Fear & Recovery, Part II

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.

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