It's funny how some things you may want to learn come easy and some things come very hard, if at all.
There there are times when something you have struggled with; at a later date seem so simple you wonder 'What was it that held me up so bad that I almost quit?'.
Basic Radio Navigation, Instrument Flight Rules & The Traffic Pattern were my next wall. I just could not get my head around using the instruments. This became such a pain I walked away from it and just concentrated on learning how to fly in different weather and terrain. Surprisingly this became another obstacle.
I became more afraid of flying the more I flew in the simulator under real-world conditions. Everything would be fine and then sudden catastrophe out of no where and I'd be crashed again. This is still the case. You have to always be paying attention. You can't trust anything no matter how certain you think you are. One little mistake usually cascades into other mistake and...BOOM...DEAD.
Real world weather and real world airplane settings had me so nervous after awhile I wasn't sure if I'd ever want to fly and I started understanding some of the reasons why my father quit too. It all started to make sense as I started simulating the flights from Colorado to Rock Springs Wyoming he would do.
I was at the same point in learning as my father was when I began simulating the flights from (KFLY) Meadow Lake Airfield in Colorado Springs to points in Wyoming and then back again in a Piper Cherokee. Even if the weather was fine there is some high
altitude flying over mountains that needs to be done and getting a light plane like the Cherokee high enough can be a problem without leveraging the wind etc. etc. It's also right on the point where Oxygen should be employed. I wonder now if that is why I never had a problem passing out. :) Then came the snow.
You can't see anything. You don't know what is up and what is down. You only know you are thousand of feet in the air with jagged mountains of DEATH directly ahead and below. There really isn't much more frightening as a student then your first experience with low and no visibility conditions with little to no experience to rely on your instruments the best you can to get home or anywhere safe.
Sometimes you need the right teachers and aids to get you over the mental walls. Flight Simulator folks and Flight Instructors started making their knowledge available on YouTube. I would have anything I could find of flying running all day long whether I understood it or not. I would get it through Osmosis or repetition or whatever. But I watched and watched and then would practice and practice some more and slowly over the next five or more years it started to all come together. Then Dovetail Games released: Microsoft Flight Simulator X on STEAM, Flight School and Flight Sim World!
After absorbing everything I could and living in those simulators for the next two years I finally broke through most all of my mental walls. It finally started
becoming second nature how use my instruments for navigation, speaking with atc, entering a holding pattern, mixtures, what's a Pitot Tube, Carb heat, EGT, mountain flying, gliding, emergency situations, using the autopilot and basic GPS...even basic Instrument landings!
I was still no where close to being an actually pilot but I had my confidence and drive back and a will to go on. I would need a more powerful simulator and a way to train more-real world application to do that though. That was X-Plane 11.
I regretfully did not make more recordings of my earliest flights in the simulator to look back.
Here is me in Dovetail's Flight School, Icing mission. You fall from the sky after icing up and have to make it to a nearby runway. It's not pretty but I get down.
My heart used to pound so much doing the Dovetail missions. I rarely succeeded. I think
I may reload it soon and see how I do these days.