XC CROSS COUNTRY - not a pre-requisite to enjoy the sport.
At Austalian inland sites there is a highly competitive atmosphere. Although "most" pilots are very friendly and willing to give free advice. Soon you'll be hearing, XC XC XC or do competitions. There reason, to improve your skills. So what are they saying, your standard is not good enough? (Pressure) Even though you thought you were progressing along at a nice pace, ugh!
Notable we often see new students puff up there chests, show no fear, seem so tough skinned and proud. As a new pilot you'll try to fit in and copy the others, although you probably don't feel quite right. The truth is your feeling nervous on launch but dare not let that feeling show. Guess what, many others feel the same and you are not alone.
For some the pressure maybe too over whelming that the pilot gives up at an early stage.
He has fear is lacking skills or confidence or he is just not that way inclined and XC just simpley does not appeal to him.
What is very much over looked is that some pilots enjoy normal flights staying within the area. They fly for fun and have no competitive drive.
Does he need to be constantly reminded, about XC and competitions, which could be detrimental to his decision to continue the sport at such an early stage?
The pressure involved to just do pleasurable flying at a local inland site is almost impossible as time goes on, as he never hears it being acceptable within the flying Community. XC - XC - XC where did you end up how far...... it won't escape you.
A pilot is quite content before hearing all this then the competitive atmosphere can begin to repulse him, he feels pressure and either goes XC, quits or never returns to the site.
XC should be natural progression for a pilot when he gets bored flying around local sites after he's developed top thermaling skills. Some like XC and some don't it's your choice, what ever you choose to do just enjoy it.
It's perfectly ok to fly close by in the area. Many seniors also feel that way inclined and there is no reason you also should feel the need to do otherwise.
Competitive or XC pilots tend to have the need for more higher adrenaline kicks and take off in conditions which are unpleasant or ratty to fly and there risk level is higher. Hopefully so is there skill level in sink
with it. But too often it is not.
Some pilots are looking to have a more enjoyable flight not a heart racing one full of adrenaline. It doesn't mean he is any the lesser pilot for it, just more relaxed there for enjoyment not out to prove anything and likes to keep the risks involved lower.
If you ever feel this pressure and would like to join a more relaxed atmosphere pop off to a local coastal site where the change does a 360° turn, you'll feel excepted, and be flying in smoother air.
When flying has lost its thrill, then XC most definitely will increase your excitement level again. But you need to have a different mind set. Get to enjoy the idea that your new adventure is not over once landing out. Your standing there out and away from home base and your all alone. Now the new adventure begins to get back home. The nice thing you'll like to know, so far the statistics are on your side, no pilot has never not made it back. It might of been the next day but all pilots have gotten back some how.
A TRUE STORY - The lost pilot.
Tom's first XC after just having graduated from flight school, he hears XC XC XC that's the pressure I'm talking about, righto. So he did. Landed near a house, not a soul around. He began walking he was not on a public road. His feet were sore, after walking for hours and began to blister, the sun was setting. Still not on a main road, ended up taking a short cut though a paddock, was lost. He couldnt see in the dark no telephone signal, no road, no map, no light, no food, nothing. He was tired and in much pain.
In the meantime back at camp I get awoken it was 11pm knock, knock where is Tom he is not back do you have any idea? It was comforting that others were concerned but all we could do was wait.
As Tom put down his pack to make himself compfortable for the night thinking to pull out his glider and sleep in it. He saw lights, it was a car THE ROAD! just meters away the pain didn't stop him, he made himself visable and the car stopped. It was the police. What a fluke and they drove him all the way home. It was late. But poor Tom his experience sure wasn't ended then, as it took many days for him to recover and to be able to walk again or to wear normal shoes.
Make sure you let others know your intentions.
UHF radio - emergency Channel 5 freq. 476.525
Hwy Channel 40 freq. 477.400
Phone or Sat phone.
Spot - Satellite tracking for remote areas.
Change of pants and underwear.
Cash and a credit card.