Senior club pilot & a old friend Faisal Khan writes about his dream flight – ” Hello to Temple Pilots team and club pilots. for those who don’t know me, I’ve learned flying with Avi in Bali in 2008 and since then, I fell in love with the sky. Yet, it took me a while to get into thermalling, been to Bir Billing few times and I started loving XC.
I used to dream of big flights and when i don’t get them i become upset. Then, with the right coaching I realised that I need to build lots of basics ( mindset, skill, process) which are key essential inputs , if they are combined, it will lead to a great flight ( whatever great means to me at that time). With gradual learning, i’ve started flying 40-50km range regularly in various locations. I learned how to set various goals which are input related ( not distance) and enjoy achieving them. I had SIV which raised my confidence in the wing and dealing with XC conditions. flew many new sites and improved the inputs ( take off, thermalling, small area landing) as well as planning for the flight based on the weather condition ( sounding charts were helpful 8/10 time) and setting a realistic potential goal . Yet, i still need to improve long transitions between mountains or vallies and practice more of it. I stopped comparing myself with others who have flown long distances and accepted that i will improve my level at my pace and do it safely.
It was great to fly in mountains, Valleys, flat land, desert and coastal sites and feel the difference, also to learn from many expert pilots. During this last flight, one key change in my style was to experiment in gliding more and thermalling less. It took me a bit to adjust and I’m not fully there yet but i found that it helped in moving forward and getting from 1 thermal to another. It was a day with blue skies , so it helped me to look for thermal triggers on ground and to observe birds and plants to look for thermals. The coaching of Chrigel was great as he kept the choices for and spoke only if something was not right, this built my confidence and kept me focussed. The last 20 km was mainly on a glide using valley breeze and soaring some areas of it with 2 turns that could have been avoided. Also, i found that feeling positive about the flight and being fully committed for each step of the flight made the goal possible, it helped me stay focus on the moment and to have energy for the next step.
I believe i was there at the right timing and right person and at the right mindset which helped me enjoy such a flight and to look forward for another goal and a flight like that. Flying in valleys was vey challenging a year ago but with understanding how vallies work and flying there in small sections few times at the right weather condition and right timing of the day helped me gain confidence step by step. In addition to the joy of flying, I enjoy the learning that i gain from people i meet on skill or mindset, hence, it is a never ending learning. I’m sharing here photos from 1 single flight of 114km from Klien Matterhorn to Meiringen which took 5:40 hrs. I hope they convery how this flight was special. It was amazing to fly over areas that I’m used to see by train or car, narrow vallies, winding roads and steep mountains, few landings, I had that with very high level joy even in the challenging moments.