Brand New PPL. How to challenge myself but stay safe.

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by PJakes, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. PJakes

    PJakes Filing Flight Plan

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    For all my flight training all I was focused on was passing the checkride. Well I did that last week, and honestly, I don't know what to do next. I feel a bit intimidated now that no one is looking over my shoulder on every flight. For now, my best idea is to go over a couple of local sight seeing routes and take along some friends and such but I want to start stretching out my comfort zone before too long. I live in Southern California where airspace and terrain can be a bit intimidating so apart from detailed planning, is there any advice you could give to get me out of the neighborhood without over-extending my abilities? For example I'm surrounded by Bravo airspace but never received a clearance to fly through it. (CFI didn't think students belonged in B). Thanks
     
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  2. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    First, if you are apprehensive, leave the friends home for a while. Its a distraction you really don't need right now if you are "a bit intimidated" Have some fun and just fly... maybe go visit someone... Just because you got your PPL doesn't mean you can't take along a CFI to bridge the gaps you think you have, like going thru Bravo, etc.

    I know pilots with a couple of hundred hours who leave passengers home for a while after any maintenance. I just bought my first plane, got around 600 hours, myself but I plan on spending a lot of time alone in this new (complex) bird before I bring the wife along...
     
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  3. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Talk to the local pilots,about routes,and practices , Then go out and fly.
     
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  4. TK211X

    TK211X Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I recommend going on a cross country to an un-towered airport. Alone or with a friend. Just after that one flight, you'll feel so much better...... and.... free. I promise.

    After I got my PPL I was scared and hesitant to make that first flight somewhere. I bit the bullet and invited a friend. I planned that flight so much in depth, called a briefer, checked the weather, wrote everything out, ect. I got so worked up and felt like I was missing something even though I did everything I could think of.

    You know what happened? I climbed to my cruising altitude and........ relaxed. You realize all that tension and buildup just disappears. You're flying somewhere on about this heading and about this high. All is well and eventually you'll get the weather at the airfield, descend on in, and land.

    Happy happy. You got this.
     
  5. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    agree with taking a few shorter xc's on your own, you'll lose that anxiety pretty quickly after a few successful runs.
     
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  6. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think the best bang for the buck is to just go fly. Try to plan a trip to hit 2 or 3 different airports with the first landing at just over 50 miles. Then, from there, start stretching your legs out. When you feel confident with that, pick a couple of days with forecasted good weather and do an overnighter somewhere.

    As far as class "B" airspace, the only time I have ever been cleared into it was when I was doing the VFR transition over the primary airport. If there's one where you're at, grab a CFI and go fly it.
     
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  7. Cici

    Cici Pre-Flight

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    As a new ppl myself, I'll echo the xc. My first certificated flight was solo xc to an airport I had been to many times. I came back to a micro burst over the field, ll wind shear advisory, winds 18g26. In hindsight, it's something I wouldn't search out today, but I wouldn't shy away from it.

    I started branching out from there. Next flight was a 250+ nm trip with my wife on a beautiful day. I had no apprehension taking her. I then starting flying at night (solo). I'd take off early in the morning and practice my landings. If I felt I was in over my head, I had planned to end the flight (usually a xc) well after the sun had risen, so I could have just flown around until light had appeared.

    Recently I did an 8 hr trip solo at night in a 152 for my long solo xc.

    All that has really boosted my confidence....also paired with wrapping up my instrument training....many personal minimums have either been relaxed or removed. Respect your minimums, but train and fly to ease them.
     
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  8. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congrats! Bite off a small piece of bravo. Plan a leg with a bravo transition that isn't long and have an alternate non-bravo route. I would enter around the Ramona area and exit along the coast, under the shelf. Socal is the only bravo I've flown in, so I can't compare it to anywhere else, but all of the controllers were very accommodating. A good headset helped me with bravo more than anything.

    What airport do you fly out of?
     
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  9. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    Congrats on passing your checkride!!

    What helps me "get out there" more than anything is to have a reason to go someplace, even if it's a dumb-sounding reason. It doesn't have to be anything fancy.
    "Lunch" is a good enough reason. "To visit a friend" is an even better one. I once flew to Portland Maine "to buy a lobster", just because that sounded like a fun excuse.

    I'm sure people on this board could suggest all kinds of great destinations near SoCal... I'm not a SoCal-er myself, but I really enjoyed visiting Oceano Airport. It's right by the beach, and you can borrow bikes...

    Since you're near mountains, maybe you could fly to a place that has a course on "mountain flying"? Test out all those density-altitude calculations you've been trained to do, and learn a little about wind and terrain?

    +1 to an overnight trip somewhere. There's a weird feeling about parking a plane in an unfamiliar place and leaving it behind for the night. And knowing that the weather could be completely different in the morning.

    Class B is no problem. You ask for a thing, they say a thing (or not), and you repeat the thing, and that's all there is to it. :)
     
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  10. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pick somewhere you can go that you would be too far in a car to do on an impulse. I visited a friend from High School who was 4+ hours away by car, but less than 2 by plane. Met him for lunch and hadn't seen him for 10 years or more. Flight following the whole way, weather planning etc. All good practice and a lot of fun and a good lunch.
     
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  11. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Go to Camarillo for lunch on a Saturday. It'll be a good exercise in getting through/around the LAX Bravo, probably over the top of Burbank depending on your routing, and land at a busy Delta with a nice restaurant to decompress before you do it over again.

    Otherwise go South West over SNA Charlie to Oceanside. [Don't bother with Palomar, they have a landing fee]

    Palm Springs is a cool one too, assuming the wind isn't howling through the canyon.
     
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  12. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Where in soCal? I have my plane at Brown.
     
  13. yetti

    yetti Line Up and Wait

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    STart with easy flights like the ones you did in training. Then gradually expand your distances and lengths of time away from home base.
     
  14. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    If you want to challenge yourself, but stay (comparatively) safe:

    1. Start a thread asking advice about what make and model of first airplane you should buy; o_O
    2. Start another thread asking what is THE best noise cancelling headset out there (that you should buy); :confused:
    3 Notwithstanding the outcome of item 1, start a third thread discussing the merits of high wings vs low wings; :rolleyes:

    Think of all this as the web equivalent of a long, difficult cross-country...without the need for a weather briefing, however. ;)
     
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  15. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Not to cause alarm, but what happens if they’re not successful?

    :eek:
     
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    From Anchorage?! :eek:
     
  17. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    More flights=more situations=more experience. Enjoy being a pilot. Go fly.
     
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  18. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Gotcha.

    Note to the OP...If we don’t hear back from you in a reasonable amount of time, we’ll activate the dogs!
     
  19. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :blueplane:
    Hey,
    :needpics:

    To the OP. Take and post some pictures of the places you are exploring, and tell us about the flights. :blueplane:
     
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  20. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, and some people worry about the FAA ffs.

    Here's some SD VFR corridor night action in a R22.
     

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  21. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    Haha, no, from Bedford, Mass (where I trained).

    ...but now that I live 5000 miles from Portland, I'm cravin' lobstah again...!
     
  22. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    For the first 4 years after getting my PPL, and a sporty AA1A shortly thereafter, I had a simple time building approach. Each weekend with decent weather I would get together with a friend and we would choose a destination for lunch up to 2 hours away and fly there. I tried not to repeat a destination. That got me to most of the airport diners in the area, and a variety of scenery and weather experience. As I became more comfortable with VFR trips, I would also take advantage of good stretches of weather to take business trips. Some of these cut a 12 hour drive to 3 hours of flight time. After 4 years I realized I would need to add an instrument rating. Go fly and gain confidence and experience.
     
  23. jaymark6655

    jaymark6655 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My first flight after the check ride was just laps around the pattern. Second was supposed to be to an airport I visited on the solo cross country, but with a friend. Weather did not cooperate so we went to the practice area. Third one is planned to be the same cross country trip, hopefully we make it this time. Fourth planned flight is to an airport I have never been to before, but in the same area as the others and I plan to continue expanding in that manner while build PIC cross country time for IFR. That way I am always doing something new, but just one thing at a time. Ex. Fly with a friend, but a flight I have down four times already. Fly to a new field, but in an area that I am familiar with. Fly to a new field, but just a little further away without passengers. Then maybe those flights to new fields with friends. Then repeat until no longer intimated with just picking a new place and flying it with passengers. Possibly repeat process for flying somewhere that requires a refueling stop, etc.
     
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  24. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    This.

    I still do that on "new to me" aircraft to give me the opportunity to improve flows and learn how the aircraft responds during different phases of flight and different conditions.
     
  25. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    All of the above but also continue your solo practice and hone your skills with the airplane you fly. Most GA airplanes are pretty easy to just fly but challenging to fly elegantly or to use all of their capabilities so continue with ground reference, slow flight, steep turns and tougher max performance precision maneuvers like chandelles. Balance that with fun but challenging trips such as Big Bear or a Bravo transition, finding and negotiating new airports. If you find yourself getting bored it’s time to plan a flight that will make you nervous, boredom is what gets people into trouble.
     
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  26. PJakes

    PJakes Filing Flight Plan

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    I've done all my training out of Montgomery - Plus One Flyers. I'm thinking I'd like to fly out of SEE just because less worries about the marine layer.
     
  27. PJakes

    PJakes Filing Flight Plan

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    All good advice - thanks so much! I'm thinking along the lines of short trips in the area just to become more familiar with the landmarks. I'll definitely take a CFI along for my first Class B transitions - I'm in San Diego and I already have pax wanting the Bay Tour. YouTube is pretty good for that kind of stuff too.
     
  28. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll give general advice, instead of SoCal-specific:

    Get out there. Go new places. Get into new situations. Do new things. The trick is to only do one new thing at a time, so that you're not overwhelmed if it doesn't go as expected. Going to a new airport? Great. Going to a new airport right near the surface Bravo ring with a tower (if you don't fly from someplace with a tower normally) and lots of traffic on a marginal-weather day? No way.

    Feeling uncomfortable about flying without the CFI? Take a familiar flight, but without the CFI, until you feel good about that. Then, go someplace new. Then, go someplace very familiar on a 5-mile visibility day and you'll see why "marginal" really is, and that you don't want to fly on days where the weather is near VFR minimums. (Maybe start on your instrument rating then.)

    Get checked out in a new aircraft type. Maybe even get your high performance, complex, or tailwheel endorsements.

    Go take the mountain flying course from http://mountaincanyonflying.com/. That was some of the most fun AND best learning flying I've ever gotten to do, and that knowledge will be very useful in your area.

    Have fun, and be safe! Just remember, if you let fear keep you from taking small steps outside of your comfort zone, you won't become a better pilot, you'll merely be someone who gets good at flying within your comfort zone or not flying at all.
     
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  29. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    How about starting your IR ?
     
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  30. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    A couple good breakfast/lunch destinations are Hemet/Ryan (Bambi's Hangar One cafe...great corned beef hash & eggs!) or French Valley. As you get more skill/confidence, you can pop over to Fallbrook and try out the 2100' runway there. And when you feel confident enough to cross the San Gabriels, Mojave is a great destination. Fun to check out all the boneyard planes there.

    Make it a nice, slow progression. Each slightly more challenging flight will bolster your confidence for the next one.
     
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  31. Mr.T

    Mr.T Pre-Flight

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    Probably some duplicates from what others have posted, but here's what I'd do (what I did, really, 17 years ago when this all started)...

    * Find another pilot and take a few $100 hamburger runs - there's gotta be a few places to go eat within 100 miles or so of home
    * When you're comfortable, take family and friends on short flights in the local area
    * Grab a CFI and work on night flying - cross country, for example - something you barely did while training. Maybe you decide you don't want to fly at night even though your rating says you can. That's fine.
    * Go on some solo daytime cross country flights to places you've never been - make it at least 50nm from home so you can log as cross country for future ratings (like Instrument).
    * Grab a CFI once in a while and go work on the same stuff you did for PPL -- emergency procedures, unusual attitudes, short/soft landings, etc.
    * Go fly (solo, with a CFI or with another pilot) on days when the weather isn't dead calm and CAVU - the only way to learn to land in a crosswind is to land in a crosswind.
    * Take a cross country flight with family and friends. Some of my earliest were to visit the zoo in another city with my wife and kids. Make it a fun day trip.
    * Take a multi-day cross country with family and/or friends - stay overnight somewhere so you have to plan for and deal with weather over a longer time period.
    * Grab a CFII and do some initial training toward the instrument rating - even if you don't really think you want the rating right away. Get some actual IMC if you can - both so you can learn to fly the plane and so you can convince yourself that you better stay well clear of it without a CFII or an Instrument rating...
    * Add an endorsement - tailwheel, high performance, complex, etc.
    * Add a rating - sailplane maybe?
    * Find a CFI who teaches aerobatics and an appropriate aircraft and go do an intro aerobatic flight and include lots and lots of spin recovery practice. It's a whole lot of fun and might save your life one day.

    Looking back at my logbook, I flew 133 hours in the 12 months after getting my PPL. 895of those hours were cross-country, 5 was actual instrument (with a CFII), 15 was night and 29 hours was dual received.

    Bottom line is, get out there and fly! I've heard of way too many people who worked so hard to get their PPL and then basically lost interest because they didn't have a reason to fly. Don't be one of those people.
     
  32. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go get a tailwheel checkout and an introductory aerobatics flight.
     
  33. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Aerobatics for me after my PPL was a great way to build confidence in the aircraft. I was always leary of departure stalls (I messed up a few!) and did them with an aerobatic instructor until they were second nature. Spins, loops, rolls, hammerheads etc. are really a fun way to expand you’re stick skills but really do nothing for x-country learning. As everyone suggests, start off with short flights to build confidence and you’ll naturally progress to longer flights. Mix it up a bit and you’ll become a more rounded pilot.
     
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  34. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Just keep flying. Remember your lessons and vow to never take a shortcut.

    Once you hit 200 hours, you can get your chemtrail tanks installed and then the real fun starts.
     
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  35. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you’d like to Safety-Pilot with me, let me know.
     
  36. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    @PJakes, Ive had my PPL for 10 months now. I made a list for this 1st year:

    • Use FF on all flights (done)
    • Land at all airports under our Bravo (done)
    • Land at all Delta's within 150m (done)
    • Land at a Charlie (done)
    • Land at a Bravo (not done)
    • Bravo transitions (several done)
    • Take up at least 10 passengers (done)
    • Go fly with @WannFly (done)
    • Cross country with overnight (done)
    • Build up 50hrs cross country (close, not done)
    • Be night current the first year (so far so good)
    • Meet a pilot friend in Wisconsin (done)
    • Fly family to grandparents in summer (done)
    • Add some go pro capability (started)
    • Hood time (none yet)
    • Long night cross country (done)
    • Mountain course (not done)
    • Our airplane specific stufg such as actual best glide distance, climb rate at 10k, actual takeoff roll distances, leaning for DA etc (just started, not done
    ...what I like about the list is if you have time to fly but don't know what to do, grab the list and knock something off. Or just go out and fly around looking out the window...you earned it and it is great therapy :)
     
  37. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Head over to Catalina and land at The Airport in the Sky. There's no fuel there, so start with full tanks. I haven't had the opportunity to fly across water, but be sure to bring the right stuff in case you have to ditch. Also, as far as I know, your airplane will automatically start running rough once you reach open water.

    There's also Flabob Airport in Riverside (KRIR). Their motto is "There's an airshow every day, here."
     
  38. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pre-Flight

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    Think of yourself as a professional, dont be afraid to stretch your limits but use common sense and reason doing so that fit you and your plane. Set minimums for yourself that are smart and stick to them. While not being scared to stretch your envelope, dont be scared to say that is below my minimums or over my maximums. Be confident but not cocky.

    One of my first cross counties, took 3 friends, only 150 miles or so but two nights, return day the wind was howling out of the north, no problem as departure and destination has a N/S runway, beautiful sunny day besides the wind, was still in good habit of not being too confident to not need a Wx breifing. Good thing, home airport had closed its north n south runway unexpectedly, big boy crushed a spot if i recall right. I was not comfortable with a 20kt crosswind. My friends cauggt a ride and i stayed all day, briefer knew me by midday, had to stay till after dark. Numerous corprate pilots in and out and i got many a handshake from them congratulsting me in being professional enough to know my limits.
     
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  39. Mike Blackburn

    Mike Blackburn Pre-Flight

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    I’m surprised as a new PPL myself that nobody has suggested a program to keep the basic skills alive - stalls, tight turns, precautionary landings, glide approaches, simulated engine out etc...

    I really need to sit down and work out some lesson plans to practice these skills...
     
  40. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Welcome! What part? There's a pretty vibrant and active GA community out here, especially at MYF. Where are you based?

    Ugh. This seems to be sort of common, at least around here. Our club FB page even had a thread on it. I can understand not endorsing your student for a XC through it.. but to earn a license to fly an airplane without *any* Bravo experience is crazy in my book. Especially in Southern California. But really actually, it's not that scary. Like someone else said, just get on flight following, make sure you have permission to enter the Bravo, and follow their directions (IE, keep the heading and altitude they told you to ACS standards). For how busy SoCal is the ATC guys here are some of the friendliest and most easy going.

    I could not agree more. I feel like a lot of people bring a friend because they're nervous, so somehow having someone else in the plane is going to help, it's a psychological safety blanket.. but really, it's just a distraction and God forbid anything goes wrong you now are responsible for someone else's son / daughter / dad / mother etc. Plus, it's good to get sharp before you bring friends, you may miss something in the run up, forget a checklist item, etc., if you are busy talking to Timmy in the right seat. Go solo and give yourself small missions.. redo your long cross country first, then pick an airport a little further. If you are at KMYF for example then Camarillo is great.. then you have San Luis Obispo little beyond.. SBP is a great decently long cross country.. just give yourself missions to fly, each time expanding your comfort zone

    Might hold off on that for a bit. Depending on visibility I've been out there where thanks to haze or whatever I could not actually see the island. Intimidating flying out to sea not seeing land. Psychologically you don't want to put someone fresh and new in a position where they may freak out.. if they're brand new. Plus, that airport, while the runway is perfectly long for most SE GA, does look intense from the air and (until the repave it) is is pretty fair shape.. many people come in high and fast and end up going around, or bending metal. Unfortunately bent metal is common there, I feel like we get at least one bang up there every year

    YES!!

    I think the thinking is that you JUST did all this training and passed your checkride, you probably are safe with these things.. nice as a PPL to pick some airport 75 miles away and just go fly there.. because you can. Depending how often you fly it is good though to practice these maneuvers at least every 90 days or so. Anytime I'm up alone I'll throw in a few steep turns, falling leaf stalls, etc. A, they're loads of fun, and B, they do keep you sharp. Especially steep turns.. fun to see how well you can keep that altitude pegged, and how many 360s can you do with it pegged.