Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

Last week's tip from Pat Dower, the Tortoise and the Hare, got some good responses. Here are a couple of the best, but from opposite camps.

Tortoise versus the hare

'A great read' – Ant Allen (South Africa)

Last week's tip from Pat Dower was a great read, thanks. It made me think that the truly skilled pilot will have both these flying 'personalities' – if not others too.

A really gifted pilot will have all of those skills – the ability to fly fast or to fly slowly and conservatively.

And they will know when to use each one to their advantage, as and when circumstances dictate.

The ability to switch from one 'personality' to the other seamlessly is the key.

That then leads on to a discussion about a pilot being 'on form' – he or she may have all the above attributes but due to stress, emotion, or other reasons they simply aren't 'with it'.

Nevil Hulett (SA) teased me at the 2013 South African Nationals in June when he said I was like a light switch: either on or off. It can be that simple.

The trick is, if feeling pressured, know when to take a break and when to go back to flying hard. Know how to take it in a relaxed fashion and watch the surprises role in!

'The path to mediocrity!' – our own columnist Mads Syndergaard (Denmark)

That is an awful tip! Following it will forever chain a pilot to mediocrity, making underwhelming flights even under booming skies.

If we're chasing hours in the air, yes by all means. If we're chasing distance (which we are...) then you have got to learn to go as fast as the day allows.

This entails some premature landings, but it is the only course that may eventually lead to anything spectacular!

As Pat said last week, that's the "delicious complexity" of cross country flying! See you in the air.

A big day out in the southern French Alps

A big day out in the southern French Alps. Photo: Bruce Goldsmith