Postponing a Checkride

I postponed my instrument checkride yesterday.

Though I have the number of required hours, I don’t feel ready to take the checkride. It’s a hard thing to admit: not being ready, but it’s an important part of being a good pilot. I don’t want to take a checkride that I’m not prepared for any more than I want to take a flight that I am not certain will have a good outcome. It’s just not worth it.

Continue reading

For Best Results, Trust The Instruments!

The first and most important element of aircraft control under instrument flight conditions is trusting the instruments. Pilots who rely upon their own sensations are on a quick ride to their deaths. The instruments are the only reliable means of determining pitch, bank and yaw. Non-instrument rated pilots are often killed in instrument conditions largely based on their failure to follow their instruments, rather than their instincts.

Continue reading

Partial Panel Training and Unusual Attitudes

I’m nearing the end of my formal instrument training, with only a half a dozen or so lessons remaining before I’ll be prepared to take a checkride. Much of the training has been uneventful and focused on making it possible to handle routine instrument flights: attitude instrument flying, instrument approaches, radio communications, flight planning and the like. Recently I’ve been working on the last major piece of the puzzle: emergency procedures and, specifically, partial panel procedures.

Continue reading

A Clemson Homecoming Weekend

Flying to Clemson, SC. Somewhere over Virginia.

This past weekend, Debbie and I flew down to Clemson, SC to visit her alma mater for homecoming weekend. From the very earliest 10 day forecast, the weekend was forecast to be clear and calm; the nor’easter that affected New York and New Jersey had moved far enough north that winds were not a concern along our route of flight (other than a very spiffy 15 knot tailwind we had), and we were blessed with absolutely clear conditions for nearly 500 miles in all directions. There was low fog in the hills of the Shenandoah mountains, and we could clearly see snow left over from Superstorm Sandy’s appearance in the Maryland and Virginia area.

Continue reading

Be Prepared: An Aviator’s Motto

Last week, I had absolutely perfect flying weather and I decided that I would take a trip to visit a coworker in Raleigh, NC. Since FAR 61.65 (d)(1) requires any pilot applying for an instrument rating to have 50 hours of cross country time as pilot in command, it’s important for pilots to find every opportunity they can to accumulate cross country time. A round trip to Raleigh is 4 hours, offering plenty of opportunity to rack up some hours.

Continue reading