Well, it's been a long time since I last wrote here. My apologies. Been busy with the usual - life, family, work, but also flying some good (and not so good) aerobatics. I'll try (can't promise) to do better.
Much has happened - consolidated my Unlimited flying, but still soooo much to learn and refine. Was the AAC President for three years, just stepped down, so freeing up some time to do this sort of thing, and to enjoy my aerobatics more.
Participating in the last WAC in Texas was a privelege I never thought I would have a few short years ago. Of course I was disappointed with my performance in the Known, but, if there is a next time I will be better prepared. Watching and talking to the other pilots is wonderful and you can learn so much. Knowing what it is you are trying to replicate, getting that picture in your brain, is priceless.
....some time later now, like three years, I re-read this draft and maybe publish it. It is still true, and now I can add to it. I think I will focus on one part of it - enjoying aerobatics.
Why do we fly? Why do we fly aerobatics? And in particular why do we do competitions? Many people love the idea of flight, of the perceived freedom, the romance of flight (?), fewer and fewer people seem willing to undergo the training, learning and discipline of flying. But there will always be some. Closely associated with this notion of flying is the ability to experience flight in all three dimensions, unconstrained, thus some people do aerobatics. And then, because of the psychologcal characteristics and disipline needed to achieve these goals, some pilots seek competition. This is the pointy end where 'enjoyment' of aerobatics can get a bit blunted.
Being competitive types we tend to measure success in trophies won. This is natural, but for most of us winning is not a regular occurrence. When asked how I go, I don't answer 'won some, lost some', I use 'won some, lost more' as it is more correct!
So should we just stop and take up golf? That's up to you, all I suggest is that to stay healthy and continue to 'enjoy' the sport you must find more in it than just counting wins. In every comp there are many more people who don't win than those who do, so if you want to enjoy the sport more, get used to losing early!
Remember where you were with your flying before you started competing, or last year, maybe last month. All of us have become better pilots through competition. We learn by watching others, and by pushing ourselves to learn and do more difficult things. Training for comp is repetitive - a traditional initial learning technique. Then as we progress it all becomes more mental - striving for that peak performance. Again, we need to learn and practice this. Visualization, relaxation, memorisation, concentration, optimum stimulation at the right time. Not many people in society do these things in their daily lives, so it is a bit alien. But the skills are transferable to many aspects of our lives if we wish to apply them.
So we must enjoy learning and pushing ourselves to improve. Enjoy this, don't make it a chore. Enjoy learning like a child does, before they are taught to dislike learning by the school system! Love learning just for the sake of it; gain skills not credentials, as someone once said.
Enjoy the flying of others, Aresti should be beautiful to watch when flown well - take pleasure from it, don't be (too) envious! Be motivated by it. That's why we do this sport, to achieve the beautiful picture we have in our head of what flying represents to us.
And, I'm sure all of us have at some time achieved the 'zone' when we flew seeing everything and doing everything without thought. That is just golden, even if the judges didn't watch the same flight (if their scores are any indication). You can go to sleep replaying that flight in your mind, reliving the sensations, chewing on it and extracting every calorie of mental nourishment. Soup for the soul.