Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Privileges of Parenthood

It's interesting how you learn things about yourself. Don't tell anyone, but I've just worked out that I have some control freak tendencies. Only in certain areas mind you.
It was a beautiful day yesterday, not too hot - probably low 20s, and only a little veil of high cirrus in places. My daughter and I were set to go off flying for a couple of hours. The idea being that she would be PIC (that's pilot speak for Pilot in Command) for one leg and I would be PIC for the next. She did the flight plan and the walk around and the first leg was hers. I found myself sitting in the right hand seat fidgeting and squirming. She is a very good pilot, it wasn't about that, it's just that...well I don't know what it was really. I suspect I just like to be in charge!
We had a lovely flight north to YBDG, did a couple of practice go-arounds, and landed. But not before I'd been sharply told to hold my peace in the circuit - thank you!
We had a comfort stop and I did the walk around before setting off. She-in-the-right-seat is a very good map reader and navigator. She wasn't in the least bit impressed with my course holding or my attention to navigation. I felt like I was flying in the LH seat for the first time and that I had a crusty old QANTAS captain in the right hand seat. I was urged to return to my course a couple of times and generally had a strong sense that I wasn't performing to impress.
I finally did manage to find the destination - I don't know how, given all my failings, and then I stuffed it up and had to do a go around! The second time around I managed to get the aircraft somewhere near the ground. That of course meant that I had to land it - another thing which, in the opinion of the RH seat, I am sorely deficient at doing. However this time I pulled off a gentle touch down which literally caused raised eyebrows from the other seat.
Perhaps my skills are improving and one day she will be satisfied!
Seriously though this is really enjoyable flying. We each have pretty high expectations of ourselves and of each other. Flying together pushes each of us to perform better and to push for ever better standards.
This isn't about showing off to each other - far from it. In fact it's about learning from each other and striving to operate safely and to a high standard. It's one of the privileges of fatherhood that I thoroughly enjoy.

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