Lesson 24
22 January
1.3 hours

    Driving to the airport today I felt that sensation of unreadiness and of being rushed.  I've felt it a good many times before, but it always went away by the time I got into the airplane.

    Today, however, even in the plane I didn't feel quite alert--and it sure showed!  On the first landing I forgot EVERYthing.  It was almost as if  I'd never been in an airplane before.  I was just unable to get focused and remember what to do.  The second and third landings weren't much better, and I didn't really get tuned in until the fifth or sixth.  From then through the tenth landing, I was back up to speed, though.  All in all, it was a very ragged experience today: no two landings were at all similar.  Downwind on one, Adam pulled an engine failure, and I did a power-off landing--touch and go, really.  In another, he had me extend downwind a long way, and we flew in on final at about 600 feet for about two or three miles.  In a couple of others he covered up all of the flight instruments but the airspeed, so I had to fly mainly by just looking out--very good practice!

    All right, exactly how did I feel today?  It was that sensation  of unreadiness and of being rushed.  I've had it many times before--including in last night's ground school class, when trying to do the practice FAA test.

    I'll try to analyze the sensation and its causes--if I can--because that may help explain why I've so often been a poor student in school, even though I can generally do well on intelligence tests.

    I think this may be similar to what happens when you're doing something by habit, without thinking about it.  Or, better, it's like when I'm driving to some place I haven't been to in a long time.  Things on the way have changed, and they don't match my unconscious memory of the route.  The way I used to get around in Reading was sort of like that.  I navigated by intuition--or whatever you call it--and sort of FELT the route one step at a time.  I didn't know it analytically, and I also couldn't visualize any particular route in the context of the general area.  I didn't know many street names, either--so again I probably wasn't reasoning much.  Intuition is the word closest to what I think it is.  And when you operate by intuition (or whatever it is) and a few little things are different, you're more likely to get confused than when operating thorough conscious reason and analysis.  (What is a good term for that?)

    (Unless, of course, the latter just won't do, as it sometimes really won'tI think of the line attributed to Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge.")

    One of the the mistakes I made this morning was that I just got in and started out, without visualizing or rehearsing what I needed to do.  So when I needed to DO things, I couldn't think what to do.

    From now on, I'll have to take the time to get focused and let nothing hurry me.   And I'll have to visualize the entire flight, as much of it as possible, before ever going up.  Get tuned in first!

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