Flying with Finesse
I love it when we refer to flying as art. It distills away all the sorid technical details and leaves us with the one thing that keeps us coming back, our physical connection with the flying machine.
This connection should be a major concern for us as pilots. Our handling of the flight controls should be likened to caressing a loved one, not wrestling a pig.
Flying at its essence is a marriage between man and machine that culminates in an almost ethereal experience.
For most this was how we arrived at flying; it wasn’t to travel or earn a living or to get a $100 hamburger. The goal was to break the surly bonds of earth with our hands at the controls.
In this day and age of technically advanced airplanes I wonder if we aren’t loosing ground when it comes to stick and rudder skills? When flying becomes a chore should we reach for the autopilot or should we be asking ourselves why am I struggling? This is not to say I’m against automation, there are many times it is appropriate to be used, especially in a single-pilot IFR situation, but it shouldn’t be a crutch for poor handling skills. I believe this is why accident rates haven’t decreased in spite of all this advanced technology – less skilled pilots are taking on more demanding flights because the airplane can do it, even if they can’t. Maybe the ‘law of unintended consequences’ is at work here?
This happens to the big boys too. It got so bad at some of the airlines they encouraged pilots to turn off the automation and hand fly occasionally to keep their skills. This is an excellent video on that subject if you haven’t seen it: Children of the Magenta
I love Samuel Goldwyn’s famous quote, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” – this couldn’t be more true when it comes to flying.
- Want to be safer? Don’t accept mediocrity in your flying.
- Want to be confident? Perform to the standard (or higher)
- Want to be lucky? Work hard at being the best you can be!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please comment below.
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