Thursday, January 27, 2011

One page, 3 years

2010 was a year of too much unwelcome stress, too many changes and not enough flying. But some changes were good. As much hassle as it was moving from one suburb north of Toronto to another suburb west of it, several months after being in the new house, I discovered it was 10 mins drive from Burlington airpark. How that fact escaped my attention prior to moving to Milton I would not know, but I was ecstatic to make that discovery.

Burlington airpark is the best of both worlds: it is small enough to still have the nice relaxed feel of my previous little airport on the hill (Holland Landing), but it has a large and active flight school with the fleet of rental Cessna's.

Living that close to an airport with Cessnas available for rent, I wanted to resurrect my power flying for the winter season. Once glider season wound down and the glider was packed for the winter, I made a checkout booking for Dec 4.

Before the checkout, I spent a day reviewing Cessna manual, my old training notes and relevant checklists. My power flying logbook had 3 years worth of entries on one page - I expected to be rusty and was fully prepared to have to come back for another checkout flight as I did not think I'd be flying good enough after such a long break.

The school impressed me to no end with the details of their ground knowledge check and detailed checklist explained to me by instructor. It was more full some than any check flights I have experienced before. Looking at the checklist for the in-flight portion, I had no expectations of doing them all satisfactory as it was almost 2 years since my last flight in a Cessna. One part of the checklist was flight into controlled airport and communications with controllers there - THAT I knew I would do well. Having trained at the controlled airport, radio work is natural to me and all the procedures come back instantly. The landing part I was not so sure about..

To my complete and utter surprise, I did very well on most of the items in the test, including landing at Hamilton (my first ever visit there) and satisfactory enough on the remaining few (lfull load check) that my instructor signed me off for full rental privileges. He did suggest that I fly some circuits by myself to polish off my landings before flying with passengers again, so my next task was to fly some circuits.

I was driving home after that flight feeling very happy but I did resolve to try my best to never ever have 3 yrs worth of flying on one page in my logbook...

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