Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Get-there-itis and being too confident

A few months ago when mi wife and i came back from a weekend with just the 2 of us, we had an idea to pick up the kids from grandma with an airplane.
As it was nice weather there were no more planes available in the club so we decided to do it another time.

My daughter is turning 10 later in the month and she had a sleepover with a few friends this week due to the easter holidays. To spare our son of the terror of 6 almost-teenagers he had his own sleepover with grandma. Of course our failed plan from a few months earlier came back to light and i reserved the plane in advance.
Our son is crazy about airplanes and i would have loved to see his little face when we would surprise him with his pickup.
(Get-there-itis part 1)

To be able to start the FI course in may, i need to do a pre entry flight test. One of the qualifiers for the test is 5h in the past 6 months. Because the rest of the month is very busy this week would be ideal to get the last 1h needed.
(Get-there-itis part 2)

On friday the weather was looking ok to execute the flight. The ceiling and visibility were good, the few showers were easy to circumnavigate. The only negative was the wind, pretty strong and gusty.
This is where the overconfidence comes into play.
In hindsight if it was just me who had to do the hours it would have been no problem. A little bit of turbulence doesn’t hurt me.
Before we met, my wife was afraid of flying. After a few flight she was a nervous flyer and the last few flights i didn’t notice any nervousness with her at all. My thinking was it will be gusty close to the ground but higher up it will smooth out as it does most of the time. (Even at the 2000’ planned cruise level).
After startup, another aircraft in the circuit reported that it was turbulent and a shower approaching. Because he stayed in the circuit i still kept to my previous thinking.
So we took off……

This was the biggest mistake i made. As soon as we lifted off the ground we hit the worst turbulence my wife has experienced. She closed her eyes and i saw she was scared. My daughter wasn’t very happy either but she just kept on busy with here tablet. At pattern altitude it started to smooth out a little bit (confirming my thoughts) and i continued the climb to 2000. After passing 1500 i would describe the turbulence as light chops. But then i started thinking….
We need to pass this turbulence at least 3 more times before we are back and at that point i knew i screwed up.
Now comes the second big mistake from that flight. With a scared passenger next to me with her eyes closed, and without saying what i would do, i pulled back on the power to turn back to base. Now this scared here even more thinking that something had happend and everything would be over very quickly. (She really did marry an idiot)
I did try to comfort her on the way back to the airfield but it didn’t much till we were back on the ground.

Looking back there were too many red flags to have taken off.
My looking at the windsock if it would be allright to fly…..
The other airplane reporting turbulence……
Knowing my wife used to be scared of flying…..

I have read enough accident reports where i thought why the … did they take off or continue that flight.
And off course the dangerous thinking: that won’t happen to me.
I have now found out that get-there-itis can creep into your decision making unnoticed and only afterwards you see the holes of the swiss cheese lined up.

Did the airplane get damaged? No
Did anyone get hurt? No (does feeling like an idiot count?l
Did i have to sleep on the couch? Unsurprisingly No
Do they refuse to fly with me again? No because we flew yesterday.
Was i an idiot and should i have cancelled the flight? YES!
And if i have a scared passenger, do i have to say what i will do before i do it? YES!

Nothing bad happened but please don’t be like me on friday.

EBZW, Belgium

Thanks for sharing.
From a flying point of view you seem to have been up to the task, so no problem there. The wind and turbulence were as you predicted, and of course we pilots are 1) used to it, and 2) concentrated on the flying itself.
From a CRM point of view, briefing passengers about the flight conditions to be expected is always a good idea, the more so if they are not too keen on flying. Communications during the flight, as you discovered by yourself, is paramount, the more so for sensitive pax.

All in all a well handled learning event, good continuation.

As an aside I’m flabbergasted by the very low hour requirements for an FI course… (and a good thing I have no deciding powers on currency requirements for PPLs…).

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

There are more requirements. I think 200h, a few hours instrument, certain length cross country. Don’t know them by hearth.
There is a requirement to have 5h in the last 6 months before the pre entry test

EBZW, Belgium

I am (slowly) approaching 200 hours and feel nowhere near confident to teach others how to fly. I guess the limit is most likely driven by economic aspects and raising the limit to something 500ish would put the training industry into serious trouble, especially in the US. On the other hand the training environment still is the safest spot in GA so the low hours limit does not seem to be a problem.

EDQH, Germany

Quote i pulled back on the power to turn back to base. Now this scared here even more thinking that something had happend

Yeah .. thanks for sharing. My wife is a nervous GA flyer and I have been through similar situations. On various occasions, for some small or medium stupidity I would berate myself and utter something. That used to scare my wife a lot. She wouldn’t say anything because she didn’t wish to distract me and I wouldn’t explain anything because there was nothing wrong.
Me appearing relaxed and communicating help my co-passengers a lot.

Last Edited by Arun at 07 Apr 19:56
EDMB, Germany

FlyingAppel wrote:

There is a requirement to have 5h in the last 6 months before the pre entry test

That is just ridiculous.

6 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top