North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Oceania.
I’ve travelled far and wide in search of the gurus of our sport. Some of which are ‘household names’ such as Jocky and Kelly, others more akin to the sage hidden in the mountains. Regardless the individual I chance upon, my overarching plan has been little more than locate and sponge what knowledge I am ready to receive.
Looking forward, this will no longer do.
A longer term ambition forms. An ambition not of numbers but of place and experience. But said place and experience comes with risk and is not for the ill prepared. Preparation requires a roadmap and a roadmap is best drafted with assistance.
So enters one Pat Dower.
Many a pilot will recognize Pat from his Cross Country magazine submissions. Others from his courses run in the UK (and EU):
Amongst the services Pat offers is 1:1 performance coaching that is tailored to the individual needs of the pilot.
After having contacted Pat regarding my goal, where my flying is, and pointing him to this blog (to help fill in some blanks), we arranged a Skype call last week to dig further into what I want to accomplish and the next steps in working towards it.
Out of it came:
1) Time to start tip toeing into the deep end. I am more than capable of flying in the rougher stuff – start nudging the boundary of what is comfortable and the pilotage skills will follow (as will stress inoculation – aka bump tolerance in local flying lingo). This especially includes launch conditions.
2) The gaggle. Become tolerant of the gaggle. Valle was an excellent first step, build upon it. Start analyzing the flow of the gaggle and be extra observant as to the reason why I choose to part ways with the gaggle.
3) Capitalize on coaching during the Brazil trip. Dean is a great coach, do not let that opportunity slip away. Make sure daily tasks are assigned to help focus the flying for the day. Try to get at least one day of dedicated time and feedback (the greater the quantity and quality of feedback, the better).
4) A handful of articles on thermalling and the mental aspects of flying were recommended. Review them. Where does my flying fit into what the articles describe.
5) Fly the Carrera Plus as much as possible. The Explorer may be a good wing, but the Plus has been winning comps. There is a reason for this and it isn’t just the pilots flying it.
6) The XC season in the Fraser Valley is short so find every excuse to get to the hill, not excuses to avoid it.
7) Find the better pilots, try to stay above and behind them as much as possible. Put their decisions under the microscope – why did they take this XC route for the day, why did they take the path they did in executing that route, why did they leave the current climb, why did they go on bar when they did, etc?
So begins the first steps of a new journey.