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Friday, September 14, 2012

The Devil on Your Shoulder

I think it's fair to write that we all have at least a healthy respect of the aerodynamic forces that can cause an airplane to depart controlled flight into stall and potentially resulting in spin. When that "respect" turns into fear, then a problem exists, one that can cause unnecessary and sometimes dangerous operational practices. Fear can be good: A healthy amount can focus our efforts, sharpen our skills. When that fear takes a hold of us, it can prevent "adaptation," that is, efforts and actions appropriate to the activity; we become afraid of events that haven't happened. For example, an unreasonable fear of stall/spin might cause us to increase landing airspeed, reduce pattern turn bank angles, both preventing effective approach/landing procedure. This can produce anxiety and even panic. It's a potentially dangerous condition in the cockpit. If you think you may be victim to this kind of fear, examining it, using coping mechanisms to minimize its effects may be prudent. A recent EAA webinar may help. Don't Let Fear Stall Your Flying may be just what the doctor ordered. Hope to see you at the airport!