Fly The Wing
Attention: Rusty Pilots

Almost every General Aviation pilot has had (or will have) a 'dormant' stage during the course of their flying. Funny how work and life tend to get in the way of our aviating pursuits isn't it? AOPA estimates there are 400,000 non-flying pilots in the US. Some stopped flying due to medical issues. But for many, their flying tapered off more gradually, over a long period of time. 

If this phase of inactivity continues for months, or even years, you're going to need some work to get back in the saddle. The good news is that you don't have to take another check ride to resume flying.
And, the second time around is more of a refresher; you're not learning about airspace, VOR navigation, airplane systems, etc. for the first time, so it usually moves right along and is not as confusing as it may have been during your original training. The bad news is, well... there is no bad news --- you're back flying an airplane again --- it's all good!

The best place to start is at the beginning. Crack open a Private Pilot knowledge book (Jeppesen, Rod Machado or FAA Airplane Flying Book). If it's been a really long time since you last flew, allow me to introduce you to this new thing called the Internet. There are all kinds of learning resources available on the net, (including e-book versions of the previously-mentioned books), video versions of ground lessons, inflight video lessons and more. I have assembled a couple dozen in-flight maneuver videos, which you can access and view for free by clicking here.

After jogging your memory with a review of some basic book learnin', it's time to knock the cobwebs off by slipping the surly bonds of earth. Find a good instructor that you
think you'll mesh well with and jump in an airplane. You'll generally review maneuvers, landings, procedures, navigation, and airmanship and learn a few more things that have come along since you last flew. This is the fun part, so don't overdo it and don’t stress it; pace yourself so that this is the enjoyable endeavor it should be. I've yet to fly with a rusty pilot who has regretted getting back in the cockpit. If your 3rd Class Medical certificate has expired, have your instructor guide you to a nearby AME before you get too far into the process.

If it’s been a couple years since you last flew, recent changes include: re-registration of aircraft every three years
  ‘Position and Hold’ has been replaced by ‘Line Up and Wait’, and you now need a taxi clearance to cross each specific runway. If it’s been many years since you last flew, you will learn to flight plan and check weather with a computer, learn about GPS, satellite ELT’s and futuristic-looking plastic pilot licenses. (If it’s been a very, very long time, you will learn that airplanes now have electrical systems and the vacuum pump has replaced the venturi tube).

If you find you’re carrying your pilot license in your wallet but not using it; much like a 24 Hour Fitness membership card, or you’re a bit rusty in some area, embrace that and make this the year you polish those flying skills.

Call me --- and let’s go flying!


Additional Rusty Pilot info on the AOPA website; click here.

© 2015 Garry Wing