It took me longer than usual to solo
too, but that was in part because of the incredible winds the year that
I took my flight lessons and another reason is that the instructor wanted
to be sure that I knew the tricks so I didn't kill myself.
But there was one big thing that really
helped. I read a story about a motorcycle racer named Kenny Roberts
who was the world champion for many years in a row. He said the night
before a race, he would prepare by thinking of the track and pretending,
in detail, he was on the track racing. He would sit on the couch
with his eyes closed and make the noise of starting his bike in the Pitts,
driving it to the starting line and racing around the track. He said
not to do this in front of anyone because they would think that you were
stupid and you also couldn't concentrate. The next day, he almost
always took first place.
Well, being the world champion, I cannot
argue with his methods. So I decided to use the method the day before
my training flights. I would sit on the couch, go through the check
list, start the engine and make all the noise too. It did sound stupid
and if anyone was around I would be embarrassed. I had my eyes closed
all the time. I then ed on my lights, and listened to ATIS.
Then I called ground control and asked for taxi clearance, taxied to the
runway hold line, contacted the tower and requested permission to take
off. I even mimicked the towers replies. I took off and did
everything that my instructor would want me to do, practice the stalls
and everything. When I landed and turned the airplane off, it was
exactly an hour flight. With this method I was able to go back and
correct the errors when I made them and, unlike the real flight where if
you made a mistake you ended up with several mistakes in a row, I corrected
the mistake and moved on to the next flight maneuver.
Much to my surprise, the next day when
I flew the airplane, I flew like I had flown all of my life. After
doing this procedure several times, my head got swollen and I decided
that I didn't need the procedure. Again, much to my surprise, when
I flew, I was all thumbs and didn't start flying smoothly until almost
the end of the flight.
I still had problems with using the
rudders on cross wind landings so I did the mind experiment again and pretended
I was flying along a line on the ground with a strong gusty cross wind.
When the nose was blown to the left, I hit the right rudder to correct
the problem. This worked quite well.
Then as an experiment while I was in
the real airplane, I flew along a road and practiced crossed controls,
pushing the rudder very hard to the right and giving a lot of left aileron
to keep the flight path straight along the road. I did this
to the left and then to the right and flew for some time doing this procedure.
The crossed controls were a big problem for me to comprehend but this procedure
got me straight.
I hope that this helps you because it
really helps me even today in all kinds of procedures while in flight
or in other business dealings. I always practice the night before.
I wrote the above article for the National Modified Midget
Association many years ago. At this time there was no internet.
Flight Simulator didn't exist, but the above process works so well, that you
don't really need a flight simulator. But with the flight simulator
here for the Real Microsoft Flight Simulator X