Returning to GA and Proficiency

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I'm not a moderator but sometimes I play one on TV. @SteveC @MikeD - feel free to support or quash the below endeavor.

Figured I'd grab some salient posts/quotes from the UAL couple thread and post here - thread creep is a normal thing but I feel like we were changing the topic entirely and there are a number of you here who knew that couple. Seemed like the more polite thing to do.

I would love to get back into GA flying. I have not flown a single engine in a little over 10 years, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. My stepdaughter is currently a CFI in Pensacola and we have been talking about getting me current again.
You should!

I keep my CFI current, though I'm beginning to wonder why.
Because it matters? I've found my CFI training useful in a lot of non-aviation situations - especially FOI.

I mean going flying in the mountains has everything to do with doing the bookwork to make sure your plane can keep air between itself and the terrain you’re asking it to fly over.
One of my bucket list items is to do an immersive mountain-flying course.

But anyone who doesn’t think flying single engine pistons in Western Colorado is very high threat has no clue.
Are there, in your opinion, some quality training schools for this kind of operation?

Exactly why I left GA again after briefly hopping back in. I couldn’t do it enough to be at a proficiency level I was comfortable with.

Unfortunately, that was partly because of the clubs handling of a maintenance issue I disagreed with and refused to fly said plane until it was handled properly. By the time it was fixed I hadn’t flown in over a month and didn’t feel comfortable going up by myself and I just asked to leave.

There were other issues too, but that was the final straw
Had your ability to be more proficient been increased, would you have stayed in?

I fly GA every day, pretty much and while all of the risks you guys are talking about are quite real, I'm at least proficient and try to consider what I don't know among the things I do whenever I go fly. What fascinates me is how attitudes change over time, because virtually all of us/you started in GA from the same baseline and I know that there are some of you who have evolved a mindset that says GA is a route to a certain and early death. That part I just don't get.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
Are there, in your opinion, some quality training schools for this kind of operation?
I would start with the Colorado Pilots Association:
Home - Colorado Pilots Association. I did a mountain flying ground school with them and was impressed

Also, I think @bike21 has some real world experience doing the ASEL stuff out west. I bet he’s got some good recs.

@MidlifeFlyer also did I think a bunch of flying in the trickier airports and I think also some of the mountain airport checkouts (KGWS, etc.) if I remember right?
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
@MidlifeFlyer also did I think a bunch of flying in the trickier airports and I think also some of the mountain airport checkouts (KGWS, etc.) if I remember right?
Yes, I did during my 20 years in Colorado. And I would also recommend the Colorado Pilots Association course, usually held in June and August. A full day of bookwork and an optional day of flying. Typical flight involves 3 airports chosen for the different things they highlight. A "typical" "easy" one way-in/one way out, a canyon partially blind approach with limited go-around options (generally GWS), and the pure high density altitude of Leadville. Some will add Aspen because it is between GWS and Leadville, and from that direction (which pretty much follows the charted Roaring Fork visual) it's blind in the sense you basically need to be configured for landing in all it the slowest light pistons before you see the runway.

it's not a "backcountry" course. It's about knowledge, skill, and risk management flying into and around public use airports where a combination of high density altitude and mountain weather require special knowledge and procedures.

And it's not a panacea. Recall that Sparky Imeson, the author of "The Mountain Flying Bible," required reading IMO, died in a mountain flying accident.
 

BlueMoon

Well-Known Member
Had your ability to be more proficient been increased, would you have stayed in?

I would have liked to for sure. I felt like I needed to fly once every two weeks to be where I felt comfortable.

However the clubs handling of the mx issue and a couple other things didn’t instill confidence. I didn’t want my leisure activity to potentially effect my career.
 
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pwttogfk

Well-Known Member
Related, I really wish someone would create a curriculum for “I’ve been flying 121 for 14 years and am a threat to myself and others.”
That. Flying a light piston professionally is probably the hardest job I’ve had. I used to teach a mountain flying course (not backcountry...the goal was “get a normally aspirated airplane safely across the Rockies”) and the level of knowledge required to read the weather and terrain is far beyond anything I’ve needed flying jets.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Related, I really wish someone would create a curriculum for “I’ve been flying 121 for 14 years and am a threat to myself and others.”
We get a *lot*of those coming in to the flight school lately. The ones who come in and say, basically, what you said up there, are the ones I'm happy to fly with.

We get a few coming in from time to time where they say, "Yeah, I'd like to get a rental checkout. I fly for <BIG AIRLINE.>"
"Okay, when's the last time you flew a piston single?"
"1986. It's just a one hour checkout right?"

Thankfully, that second type is much more the exception than the rule.
 

Space Monkey

Well-Known Member
Related, I really wish someone would create a curriculum for “I’ve been flying 121 for 14 years and am a threat to myself and others.”
Free short course right here:

1. Re-read The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

2. Remove the right-most Zero from your flare height. Flare at 3-10 feet, not 30-100 feet.
 
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bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
I would start with the Colorado Pilots Association:
Home - Colorado Pilots Association. I did a mountain flying ground school with them and was impressed

Also, I think @bike21 has some real world experience doing the ASEL stuff out west. I bet he’s got some good recs.

@MidlifeFlyer also did I think a bunch of flying in the trickier airports and I think also some of the mountain airport checkouts (KGWS, etc.) if I remember right?
Flew and taught mountain flying for a bit but still consider myself a novice compared to some. Used to love hearing stories from the more experienced backcountry types on using ridge lift for example in under powered planes to cross ridges I wouldn't attempt in such birds. Always preferred to have power on my side for a little more assistance via a 182 or 206.

Mountain flying is no joke and will humble you in an instant, we turned away crossing the Continental Divide one day in the T206 when the winds aloft were heavier than forecast. Already had a suspicion that it wasn't going to work but decided to going fishing at a safe distance to see if we could comfortably cross. Nope, the wave was already here. Rode an updraft that pegged the VSI and knew what was coming next. Just as we turned back east still a good ways from the ridge we got the downside of it along with some of the worst turbulence I've encountered. Went to Cheyenne instead for lunch and chalked it up to a good learning experience for both of us.

Sadly each year in Colorado we see accidents from those not ready for the mountains, as @MidlifeFlyer says at the very least reading Sparky's excellent book and ground training is essential. Better yet a proper mountain checkout and only then flying in the early mornings with sunny skies and light winds across the ridges. Then over time build one's knowledge to negotiate a little more varied circumstances. If I was going to get back into mountain flying I'd complete my glider rating to have a better understading of working the various types of lift such as the sunny vs. shady side of valleys. Plenty more to learn. And no matter what, never - ever - fly mountain IMC ASEL.
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
There’s a lot of fun to be had in GA, I’m not sure why so many never look back and forget about it. Think of it this way, you’re not doing a time building block in a clapped out Dutchess at o’dark thirty. Sure, COVID has changed things up, but if you can go do something fun such as gliders, tailwheel, aerobatics, seaplanes or charity flights such as Young Eagles, or Veterans associations, or animal rescues.... There are plenty of people that go all over the world for mission trips to spread the word of their religion, which is basically a recruiting campaign, So consider Young Eagles flights as a missionary trip but without the sales pitch for Jesus. You’re recruiting future generations to become engaged in aviation. If you’re tired of talking on the radio at work, go find a Cub to fly off a grass field with the door open. Are you tired of flying approaches to minimums, but strive for perfection? Then go find a SuperD and fly upside down or join a local IAC chapter and fly a contest. You haven’t flown precision until you’ve been judged on an up line or flying an eggshell loop.

In case it isn’t obvious, GA is a lot of fun. In fact, I’ll be heading to the airport this afternoon to go turn a wrench then smash some bugs.
 

Autothrust Blue

Very querulous
And no matter what, never - ever - fly mountain IMC ASEL.
Snapshot had a rule that precluded IFR operations in mountainous terrain when the ceiling was below the grid maximum elevation figure.

Which was all the time and literally everywhere, of course.

I still chafe at that rule, even if I understand it.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Used to love hearing stories from the more experienced backcountry types on using ridge lift for example in under powered planes to cross ridges I wouldn't attempt in such birds. Always preferred to have power on my side for a little more assistance via a 182 or 206.
Shuttle climbing to find lift even on the leeward side of a ridge is a technique I loved to teach. A definite in an underpowered aircraft works just as well to gain altitude a 182.
And no matter what, never - ever - fly mountain IMC ASEL.
Uh-oh. BTDT. Got the FAA FOIA information on my emergency to prove it.
I don't recommend it.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
There’s a lot of fun to be had in GA, I’m not sure why so many never look back and forget about it. Think of it this way, you’re not doing a time building block in a clapped out Dutchess at o’dark thirty. Sure, COVID has changed things up, but if you can go do something fun such as gliders, tailwheel, aerobatics, seaplanes or charity flights such as Young Eagles, or Veterans associations, or animal rescues.... There are plenty of people that go all over the world for mission trips to spread the word of their religion, which is basically a recruiting campaign, So consider Young Eagles flights as a missionary trip but without the sales pitch for Jesus. You’re recruiting future generations to become engaged in aviation. If you’re tired of talking on the radio at work, go find a Cub to fly off a grass field with the door open. Are you tired of flying approaches to minimums, but strive for perfection? Then go find a SuperD and fly upside down or join a local IAC chapter and fly a contest. You haven’t flown precision until you’ve been judged on an up line or flying an eggshell loop.

In case it isn’t obvious, GA is a lot of fun. In fact, I’ll be heading to the airport this afternoon to go turn a wrench then smash some bugs.
YE flights have been my favorite as a pilot. I took my first GA flight as a young eagle and have given flights to somewhere north of 40 kids (27 of those were in one day!)
 

bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
Shuttle climbing to find lift even on the leeward side of a ridge is a technique I loved to teach. A definite in an underpowered aircraft works just as well to gain altitude a 182.

Uh-oh. BTDT. Got the FAA FOIA information on my emergency to prove it.
I don't recommend it.
Yep, shuttled out of JAC for instance before heading south a few times. Would be interesting to hear your emergency, never did mountain IMC ASEL (once though in the PA44 and that was enough). Sadly our T206 and occupants were lost due to mountain IMC that they never should have been in.
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
YE flights have been my favorite as a pilot. I took my first GA flight as a young eagle and have given flights to somewhere north of 40 kids (27 of those were in one day!)
A couple friends of mine are very active with the YE and recently recruited me to help, then COIVD. I have yet to give any YE rides, but will when the time is right.
 

Richman

That's "Lord Garth" to you
If I was in 121, I'd definitely try to return to GA to fly a DA62, those bitches look sweet af.
A guy over at Beechtalk just wrote a review on them. They look cool, the interiors are awesome and the wiz bang of the engines is definitely interesting, but it’s underpowered and single engine performance is marginal, even by MEP standards.
 

Autothrust Blue

Very querulous
If I was in 121, I'd definitely try to return to GA to fly a DA62, those bitches look sweet af.
I can’t afford one but Pipistrel’s Panthera just looks amazing.

But I think I’d like to have, at most, a 206, for my days off. Maybe just a 182 with a good engine and decent panel. One engine, stiff legged and just fast enough but also slow.
 

bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
Related, I really wish someone would create a curriculum for “I’ve been flying 121 for 14 years and am a threat to myself and others.”
Yep, recently thought about teaching again. However, I realized while renewing my CFI recently (for reasons unknown) how much work I'd really need to do so I could be a good instructor let alone safely fly around in a 172 again. GA has changed plenty and I've forgotten more, though I do have time on my hands these days to get back into it. Also with other guys/gals actually losing their jobs I don't want take away from another's potential earnings when I'm still getting a paycheck.

Who knows, might get back into it but I'd have to do plenty of work on the front end and invest some $$ getting checked out and proficient again.
 
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