Simply fascinating and a bit scare.... taken from the naval Pilot's eyes as they attempt to land an aircraft onto an aircraft carrier...in the wind, fog...etc. This is a skill that I would most likely fail in.
One just doesn't wake up one morning and land an aircraft on the high seas on a pretty small deck. Practice....more practice is needed. Sometimes the pilot misses on the first time around and has to feel the heat under his collar as he knows 'all eyes' are upon him during these attempts. Bee bee eyes....all staring at the pilot. Pressure on man....come thru to 'earn your wings on the water'.
Earning your wings is simply not an easy task all the way around. There are three phases of flight school as a naval Pilot.
Phase 1: Prove you are worthy of earning a commission. Competition is fierce....you need to perform ...
Phase 2... Earning your Wings. This is a six week ground school call API (Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination) where you will study the academics behind flight. Then on to a primary base where you will be given a plane and you start learning in flight
Phase 3... Just because you have earned your wings doesn't mean you are ready. Now you move on to Fleet Replacement Squadron or FRS where you are doing Phase 2 on the water. Here you learn the specifics about a particular plane you are flying landing that object on an aircraft carrier.
So.....today as I came back from my humid walk .....I was sitting outside feeling the wind dry off the sweat. A good place to do this is on the patio as I can observe bird behavior. This time of the year is fun for there is a lot of activity with adults busy 'training' the juveniles in all types of skills. I am just thinking that 'flight' itself is a learned instinct. I don't necessarily see any training wheels on the birds or parachutes for soft landings etc. Flight just seems to occur yet, there are still some phases of flight that need practice. I have listed the three phases I have developed to equal that of naval flight school.
Phase 1 where they are proving they are worth it. This involves learning how to get food from a parent.... growing wings, learning how to tweet etc.... Are they worthy of being a bird? Competition is fierce as some might tweet louder and get more food.
Phase 2....While flight itself might be instinctive this phase is the practice state of earning your basic wings. It doesn't quite last 6 weeks as birds operate under an abbreviated schedule, so please keep that in mind. But in this phase they are taking that first step from nest to branch.... to branch, to branch. Perhaps in the case of a nuthatch (as I witnessed them today) the branch can be substituted for the trunk of a tree and then learning how to walk up and around. So basic flight and landing both occur as does a navel pilot in their phase 2.
Phase 3...earning your wings to eat and beyond. During this phase birds are beyond the practice stage of flight itself and have mastered movement over several long distances and are now being more specific in flight as well as landing. They have their chosen tree and now learn how to navigate around the branches and leaves and as I saw earlier; how to land on suet for food. Landing on suet is not an easy task and especially if the suet is swaying in the wind, like an aircraft carrier is moving on the high seas.
Below is 'actual simulated' video from the eyes of a nuthatch as it attempts to land on the suet holder. It might be a bit scary for you as we are not birds, but this is a phase 3 skill that has to be mastered. Many unsuccessful attempts I have witnessed as they have to not only take into account the wind and movement of the suet holder but flap their wings around the same movement, and put down their landing gear. I mean, wow.....intense. Baby brother or sister is looking on... The wren from the nest is staring. The robin pretends they are not looking but yes, they really are. Intense.... Enjoy the video....