Well, folks, I can’t seem to win at this flying thing.
I enrolled at an aviation school, got a flight instructor and began again. Now I’m a few more lessons in, a few hundred more dollars spent, and have somehow managed to go backwards.
As my mentor helped me to understand, my instructor is afraid to let go of the plane and its costing me time and money. I am at about 10 flight hours now and I have an instructor that won’t let me taxi, takeoff, land or get on the radio for even a second. It’s pretty frustrating considering with other pilots and other instructors I have done all of these things before.
Our lessons are simple, she takes me up, I put on foggles and do very basic maneuvers or simply go up and down, left and right without foggles, and then she lands the plane, taxis it back to a parking spot and the lesson is over. I thought I was getting somewhere because I have begun filling out the flight manifest and doing the preflight by myself. It has been brought to my attention I am mistaken. At this rate I’ll never solo.
Our next ground lesson is on the four forces of flight. Oh goody. The one after that is on aircraft systems. I am bored out of my mind and have already done all of these lessons before on my own time.
When I enrolled I was told my five logged flight hours and other not-so-logged flight hours would be taken into consideration. In reality, I’m barely flying the plane during any of my lessons and I’m paying dearly at a fancy flight school to review ground lessons I already know.
How do I feel about flying these days? Frustrated. Bored. Depressed. Angry. Ready to give up and quit.
It doesn’t help that it’s so ridiculously expensive. I feel like I am throwing hundred dollar bills in the trash. And I feel incredibly guilty because this is money that could be going to other ambitions my husband and I have. We work so hard lately and barely see each other. We’re trying to save up for a house and to send my husband back to school. Every time I shell out hundreds of dollars for one lesson and don’t actually learn anything new I feel like I’m failing my family. I feel like I am letting a bad instructor take advantage of us. I ask lots of questions and I study everything she tells me to but I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels and the guilt of how much I’m spending to get nowhere is crushing. It keeps me up at night. Exibit A: It’s after midnight now and instead of sleeping, I’m writing this post.
My flight instructor hasn’t been on time to one of our lessons. She chats with other pilots passing by in the hall during time I’m being charged for ground school. I’m hearing a lot of “we’ll get to that later” when I ask questions. Frankly, I’d like to fire her.
But on the other side of that coin is the realization that the aviation world is small, the female aviation world is smaller and I’m really not sure I want to piss off one of the few allies I have in a town I just moved to.
My mentor and I talked it over and came to a decision. I’m going to talk to my CFI and explain that I am disappointed with my progress so far and starting with our next lesson I will be in control of the plane the whole flight unless there is a life threatening situation where she needs to take it from me. If she agrees, I’ll give her another shot. If not, I’m switching instructors. Again.
More than anything I am brokenhearted. I wanted so badly for this plan to work out better. So far it doesn’t seem to be working out at all….except for my instructor, who is banking.