Giving up gliding training after solo

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Blackjack_201
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Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby Blackjack_201 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:20 pm

So, here's a question to all real-life glider pilots. I've met a guy at my club this weekend that has about 2h solo and 17 solos to his credit. According to him, he's struggling a bit with speed control on finals and coordination despite the instructors telling him it will come together. He's a regular attendance at our club so lack of currency doesn't really come into play.

The big shock for me were his next words: I'm quitting. He claims that it all just feels too hard and not coming together. In fact, it's getting worse. He says he's lost the drive to commit and focusing on the theory stuff for Bronze is near impossible. I've heard this is quite common amongst early solos too.

I really want to help this guy out but I'm not too experienced myself. Any good pep talks / experiences / advice people would like to share? Is life after solo really that soul crushing?

Thanks!

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Olympia
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Re: Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby Olympia » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:36 am

In all my years instructing I never encountered anything like this. In my own case I had worries post solo about the integrity of the aircraft - I was flying stick and string gliders like the Slingsby Tutor which creaked and groaned quite alarmingly on a winch launch. Once I moved on to more modern ships this sort of fear disappeared. I'm a professional engineer who specialised in design and maybe I was overly sensitive to this particular problem.

I can only suggest that just maybe your instructors are not doing a good job of teaching - or maybe just the instructor this chap flew with in the later stages of training. In one club I was in all the lady pilots in training were transferred to me because apparently I was more tolerant of their mistakes than some of the other instructors, and didn't lose my temper.

There is such a thing as LMF (lack of moral fibre) which the RAF during the war used to remove pilots who were having problems, but again I never saw anything like that in gliding clubs. Though of course you don't always hear why someone has given up - could be time, cost, or moved away - you never knew.

Maybe your friend needs to join another club and start over. He has been solo so that that hurdle is behind him. The day the guy in the seat behind you gets out and doesn't get back in again is one of the scariest you'll ever have.
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pstrzel
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Re: Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby pstrzel » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:01 pm

I can somewhat relate to this person. I fought myself all throughout training, testing, and even after my check ride. Perhaps gliding isn't all that he hoped it would be. Perhaps he's not a naturally confident person and some experiences (which could be just in his head) had caused him to lose the confidence he had. Relatively few people ever take up any form of aviation, because it takes a special kind of person. If he doesn't feel safe, I would trust that self-assessment and let it go.
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Olympia
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Re: Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby Olympia » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:40 am

pstrzel

Well I've never thought I was a member of an elite group because I was a pilot, but thinking about it, you are right. I wonder what percentage of the population we amateur pilots are? I must admit that most folk I meet at dinner parties are mightily astonished when they find out I used to fly gliders, and how much solo flying I had actually done.

On the other hand,it's also surprising how many folk have had a joy ride in a glider - maybe it is seen as an alternative to bungee jumping. Proves you have nerves of steel.:D
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OXO
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Re: Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby OXO » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:49 am

Maybe you guys are right that he should be allowed to give up, but experiences like this are what forms your character. I would encourage him to continue for a while longer.

Having said all that, I do wonder how good the instructors are at his club. Maybe you should speak with them, because a worried pilot is a danger to himself and others.
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Olympia
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Re: Giving up gliding training after solo

Postby Olympia » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:30 am

The performance of some instructors I knew was sometimes well below what I would have expected in terms of their ability to pass on the information in a readily digestible fashion. In the UK in my time instruction was standardised by making us all attend a course with the National Coach. This certainly ensured that the teaching of flying was more uniform but it did not include a test of how well you related to your pupils. I guess I was lucky to be trained by ex ATC instructors who were well used to dealing with the wide range of abilities they met in young ATC cadets. Teaching us adults, many of whom were professionals, must have seemed easy. I know that with one exception, who was not ex ATC, our instructors were nice guys. I looked forward to joining their ranks in the fullness of time.

I had only one really bad experience after I became an instructor and that was late on in my flying career when I joined a club which operated all week and had full time paid instructors. The rest of us 'amateurs' were treated as inferiors, and relegated to doing all the joy riding (bus driving we called it) and only the very early stages of teaching. We never took a pupil through to solo. This totally destroyed my enthusiasm for gliding which was on the wane anyway, and I left that club and never flew gliders again, till nearly thirty years later when I went on a week's course and found that flying is like roller skating, something you never forget. I wasn't tempted back though. It wasn't the sport I had left - too much technology for my taste.

Roll on the wooden ships in Condor 2 - I'm looking forward to some real flying.
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