Today's lesson was both kind of fulfilling and somewhat frustrating. I showed great improvement in some fronts. I had much better situational awareness, and I even flew a holding pattern all by myself. En route, I did a lot better with maintaining my altitudes and headings.
We started with the VOR 29R approach at Stockton. This is the same one we'd been flying the last two times out, and I think I did..OK. I had better awareness, overall, but I still didn't really know exactly what to do ahead of time -- staying ahead of the airplane, they call it. I'm having the same problem with this as I do with cooking: I read the recipe (or brief the approach), but can't remember it and have to keep referring back to it for every single step. Maybe what I need to do is commit to memorizing recipes before cooking. It might be the same skill.
The same goes for missed approach procedures. There's no time to think about the missed approach procedure and have to look it up when you're a couple of hundred feet off the ground, potentially in a high traffic environment, unable to see the ground. I have to memorize the first couple of steps of the missed approach before I get on the approach.
THEN there's the ILS approach. I did terribly on this; I was all over the place and John had to say something every couple of seconds (not his fault, I was just that far behind -- Airspeed. Altitude. Heading. Airspeed. Relax your grip. Glideslope. Watch the attitude indicator. Heading.) It was so frustrating that after flying the missed (at least I knew the first step this time) I channeled my frustration into that perfect holding pattern. John said nothing; I think he sensed my frustration and helpfully let me get myself through it while safely in my excellent holding pattern.
Basically, the deal is this: 1. I'm far too controlling on the yoke. I need to let the aircraft go, let it do its thing, which in general is to fly stably. This is especially true on the approaches, where not only am I too overcontrolling but 2. I need to fly the attitude indicator and not chase needles. I started doing this toward the end, in en route flight, to great effect. Attitude indicator is my friend. 3. I need to memorize my gaits. I'm making too many power adjustments (related to the overcontrolling) to unknown RPMs.
Friday morning, I'll try doing those three things, and that's all. And we'll see how it goes from there.