A To Do List of Sorts

In semi-preparation for my Commercial oral (if I ever get there) I’ve been rereading the FAR/AIM, and it’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten (or simply never knew in the first place). While reading I was struck by some things I am yet to do which I probably thought I would have done by now:

  • Get a special VFR clearance
  • Fly an IFR flight outside the SoCal TEC routes
  • Fly in IMC with a non-pilot passenger
  • Land at a Class B airport (can I get the 172 into Lindbergh??)
  • Fly to Mexico

Huh, I thought there were a couple more but they escape me now. Well, that’s a list of sorts.

Too Much Flying!

There is probably no such thing as too much flying, but there is when you are the passenger at the back of the plane. Over the last two weeks I have vacationed in New York City and travelled to London and Amsterdam on business. In total that has been 11 flight segments and included 24 hrs of flight time for the Europe portion alone – and I was only gone 3.5 days!

So I’m pretty exhausted from all the time spent in the tin can, but looking forward to getting back at the controls and doing it for myself. I was scheduled to fly tonight but we have strong Santa Ana winds and a couple of wildfires just north of the city so I will stay on the ground.

Medical Done For Another 2 Years

Just back from my medical, 3rd class certificate in hand, done for another 2 years. Of course when I get my Commercial in a month or two it means I won’t be able to exercise the privileges unless I go back for a 2nd class.

Last time when I got weighed I was horrified and said that I would be significantly lighter this time around: I was 4 lbn heavier. Sigh. Next time, I hope.

Other downside is that my 20/20 vision is failing me, down to 20/25 or a little bit better this time. Turning 40 really was a bitch!

Anyway, glad to have that done again.

Medical Time

My medical expires this month, and I always procrastinate on setting it up. I’m yet to meet an AME that I liked much, other than one in Palm Springs who was a blast but that’s a drive away.  Most of what I hate is the urine test because I am always afraid that I’ll be found to be diabetic. No history of it in my family or anything but I get blood sugar drops a lot when I don’t eat regulary so I wonder.

Even though I am about to restart my COM rating I think I’ll just renew 3rd class as usual.

Angel Flight Command Pilot Orientation

On Saturday I flew, with two other club members, to Santa Barbara for a mass Angel Flight West command pilot orientation. I flew in Paul and Gina’s turbo-charged Mooney decked out with a great panel which they used to full effect to get through the 700ft overcast marine layer. You can see some pictures of the trip on my flickr page.

Angel Flight West is a an organisation that provides free air transportation for people with a compelling medical, or compassionate, need who need assistance to get their destination. The cost of transportation is covered entirely by the pilot flying the mission, and is a charitable donation for tax purposes. Passengers must be medically stable, ambulatory, and be able to sit up in an airplane seat for the duration of the flight. Angel Flight is not an air ambulance service, and passengers need to have alternative arrangements available in case the flight is canceled.

This year Angel Flight West expects to fly approximately 1200 missions and is in desperate need of pilots. As gas prices increase, pilots are flying less and people are being turned away – just as more people are needing their help. Other than an initial application fee, a pilot can become a Command Pilot (someone who can fly missions) by undergoing a brief orientation and document check. Most missions can be flown in a 172 or similar.

For our orientation, about 12 pilots braved IFR ceilings to get an early start at KSBA. We had a short talk from one of the wing leaders about how the organisation works, how to accept and run missions, and about the satisfaction one can get from helping someone get through a bad medical time. After that our logbooks, proof of insurance were verified, as well as a flight plan/briefing for a fictitious mission that we had been asked to prepare.

If you have access to a plane, and meet their minimum requirements (250 hrs PIC, 75 hrs cross-country), why not take a look at their website and see if you can help out.

Mobile Flight Planning

I’ll admit that I have iPhone lust but I don’t want one that badly to spend hours queuing outside some AT&T store to beg them for one. But this morning while idly looking through my RSS feeds I remembered a site that had been doing some cool things with flight planning software. So I took a look and was impressed by what they have come up with.

Foreflight Mobile 2.0 for the iPhone looks like an essential addition to the Flightbag. Using it you can totally do away with the A/FD as all the information is right on the phone. Latest weather in the form of METARS, TAFs along with radar charts are available. Since it knows where you are you can pull up the information for your airport in an instant. Elementary flight planning, and flight plan filing are also there amongst a huge list of features.

I have no connection to Jason or his company, just an impressed soon-to-be-customer of his, just as soon as I can get my hands on a shiny new iPhone. And when I do, I’ll do a full review.

In the meantime, I’m off to Angel Flight orientation on Saturday, will write about that when I get back.

Becoming a US Citizen This Friday

Not much to say flying-wise, I am still suffering from health issues that make it difficult for me to sit in a plane so the Commercial rating is for next year. However, the big news is that I am swearing the Oath of Allegiance this Friday the 14th and will become a US citizen. Apart from many benefits work-wise, I am excited that it will make additional ratings like the multi-engine easier to take. Not that I am sure I want to, but having to go through all the TSA hoops meant that I would never even consider it otherwise.

Still Grounded

The fires are out but I am still on the ground. A week ago a nasty boil appeared on my leg making it very painful to sit down or lay on my side, got it lanced this weekend but now it’s painful to sit down while that heals. Hopefully, I can get back up in the air next week but all my plans for a big return are continually being foiled.

Grounded Again!

Just as I thought I was getting into a spell of flying I am grounded again – this time by the local wildfires. Numerous fire TFRs and, basically, why would anyone want to get in the way are keeping me on the ground for a while. I’m hoping next week or the week after I can do my night currency and some sight-seeing, maybe fly over the burnt areas and see just how depressing it all is.