made me realise there is always another day and that extra £40 was worth every penny.
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 11:06
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The most nervous I ever was, was when the door on my C152 became open.
So being inquisitive, I pushed it open as far as it would go against the windflow, and had a look under the fuselage, as you do... I then realised that all that was between me and the 3000ft drop was a thin 1/16 inch of alloy sheet.... Gave me some cause for concern for the rest of the flight.
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 13:11
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I didn't get the hour in my log book I was so glad I did that..
Not PiC, but I can't think of any reason you couldn't log that flight.

G
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 15:53
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
Not PiC, but I can't think of any reason you couldn't log that flight.

G
Oh of course, I logged it but as I am hour building as much PiC is what I am after. Glad I listened to that little niggle that said this flight should not be PiC.
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 23:49
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Local VFR got stale, so I stopped flying for a bit. Now that I'm back, I've got a different focus. I'll be concentrating on improving my flying wherever possible, doing longer trips - perhaps with an overnight camping stop. I'm also planning to add an IR(R), tail wheel and aero endorsements, and then perhaps look at an FI course.

I love flying, but flying for the sake of staying current or because I was paying the group fee so I may as well use it were the wrong motivators for me. It became a chore rather than a joy.
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Old 15th Mar 2016, 12:18
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I've some 25 hours post licence and I got my licence August last year. Given the winter we had, I don't mind calling myself fairly current, I even have my first sea crossing between UK and Ireland (accompanied by more experienced pilot) and a NR. I never really get nervous before the flight, however from time to time I would get anxious during the flight. All sort of IFs come in play, I don't think I ever doubt the aircraft I'm flying - I worry more about myself - what if I get sick? What if I have a heart attack or whatever? I also get anxious when traffic get's really busy and when you hear dozens of planes around you on the frequency but have a very little idea where exactly are they and what's their intention. I'm based in an airfield that's quite prone in being cut off by sudden sea fog or low cloud, that adds to the stress..

My method in dealing with anxiety is quite simple - I try to keep myself as busy as I can. Writing logs, looking at charts, scanning, planning, playing around with VORs or whatever else. Focusing on a task really helps. The worst anxiety attacks I've had have happened when I'm up there and I'm doing nothing. If all else fails, I can always grab my phone and start making pictures. It works

Anyone else experienced this or should I go seek help?
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