Conquering Fear

I started taking flying lessons in the spring of 84 and it was grueling. I hired a man from Brazil who used dramatic tactics to make sure I had what it took. When I took my first night flight to Stockton we were on approach when the runway lights went out.

I immediately raised the flaps and and started to pull the throttle back. He caught my hand and pushed the throttle back in and dropped the flaps back down.

“Land it!” he yelled.

“I won’t land where I can’t see!” I hollered back.

He laughed as he picked up the mike and clicked the call button three times. The lights came back on with a blaze.

Then for my first solo he had me plan my trip in August to Chico and then the second leg was Modesto. I arrived in Chico around 11 am and the temperature was about 95 degrees. I had to call the tower and notify them I was a student pilot on my first solo.

My approach was from the north and I planned to make it a straight approach with no turns. I swung wide of the airport and lined up perfectly for the runway. Then as I crossed the Sacramento River the airplane shot straight up in the air about 100 feet!

I got so frightened I raised the flaps, pulled back for full throttle and called the tower confessing “Student pilot going around!”

With somewhat of a chuckle the air traffic controller drawled “Hey little lady, didn’t your instructor warn you about crossing the cold river on a hot day?”‘

Needless to say, I found a new instructor when I got back.