Staying Current

As my instrument currency lapses tomorrow for the umpteenth time I was thinking about what it takes for me to stay current (both legally and practically). I need to make:

  1. day VFR flights for PIC
  2. instrument approaches/holds for IFR
  3. night flights for night PIC
  4. flights in a complex plane, day and night and, ideally, some approaches
  5. flights in a high performance plane, day and night and, ideally, some approaches

I don’t know how someone with multi-engine ratings would keep everything current! But if I think about the cost of just keeping up with all those things I’m not sure I’d be able to afford to go on any cross-country trips. Right now I’m night current, and will get my (expiring tomorrow) instrument currency back next week, but its been so long since I flew the 182RG that I think I’ll get my CFI to ride along with me before I sit behind the pointy end of that.

Maybe what I need is a calendar with these flights mapped out so I can keep up with it all. How do other people keep current?

New Feature – My Airports

There is a new tab at the top of the page – Airports which will show you a spiffy map of the places I’ve landed. For almost 300 hours of flying, I don’t seem to have been to very many fields.

I’ve made some changes to the site and the airports page has now become part of the Trip Reports tab. I’ve also updated the map to show which airports have associated reports to go with them, so it seemed logical to move it.

IFR Currency Part I

My instrument currency expires at the end of November so last night I met up with Serge, who I have been Safety Pilot for a few times, to go fly the south pattern with the idiot glasses on.

We got off to an odd start by having to wait a long time for our clearance to Brown Field. The controller only has to get a sqawk code from the system and usually issues the clearance without hesitation, but tonight we had to wait. And wait. So we taxied out to the runup area and picked up the clearance there.

It was a truly beautiful night, calm winds, clear skies just a shame that I wasn’t going to be seeing any of it! We took off, switched to SoCal Approach and Serge took the plane while I fumbled to get the glasses on under my head torch. Usual deal for the south pattern: climb to 4000, eventually get a turn to the east, intercept the PGY radial, cleared for the approach. Last time we forgot to advise that we wanted to do KSEE and KMYF next so I made sure we declared our intentions this time. I did a decent job on the approach, at the missed approach we made a climbing left turn to the north east and back to SoCal for the next leg.

SoCal told us to climb to 5000 feet, remain VFR. I had a lot of problems keeping the plane climbing, just could not get it trimmed and it was a semi-wild ride, well it felt that way under the hood. I didn’t hear any screaming from Serge. Serge was in charge of radios and set us up for the localizer into Gilispie Field. Eventually we got our turn towards the approach and our clearance. I pretty much nailed the localiser spot on. The missed approach point is timed and I always overshoot, did it again this time but not by a whole lot, I would have made it down had I been landing.

Another climbing turn and we’re off to Montgomery Field. Its not far between the two airports so its always quite a rush to get set up, it is very helpful to have a co-pilot punch in the frequencies. After my prowess on the LOC I totally messed up the ILS. I had decent glideslope control but I spent way too much time chasing the needle and over-compensating. I removed the glasses at 600 feet and made a very smooth touchdown almost exactly on the instrument landing area. I was impressed even if Serge wasn’t.

A pretty decent flight with a few moments where I wasn’t on top of the plane. I hadn’t flown since September so I knew I would be rusty. Most importantly Serge enjoyed himself and is happy to do it again in a few weeks when I will need to do a couple more approaches and some holds.