It’s been another great year for flying, and I’m lucky to have been able to do so much. The weather hasn’t been that great, but we’ve had some very good flights, met some great people and visited many new destinations. I made fewer flights, and had less flight time than last year, partly due to spending a lot of time gaining the IMC rating during 2011.
My objectives from the end of last year were:
- Continuing to build up my P1 experience to the magic 100 hours which entitles me to self-authorise my flights. Done.
- Keeping my IMC skills current by practicing instrument approaches under the hood. Not enough. Despite a couple of practice approaches at Coventry in January and June, and three in the US, I can’t say I feel very current. But the IMC rating has proved very useful at times when en-route. Operating from a non-instrument airport makes it difficult to keep in practice, so I will need to try harder next year.
- Making several more foreign trips. Done. Le Touquet (Twice), Cherbourg and Alderney. (I don’t think you can really count Wales.)
- Differences training for the club Arrow, which is a complex aircraft with retractable gear and variable prop. Done. The faster cruising speed of 130 knots (compared to ~100 in a Warrior) makes this more of a “going places” aeroplane. The differences training only took one day, involving some theory and then 2 hours dual instruction.
- Possibly learning a GPS approach (there’s a small chance the club Arrow will be fitted with a GPS RNAV next year). Done, but in the US at an uncontrolled airport rather than in the UK.The Arrow does now have a Garmin 430 fitted but it’s not yet connected to a CDI or HSI. I’ve also back-seated in an aircraft making a practice GPS approach into Gloucester.
- Showing others what flights in light aircraft are like. Done, with several passengers new to light aircraft, a trip to the beach and even one who’s first flight was to France. Several flights were solo through short notice and I need to make more effort next year to co-ordinate with others and avoid leaving seats unfilled.
- Arranged a program of monthly club flyouts and was pleased to see many other members take part. We’ve visited many different parts of (mostly Southern) England and Wales. Sadly, the weather prevented a few trips from going ahead (especially mult-day/foreign ones) and we had to change plans, but got there anyway.
- Re-validated my PPL licence for another 2 years, having flown more than 12 hours and undergone 1 hour of instruction during the past year (the Arrow differences training counts for that).
- Re-validated my US FAA Licence by completing a BFR, club checkout and first US solo flight, having flown both in Miami and Dallas when I was there for business.
- Total Time: 238:05 PIC 140:55
- This Year: 72:30 PIC 66:10 (of which 2:40 Instrument, No Night), Dual 6:20
- 62 flights
- 9 different aircraft
- 3 new types (PA28 Arrow, Cessna 172 with G1000, Gruman Cheetah AA5)
- 6 foreign trips (4 flights to Europe, 2 in USA)
- 19 new airfields (Total 51)
Next year’s wishlist includes:
– More foreign flights, perhaps with a stop-over or multi-day tour. This year’s plans went awry due to weather. Potential destinations such as Waterford in Ireland, Texel in Holland, Troyes or La Rochelle and many other possibilities in France.
– A visit to Scotland. Glenforsa on the Island of Mull would be a great destination in the summer, but even just using the Northern Chart again would be a major milestone in itself.
– More instrument practice. I’d like to be more current with instrument flight, and master that VOR practice approach I fluffed. This will be important because I also have to undergo my biannual…
…IMC renewal (which is now called the IR(R)). I’ll also need to work out the best time to “migrate” my JAR licence to an EASA one. This must be done prior to April 2014 to allow me to be able to continue to exercise the IR(R) privileges in the UK, even though my licence isn’t due to expire until 2015. It will also invalidate my FAA “piggyback” licence because the licence number will change (but at least the EASA licence does not expire).
I have a few other aspirations too, of course, but let’s leave them for another day. Let’s just say I’d like to do at least one new thing during the year, whatever that might be.
Sorry, but I can’t resist including some photos from the year just past: