Repost: BFR – It can be fun!

Current Again!

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.

Continue to read here.

Spread Your Wings! — Aviation Ideas and Discussion!

As pilots, we have an amazing diversity of “flying machines” available to us. Unfortunately, most of us never take the time and money necessary to explore these unique experiences. In other articles here I have advocated for “envelope expansion” in your regualr piston flying. This builds skills and enhances safety. But other categories and classes…

via Spread Your Wings! — Aviation Ideas and Discussion!

Emergency Procedures

IMG_0676Typically, the only time we review emergency procedures, is during flight training, be it private, instrument, commercial or other higher ratings. Or maybe during Flight Reviews. But not all flights reviews are as thorough as they should be. The onus is on the pilot, to ensure that he/she achieves the most from any flight training or flight review and obtains the necessary training in any emergency procedures that he/she wishes.

It is easy to lose focus, save time and money and achieve a quick review. But is it the right thing to do? Stalls, engine fire and Engine-out procedures are the most common emergency procedures that are reviewed over and over again. Although these events occur rarely, they can occur at the most importune moment,  if one is not vigilant! There are still others, that are out there such as ice or oil on windshield, VMC into IMC, disorientation, IMC flying, tire blowout, loss of avionics, alternator failure, spin awareness, loss of control, loss of electrical system, loss of GPS  and many more that are less frequently addressed. So plan your next review or a session with a dedicated instructor to suit your specific needs. After all, safety begins with the pilot!

Lately, Linda and I have taken to spending our time during a long flight, by reviewing all the emergency procedures in the POH to entertain ourselves. I think it is a great way, to refresh and prepare us for emergency situations. Likewise,  attending safety seminars, Webinars and flying with a flight instructor to review and work on emergencies is another excellent way to be prepared.

How do you plan and prepare for emergencies? Drop me a line…

If you don’t already have an account or belong to these organizations, here are a few resources to get you started on attending free seminars or Webinars on safety:


2013: Year in Review

As I kicked-off 2013, I promised myself to take my flying to the next level. 2013, has been an incredible year for flying.

After some training flights, getting IFR current and comfortable flying with iPad and Sratus (See iPad + ForeFlight + Stratus = Awesome), we headed off to the Bahamas for some exotic times in the Tropics at the peak of winter.


Flying to the Bahamas in a C172 was an incredible journey. Not only was it my first longest cross-country ever, but the lessons learned were unbelievable. Once my feet were firmly back on the ground and no longer floating on clouds, I had a challenging experience of flying through ice/snow in C172. But all ended well.

Nothing could match Bahamas Flying. This was the year, I wanted to fly as much as I could. For the March flyout we planned a flyout to Blacksburg, VA.  Flying to Blacksburg brought back fond memories of fun times, old friends and even ones no longer among us.


April was all about flying to Connellesville, PA to see Falling Water. While third year in a row, I couldn’t pull off this flyout, three of us pilots, decided to drive over instead and had a marvelous time!

IMG_3820Every two years, May means Bi-annual. Each of my flight reviews have been with a different instructor. They are always fun and most times, I come away learning something new.

After my original experience with gliding, I never really got back in a glider. This past summer, I took a fun ride in the Stemme S2 at the second highest airport in the country, Telluride, CO. I could absolutely try gliding again!

telluride1July-August is usually about Oshkosh and Airventure. While I have made it to Airventure 8-9 times, this year’s experience was unbelievable since I flew in to Oshkosh!

bitsandpiecesOctober it seems, is a bad month to plan for Niagara Falls. While we did not end up driving there, although I have done this a few times, maybe next year I will plan a different month.

Niagara2November flyout was to Hampton Roads: fun and enjoyable. Meanwhile I learned to quilt….

photo(32)December is a time to spend with friends and family. To wind down, rejoice, reflect and plan exciting new adventures next year. Bahamas is again in the horizon… How can I get to Oshkosh again any other way, than fly myself? Niagara, fall in the Northeast, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and so much  more! I did not quite finish my commercial as I hoped, but no rush for it.

I also attended several safety seminars and online webinars hosted by my flight school,  AOPA, EAA, Sporty’s etc.

Rusty Pilot Seminar
Rusty Pilot IFR Seminar
Night Flying Seminar

2014 is a whole new year with innumerable possibilities.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. And see you back here next year!

Reunion Flight with M^2

Seems like Old Times

“Cutlas 02B, cleared R29, straight out”

We were off, with familiar sights ahead of us: pristine blue skies, three stacks, Morro Rock and the wide blue ocean.

Straight out, as we departed runway 29 and headed straight for the ocean, following highway 1. Off somewhere to the left, was my home, when I last lived in these parts. It was clear and calm, with unlimited visibility. The sky blended into the ocean and the Cuesta Ridge, Irish Hills, Islay Hills, and Bishop Peak, were all clearly visible. The lack of rains and drought, had rendered the hills brown. Yet, the clear blue skies and turquoise blue Pacific Ocean, provided uninterrupted and unending vistas.


We headed out to the ever familiar Morro Rock, before turning towards North, hugging the coastline. The three stacks clearly visible as was the Morro Rock. We traced the coastline following the Cabrillo Highway past Estero Bay and further north to San Simeon. Circling Hearst Castle is something every pilot did in the Central Coast. Talk about circling about a point!


We headed out further north to Point Pedras, circling the lighthouse, before turning south, keeping the coastline to our left and heading back, looking for seals.  For old times sake, I had opted to shoot the ILS R11 approach in VFR conditions. We headed straight for CREPE intersection, while I attempted to re-familiarize myself with flying an instrument approach procedure without an on board GPS, using ILS and VOR only.


Once I got the handle of things, the approach itself was fairly straight-forward. Leveling off a little before HASBY intersection  at 1,200 ft, I circled and set up for downwind 29 with short approach. Landing on R29 brought back fond memories of the innumerable landings I had made here…


I learnt to fly in SLO. The last time I flew with my primary flight instructor Michelle G was back in 2002. The last time I flew with my friend Michelle TG was back in 2005 and the absolute last time I flew here was back in April 2009 when I got my BFR and helped paint the Compass Rose!


m2Good to be back in the air with M^2 in familiar territory.

imageGood to be home!

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Some photographs by Michelle Torres Grant

Flying Lessons: Flight Review

It used to be the Bi-annual Flight Review (BFR), now it is just the Flight Review. Every two years, to maintain currency, a private pilot needs to undergo a flight review and get a sign off from a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) to legally fly. 


Every instructor has his or her own technique to conduct a flight review. My best ever BFR was out in California with my favorite instructor, Lee Jaykell (see BFR: It can be fun!). If I were to rank my next best, it would be this. It was not as thorough as the previous one mentioned, but still I came away learning many new things.

The FAA has many resources available online for free: from the pilot handbook to the airport facility directory to terminal procedures. The FAA Safety website offers many links for activities, webinars, courses and seminars. You can easily create a login, and register your preferences for email notification, maintain your wings certification and other currency information. Especially if you live within the DC SFRA or plan to fly in the proximity of this airspace, it is required that you complete the DC SFRA course on the FAA Safety website and keep a copy of the certificate with you at all times.

When I first learned to fly, there was only the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) published in the FAR 91.205. Did you know that now there is a hierarchy in how you check whether your aircraft is airworthy? There are three other lists you might need to check before you resort to the FAR MEL.

  1. MEL specific for the make and model of aircraft
  2. Kinds of Operating Equipment Lists (KOEL) section of the POH if available,  applicable to newer aircraft
  3. Equipment list in W&B section of the POH if available
  4. MEL in FAR 91.205

A handy acronym to remember is TOMATO FLAMES 🙂

  • Airspeed indicator
  • Tachometer
  • Oil Pressure Gauge
  • Manifold Pressure Gauge
  • Altimeter
  • Temperature Gauge
  • Oil Temperature Gauge
  • Fuel Gauge
  • Landing gear position indicator
  • Anti collision lights
  • Magnetic Compass
  • ELT
  • Safety Belts

A nice, simple chart to remember  the ceiling and visibility requirements for each class of airspace:


Any flight review you come away learning something new, is a good one!

BFR: It can be fun!

Current Again!

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!

Continue reading