I was due for my biennial flight review in October 2010.
“I’m afraid I’m going to flunk!” I said repeatedly to my flight instructor friend.
“It’s not a test. You can’t flunk. You don’t lose your certificate,” he said.
He is completely used to my over-zealous concern with flunking things. Just about all of the blog posts and cartoons that I created back when I was learning to fly in 2008 have a hint of a fear of the pass-fail. I ate, slept, and breathed my Jeppesen study materials in preparation for the written test.
Amazing, then, how rusty I felt after a year and a half absence from the left seat of the airplane.
First, there was the hour-plus ground school requirement, which had me dragging out the sectional and paper navigation log and slogging through the cobwebs in my brain to remember how to use the E6B and the POH and come up with the correct information. It’s amazing how quickly the TAFs and METARs become Greek.
Soon we were in the plane, a 172 I hadn’t flown before, which meant I needed to figure out where the instruments were and remind myself useful basics, such as the difference between throttle and mixture. I was never so glad for a checklist. I love the checklist.
Towards the end it started to feel familiar, but it took a while. There was some unimpressive flying at the beginning while I attempted to get on course and maintain altitude. My steep turns were fair at the start. The real challenge, though, was going to be the landings.
Oh, the landings.
Several of my attempts gave me two landings instead of just one.
You only flunk a landing if you can’t reuse the plane. That’s what I’m telling myself.
“Remember to flare, and not force it on the runway,” I was told.
All in all, things went fine, though I have to remember to wait until I’ve taxied off of the runway before worrying about things like the flaps and turning off the carburetor heat since, in the heat of just-landed and talking on the radio and worrying about taxiing and an unfamiliar plane, it’s pretty easy to accidentally push the throttle in all the way instead of the carb heat.
That makes for an exciting near take-off on taxiway Charlie towards the GA ramp.
But other than that, I’m current.