April 29, 2010
I recently successfully completed my third biennial flight review since learning to fly. Although, the process is becoming customary to me this most recent experience was unlike my previous two flight review experiences. The flight review is not a pass / fail test. Instead it is an assessment of a pilot's knowledge and skill that if the Certified Flight Instructor deems are sufficient you will receive a logbook endorsement allowing you to continue to fully utilize the privilege's of your license for another twenty-four months. If the CFI recognizes some serious deficiencies they will not sign-off on the review, which means the pilot must work on those deficiencies then retake the review. If the pilot has not past the twenty-four month mark since their last review they may continue to fly, after that there are some restrictions put in place until they complete the review satisfactorily.
The first two times I was too engrossed with proving my knowledge and worthiness of being a pilot to recognize this opportunity for what it is, a learning experience. Many pilots have heard the saying that the Pilot's License is "Your ticket to learn", the flight review is a perfect opportunity to continue that learning process. To prepare for this review I made notes of things I have struggled to understand and questions that have come up in flight experiences that I had not yet sought a satisfactory answer for. During both the one hour of ground and one hour of flight instruction there were items that were not as clear to me as they once were and we talked through those. I also made sure to bring up the questions and topics for which I wanted a refresher on and as a result I feel I got more out of this review than any previous review.
Don't be worried about knowing every answer to every question. Use this truly as a learning experience and you will do fine. Remember that you are paying for the instructor's time so take advantage of the opportunity to learn through this process.
April 4, 2010
One of my favorite things about being a private pilot is heading out for a cross-country flight. This month there are two exciting aviation adventures in which pilots will be flying aircraft literally across the country. One interesting thing is that in both cases the pilots are flying cross-country in Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft.
A year ago I would have been surprised at the prospects of flying far from home in a Light Sport Aircraft. However, while at AirVenture in Oshkosh this past summer, I had the opportunity to fly the Remos GX and was pleasantly surprised by its performance.
The Flight for the Human Spirit
Michael Combs was not satisfied with dreaming of flying. However, a history of heart problems had kept him grounded until the advent of the Sport Pilot License. The Sport Pilot License does not require an FAA Medical Certificate, with that hurdle out of the way, he jumped at the opportunity and earned his license to fly.
Now Michael is on a mission to spread the simple message that "It is never to late to follow your dreams." His goal is reach 20 million people with this message. What better way to do it than by continuing to follow his dream of flying. So Michael will depart on Tuesday from Salina, Kansas in a Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft on a journey to all fifty states, covering 19,400 miles enroute and visiting 135 cities.
One of the airports Combs will stop at is my home base, Chicago Executive Airport, just outside of Chicago. I was able to get support for his mission from my flight club, Windy City Flyers, who will be supplying a hangar for his aircraft during his visit. If you are in Chicago and would like to meet Combs, visit the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group as I am organizing a meet and greet for when he arrives.
AOPA Road and Runway Rally
The second adventure is AOPA's Road and Runway Rally. Two teams will depart from AOPA headquarters in Frederick, MD this Saturday, one in a Smart Car and the other in a Remos GX, enroute to Lakeland, FL home of the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. As they make their way south they will compete in a variety of challenges, meeting in St. Augustine, FL to swap vehicles and continue to Lakeland.
Team Orville is made up by Alyssa J. Miller (@ajmalay), AOPA Director of eMedia & Wired.com Correspondent Jason Paur (@jasonpaur). Their competitors on Team Wilbur are Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly (@ijtwombly) and Motor Week Associate Producer Steven Chupnick (@motorweek).
As for my aviation adventures ... I hope to back in the sky before the end of the week, Mother Nature providing.