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My new phobia


John McMurdo
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Three words - vectors to final - I really picked the wrong route to start on VATSIM,  but it was a route that I had been practising for a long long time offline,  but no amount of offline flying could have prepared me for the dreaded vectors to final...I had considered another route which I had been practising and that is Schiphol to Heathrow, but decided against Heathrow as a destination since I thought it would be very busy.

 

Almost every time I fly the route I will make at least one mistake, it may be a minor mistake,  but I am a perfectionist and am striving for that perfect flight.  I do learn something with each flight though.  My main problem is I tend to panic and my hands start to shake, I can't hold the mouse straight to click on what I need to click on,  and that's sometimes even before things start to go wrong,  and its then that I start to make mistakes, and things happen so quickly on finals one cant afford to make mistakes.

 

If I managed to stay calm,  then I would probably have the perfect flight.

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Out of curiosity - did you fly into EHAM, and got hit by the "prosheed direckt shuugol, after shuugol direckt sherra pappa yenkie, deshend flight leffel sheffen sherro, leffel bij shuugol" steamroller?

Because normally, "vectors to final" is about as easy as it gets, and also extremely common, even when the STAR doesn't say so - whenever it gets remotely busy, controllers will typically vector you at least for base and final, because that's just so much more precise and efficient than making you fly the entire transition.

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1 hour ago, Tobias Dammers said:

Out of curiosity - did you fly into EHAM, and got hit by the "prosheed direckt shuugol, after shuugol direckt sherra pappa yenkie, deshend flight leffel sheffen sherro, leffel bij shuugol" steamroller?

Because normally, "vectors to final" is about as easy as it gets, and also extremely common, even when the STAR doesn't say so - whenever it gets remotely busy, controllers will typically vector you at least for base and final, because that's just so much more precise and efficient than making you fly the entire transition.

No it was EDDM,  but thanks for the warning,  I now know to avoid EHAM as a destination. hehe

I think I would find it easier if I didn't start to panic all the time,  hopefully the nerves will settle with experience.

I did have one flawless vectored approach into EDDF once,  an unplanned diversion to an airport I had not even flown into offline.

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Pilot error is a common occurrence in the real world. What is important is not perfection, the absence of error: what is important is the ability to detect and recover from error without developing an undesired aircraft state.

It sounds like you are already good at detecting error. Well done! Your path to improvement is identifying threats sooner, before those threats cause the errors in the first place. You could also possibly work a little on remaining calm, as you identified- trust the process.

They say experience is what you get just after you'd needed it, so keep practising! Making those mistakes might suck, but its a part of the learning process.

Welcome to VATSIM!

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There's a procedure called "fatiguing the response" which might help. In cases where someone has inappropriate responses to stresses, as with your shaking as if you were about to be shot by ATC :), this procedure involves repeated gradual exposure to the situation, and to expect, and acknoweledge, the response you get each time. But if you repeat the thing often enough, the response becomes "fatigued" and you eventually stop responding in that inappropriate way.

But the technique requires that you take each exposure very easily and slowly, and I think that in your case that might mean flying into and out of very quiet airfields, on routes which are not too long, so that you remain fresh.

It also means that you must try to accept that you WILL make mistakes, like everyone else, and forgive yourself, especially when you are learning. Well, we're ALL learning, and one lesson we learn early on is to accept acceptable performance instead of striving for perfection.

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Alistair Thomson

===

Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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IF you are on Windows MSFS I have written a pilot assist program that makes it very easy to fly vectors to final. (among other functions)

In one window you can turn instantly to a heading within 20 degrees with a mouse click or to any  exact heading by clicking 3 digits from a numeric key pad (keyboard or mouse) or you can turn left by xx degrees or right etc.. 

I wrote this specifically for flying VATSIM to allow me to concentrate on the communications and simplify flying 

Edited by David McClanahan
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6 hours ago, David McClanahan said:

IF you are on Windows MSFS I have written a pilot assist program that makes it very easy to fly vectors to final. (among other functions)

In one window you can turn instantly to a heading within 20 degrees with a mouse click or to any  exact heading by clicking 3 digits from a numeric key pad (keyboard or mouse) or you can turn left by xx degrees or right etc.. 

I wrote this specifically for flying VATSIM to allow me to concentrate on the communications and simplify flying 

While this is a fantastic idea and may be very helpful for a lot of newbies (so kudos to you for designing something like this), make sure you, or anyone else using this program for that matter, don't get too dependent on it. Not only is automation prone to bugs/glitches/failures, especially in the sim world, but automation can't always handle every situation that may be thrown at you as a pilot. The skill of being able to hand-fly, navigate, and communicate can never be overephasized.

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Josh Jenk

CZVR I1 controller

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On 10/2/2021 at 1:52 AM, John McMurdo said:

No it was EDDM,  but thanks for the warning,  I now know to avoid EHAM as a destination. hehe

I think I would find it easier if I didn't start to panic all the time,  hopefully the nerves will settle with experience.

I did have one flawless vectored approach into EDDF once,  an unplanned diversion to an airport I had not even flown into offline.

No need to avoid, just come prepared. That "steamroller" is actually fairly straightforward, and if you expect it, it's easy to do. Here goes:

  1. Write down the clearance in shorthand, and read back. The fix is usually going to be the last one on your STAR (ARTIP, RIVER, or SUGOL), the VOR that comes next is typically going to be PAM (Pampus, North of the airport), SPY (Spijkerboor, also North of the airport), or SPL (Schiphol, on the airport premises). The descent altitude is going to be FL70 or FL100, and generally by your first direct, i.e., the endpoint of the STAR.
  2. Switch to HDG mode and point your aircraft towards that fix.
  3. Dial your descent level into the AP, switch to V/S or FPA mode, and keep the green arc on SUGOL (or ARTIP, or RIVER).
  4. Now that the aircraft is going where it needs to go, for the time being, you can reprogram the FMS: a DIRECT to SUGOL with altitude "at FL70" (or FL100), then another DIRECT to SPY (or PAM or SPL), then VECTORS EHAM.
  5. Double-check your new flight plan, commit, and switch back to LNAV/VNAV.

As long as you expect this, and don't panic, you'll be just fine.

As for EDDM: the way this airport works, you have to be prepared for a couple possible events:

  • Being vectored off the transition early, for a direct straight-in (much faster than flying the entire transition, and if it's not too busy, this happens a lot IRL too)
  • Being sent direct, or on a vector, to cut short the transition; this is typically done to adjust spacing when it gets a bit busier
  • Being recleared on a different transition to send you around the other side of the airport (not very common, but it happens)
  • A late change of runway, when you're already on the transition. There's only two runways, so it's a good idea to keep the other one on standby (secondary FMS route, or NAV1 standby for the ILS). This may happen to get you a shorter taxi after landing, or because there are more departures waiting on your original landing runway, so moving you over will help balance things.

The EDDM transitions have very generous amounts of track mileage to them, so you will rarely get to fly them entirely, unless absolutely necessary.

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1 hour ago, Tobias Dammers said:

PAM (Pampus, North of the airport)

PAM is East of the airport, on final runway 27 😉 So it's common to get it from ARTIP when landing 27. Puts you on a nice 30 degree localizer intercept.

Edited by Dace Nicmane
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On 10/1/2021 at 10:24 PM, John McMurdo said:

Almost every time I fly the route I will make at least one mistake, it may be a minor mistake,  but I am a perfectionist and am striving for that perfect flight.  I do learn something with each flight though.

Let me tell you something from us real world pilots: we don't make mistakes "almost every time we fly", but we definitely "make mistakes every single time we perform a flight"! This is not a joke. We are just humans, we are not meant to fly. Mistakes happen and from the moment that you accept this fact, your nervousness and your goal of performing "that perfect flight" should change. "That perfect flight" is that flight where you recognized all the mistakes that you made and corrected them in time. This is the secret. Go for it!

I have been flying for a living since 1998 and every single flight is a learning experience, it never stops.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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Thanks for all your supportive comments,  I decided to take a bit of a break so apologies for my delayed response.  I know I have had some experience on VATSIM,  but I was thinking earlier about adding a comment in the remarks section of my flight plan to indicate that I was still a newbie,  I read somewhere that it was a good idea to add such a comment on ones first flight, but I never did.

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3 minutes ago, John McMurdo said:

Thanks for all your supportive comments,  I decided to take a bit of a break so apologies for my delayed response.  I know I have had some experience on VATSIM,  but I was thinking earlier about adding a comment in the remarks section of my flight plan to indicate that I was still a newbie,  I read somewhere that it was a good idea to add such a comment on ones first flight, but I never did.

It's a very good idea actually. I kept " new pilot" in the remarks section for my first 50 flights and I think that's a good number coz by then you get some experience.

 

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