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Any experienced guys suffered loss of confidence?

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Any experienced guys suffered loss of confidence?

Old 12th Jan 2023, 21:51
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Any experienced guys suffered loss of confidence?

Anyone have any experience of a sudden complete lack of flying confidence? I’ve been flying the 320 for almost 8 years now, over 4000 hours from the right seat, mostly uneventful, never needed any additional training. However the last 6 months I have completely lost confidence flying approaches and landings, particularly in windy/gusty conditions. Messing up a landing last year on a gusty day, ballooning the aircraft leading to a baulked landing is still playing in my mind, first time it’s happened to me.

Now the overthinking and anxiety go into overdrive when I see the dreaded forecast before a days flying. “Is my seat position right, to high to low, when am I taking power on/off, where am I looking in terms of aiming point/opposite threshold”, flare height etc.

give me a Cavok day with 10kts on the nose and no issues, I definitely think that improving my scan, staying better on profile and avoiding dipping low/high and getting big A/T changes late on those really gusty sink inducing days would help

The overthinking and anxiety is certainly a character trait, almost seems the more I overthink and worry the worse the result. Any advice greatly appreciated
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 22:18
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I think everyone goes through this to some degree in their life.

You seem to have a mature attitude towards identifying the anxiety created and may find help in chatting to someone to help with ways of managing it.

You will get though this and you certainly aren’t alone in your thoughts.

Take care and good on you for having the courage to admit that we’re not always perfect! A lot of our colleagues could learn a lot from that!!
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 02:30
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You'll need a change of viewpoint on yourself otherwise this could be a self-fuelling loop. But you already know that and is not changing much, right ?

Got my line training extended from 25 hrs to 75 because of inadequate landings. I could not really see what was so terrible about them until they started getting markedly worse around the 55 hr mark, just as the check-ride approached, when I could not even achieve the performance which triggered the training extension in the first place.

There will be practical steps you can take, PM as you wish. No, not cold morning showers, neither more vegetables nor aerobic exercise....

Last edited by FlightDetent; 13th Jan 2023 at 02:42.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 04:37
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Originally Posted by adam84
Anyone have any experience of a sudden complete lack of flying confidence? I’ve been flying the 320 for almost 8 years now, over 4000 hours from the right seat, mostly uneventful, never needed any additional training. However the last 6 months I have completely lost confidence flying approaches and landings, particularly in windy/gusty conditions. Messing up a landing last year on a gusty day, ballooning the aircraft leading to a baulked landing is still playing in my mind, first time it’s happened to me.

Now the overthinking and anxiety go into overdrive when I see the dreaded forecast before a days flying. “Is my seat position right, to high to low, when am I taking power on/off, where am I looking in terms of aiming point/opposite threshold”, flare height etc.

give me a Cavok day with 10kts on the nose and no issues, I definitely think that improving my scan, staying better on profile and avoiding dipping low/high and getting big A/T changes late on those really gusty sink inducing days would help

The overthinking and anxiety is certainly a character trait, almost seems the more I overthink and worry the worse the result. Any advice greatly appreciated
Buddy, you've done 4000 hours uneventful and dozens of gusty landings without a single problem. Why aren't you gonna be able to do the same when you've been doing it FOR YEARS? Does that make sense?.
You haven't been landing properly for years because you were lucky you're skilled. Those bad landings are because you're over thinking it, confidence below zero and stressing on something you do PERFECTLY.

Get the snowball rolling when you do a good landing, next day think: today is gonna be equal or better than yesterday. Build that confidence again because the skill, you have it already.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 05:35
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[QUOTE]Messing up a landing last year on a gusty day, ballooning the aircraft leading to a baulked landing is still playing in my mind, first time it’s happened to me.[/QUOTE]

Happens to the best of us, I’m afraid, but I don’t see why you walked away from this bruised. You got a poorly timed gust of wind that upset the trajectory. You did EXACTLY what you should’ve done. You went around and tried again. That is NOT a failure.

I’ll say it again, a go around is NOT a failure. It shows good judgment. History is littered with the twisted metal and blood of approaches and landings that should’ve been discontinued, but were not.

I accept that company culture can negatively affect perception after a go around. Here, there’s no paperwork. You’ll never get a phone call for going around, but a very long landing or unstable approach will probably earn you at least a phone call.

I’m not sure what your captain said to you after, but if it was anything other than “excellent job deciding to try that one again”, shame on him or her.

Since you asked for advice, I’d offer 2 bits- you’re not going to get better by avoiding the gusty days (not saying that you are), so take the bull by the horns, and actively seek them out. Calm wind days won’t rebuild your confidence. The rough days will.

On Autothrust, I find I do better landings with the Autothrust off. I feel as though I have better control when Fifi isn’t “helping”. Easier to squeeze a bit of power on or off as needed, especially in the flare.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 08:32
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Congrats for being HONEST

Relax
Soft Hands
Trim
Keep Breathing
Ride The Gusts
ENJOY the challenge



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Old 13th Jan 2023, 09:24
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How good is your employer, if they are decent, you should be able to talk with someone over this confidentially. They can offer several things that may help, there are professionals they can put you in contact with for anxiety, and extra training in the sim, dealing with challenging approaches to get your confidence back.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 09:36
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As someone who has been in a similar position I know that anxiety can be the worst in any walk of life but in this profession can be a tough one to face up to.

But that said you've taken the biggest and hardest step which is identifying the problem to yourself and bringing it to your own attention with a view to tackling it and more importantly seeking help and feedback from others. This in itself is a huge milestone, believe me. The worst you can do is bottle it up as it can literally take over your life.

The most important part firstly is to talk it through, maybe with someone on a personal level first and just take a simple step back as others have suggested and taking a moment to realise that since the feelings started you have performed countless flights without issue and left many a SLF walking away at their destinations with smiles on their faces.

Sh!t happens and it's easy to beat yourself up and worry about when it will next happen but the reality is that in a lifetime of flying it'll happen less than a handful of times, and when it does it mostly doesn't really matter (so long as you're not upside down ). So focus on the good parts of flying, the enjoyable parts, because if you love what you do then they are, and should be, the vast majority of your time.






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Old 13th Jan 2023, 10:46
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We all go through this - after months with no problems, we suddenly go through a patch of bad landings or do something daft, (for example forgetting that the A330 I was flying was empty and therefore it did not slow down, so we were not stable for landing and had to go around.......ahem.)

Interestingly, looking in my logbook, (I always add comments when I do bad (and good) landings!); My best landings were usually with Captains I liked and got on with very well. My worst were often with someone I did not know or did not like !

So I would not worry unduly. You probably just need a holiday.

Having said that, I once barely passed a recurrent Sim, and could not understand why I had done so poorly and out of character. It was so confusing that I went to my GP and it turned out that I was suffering from stress and was signed off work immediately for 2 weeks. The thing was, I did not feel remotely stressed at all, I felt and behaved normally. So perhaps get that checked?

But almost certainly, you are just going through a slight dip. Just remember, the A320 is a fantastic aircraft. I wouldn't start doing things differently and taking out the excellent auto-thrust to try to help yourself at this stage.

Just relax in to it and enjoy !
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 20:12
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Thanks all, loads of positive feedback and advice there. Tbh i think it maybe tiredness and stress are contributing factors, I feel slower to react to flight path changes and my scan has got sloppy which is exacerbating the problems, something to work on.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 21:14
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Originally Posted by adam84
Anyone have any experience of a sudden complete lack of flying confidence? I’ve been flying the 320 for almost 8 years now, over 4000 hours from the right seat, mostly uneventful, never needed any additional training. However the last 6 months I have completely lost confidence flying approaches and landings, particularly in windy/gusty conditions. Messing up a landing last year on a gusty day, ballooning the aircraft leading to a baulked landing is still playing in my mind, first time it’s happened to me.

Now the overthinking and anxiety go into overdrive when I see the dreaded forecast before a days flying. “Is my seat position right, to high to low, when am I taking power on/off, where am I looking in terms of aiming point/opposite threshold”, flare height etc.

give me a Cavok day with 10kts on the nose and no issues, I definitely think that improving my scan, staying better on profile and avoiding dipping low/high and getting big A/T changes late on those really gusty sink inducing days would help

The overthinking and anxiety is certainly a character trait, almost seems the more I overthink and worry the worse the result. Any advice greatly appreciated

I have about 10 years on the 320, most in the left seat. Probably over 1000 landings as PF. Before that 15 years of short haul in light business jets and 50 seat turboprops, with over 3000 landings. Never any problems handling. Had a very gusty approach into LGA last year on a A321, close to MLW and had a hard landing. No load 15, but still. About 6 moths later went back to LGA, and because of my experience, did the same thing (will probably balloon and go around the next time I go there). Talk to someone you trust, and trust yourself.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 07:36
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Happens to all of us. The fact you question is already the start of returning to... It is an interesting period to get rid of all the "extra's" and return your mindset to the very very basics.

In these periods I mentally focus on the 500ft to touchdown. "Straight centerline, focus on touchdown zone markers, 50ft call focus on the runway end". As for engines, when you near the touchdown attitude, idle it. All else is extra that only takes away attention.

You'll recover, don't worry. Just focus on the basics.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 07:41
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I'd recommend getting Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 with the Fenix A320 add on, Thrustmaster Airbus Sidestick and Thrust levers, and a rudder pedal set. Do a few circuits and landings, turning climb and descents.

Back in the day when I realised my scanning was going down the drain, flight sim helped me bring it back up to scratch. Every 6 months I'll normally fire up the sim to do a dry run prior to my base cx. It also helped keep me on the ball during the Covid furlough period.
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Old 14th Apr 2023, 12:08
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Originally Posted by cav-not-ok
I'd recommend getting Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 with the Fenix A320 add on, Thrustmaster Airbus Sidestick and Thrust levers, and a rudder pedal set. Do a few circuits and landings, turning climb and descents.

Back in the day when I realised my scanning was going down the drain, flight sim helped me bring it back up to scratch. Every 6 months I'll normally fire up the sim to do a dry run prior to my base cx. It also helped keep me on the ball during the Covid furlough period.
Yep! Or you can go the X-Plane route, buying X-Plane 11 or 12 with the Toliss A320Neo (they also have a 321N and a 319CEO)

All the best for your flying endeavors
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Old 10th May 2023, 12:54
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Not a pilot but a mech design engineer in the aviation industry.
4 years in the military business and 12 years in the completion business.
Yes I lost confidence in my preparation and my judgement a couple of years back but I learned a lot from that.
In your case, your hardest challenge is not controlling the airplane in a gusty approach, but controlling your mind.
Remember this: mistakes are not our enemies, we're our own enemies when we can't control our mind. As long as you admit and learn from a mistake you can only get better. Mistakes are there to make us better and experience comes from mistakes.
The lesson here for you is that now you know that things are not always smooth and easy. You probably didn't know this before so you're a better pilot now.
Self confidence takes a long time to come back, but when it's back you feel better than before so keep up your work and your training.
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Old 16th May 2023, 07:16
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Hi, I'm not nearly as experienced as you and have also had up and downs in my confidence.

What has helped me in the past was renting a PA28/C172 at the local club and practicing touch and goes when nobody else is flying during windy conditions, crosswinds etc. (nothing so extreme that it's unsafe).
The best thing about this is that there's nobody to judge you or whom you would be negatively affecting if your landing isn't pretty. You can bounce, balloon, go around etc as much as you want (within safe limits obviously), and nobody will be there to see it or judge it. This removes a lot of the pressure and stress on you as compared to sitting on the RHS of the A320, worried about what the Captain's is going to think, what all the pax are going to say if you need to go around, what the extra cost for the airline is for the extra fuel burn etc, all of these little stressors are gone and will let you focus and show yourself that you can do it.

Of course a C172 and a A320 are not the same, but from a pilot's mental point of view the scenario is identical in my humble opinion. The mission is getting an aircraft down on the ground safely during hard conditions, C172 or A320 doesn't really matter.
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