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How to be less nervous before a flight?

Old 4th Feb 2022, 19:41
  #1 (permalink)  
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Location: Norway
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How to be less nervous before a flight?

Ive had the PPL for 1,5 year now (logged 80 hours). However, I am still nervous before every flight. I dont really know why, but I guess its an instinct..
Once I get in the cockpit, my nervousness totally disappears..
Do you have any tips on how to be less nervous? I hope I am not the only one.. I am 20 years old.
ArcticFlyer69 is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2022, 05:43
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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It’s natural imho…I’m 72 and after 50 plus years of flying I’m the same, also when I take out my motorbike or even the chainsaw. It will keep you alive; anyway we’ve all got to die sometime. Just do as much preflight preparation as possible and have a self checklist ..maybe print one out which my brother has done for when he flies his model aircraft and he’s been flying models for 50 years, owned a model shop, instructs and has a display license. Have fun.
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Old 5th Feb 2022, 05:50
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You've got 80 hours over 1,5 years - which, by all standards, is not an awful lot. Presumably at least 45 of those were your training which is done in a controlled environment where you've got someone overseeing you even for the solo flights. Which leaves you with about 30 hours as a licensed PIC. It's absolutely normal not to feel completely at ease with this number of hours, especially if you only fly on a semi-regular basis. Keep pushing and you will certainly become a lot more confident and build a lot more routine with experience.
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Old 7th Feb 2022, 21:02
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ArcticFlyer,

Never be fightened of being frightened. I am an old man and people, knowing I was once a pilot, sometimes ask, ‘Were you ever frightened?’ to which I reply, ’Of course, that’s why I’m still alive,’ and quickly pass on to other things. However, in reality, fear is not something to be denied, it is the rational emotion that prevents us from doing stupid things. It ranges from mild alarm through fear to panic. It is panic which must be avoided at all costs, this is where knowledge and good training come into their own. But fear should be accepted for what it is – and respected

Hubris has killed more pilots than fear ever did. My advice is just to check, check and double check everything you do. And to keep on practising and reading up as much as possible about other people's mistakes, analyse them and learn from them. And alway respect the elements.

I wish you every good fortune - and remember flying is fun.
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 08:48
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Expect it. Embrace it. One day you'll miss it and flying will become 'normal'.
rudestuff is offline  
Old 8th Feb 2022, 09:20
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Yes, being (slightly) nervous is normal and means that you understand the risks of failure, and are engaged and you care.

Contrast that with the swaggering idiot wearing expensive sunglasses who doesn't do a proper walk around or a fuel water drain check or full and free control check etc etc.

You are very young, but as time goes on you will gain experience, and that nervousness will reduce.
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 11:26
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Thanks for all the replies!
Just flew a local VFR flight yesterday. I think the only way to "fight" nervousness is to build experience!
I was still nervous yesterday, but once I took off from the runway, all my focus on the stress disappeared.
Once I am in the air I get so focused, that I kind of forget to be nervous..
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 15:24
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AF69, You are absolutely right and keep talking to other serious aviators, not 'the swaggering idiot wearing expensive sunglasses who doesn't do a proper walk around or a fuel water drain check or full and free control check etc etc.' that Uplinker referred to.
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 17:45
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Knowledgable aviators also wear swanky sunglasss so donít judge a book by itís cover.
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 16:31
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Join Date: Apr 2020
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Hi,

I totally understand how you feel, since I pretty much feel the same still, and would like to be more confident when flying, specially solo.
I usually go with a safety pilot who is much more experienced than me, and tbh, I really don't get the point of solo flying requirements or preference, since you never know when you might feel ill or when something may go wrong, and much better not to be alone in these cases obviously.... This part is the most tough for me.

I think what most helps is practice (like everything in life), good judgement, self-confidence and a "safety-first" attitude and behaviour.
Aviator172s is offline  
Old 15th Feb 2022, 18:15
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@Aviator172s At least when you need a safety pilot you are nervous. I was sometimes safety pilot for people who were totally not nervous but could possibly at least damage the aircraft or do some epic fail. Never was I so stressed as when being the safety pilot (but its perfect training with becoming FI in mind) since you do really never know when to intervene especially on the landing approach and the flare (since you do not sit in the other persons mind). Once upon a time a guy landed the aircraft like in the middle of the runway I said full stop its too little place left for touch and go. But the guy put full throttle and then it looked like it would be too little runway left to stop so I prayed to the aircraft engine while looking at the oncoming forest so we fly above it during takeoff.... happily it worked.

Still the guy needing safety pilot laughed and had fun kind of not realizing that we kind of barely made it (ok maybe not barely but still nothing fun) above the forest and if it was not in the evening and warmer etc. itd..... and when I explained then he said "well everyone has to die" to which I said "thats true but I would prefer not doing it today".

Eitherway the point is that a little stress and respect for the height help keeping people alive. Since you do proper preflight check, you do proper procedures and use the checklist, you do the run up test etc. itd. and often you read all the incidents and accidents reports to know what not to do. Its kind of shocking sometimes to read someone did for example manage to takeoff with the control wheel lock in place..... or someone flew off into mist and icing conditions while doing VFR. Stuff like that does not happen if someone is a tiny bit stressed, its when someone go for a flight like going for a trip with the car.

PS. The medical I class is to exclude people with a high chance of getting suddenly ill. Imagine being a captain on a flight with 100s of passengers (on a stormy day possibility of windshear with a circle to land approach) and falling ill with a fresh FO thinking "the captain is here just in case" or what about single pilot crew on some business aircraft like PC-12NG. OR imagine being that FO (since everything can happen) first thing will be to not let the stress go beyond the border that will lower the performance as we know from human performance and limitations.

Last edited by KT1988; 15th Feb 2022 at 18:21. Reason: Added a line in PS.
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 18:16
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Join Date: May 2005
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Yes don’t worry about it. I was nervous before every PPL flight. Then during all my commercial training and I’m still nervous now before going for any simulator or line check 🤣 don’t worry about it. Rather your way than over-confident!
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Old 17th Feb 2022, 06:50
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Join Date: Feb 2022
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drink ginger
modular atpl is offline  
Old 18th Feb 2022, 12:40
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YOP
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: UK
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Over 11,000 hours on helicopters ranging from RAF Sea Kings to R22s. Had that 'up-tight' feeling before every flight over more than 3 decades.
Don't worry about it at all.
As long as it disappears once you're in the cockpit so it's not a distraction, that nervousness will hopefully keep you alive so you can enjoy as long an aviation career as I did.
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