Our new Head of Marketing and Training, Brittney Tough, is returning to the flight controls after 3 years away from general aviation. She has created a blog series to share her experience and flight debriefs as she knocks the rust off. While this is not an informational blog that highlights the features of CloudAhoy, as we usually post, we hope you enjoy following her journey and that it may inspire you to get back to flying and motivate you to keep your flight proficiency strong.
I haven’t flown in almost three years. Not. At. All. I’m surprised and a bit embarrassed to see that written down. Me, a commercial pilot and CFII with over 1,000 hours, rusty and not confident. Even three years ago I would only fly with an instructor because I wasn’t flying enough to stay current or truly proficient. Sure, I would get my flight review sign off, but according to my logbook, I haven’t flown solo or as the true acting pilot in command since 2015. Yikes. I tried not to let flying go, but in early 2018 after many months of paying dues to a flying club I hadn’t set foot in, I had to cancel my membership. And after that, I was out of the general aviation community and nothing pulled me back. I had also started a new job, felt stressed over important deadlines, was commuting and traveling (too much) for work and chose to spend my time and money elsewhere than at the controls of an airplane. I also got engaged, got married, and spent two wonderful months in Australia. Life, as they say, had gotten in the way.
During these years away from flying, I moved from Texas to Northern California and I was getting rustier and rustier. I also felt the added intimidation of flying in new and complex airspace with no local airport friends to talk with about it. It was just another reason that made getting back to flying feel like a bit too much work.
But, life has settled. I am in a new position that I love (thanks CloudAhoy), and I really miss flying. So, it is time to put aside any fears of embarrassment and the intimidation from being away so long and head out to the airport.
I’m type A, so I like a solid plan and a checklist of how to get it all accomplished. As I began to put my plan into action, I made a list of all the things to consider. It did get a bit overwhelming at first, but it also got me excited and I felt even more of a pull back to the sky.
All the things I was thinking about, worrying about, and wanted to do:
- Subscribe & learn EFB technology (I was never a solid user)
- Get a current medical (I joined a local pilot Facebook group to get AME recommendations)
- Get renters insurance
- Steam gauge or glass cockpit?
- Where can I fly for fun? Where are the $100 hamburgers and neat places to discover?
- How am I going to commit to staying current and active after this?
- After the flight review, it will be a “re-solo” type of milestone, how’s that going to feel?
- Who will help me push the airplane back when I fly by myself? I’m kind of wimpy. (Laugh if you will; it is a serious concern of mine.)
So many things to consider and do, but I’m excited to get to the airport and into the left seat. It is certainly time to knock this rust off. I’ll just take it step by step. The great thing is that I “just” need a flight review. A flight review, no matter how long you’ve been away from flying, cannot be as scary or as intimidating as a checkride because you can’t fail a flight review. You just keep learning and keep flying until you and and your instructor feel you are ready to receive the endorsement in your logbook. And that doesn’t seem so bad at all! I literally cannot fail. Time to do this.
Do you have any advice for Britt? Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lol, I am 57 and after 10 years off I can assure you that I give serious thought before EVERY flight whether I will be able to 1) park the C172 at my $100 hamburger (now $375 including the rental) destination without it rolling away while I chock it; 2) be able to push it into its space and then pull it out again. It did not help when the towbar came loose while pulling it out and I fell on my you-know-what on one of my first solo flights after getting current. Welcome to CloudAhoy, thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences.
Hi Damon – Thanks for the message. Congrats to you for knocking the rust off after 10 years! There is certainly a lot to think about as I get back into it, and the challenges sometimes come from something I’d least expect. It has been fun and feels good to be back in the sky.