I flew for the first time since Memorial Day weekend today. Not as a pilot, but as a passenger on a commercial jet.
Why the hiatus?
Somewhat becausethe end of May was when my scholarship deadline passed and I felt like a failure because I had made it all the way to .3 solo hours from eligibility for the check ride and didn’t close the deal. Somewhat because my husband started a new medication with tremendous side effects and I wanted to take care of him. Somewhat because of feelings of inadequacy – an inability to navigate; botched attempts at slipped and crosswind landings; still no idea how to do a VOR check from the ground; a foggy grasp of how to locate things in the FAR AIM. Somewhat because another CFI had moved on to an airline job. But mostly it was fear.
I had heard multiple CFIs tell me I was a good pilot. I was “private pilot material.” Even one disturbing remark “Val, I have soloed and checked out student pilots that have less talent than you do in your pinky, what are you waiting for?”
Fear. I’m waiting for the fear to pass.
Recently I saw a posting on my 99s board. A private pilot that earned her license 5 years ago admitted to fear. Tremendous, paralyzingly fear. She was afraid to fly to new airports. She was afraid to fly alone. She asked for advice. Over the next two weeks responses poured in from all over the country. Kindred spirits with similar fears. Two that stood out to me were women with licenses that were afraid to leave the pattern even with their pilot husbands in the right seat.
So that’s it then?! The fear never leaves, it only gets worse after you earn your license?!
I gave up for a while.
Then I started to miss flying. I found myself losing my place in a conversation because I was watching a plane in the sky – like a dog when it sees a squirrel.
How do I get back up there? Especially now that I’ve forgotten so much since I haven’t flown in 5 months and I’ve lost another instructor?
I posed this quierry to the universe and guys, the universe answered.
Once a year in the middle of nowhere (also known as Vernon, Tx) a group of women get together for Girls In Flight Training (GIFT) week. It’s a full week of free ground school all day everyday. Bring your dumb girl questions, bring your fears, and get over them in a room full of like-minded, equally frightened girls.
There are also flight lessons each day tailored to the student wherever she is at and a DPE present for anyone ready for the check ride.
It only took this pansy two weeks to think it over, one night to see what her husband thought (he’s extremely supportive), and I was booking my ticket to Texas.
I arrived a few days early to visit family so tonight I am back in my childhood home, sleeplessly sweating buckets (it’s still 90 in Texas), watching the first lightning storm I’ve seen in a year and sifting through an old high school yearbook. I’m nervous and excited, just like being 17 again.
I’ll keep you guys posted🙂👍.