Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finding the motivation...or is it confidence?

I've almost completed my CFII (certified flight instructor - instrument - this allows me to give instrument rating instruction, which a normal CFI does not allow you to do) but have reached a weird impasse. I haven't flown in 3 weeks. I need to take my written exam, which isn't hard, but for some reason I can't get motivated to study. I'm not motivated to finish the rating itself, even though I'm very near completion. I'm starting to think the culprit isn't my lack of motivation, it's my lack of self-confidence.

I've never been that confident of a pilot. I've spent very little time flying solo, just because I've done the minimum required to get my flight ratings and typically can't afford just to take a plane out by myself. But as a result of this I also don't have a lot of confidence in my ability as a pilot. I know I'm not alone in this, but it seems the only solution is just to fly more.

When I flew for Spirit I gained a lot of self-confidence, knowing that I had the ability to not just fly the A320 series but also be GOOD at flying it. I had lots of compliments from captains that I was one of the better First Officers they had flown with. But you don't really fly the A319s/321s, you mostly just manage them. Very little of the work in that airplane is hand-flying. It's mostly working the autopilot. I was very good at that, but really, you could probably get any intelligent person pretty competent in the A320 series. I knew deep down that my "stick and rudder" skills were suffering behind the controls of a jet. And I was very, very rusty.

David says that you don't become a bad pilot. That you start out bad or you don't, and good pilots just get rusty. I trust his opinion as an experience CFI that I don't suck. But it's hard to cognitively realize that AND put it into practice.

While I keep saying "I'm not crazy about being a flight instructor" I don't mean that I think flight instructing is beneath me or that I shouldn't have to go through it. I know how important it is. I've seen how a few hundred hours of flight instructing turned David from a good pilot to a GREAT pilot. I want that experience, I want the self-confidence that comes with that.


Hopefully The Move (yes, capitalized) will fix some problems. David is moving back up north for the summer season and as soon as I can find employment up there I'm going, as well. I'd prefer to find something involving flight instruction (so my CFI/CFII isn't a waste) but I'm looking for traffic watch, aerial surveying or even plane detailing. Anything having to do with airplanes, really.