Lessons Learned—In & Out Of The Cockpit

Through some tough lessons that included maintaining a perfect heading while
executing Dutch rolls and reading the sectional chart, Rinker Buck's father
taught him how to fly precise. It was hard work, but it paid off. At the age
of 15, Rinker flew coast-to-coast with his 17-year-old brother, as
chronicled in his book, Flight of Passage. Through this extraordinary trip,
he developed a sense of self-confidence and a respect for self-doubt that
remains with him today. What lessons have you learned from flying that are


Anonymous said...

One thing I've learned in aviation (the hard way) that translates into all of life is that you have to leave a margain for error.

Whether that be unforseen weather conditions, operation of the aircraft, human factors etc... We live in an imperfect world and things will NOT always go according to plan (or the numbers).

MCL said...

One lesson I've learned is the danger of excessive confidence and the value of caution.

Wanting to become a better pilot, I went after my tail wheel endorsement and found an independent instructor with lots of experience. I asked him to teach me everything he could about tail wheel aircraft- every nuance.

After many months and hundreds of landings, my confidence was riding high. I GREASED a particularly difficult landing - the 3rd in a row- during a stiff crosswind in some nasty conditions, in an airplane with a twitchy tail wheel. I nailed it without a hitch. Rollllled it on.

As I was congratulating myself on my wondrous taildragger skills, the tail caught a sudden, strong gust and it swerved hard. I was so busy admiring my landing that I was too slow to react, and I jammed my right foot into the rudder pedal. I was too late. The airplane was heading for the taxi lights and starting to get sideways. I was unable to control it. My instructor- who was with me- had felt the gust long before I had and was ready with his correction. He beat me to it and saved our rear ends. My 1/2 second of inattention almost cost me a whole lot more than embarrassment.

My instructor taught me that day that "the most dangerous landing is the perfect one. Never allow your confidence to let you get behind the airplane and get you into trouble..."

I hear those words on every landing, no matter how good, and I never, ever let my guard down- ESPECIALLY when things are going really well. I learned that the moments when things are perfect are the moments when things can- and do- go wrong. Aviation does not suffer fools. I've never let confidence get in my way since.

Anonymous said...

When executing a go-around, ensure that you only retract the flaps to 20 degrees and not retract them all the way....oops.