Staying current vs currency, the cash to lift conversion

With the recent credit crunch and oil crisis combined, finding money to go flying has become a lot harder than before. I my case I think it reached a point where I had to sit down and think about whether or not I could continue to fly. Not in the legal sense of being current, but at a personal level of “am I safe?” Although the handling of a plane is like riding a bike, once learned you don’t quickly forget, the multitude of other tasks involved in safely flying an aircraft must be considered as well.

Under normal circumstances when you are getting at least an hour or two a month in the cockpit your self confidence rises and you can more easily devote more of your attention to the sundries and less to physically flying the plane. The crunch time occurs when something goes wrong, for example an engine failure. Instantly your attention must be divided between flying the aircraft safely, troubleshooting the problem and finding somewhere safe to land. If you haven’t flown in sometime you tend to be easily distracted by one of those tasks instead of managing all three.

I went up in the weekend to practice my forced landings with an instructor because I thought I needed: a) a safety pilot, b) I was no longer current in the 172 and this would help me regain that, and c) the last time I had been asked to perform a forced landing I was less than perfect with most aspects of the procedure so I wanted some revision and a fresh look at any issues I have.

I found that most of the problems I am having would iron themselves out with an hour or two of going out alone to practice. So it comes back to money (and suitable flying weather).
The Minister of Finance, the Lovely Susan has said there is money available in the war budget for flying, and I believe it is enough for me to maintain a level of competence than I am comfortable with, so watch this space because I’ll be in the air a lot more soon!


James said…
If you're just flying about on your own or with one other recreationally, can I suggest that you should find a local microlight club.

The stick-and-rudder skills are all the same, in fact you will likely find that the microlight will improve your handling skill.

Coming from GA you'd find yourself very comfortable in the higher end stuff like Sportcruiser, Sportstar, Tecnam - if you can find one available in your area.

But failing that, Bantams and the like are all over the place and like I say, it's all stick and rudder.

Probably close to half what you're paying for that 172 an hour.
Euan Kilgour said…
James, I certainly have looked into the Microlight path as a means to cheaper flying, but there are a number of factors which hinder me.

1) I have more than 1 flying buddy who I like to go flying with.
2) I weigh around 20% of the max takeoff weight of these aircraft. Its something which I am slowly rectifying.
3) My rather large frame only just fits inside the cockpit which would make any significant journey less than comfortable for me.

Thanks for commenting, I will keep this in mind.
Aaron Martin said…
I actually called RAANZ today and asked about the rules around flying a microlight as a PPL, and apparently all we need to do is a type rating. The difficult part is that the type rating needs to be performed by a Part 61 instructor who is also rated in the microlight, and there are not many of those around. 2 in Tauranga, one in Whangarei, and thats all he could think of.
ZK-JPY said…
Great to hear! Looking forward to reading about your aviation adventures soon ;)
Chris Nielsen said…
Going through exactly the same thing myself as I've mentioned to you