It has been 4 months and 8 days since my last flight. The first time ever that I let such a long gap between my flights happen. It is good to be back in the air and in control!
Over the last decade I have had a total of 5 flight reviews. Each had it’s unique flavor to it. For, each CFI has his or her own style. Each different, yet a good experience. While some might consider it a waste of time or wish to go through with it quickly and at minimum cost, I have always enjoyed a detailed flight review. After all safety begins with the pilot and I always want to be sure I am staying sharp and safe.
So it was with excitement that I looked forward to my first flight review with Lee. I had realized after the fact, from reading some AOPA articles on how to choose a good CFI for your primary flight training. One of the key recurring things mentioned was the fact that a good flight instructor always briefs before a flight and after a flight. As a student on a budget, one key thing that most try to cut down is ground time spent with an instructor. After all every minute meant more money out of the pocket. It was only in retrospect that I realized how vital it was to have this valuable briefing and debriefing of the flight so I knew exactly what I was going to do/learn and how I did do perform. And of course I don’t want to remind myself of the importance of preparation for a class!
Unlike a normal , single flight checkout with just an hour of flying with the instructor to demonstrate yes I could still fly, I had opted for the 3 session checkout with an attendance at a pilot seminar that would qualify me for an FAA wings program. Lee did not disappoint: He had a list of items he wanted to refresh me on which he went over in as much detail as I desired. He was open to adding anything else I wished to add to the list to review. All safety critical things that we learn during private pilot training but so often forget.
And so I had the wonderful experience of demonstrating stalls- engine off and on, steep turns, emergency procedures for engine out and even for an engine fire, an IFR flight in day and night IFR conditions, short field and soft field landings including attending his presentation on De’Mystifying Local Weather and Procedures. Together all this provided an excellent overview of everything I need when I am on my own flying and helped me earn my second pair of wings!
Being back in the air this time with Joe from the local flight school, after more than 4 months, I was happy to note that I had not lost the touch. I was relieved to realize that I could do my steep turns at the first attempt. And those dreaded stalls were good too! There is an old adage “like riding a bike” meaning that you can pick up a bike any time once you know how to ride. While I would say it doesn’t apply to everyone, being in the cockpit, flying so precisely with minimum errors I was happy to see that yeah it did feel that way!
I was happy to realize that it was really like riding a bike. I could still fly smoothly and perform all the maneuvers with reasonable ease. Having been through several instructors and even spent some lost dollars, I have come to realize the importance of finding the right instructor for yourself. It pays in the end. It can be quite fun too! So don’t scrimp when it comes to your BFR. It pays to stay current!
Looking forward to tackling and hopefully finally completing my commercial rating with my present instructor Joe!
Congrats and Great Photos Taken.
Love this! My last BFR was so much fun! Sometimes those steep turns and stalls are exactly what you need to get your precision back. It really is like riding a bike though! I had a year off from flying before my last BFR and picked it right back up like I had never stopped flying. I agree with your briefing/debriefing point as well! Great article! Thanks for sharing your experience!
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Thank you for your comments as well…