After a long hiatus

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by MarkJeroplane, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi All,

    I'm a 49 year old from the NorthEast. I started flying at 15.......working as a line boy at local airport. Soloed at 16 got my SEL certificate soon after and kept flying hoping it would turn into some sort of career. Long story short, went to college got a totally different degree and career and might be looking to retire at 55 which isn't too far aways.

    Have always wanted to return to flying but I'm so out of current and it's been an expense I couldn't really justify....until now.

    My question is how much have things changed? I looked in my log book and my last flight as PIC was in 1993! I figure I need to do a complete ground school again and then maybe search for a nice 4 seater I could relearn. I had a mix of time on 152/172/warrior/pacer(tail wheel). Any advice for getting back into it? Thought maybe I should pay for a quick lesson just to make sure the love is still there even thought it feels like it never left. Thanks. Mark
     
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  2. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude

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    Welcome
     
  3. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    First. Welcome.
    Second. Your last sentence says it all... go for a flight.
    Third. Medical! <-- see that? probably Third class since you're not BasicMed eligible this round.

    Your certificate never expires, so get your medical worked out and find a good instructor to get you comfortable and sign off a flight review.

    Welcome back. but check that medical stuff early on.
     
  4. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Book a slot with a CFI, get a Flight Review and spend some time getting current. Welcome back to the game!
     
  5. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    The hiatus is somewhat common. I got my ppl in 1994, bought a plane, and flew until 1999, before I stopped for 15 years. In 2014 I just started reading up on the changes in airspace then got a “flight review +”. I found it was easy to get back to it. The biggest difference, other than airspace changes / tfrs, was the lack of other airplanes. I notice a huge decline in traffic in my area since 1999.
     
  6. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    The airplane won't fly any different than it did, but beyond that there have been lots of changes. You might want to sign up with AOPA and start watching some of their videos. Or visit YouTube, I'm sure there is plenty available to get you started on closing the gap. FAA.gov has their publications on-line for free. The Airplane Flying Handbook is probably a good place to start.
     
  7. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Navigation is way, way better than in the 90s. Instead of expensive aviation only widgets, you can navigate confidently with only a handheld tablet or phone. Big gotchas are TFRs (which are NOTAM’d and charted) and the 2020 deadline for ADSB. Have fun.
     
  8. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    10-4. Thanks for the welcome and advice. Is the medical process the same? I remember you just needed to find an FAA Dr. and it was a pretty simple affair. Though I know my vision isn't what it used to be close up.
     
  9. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yep same procedure. Pretty simple process. BasicMed is all the buzz in the medical world nowadays.
     
  10. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-Flight

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    Those same Cessnas are still on the ramp doing the same job they were doing in 1993. If you were familiar with A-G airspace it's still the same.

    I had a guy showed up once that had not flown in 23 years. We did the flight others are suggesting above. His hands were shaking and his voice cracked a few times but he flew fine and his radio work was flawless.

    I could have signed his BFR that day but he wanted the full effect so I had him come back and do night flying, short field, etc. He did great and I happily signed him off.

    Go flying. Enjoy it.
     
  11. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    But he's not within the 10yr look back so it is not available.

    I'm sure the medical was a slam dunk when you were 16... but at 25 years later, only you know the whole story.

    Others will clarify, but if there's any chance of a problem you're better off going LSA and your driver's license.
     
  12. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    I had a guy showed up once that had not flown in 23 years. We did the flight others are suggesting above. His hands were shaking and his voice cracked a few times but he flew fine.

    Sure see myself as that guy. Hopefully I'll do as well. There are quite a few nice grass strips near me and ultimately I'd love to find a nice Stinson 108 and spend retirement exploring the Hudson Valley NY area.
     
  13. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    But he's not within the 10yr look back so it is not available.

    I'm sure the medical was a slam dunk when you were 16... but at 25 years later, only you know the whole story.

    Others will clarify, but if there's any chance of a problem you're better off going LSA and your driver's license.


    I'm not too worried. I keep myself in pretty good shape - other than my loss of close up vision(i need cheaters around 1.50) and cholesterol there aren't any real issues that should pop up. I guess you never know though.
     
  14. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Cheaters aren’t a problem. They just add that you must have them when you fly.
     
  15. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Welcome ,get the medical,then rent for a few hours, you will be surprised how quickly you pick up flying again.
     
  16. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Meh.....It's like riding a bike. The flying part will come back quickly. Yup, take a ground school or nose around on line and you might find a good youtube series that gets you there too. All's you need is your medical and a BFR....and you can't fail a BFR.....your sign-off comes when the CFI thinks you're safe. It will take anywhere from 3-10 hrs to get there....it ain't all that bad. I did it....you can too. I went cold turkey....no aviation for +15 years....and woke up with all kinds of flat screens with blinky lights. We never had any of that when I learned.....
     
  17. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Welcome @MarkJeroplane. Probably the biggest change is navigation with GPS very prevalent. The medical process is a little different. You fill the medical form out online and then you go see a AME. I would go find a CFI and have him/her explain it all to you, and go up for a flight to see where you stand. You'll be surprised how much comes back. As has been said, you'll need a FR (Flight Review). It's not called a BFR anymore. Again, glad to see you back. Good people on POA, (except for one or two lol) and you'll find good info here. Good luck!
     
  18. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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  19. TheFB

    TheFB Filing Flight Plan

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    For once, I have something of substance to add... I like the OP was a student pilot in the early 90s. Life happened and I kept my promise to myself that I would fly again. I just returned to flying in June. I, wisely or unwisely, bought a plane to learn in for a myriad of reasons. I can absolutely state that I VERY UNWISELY bought before my medical. While all was fine, at 49 that was stupid.

    Bernoulli’s principle still works today as it did in 1992. GPS, iPads, ForeFlight, weather gathering and the like are what threw me. There is a lot to learn but a lot of the items are easier after studying LORAN and such back in the day. So much information and exams are free and available online.

    I’m not sure if this is regional or what but CFI selection is better now too. Every CFI I met in the 90s was building time to land with regionals. They were gone as soon as I got used to them. Every CFI I interviewed (I am using two) are teaching for the thrill and have been at it for at least a decade.

    Get in a plane with a CFI and go for it. You will never legitimize the money, but we gotta go where I passions take us. I am happier and poorer. Beats the opposite in my book. There are fantastic online ground schools. Pony up and get started.
     
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  20. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Thanks for calling me out....:mad:
     
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  21. TheFB

    TheFB Filing Flight Plan

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    Another weird item is that a lot of requirements are still the same but a bit ancient. Planning for cross countries are frankly the exact same but you would never do them the longhand way that is expected. I think there is value in this but you would never do it each time like this after your check ride. Too much can be done on ForeFlight or such.

    Before I get beat up, I said there is value to knowing how to do it all the old way. I will always have my E6B and will stay current to where I can handle a dead iPad or worse.
     
  22. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    Dude, don't let that stop you. It doesn't stop me nor a plethora of others from spouting BS on this forum. Don't wait until you have something useful to post, lol.
     
  23. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks all and to the "TheFB" I totally get why you would do that. As long as your medical is good then you save by having an aircraft in some senses. Plus you physically own the thing you've dreamed about for years. I'm going to make sure I get sound medical clearance first like folks have said but I'm also keeping an eye out for a decent plane and place to keep it. Just to get me up to speed I think I'll do the King Ground School videos again. Did them back when they were on tape and I really liked them.
     
  24. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    Let us know if Martha's hair looks better on CD than it did on VHS. heehee
     
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  25. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not quite as drastic, but I recently did the same after a 5 year hiatus. Biggest thing I did - read read read and try to forget what you knew. Easier than trying to track changes.

    For example, in 1993 I’m pretty sure you were still using TRSA, TCA and ARSA. No more (we’ll, TRSA but forget that for now).

    Welcome back! First step - fly a damn airplane!
     
  26. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    Some things are better in low def ; )
     
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  27. Rppelleg

    Rppelleg Filing Flight Plan

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    I was away from flying 38 years. I got my licence at 18 and flew a few couple of hours a year until I was a married, 22 year old Army 2LT making $730 a month so flying became a pastime I couldn’t afford. I had always wanted to get back to it and two years ago I decided it was time. The good news was that muscle memory seemed to take over and it took me only 10 hours of dual for my CFI to sign me off on the BFR and another two for the flying club CFI to clear me to fly the club 172 (I had only flown 150s until then). The bad news was that my muscle memory (like the rest of my memory these days) can be misleading. The Cessna 150s I flew when I was learning had flaps that went up just by flipping the flap switch up once. On the club plane, you have to hold the flap switch until the flaps come all the way up. I used to practice touch and goes by flicking the flap switch and applying full power. That’s what my muscle memory told me (and keeps telling me) to do when I was practicing touch and goes right after I joined the club and I took off with full flaps. Fortunately, I was aware enough to bring my flaps up incrementally and I was ok. But I did sign up for some more time with a CFI after that.

    I’m not afraid to ask questions and admit that I don’t know something. I’m a 100 hour pilot with most of those hours put in when bell-bottom jeans and disco were in style so I have no ego to protect. I’m still intimidated by controlled air space and my first attempts at using flight following were clumsy but got better each time. I’m flying for fun so I’m pretty conservative on my personal limits.

    As others have said, navigation is much easier. I just worry that I’m too dependent on my iPAD, spend too much time looking down at it, and that I’m losing the ability to just follow a map.

    This is a one-off observation, but after working with three different CFIs this past year it felt that that stalls aren’t fun anymore. For my PPL training, I did a lot of them (and spins) and the instructors wanted to see full breaks with the ground filling up a good part of the wind shield. Now it seems that at the first gurgle of the stall, everyone calls it good.
     
  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    CFIs probably afraid of stalls. Very common.
     
  29. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    My first instructor was a guy named Bruce Cunningham. He had been a stunt pilot many years before and while he was a bit crusty I totally trusted him. One of my fondest memories was when he went into a inverted spin....when he recovered I asked if we could do it again. He cracked a big grin and said "sure". I'm not sure I'd ask for that now but back then it was the thrill of a lifetime. Used to practice them a lot(full stall....not spins) and seemed like a part of good practice. But I'm sure they'd be pretty intimidating after all this time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  30. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    You are a very similar case to mine - last logbook entry in 1995 (mostly 172, Warrior, Archer).
    I returned to flying because I can now easily afford it - but I returned with concrete goals in mind - I want to fly a glass cockpit Cirrus (rental accessible where I live) and complete my unfinished IFR training. I would no longer be satisfied with flying again the same airplanes as before, just completed the Cirrus transition course (SR20), and the instructor just signed my BFR off (took about 22 hrs), now starting instrument and transition to SR22T. No ground school was required in my case but had to complete a lot of online Cirrus training, home study, etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  31. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Just stall the snot out of it and teach them what one looks like. LOL. I’m kidding... kinda. Sigh.

    Most of today’s instructors haven’t spent hours spinning a Skyhawk. It’s about the most boring spins one could ever do, but it would make many of them need a change of underwear.
     
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  32. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-Flight

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    My last log book entry was 1983. June of 2016, I sent a $2 check to the FAA to get a new copy of my license (my old one was barely legible). I subscribed to a couple of flying magazines, did the You Tube thing, and worked on getting into shape. I lost 20 lbs and in June of 2017 went in and got my 3rd Class Medical again. Obviously at 17 years old I did not have any trouble with the medical back in 1980. I did notice on my original PPL, it said that I was 175 lbs. I am 230 lbs now. I am still 6'1" though.

    Anyway, I got the 3rd class medical out of the way and finally this past August after alot of checking and asking, I selected my CFI who would get me back "current". I called him, arranged a meeting, and he assured me that flying was like riding a bicycle - and I really did not believe him - I thought he was obviously exaggerating about how "easy" it was.

    Well, I took my first lesson, and after 33 years, everything literally came back to me within a few minutes. It was unbelievable. To make a long story short, I "soloed" for the second time after just a few hours of instruction and I just bought my first airplane.

    I have decided to move ahead with my IR training (just passed the written) and I hope to have my IR by the spring.

    I think the biggest difference you will notice is the ease of navigation. I worked really hard to get my pilotage skills back but I can actually see how I may lose them rather quickly with the new GPS apps that are in use - phones and tablets. I am going to try to not allow myself to lose the ability to plot a crosscountry on a chart and fill in a VFR crosscountry log. But I can darn sure see how losing that skill can happen.

    Anyway, don't overthink the decision about getting back current. Try to look at it with the rationale of a 17 year old kid like we were the first time. The only word of caution that I would give is to really do alot of homework on your CFI. That is probably the biggest single factor to getting back current safely and effectively. By the time it was time for me to leave the guidance of my CFI on the ground, I was more than ready. It was no big deal.

    Also, if you were a good pilot when you quit many years ago, you will probably be an even better pilot now. The airplanes are easier to fly than they used to be, the GA airspace is less crowded, the online tools for learning were not even there back when we first got our PPL, and we are more mature in our decision making than we were back many years ago when we first started flying.

    Good luck and don't waste another day - go fly.
     
  33. MarkJeroplane

    MarkJeroplane Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Stephen, That's a very inspiring story and great info!
     
  34. rodnpilot

    rodnpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    How I learned while at an Air Force aero club, we did many full stalls and recovered so I knew how to get out of a bad situation. I get out of the military and went for a checkout at a local airport's flight academy and the CFI wasn't happy that I went in to a full stall. Told me not to do a full stall again, and to recover once you feel the buffet.
     
  35. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    By the way - this is standard procedure, instructors are not 'afraid' of stalls - they just want to recognize the onset of a stall and recover immediately.

    BTW, I always hated stalls in my past training, I really could not keep wings level in a 172 so the end result was I would get into a semi-spin situation, recovery was necessary. But stalls in a Cirrus are non-event - due to the wing construction the aircraft is so stable through the whole maneuver - I could literally do stall in a Cirrus all day just for pleasure.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    What in the world did you do to that poor Skyhawk to get it into a “semi-spin” situation? It takes work to get a Skyhawk to fall off into a spin to the left, and a ridiculous amount of work to get it to break to the right. Usually left is caused by the standard problem that makes CFIs want a large board to smack the student’s right leg with... MORE RIGHT RUDDER. :)

    Recovery is nothing more than releasing a tiny amount of back pressure. It’ll fly around all day cross-controlled with one of your feet on the floor, after a small reduction in AoA.

    The 182 is similarly docile but not certified in the Utility Category, so no intentional spins.

    Full power, 10,200’ one hand on the yoke and the other taking a photo of the ASI. I didn’t exactly have my hands full. My FEET had to be connected to my brain, however. And I wasn’t trying too hard.

    Getting the needle to bounce on the peg is do-able. Not really a big deal.

    [​IMG]
     
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  37. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    No matter how much right rudder I could never perform a stable wings-level stall in the Skyhawk - no problem in a Cirrus.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  38. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Who says wings not level isn’t “stable”? Might feel “uncomfortable” if you’re not used to holding the left wing up with rudder, but it’s not “unstable”. ;)
     
  39. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    Who says - I say, in a Skyhawk without wings level during a stall you are bound to have an altitude loss during recovery, more then you care for. Anyway, nothing of the sort happens in a Cirrus, much better flying platform, IMHO of course.


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  40. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    So we’ve gone from “near spin” to “unstable” to “altitude loss”... this is starting to sound like the original statement wasn’t at all accurate and it’s being modified as we go here.

    Skyhawks don’t really want to spin. I find it takes a serious kick to go left, and they almost won’t go right. But it’s your story, tell it how you like it. :)

    There’s no need to make up stuff about other aircraft, if all you wanted to say was Cirrus stalls are docile. ;)