Thursday, April 03, 2008

Plotz Prevention for a fledgling pilot


v. An old Yiddish word, used here to describe what the brain does when part of it gets tangled up under stress and sits down on the job, refusing to function.

Every student pilot talks about being "overwhelmed" with the sensations and requirements of flying the plane. For me, the most persistent causes have to do with numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers. How much of flying airplanes has to do with numbers? An awful lot.

Two big stumbling blocks have been my inexperience with visualizing the 360 degrees of the compass as meaningful directions and the appalling difficulty I have doing mental arithmetic quickly and accurately enough under stress. Even though I recognized these inadequacies at the beginning of training, I didn't know any good-enough ways to get past them.

This week, while it's been too rainy and windy for flying, I worked out a set of paper-and-pencil exercises which seem to be making a difference, though it's too soon to know for sure. The idea is to take one of the exercises for fifteen minutes twice a day for three days, and then move on to another.

I'm posting my working list as Plotz Prevention and I'll keep working with it as long as it works for me.

(One other thing that HAS made a difference is which I can recommend whole-heartedly, even though it's not pilot-specific.)

1 comment:

amy said...

mom! this is cool!