Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review of 2009

It's been another good year of soaring. I made great progress, but my goal of becoming a flight instructor has still eluded me. Here are some highlights.

I had a total of 33 flights, 4 more than in 2008:
  • Fourteen flights with instructors
  • Five flights with other Private pilots
  • One flight with a student pilot
  • Four passenger flights
  • That leaves 10 solo flights, most of them preparing for Practical tests
  • No cross-country flights
I worked hard toward my Commercial and Instructor ratings, consciously deciding not to work on cross-country:
  • In January, I passed my Commercial Pilot Knowledge Test with a score of 95%
  • In March, I passed my Fundamentals of Instructing Knowledge Test with a score of 100%
  • In August, I passed my Flight Instructor Knowledge Test with a score of 85%.
Along the way, I did have some fun and some other accomplishments:
  • I crossed the hundred-hour mark (including instruction... still need a few hours to have 100 as PIC).
  • I had one of my longest flights, 2 hours and 40 minutes to 13,300' MSL over Tehachapi.
  • First solo spins in the Blanik L13. And for the first time had fun doing spins! This was a huge breakthrough and confidence-builder for me.
  • Conducted a couple of ground school classes (same as in 2008).
  • Learned to do no-flap landings (slip the whole pattern, and transition between left and right slips).
  • Got my biennial Flight Review via winch launches, and ticked off some instructors in the process.
  • Prepared and conducted a class on PDAs, SeeYou Mobile, and the Volkslogger.
  • Got a field checkout for Skylark Field at Lake Elsinore.
And some bad news:
  • On one of our field trips, we saw a private jet crash while preparing for an Independence Day demonstration.
  • Our club's home airport was closed to glider operations, ostensibly for "safety reasons" but actually because of the greed of the airport management and county government. This is a huge loss for soaring - gliders have been flying there for about 50 years. Our club is pursuing a complaint with the FAA, and we have reason to believe we might win.
  • My plans to take my Commercial and Instructor Practical Tests in August were derailed at the last minute by the closure of the airport and the complicated airport management situation. I plan to take my tests in the next couple of months at Lake Elsinore.
So... a mixed year. But I continue to fly a lot, even when the weather is not conducive to soaring. Just being up in the air is so much fun! I'm really looking forward to completing my Commercial and Instructor tests this spring, and flying even more in 2010.

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