Confessions of a Humbled Pilot

Confessions of a Humbled Pilot

Postby Rolls737 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:52 pm

So.... :roll:

I failed my CAT-11...and I must confess, its because I got cocky (but there is a good lesson in this for all of us)!
After having passed my CAT-10 I was very much looking forward to my CAT-11 "Victory Lap"...I mean isn't that what the CAT-11 is?

Anyway, here is what happened (or didn't happen, to be more precise).

I sat down to fly my last CAT rating, feeling quite proud that I had come this far, and quite nostalgic as well, thinking that it was now (after this flight) time to say goodbye to the CAT ratings.
So, with coffee and popcorn an arms length away I fired up my pc, logged onto the Pilotedge website and briefly (and I mean briefly) glossed over the CAT-11 rating overview. Thinking this was going to be a standard class B to class B flight with comms we have rehearsed over and over again in the CAT ratings I was quite confident I had all I needed to begin my flight.

I had all my frequencies, the route was simple (direct GPS), the weather was average (but still VFR conditions), and I was confident. From my initial call to KLAX clearance delivery all the way down the coast till being handed over to KSAN tower, things were going well. So where did it all go wrong you ask? Well, upon being cleared to enter the San Diego Bravo I was told to proceed to the Mount Soledad (VPSMS) VFR reporting I deleted my GPS flight plan, plugged VPSMS into the GPS and headed direct to Mount Soledad...great! Once overhead Mount Soledad I was handed over to KSAN tower and I made my call. I was instructed to enter a Right-Hand Down Wind for Rwy 27..."easy", I thought to myself...until i looked out the window to verify I had the field insight!!!
As I looked out of my cockpit window I was overwhelmed to find that there were at least 4 fields i could see from my current position...all of them with runways laid out in similar directions making it almost impossible to tell by the 27 heading alone which one was correct. "Why not look at the GPS you idiot..." well, i had deleted my flight plan remember, to go direct Soledad, so i had no magenta line as a reference to use, and i couldn't plug it in at this point as I was totally flustered. Sweating like a bag of cats at a greyhound meet, I realized i was going to have to make an educated guess (or more like an unplanned, unexpected stupid guess)...I hadn't printed out a KSAN airport layout, I hadn't ever flown there in the sim before, I hadn't made any mental or physical notes on the area to help me ID the fact, I had done very little approach planning at all. I had just assumed I would fly straight in, that the field would be obvious to spot, that this CAT-11 would be a breeze, and that after having passed my CAT-10, this check-ride was simply a salute to the CAT ratings.

Well my friends, I entered a right hand down wind for a field that was not KSAN, was politely asked by ATC what the heck I was doing, and with red flushed cheeks I had to declare that I had no idea where the airport was. Very graciously I was offered vectors to where I was meant to be going, and on the way received these words with much humility, "Skyhawk 2983C, turn right heading 180 and the field should be at your 3 o'clock 5miles, report insight...and Sir, sorry to say, I have to fail you for the CAT-11 for incorrect identification of the field." :oops:

Oh boy...lessons where learned that day...
1. NEVER ASSUME, always plan, and always plan well for any and every circumstance not matter how good you think you are.
2. Never get cocky and over confident
3. As a VFR pilot, DO NOT become solely dependent on your the maps and make sure that if all instruments fail, you could still accurately identify the field you are meant to be landing at.

Finally, I want to say this...Pilotedge, thank you for humbling me, thank you for making me care about accuracy and correct planning while simming...before Pilotegde, it wouldn't have mattered much if i had messed up like this...but now, now it matters very much...and next time...I will respect every flight, every rating...but for now, im off to PROPERLY plan for my CAT-11...see you in the skies...Cessna-two-niner-eight-three-Charlie.
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:32 pm

Re: Confessions of a Humbled Pilot

Postby Ray Salmon » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 pm

After observing your near flawless performance up to that point, you can imagine my dismay when I scan over the KSAN area and find you making the hard left turn onto the right downwind at Montgomery Field. NO! STOP! Alas, it was too late. Your humble acceptance of the rating result was certainly appreciated and your willingness to learn will no doubt result in a pass on your next attempt. Good luck!
Ray Salmon
PilotEdge ATCS
Ray Salmon
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:32 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Confessions of a Humbled Pilot

Postby winterhank » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:46 am

"Sweating like a bag of cats at a greyhound meet" - too funny.
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:54 am

Re: Confessions of a Humbled Pilot

Postby RogerW » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:57 pm

Rolls, the bag of cats thing was a good analogy!

Like you, I too passed the first 10 CAT ratings with flying colors.
And I too looked at the CAT 11 as the victory lap of the CAT's after passing the CAT 10.
And I too failed the 11 miserably with an equally long story behind it. Different scenario but equally humbling.

But that's what it's all about! Live and learn. You'll always live through it and you'll always learn from it.

Blue skies!
Roger W.
Home: Valkaria, Fl (X59)(but lost in SoCal)
PE Rating: CAT-11, I-2
Experience: RW 7 hrs, Virtual 3000+ hrs
Aircraft: A2A Cessna 182 Skylane
Tail Number: N7365W
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:47 pm
Location: Valkaria, Fla (X59) USA

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