Sunday, November 25, 2007

He can fly for another two years!

Flight hours: 2.6

There haven't been many updates over the last 5 weeks due to my travels and planning for relocation to the U.S.

Over Christmas I flew in a human mailing tube to the U.S east coast to suss out the location from the point of view of living and working there. Over the month long period, my girlfriend and I tried to lead a normal life so I could establish some sort of baseline for living costs. This also included driving past an airfield right next to my work headquarters... hoping to find a good general aviation presence at this particular airfield.

So, that leads us to my Biannual Flight Review (BFR). It is due in December and I really don't like the idea of letting my license lapse, so I tentatively booked my flight review to occur sometime over the next week.

I figured I would do the planning early in the week and watch the weather to see when it would improve, then book the BFR. Obviously, this wasn't going to happen. The instructor I had chosen, called me in the late afternoon on Saturday and said "I have a cancellation for flying tomorrow due to weather, how about we do your BFR instead, what time would you like to start? I think 10am will be fine".

The only issue, the weather was quite lame. "The weather isn't the greatest".

"I think you should do your BFR, it would be good to practice in and exercise your decision making".

OK, so it was on, I decided to head down there by 9:30am and plan the trip at the flight school. The trip was only planned up to my first landing destination and minimum planning was asked to be performed. He wanted to ensure I could cope with a maximum cockpit workload. This would include determining the tracks, heading, ETA's etc, whilst in the air to any other location or diversions.

Usually I would use Air NAV and thoroughly do my pre-flight planning, so I can relax and enjoy the flight knowing that all normal operations have been accounted for. This flight was far from that.

The first landing was at Cessnock, a relatively easy exercise as I could follow the coast up north, the only concern being that due to cloud cover, I would have to provide overflying and transiting radio calls for other aircraft operating at the airfields I was to pass within 10nm. The actual landing was a full crosswind, potentially at the maximum XW component of the C172 (15 kts). The windsocks were showing around half-mast and perpendicular to the runway. I did quite a good job.

On the return and randomly selected destination/diversion legs, we finally headed out to the western training area and performed airwork and emergency landings. We stayed out there for around 45 minutes when I also noted that we are at bingo, excluding mandatory reserve fuel (a military term which means there is enough fuel to return to base of intended landing). The return landing was performed as a shortfield.

I passed my BFR and am now authorised to fly for another two years.