I hit the ground (again) the other day flying, took a 50% collapse (half the wing just faded away) about 75 feet above ground. Managed it well enough to land without injury, but it definitely wasn’t a planned landing and certainly could have been much worse. The 2 other guys who were on site at the time seemed more shaken than I was at the time. Apparently it looked pretty dramatic.
I questioned them both along with my own memory. Between their observations and mine, I certainly could have performed better, but I performed well enough to pass through the experience without physical harm.
Perhaps that’s better than if I’d correctly or accidentally done the right thing (weight the open side hard and pump out the broken side.) I had practiced that in the course last summer and perhaps a hundred times on the ground while kiting, but not enough to make it a habit or muscle memory response.
The bigger event a few months back had me doing *enough* of the right things like keeping my hands up, staying calm, and not pumping the wing to collapse, so I’m grateful for that. Still, I question: Is my learning ability so rigid that I only pick up things learned through fear and huge consequence? I’ve certainly read and studied a bunch about what the right thing to do is, and if you’d given me the scenario on the ground I could have talked you through exactly the right things to do.
Have you found this true for you? I wonder if I haven’t achieved more just because I’m too lazy to push hard and learn all the time and I end up just stumbling upon learning experiences when it comes down to the wire.
Again I find myself with a fear injury. Until I took up this sport I didn’t know they existed. I flew again that day, and the next, but it’s been a few days and I’m still far more nervous in the air than I was.
This whole investigation into flying as a measure of self-control has me inexorably hooked. On the best days I take a good amount of joy out of flying, but on these, the post-crash periods, each flight is an uncomfortable balance between fear and progress. I’ve learned that it’s usually better to just land when I start to get spun up, although the old techniques of 4–4‑4 and self-talk are being proven over and over again to be useful in the interim.
Visualization at home is also helping, although I don’t do it near often enough. Funny, that we should know of all these effective tools and only practically apply them occasionally. A measure of both weakness and strength on my part, and a constant reminder to me that the quality of the time I spend on the planet is solely up to me.