Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On getting rusty

A reader asked whether flying about twice a month is "sufficient to develop and keep your skills from getting rusty".

During my student pilot time, there were many months when I flew three and even four days a month if I could arrange it. (A day's training in back then usually included two flights, sometimes three.) I felt it was really important to commit to flying no less than twice a month, and study the books in between.

In the second year, it slowed down to an average of two weekends per month, but then I was doing some solo flights, sometimes over an hour, so the air time stayed pretty constant. I do remember one terrible pattern and landing, that may have been after a bit of a gap.

Since getting my PPG certificate, I've remained committed to twice-monthly flying to remain sharp, and with few exceptions I've kept up with that. This stuff is too much fun to go very long between flights!

I did have a big midwinter gap which happened to be just before a club annual flight review. I worried about being rusty, but it actually went very well. Read about it here.

One thing I do try to keep an eye on is how often I fly in each type of glider. Mostly I fly the PW5, some Grob 103. I usually get in a flight in a Blanik about every 2-3 months, but I see it's been about 4 and a half, so I'll need to give it a flight sometime soon.

Another thing is to have a goal to work on, or to try to do something new each time. My most recent Grob flight was to do some air-to-air photography. My next solo flight, I plan to try a steering trick I just read about in AOPA Flight Training. There's always something to learn!

At this point, I do feel that flying twice a month is indeed keeping me current. I recently talked with another club member, a long-time student, who only flies about once every three months. He said he is not progressing, and had to re-learn some things the last time he flew dual... was disappointed with some errors that he made during his approach and landing.

So... set a minimum flight frequency for yourself, be aware of how well you're sticking to it, and be careful if you're not staying current. Fly with an instructor once in a while even after getting your cert. And fly often because it's FUN!

1 comment:

smithcorp said...

Thanks for your comments Roger - very helpful.