It IS just a plane, after all......   Thursday's lesson in the Arrow III


January 6, 2005

Geez, I haven't been very good about providing updates on my training...
Last Thursday ( a day before the line of storms began visiting us here in the S.F. Bay Area) I continued with my complex training in the Arrow III for my Commercial certificate.
I had asked my instructor if I could have two sessions just shooting regular landings.  We had started training in this aircraft (my first time in it) doing the typical checkout stuff and then moved on to 'boutique' landings (ex: short-field/soft-field takeoffs/landings).  After a session or two of the 'boutique' landings I told my instructor what I really would like to do is to hang in the pattern for a couple of training sessions and repeatedly do some normal landings - just to get a better feel for the plane and procedures.  I find the pattern provides you with a variety of different experiences in a short amount of time and I really wanted to have some experience with the plane so that I could incorporate in (and compare it with) my own experience in the high-wingers.
The recent and previous 'in-the-pattern' sessions were just 'what the doctor ordered'.  It began happening once I had gotten into the swing of the extra procedures involved in flying a 'complex' plane.  I'm turning from base to final, on my next to the last circuit and had one of those 'flashes of recognition where one moment bridges galaxies' happen to me:  The 'profound' <g> discovery that came to me is that although this plane had a few extra doodads,,, it was a plane, after all,, and I was a pilot and all I had to do was fly the plane and I knew how,,, that's it... Low-wing, high-wing, fixed, retractable - it is still a plane that only needs the pilot to fly it - a warm, soothing 'confidence' came over me (which I hadn't experienced yet in these first few hours of getting used to the Arrow III), the pilot need only fly the plane according to its' needs which the pilot already knew.
I guess my CFII picked-up on this and for our last pass around the pattern he called in for clearance to do a short approach and pulled my power.  I executed an emergency landing with a touchdown that was the stuff of dreams.
I knew what to do every second in this 'new' plane.  The plane and I just kind of melted together and 'became one', for lack of a better phrase - thought instantly translated itself to appropriate action, like the other planes that I'd grown used to, this 'new' plane felt like a 'second skin',, an extension of 'myself'.  I don't mean to 'go on', but it was a 'powerful' wonderful 'turning point' in this plane that had been 'new' to me.
As I taxied the plane back to the FBO, I felt like I was positively 'glowing' <g>, all the while 'thinking' to myself;

"I AM a pilot, after all and I FLY planes"......  :-)

Good Flights!

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