July 22, 2017 was the last time that I flew in a small airplane. Here we are just over a year later and I am due for flight review. A flight review is just that a flight that is to be done with a flight instructor to make sure you are still safe and following regulations. This is something that every licensed pilot needs to be do every 2 years. There are different ways of meeting this regulation like adding a rating to your license or flying through the wings program. I will write about that later.
The flight review consists of two parts a ground portion and a flight portion. It worked out to where I renewed my Flight Instructor Certificate (CFI) in July, that was about 16 hours of ground work so those 16 hours counted towards the ground portion of my flight review. 15 more than what is expected, but it has to be done.
There is no way that I will let my CFI expire I will sit in a classroom for 16 hours than to go on a flight check again. I made that mistake once before.
I called up United Flight Services booked an instructor and their C-172SP.
They have other airplanes in their fleet that cost less than their 172SP but since it’s been a year since the last time I flew I wanted to fly the airplane I felt the most comfortable with and that is the 172SP as that is the same model airplane that I learned to fly in.
You would think that I would’ve prepared for the flight review but honestly my job had me busy all week and before I knew it, it was Saturday and my flight was scheduled at 11. I arrived at the flight school an hour before my flight to do a preflight and to look at the instrument panel of the airplane so that I could remember where everything is. I start to feel anxious and wonder if I can still do this. I take note of the important airspeeds that I will need for takeoff, landing and glide. I wrote them on my knee board.
It turns out that I will be flying with another instructor that I know. This helps to relieve some of the anxiety but not really. We talk for a bit and I tell him that I want to spend some time practicing landings and the rest of the time we could do whatever he wants to do. He has a plan of doing some maneuvers and the landings I had requested.
With a plan in hand we walkout out to the airplane. One last check of the exterior and we get inside. I put my seat belt on, grab my checklist and start up the airplane. It started on the first try!!! YES Success!!! We taxi out to the runway I announce my departure, line up on runway 20, push the throttle in. 55 knots and up we go.
What a feeling!!! Oh how I missed flying. With the runway now 700 feet below me and the ocean in front of me I couldn’t help but smile. When flying there is no time to worry about what is going on in the ground with family, work or anything. This time is about you, the airplane, being safe and enjoying the beauty of the Central Coast of California.
How did I stay away from this for so long? I have no idea but the next hour just flew by. (No pun intended). 30 minutes after doing some steep turns, stalls and slow flight was the moment of truth could I still land an airplane and have it fly another day.
Let me tell you, and I hate bragging about myself but that landing was on the centerline and smooth. It was beautiful and it made me smile even more. We went around and did some more landings each one just as graceful as the last one.
We got back to the airport and parked the plane. I was beyond ecstatic. There are no words to describe how I felt. I can only describe it as super happy, not quite as happy as seeing your children for the first time but pretty close.
You’ll be seeing and reading more about my flying adventures now that I have started up again.
Do you want to know when you are around a pilot when you hear an airplane fly by they will be the ones looking up in the sky looking for it.