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Spring is here! It’s hard to believe I was just writing about winter weather flying and now spring has officially sprung (as of nine days ago). For many of you, you might be tied to the weather during the winter when it comes to flying. This could be due to the ratings you hold, the airport you hanger at, or even the equipment your aircraft is equipped with. Whatever your reason may be, the arrival of spring means the return of better flying days! So, today I will share a few ways to dust off your logbook.
#3: Get Current
I know, it’s probably the old standby for when we want to fly, but have no idea where to fly to. Spring is the perfect time to sneak in an early morning flight to get day current. So, that means that every 90 days, you need to get out there and do three take-offs and landings, full-stop, to carry passengers. This could easily take up an hour of flying and it gets you back into the pattern at your home airport, or maybe a nearby airport.
Likewise, you should get night current while you are at it. Although, darkness comes a lot later these days, so plan accordingly. Another great way to get current, as an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rated pilot, is to get instrument current. Every six calendar months, you will need to log at least six instrument approaches, holding procedures, including intercepting and tracking courses using a navigation system.
While you probably should not wait every 90 days to practice landings, or every six months to do instrument work, it does happen. If it has been awhile, be sure to take up a current pilot with you as a safety pilot, or better yet: find an instructor! Getting current is a great way to ease back into fair-weather flying.
#2: Do Your Flight Review
What once used to be called the Biennial Flight Review, now is just shortened to Flight Review (FR). This requires a pilot holding any certificate to go through a review flight with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) every 24 calendar months.
I would describe the FR as an abbreviated check ride. You go through many of the same topics in a checkride, but it is much shorter. You might remember reading about my interview with Woody Minar, a seasoned Designated Pilot Examiner. In that interview, he gives some good tips in preparing for your upcoming FR. If you want some additional tips from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), check out this link to their FR guide.
Lastly, did you know that safety seminars through the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) can give you credit towards an FR? Through attending seminars in various topics around or at your home airport and a little extra flying with an instructor, you can get credit for an FR. I’ve done this once before and made it through the Basic Level – you get to learn a lot, fly a little, and get a cool pin to wear. Furthermore, the goal of working through all the levels is a good way to push yourself to keep up with your weekend flying (or whenever you can work it in).
#1: Fly for Fun!
I realize that all of us can’t afford to rent an aircraft all the time. Sometimes the harsh reality of the bank account is enough to keep even the most passionate pilot from flying on a sunny spring day. For this reason, I encourage all you pilots to find a flying buddy.
Finding a fellow pilot to fly with is great for several reasons: you have someone to talk to, you can both brush up on your skills, and (most importantly) you can split the costs! Not only do you need to find a fellow pilot to fly with, but you need to find somewhere fun to fly to – this could be a lake place, a golf course, a friend’s private airport, a museum, and more. The possibilities are endless and they give you a purpose for flying.
Enroute to fun destinations is a great time to practice slow flight, stalls, Commercial maneuvers, landings at other airports, dead reckoning, instrument approaches, going under the hood, or simply building cross-country time. You really can’t go wrong when your fun flying has a learning purpose.
Hopefully you have some ideas now on how to take advantage of the better weather and dust off your logbook. I’m hoping to get some flying in myself in a few weeks when I get back home for Easter – by the way, did you realize that is just around the corner too???
Happy Spring Flying!
Images courtesy of Google.com