Learning to Fly in Carnegie Hall
Learning to fly. Every day you can see someone on TV who is a phenomenal musician, or a brilliant skater, or fascinating juggler. They obviously have great talent. I saw someone interviewed who was to play in Carnegie Hall. He was asked how he felt about his talent to play the piano. His answer was unexpected and a wonderful insight. He said "I don't have any special talent to play the piano. Talent is just the desire to practice". Wow, he wasn't born with it, he had to spend the time to acquire the ability to play.
How often have you seen a pilot land effortlessly, with no discernible bounce and absolutely no sound of squealing tires. How do they do it? What is the secret system they use to achieve landing perfection. As you probably have already guessed, they have put in the amount of practice required to reach landing Nirvana. No special mystical system needed.
If you want to be a good pilot you have to practice. So what is practice? How about what practice is not. Practice is not going flying around. Practice is not flying to breakfast. I see pilots everyday that can get the plane off of the ground, fly around for an hour, get back to the airport and miraculously manage to get the airplane on the ground in one piece. That doesn't mean they did it well, or right or safely. It just means they were able to get the airplane on the ground in a reusable condition.
Practice is the repeated performance of a task to acquire or polish a skill. While learning to fly it means an intentional attempt to reach perfection in the ability to land an airplane correctly under any given situation. You have to make an effort to perform the practice. One landing every few weeks is not practice. Any time I fly for pleasure I make it a point to do at least three landings. That little bit of specific emphasis on that one thing helps me get closer to that state of Nirvana. You also need to intentionally put yourself in situations that can be used to enhance your skills such as landing crosswind even when there's a perfectly good runway with the wind blowing right down the middle. You can develop the talent required to be a good pilot. You just need the desire to practice.
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