Getting out of a Rut

I realized recently I was starting to get a little bored by about my 4th or 5th battery of a session. I’m used to that happening over the winter when I’m stuck flying in-doors, but I’ve not had that happen when I’m able to be outside before. I’m guessing it’s just because I’ve just been flying my yard for the last couple of months since the pandemic started, whereas I’m used to going to a nearby fields and schools to get a change of scenery. I probably could still do those things, but it just seems a like an unnecessary risk to take no matter how insignificant.

Thinking on it more, I’ve been subconsciously feeling this for a few weeks now and just hadn’t realized it until now. I’d started flying my whoop outside along with my toothpick, and I think that was my way of trying to mix things up a bit.

Besides just flying the same small space over and over again, I’ve also still been in that winter/spring mindset where I feel like I have to get out and fly whenever the weather is decent, and there’s been a lot more of that recently as our weather here has started to shift more into summer than spring. So I’ve been pushing myself to fly as much as possible when the weather is good and feeling guilty when I don’t, instead of resetting my expectations for the bad weather days being the exception rather than the norm.

The biggest issue though has been how I fly. I don’t have any kind of goals or plan or structure to my sessions right now. Last summer and fall, I was all about practicing tricks and trying to get more comfortable in the air. This year I started out doing some of that by trying to get more comfortable doing loops and lookbacks where I have to be upside down, but recently I’ve just been doing mostly the same comfortable things repeatedly with some minor changes like starting to do more low to the ground proximity flying.

To correct that and get out of the rut I’ve gotten myself into, I’ve tried to become more intentional with my flight sessions. I’ll take a battery to warm up where I just do my normal messing around, and then for the next couple of batteries I’ll pick a maneuver or trick that I want to work on and just do that over and over for most of the pack.

For example, I’ve noticed recently that I tend to turn left most of the time. Probably 98% of the time that I do a dive I go left. Same for yaw spins. For rolls I’ve noticed I most often go right for this and for flips I pitch backward. All of these has to do with the stick movements. I fly what’s known as Mode 2, which most pilots do in the US, and that puts the yaw and throttle on the left stick and pitch and roll on the right stick. So yawing left means pulling the stick to the outside of the controller, as does rolling right.

Somehow I’ve gotten more used pulling the sticks than pushing them towards the center. So that’s a big part of my practice now is forcing myself to reverse the way I do tricks and the flight lines I pick to get more used to yawing right, rolling left, and pitching forward. It’s almost a different kind of boredom, zipping back and forth across my backyard doing yaw spins one way five or six times and then doing them the other direction. But in other ways it feels good, as I can feel how uncomfortable I am when doing things differently and I definitely don’t want to be.