So, basically I’d be soloing pretty much now, if it weren’t for waiting on my medical, which is waiting on a doctor’s appointment, so that I can get a referral to a psychiatrist, so I can get a psych report to send them. *le sigh* That could take weeks, and already has, but I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday at least.
I’ve only flown two days this week, but I still have to study for the PSTAR (student pilot exam), so a bit of extra time helps with that, plus I worked Sunday and Tuesday. Then today we got grounded by fog, so we did ground work, learning about precautionary and forced landings, and navigation.
Flying was more circuits this week, but Sandra says I’m pretty much good on landings and ready to move on to something else. That last flight on Wednesday, I got a couple of really good ones in a row, convincing her I’d caught on to the flare thing. We also did runway changes on Wednesday early morning. When the circuit’s busy, runway changes requested by an instructor for their student to practice can be a hassle for ATC. At 8:30 am, at a small airport, with no one in the circuit, it’s a license for ATC to have some fun with you. He had us doing 180 degree turns to land on the same runway we just took off from, for a touch and go in the opposite direction.
Oh, and the trend of my instructor pushing me to the edge of my abilities continues. On Monday, my instructor said, “By the way, I should warn you; now that you’re getting the hang of things, every once in a while, I’m gonna randomly try and kill you.” (It went something like that, anyway – and I totally need to work that line into my novel; I know exactly the character to utter it.) Then in a climb after a touch and go, she pulled the throttle to idle and said “Okay, where ya gonna land?” (We didn’t actually do a forced landing at that point – she just had me check around and pick an acceptable place that we could have landed. We will be doing actual forced landings away from our home airfield soon, and we did do a couple forced/power off landings from mid circuit where we could still make the runway.)
I should talk about the people in aviation too. Sandra, my instructor, is, as I’ve said before, awesome, I don’t feel self conscious around her at all. But it’s not just her. I’ve been told by people familiar with both, that the aviation industry is like the horse lover’s community – tight knit and everyone knows one another. That worried me, because I don’t do well in cliquish sorts of environments, but it hasn’t been like that at all. I suppose it could still just be the school I’m going to, and the sort of people who hang out at the restaurant at the school, but so far everyone I’ve talked to has been welcoming and helpful, whether they were employed by the school or not. While I sit in the restaurant studying, random people with no actual affiliation with Harv’s Air, have stopped by, asked me where I’m at in my training, and told me if I ever need advice or help with anything, to just ask.
I was talking to one older gentleman and the topic of sexism came up, and he expressed frustration at the favouritism shown to women by the government, professing that the sexism it’s meant to counter doesn’t exist in aviation. I don’t have the experience to say for certain how close to the mark he is, and of course I have to take into consideration that he’s a man and will have never been subject to the sexism that I have. But he told me a story about a time when a young woman he was training accused him of failing her because she was female, and he went to his records to point out that he’d failed a higher percentage of males than he ever had females. I’d like to believe that I’m going into an industry where I’ll be judged based on my abilities un-coloured by my gender. I hope it’s true. I suspect the reason that only 6% of people in aviation are female maybe not be because of discrimination coming from people within the industry, but rather because of attitudes and discouragement from people outside of the aviation community. It’s certainly been true for me. The influences that had stopped me from pursuing a career in aviation were entirely outside the aviation community – once involved in aviation, there has been no one who hasn’t welcomed me and encouraged me (regardless of whether or not I was paying them).
Anyway, next week I only have two days of flying scheduled, and a couple days of work, but I’m working on getting that medical straightened out, so wish me luck on getting a psych appointment quickly. That and I’ll be working on getting ready for the PSTAR exam, so that I’ll be ready to solo when the medical comes through.