Aside from the miracle of flight one aspect of aviation I truly appreciate is the constant learning and knowing I will never reach full mastery. Its why flight training relates so well to life in general. You should be constantly learning and realize you will never be a master. Work or hobbies which are easily mastered bore me rather quickly and I bet for you too. Many people feel very comfortable when they are working in a job easily mastered which requires little thinking, or their hobbies are very relaxing with little technical expertise needed. But not me. I love learning... its even better when not learning can mean death!
For the next 6 days I am flight training for emergency maneuvers at CP Aviation in Santa Paula CA. This training involves putting your airplane in various situations I really would rather not prefer to be in! Primarily stalls, spins, over-banking and control surface failures... along with a whole lot of unusual attitudes my instructor seems to relish! Each one is rather uncomfortable and a place you really don't want to be. Of course my instructor seems to enjoy it all! The instructors here at CP are all aerobatic type flyers and take all of this next level. I on the other hand prefer to fly like a Delta airlines pilot (or auto-pilot)- smooth and gentle!
The most important aspect of this training is really.... #1 Recognition- In 2 phases... phase 1 recognizing when you are in a situation where upset recovery or emergency maneuvers might be pop up. These can include- slow flight, low altitude, fatigue, task saturation, distractions, turbulence, weather, and more. Phase 2 is the quick recognition of the onset of a stall, over-banking, spin, spiral... nipping any of these in the bud is always the best thing! Before the situation spirals out of control! Pun intended!
#2 Quick and appropriate action! After recognizing... react. And usually not the reaction your gut tells you... such as to pull back on the yoke! Using the appropriate control inputs soon before things get out of control. So for stalls - push forward, lower your nose, add power as needed. For spins- reduce power, neutral ailerons, opposite rudder and then finally gradual elevator pull back as you slowly bring power back in... For spirals- reduce power, release any back pressure on the yoke and shallow the bank by rolling wings level.
All of this, like much of aviation training is perfectly applicable to daily life and living! It all starts with "recognition". Thats phase 1. Recognize when you are "flying" near the edge of the flight envelope in life! For me these are those times when I am tired/fatigued, maybe in an unusual setting (far from home and/or alone), perhaps in an emotionally (distracting) charged environment, or any stressful situation. But remember phase 2 of "recognition" notice immediately when things start to go bad! And then smoothly and gracefully apply the appropriate reactions.... AND USUALLY YOUR GUT RESPONSE IS WRONG!
Try not to overreact. Try not to immediately pull back on the yoke! Try not to make a bad situation worse! Recognize- React. Listen to your body as I listen to the plane. Listen to your emotions... that is your fuel flow (power). Often you immediately need to REDUCE POWER! Again that will often not be your first gut reaction! Get back to basics, ignore the unnecessary distractions and FLY THE AIRPLANE. So often I need to remind myself of this approach to my daily life. Remain calm, acknowledge when at the edge of the envelope, raise my vigilance and do not be overwhelmed into an emotional spiral.
I am grateful for all my flight training and what it has brought to me not only to be a better pilot but to be a better person, dad, friend, coworker and citizen. It is why I like to push hard, continually learn and avoid constant comfort. What aspects of your training apply across your life? What have you learned in your hobbies which have become life lessons? Recognize these learning opportunities and practice them. They only become natural and well executed with practice! That's why my instructor is not being gentle with me this week in the air! Practice, practice, practice! And do not puke!