Lately I have been thinking about the word “Rusty”.
Back in 2011, I had thought four months was too long a gap since my last flight. The gap this time was almost four years. For the first time, I even missed a flight review or two. It was interesting to experience the true meaning of “Rusty Pilot”. It was interesting to realize how much can be forgotten if one is not flying regularly!
While the review of current policies, procedures, regulations, aeronautical information, aircraft performance, weather and environmental factors are all vital and necessary, and can be part of every day activities even if one is not a pilot, the visual acuity, coordination, practical techniques, sensory perceptions, nuances, awareness and resource management are vital skills that are all accrued over time through application. These skills evolve and grow through continuous application, recurrent training, and pursuing other advanced ratings and endorsements.
As with anything, human behavior is built through constant practice and application. We focus on what’s in front of us or what’s important in the moment. With time forgetfulness can seep in. Other factors such as loss of memory, age etc. might add to it. As I attempted to refresh my memory, it was interesting to realize how much I had forgotten. Although I have been attending virtual rusty pilot seminars over the last two years, it was evident almost immediately to me that despite having flown for almost two decades one can forgot basic things from lack of practice.
May has always been the month. I got my private pilot license in May. Three years later, I got my instrument rating also in May. This meant every two years May was the month for my flight review with my instructor to maintain currency. That is, until this year.
Its good to be current again, after this unplanned hiatus!
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