Not flown much or at all since COVID-19 pandemic began? Here’s how you can get safely back in the left seat.
I think we can all agree it’s been a most unusual year and the Coronavirus has kept many pilots firmly on the ground for a lot longer than they would like. Piloting skills atrophy pretty quickly if not used on a regular basis. So when you do feel comfortable getting back in the air it will be a good idea to get some expert guidance from a flight instructor to help you blow the dust off.
Your CFI can refresh your memory on forgotten regulations, be an extra pair of eyes during your preflight, and give you some expert tips on everything from basic stick and rudders skills to perfecting your crosswind landings. And as an added bonus if the timing is appropriate this training should qualify as an FAA-required flight review.
If you rent from a flying club or flight school, you may even be required to fly with an instructor if your 90-day currency has expired. For example, JB Aviation Flight Club requires a minimum of three takeoffs and landings with an authorized instructor in one of their airplanes to maintain currency for day VFR rentals. However, if you haven’t flown in the past several months three trips around the pattern may not be enough to become proficient again.
When you haven’t flown for a long time you need to be extra methodical and take your time. Before you fly, look over your POH and checklists again and spend some time reviewing your paper charts or your electronic flight bag. You could do a practice flight plan with a weight and balance problem and download and review a full weather briefing.
If you do use an electronic flight bag take a moment to look at all the updates since the last time you used it. I use ForeFlight and they have introduced a whole bunch of interesting new features over the last 12 months.
Another useful tip is to be sure to use your checklists carefully for every stage of flight. This is a good habit anyway, but particularly useful if the procedures aren’t fresh in your mind.
After all the recent snow and frigid temperatures we are all looking forward to some milder spring weather and more opportunities to fly again. I look forward to seeing you all in the air in the near future!