Friday, August 12, 2005

Pleasant Surprise

Flew with a guy this afternoon who called a couple days ago. He had trained for about 20 hours, eight years ago, and hadn't flown since. His main goal today was to see if he could get back quickly, or if he would have to spend a long time at it.

I was wondering how he would do. I've seen people go a month not flying, and become terrible quickly. I also conducted a biennial flight review with a guy who also hadn't flown in eight years, and I endorsed him in under two flight hours. So there's a wide range.

To complicate the matter, his wife wanted to ride along, meaning we were flying the more complicated four-seater. Add a constant-speed prop, and a full glass panel which doesn't even come close to resembling what he had flown before. To add another twist, we were flying in a rather deep haze, and there were thunderstorms building not too far away, giving us a bit of turbulence.

He understood the preflight inspection, and followed my start-up procedures very well. Quickly figured out how to taxi. I asked him to describe the takeoff procedure, if he could remember. Amazingly, he even recalled the exact airspeeds he used in the Cessna 150. Eight years removed, and he still knew the numbers.

His takeoff was not really pretty, but it was unassisted. We ran through the maneuvers, doing steep turns, slow flight, and several stalls. His understanding of slow flight was a little weak, but as I explained things, he started getting noticeably better.

I wish I could say he managed one of the two landings unassisted, but at least he was relatively close. I think he could solo in five hours.

Now, he is excited, and ready to start flying again. I love that feeling, helping another person get back to the fun of flying. And it appears that he will be an easy student.


At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Ruth Holman said...


I am so pleased for the guy, he must have been really happy to see that he was able to pick things up so quickly! Is he going to keep on going?
I went down to the aero club today and just sat in the cockpit of one of the 152s trying to go through the start up checks in my mind-I still have half forgotten things (7 months now). But oh, it was so hard not to book a lesson (even though I know I can't afford it). I resisted the temptation this time, lol- but I can see if I go down there again soon I may easily weaken and want to fly there and then! It was a westerly today and the gliding club were very happy- westerlies are brilliant for them with the way the ranges are situated - plenty of lift.

How is your forehead, is it healing OK?


At 8:10 AM, Blogger also-known-as said...

You know the feeling then. His wife rode along with us, and she could tell quickly that he would want to start back up again. You have the right idea though, if you want to keep that stuff in your head- just keep flying mentally, and your memory will manage to hold on to a good chunk of it. He's planning to call me in the next few days to set something up. He wants to solo, then make a decision about continuing the license.

My forehead is doing fine. You can still see the stitch marks, and the scar itself, of course. One of my friends here who works security at the airport took to calling me "stitch" after the crash. That has stuck.


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