Friday, December 28, 2012

Night Landings in an Arrow

The short version: I went out last night and did three takeoffs and landings to a full stop in the Arrow, renewing my night currency.

The details skipped by that version could fill a novel!  I won't write one here and now, but a few highlights:

  • The power, beauty and grace of lifting off into the night sky
  • Putting the gear up - I always feel like this is an indication of the beginning of a journey, even if that journey is just once around the pattern.
  • The reflection of an almost-full moon off of an almost-perfectly-calm San Francisco Bay
  • The rush of wind as the faulty door latch failed yet again, allowing the door to open a crack (sigh..old planes..)
  • Turning crosswind, and thinking, "Maybe I should just keep going."
  • Turning final and seeing one red light, one white light (and three very important green lights)
  • Leveling, powering back and hearing "squeak, squeak" as the tires kiss the runway

Hopefully I can make it out of the pattern next time!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grounded By Default

I've flown twice since finally getting my Commercial license.  Some commercial pilot I turned out to be, huh?  The first of these was legit, a solo flight to Auburn for lunch.  The second, not so much - stayed in the pattern at PAO and did 5 takeoffs and landings.  So, technically I'm "current" though that's not much of a comfort.

While this definitely, absolutely qualifies as a "first world problem," it is still a problem, in that once again I'm at an inflection point with my aviation career - quit (for now), or double down, with the factors being time, money and other interests.

Doubling down would likely entail becoming a member of a club at RHV, because I believe part of the problem is that I simply don't make it to PAO, ever.  RHV is close to home, so at least I could get there on a nice weekend day without adding an hour drive time (combined, there and back).  And, I think I could probably benefit from getting checked out by a different instructor, to break those bad habits that always develop.  Then, my wife and I would need to sit down and create a budget, that given our other expenses would probably look like 3-4 hours/month for maintenance, plus CFI training.

Quitting for now would be basically what I've been doing (i.e. not flying), except I'd cancel subscriptions for all my IFR stuff and the club membership, saving me some money every month, and probably setting some sort of target for when I will "get back into it."  Then, have to spend more to re-establish competency, etc, and with that barrier, maybe never actually get back into it.

Effort/expense now, vs. much greater effort/expense/risk (of falling out of it entirely) later?  I still think I  could do a really good job as a CFI, and would enjoy it.