The 300 hour blahs

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by labbadabba, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    I've got about 350 hours under my belt, prior to divorce and Covid I was on the track to going after my commercial, CFI and then working towards my ATP so I could maybe do some big boy flying while still in my 40s.

    But all that has stalled. My thirst for aviation knowledge has waned, my verve for going up and beating up the pattern has seemingly disappeared. Maybe it's because I'm a single dad now and the time and energy around devoting at least 4-5 hours of any given day to fly for recreation seems to have given some diminishing returns.

    I had a scare in IMC last summer while flying my kids (I was legal IFR) which really kinda took the wind out of my sails. I also know I'm in the middle of the 'Killing Zone' where the lines of competency, confidence, and complacency seem to converge. I've still logged about 30 hours since the August which isn't bad for a weekend warrior (or skyhawk in this case) pilot.

    Anyone else hit this particular wall? I want to keep flying but it just seems more daunting than ever.
     
  2. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Fly more. 30 hours in nine months is not enough to keep proficiency in VFR let alone progress or fly IMC with confidence.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
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  3. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    I’m around 50 hours behind you, with my IR on hold due to Covid and now work. Still enjoying every moment though. Since you mentioned that scare it probably would be worth it to get some work in with a double i for confidence. If you think that might be an issue?
     
  4. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Flying is just like anything else in life. You will become stagnant without goals to keep you motivated. The commercial is not that hard to add. Set a goal to attain that. Also set a goal to fly to more states, or some other accomplishment. If you are in Lawrence, you probably know that Miami County has great BBQ but trips just to K81 will only sustain you for so long.
     
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  5. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Airport tours. Plan and fly a flight landing at as many airports as you can.
     
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  6. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    nope.

    but, come out to KY next month, maybe a trip with a bunch of hooligans is the spark u need.
     
  7. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Mix something up. It doesn't have to be a bigger time or attention commitment than your schedule and energy level allows.

    For example, I'm a 1,250-hour pilot with 19 years of flying, the majority cross-country.

    During the pandemic, my IFR recency has lapsed (don't want to fly with someone outside my household), and I'm not taking long trips (don't want to risk spreading the virus from place to place), so I've discovered the joys of flying at a micro scale, like the old-time pilots did and the J3 pilots still do— I tool along, VFR, at about 1,500–2,000 ft AGL and 55% power, following roads, rivers, railroads, and powerlines from town to town, identifying them on the map as I go. It's very different from climbing to 10,000 ft and following an airway or magenta line for 3–4 hours.

    I'm surprised at how much joy it's brought me, learning that if I turn southwest and follow the powerline from town A, it will bring me past twon B and C and to D in about a half hour. I feel like I'd never really looked at all that's within 100 nm of Ottawa before, just flown over it.
     
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  8. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    You need something fresh. Have you thought about doing an ASES rating? Or maybe learning to fly a gyro?
     
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  9. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Try something different... aerobatics, seaplanes, gliders, bush planes, ultralights, PPG... lots of possibilities for a fresh outlook on flying.

    But a lot of people, without really intending to do so, put flying on hiatus or back burner during the parenting years, and pick it up again later. I did.
     
  10. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    You said you're a single dad. Toss some dating profiles in different cities and go fly for fun and to have some fun.
     
  11. MJR Pilot

    MJR Pilot Filing Flight Plan

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    May I ask, what type of scare did you have in IMC? I’m sure whatever it is has happened to others and could perhaps provide some perspective for you.
     
  12. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    Figure out a place to go with the kids. Find a reason to fly somewhere new or interesting and not just in the pattern. Take them out to a different 100 dollar burger joint every week. Try to get them excited and teach them. Nothing gets me more excited about anything than seeing a kids excitement. With that said, the divorce thing might play a role in being a bummer. I remember when the conversation with my dad when my parents got divorced and you could tell it sucked the life out of him. I was racing stock cars all over the country and traveling with him while I was in high school during that period and I'd like to think that helped.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
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  13. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    You need a mission.. I've fallen in and out of ruts too. I went about 10 years without flying..

    The thrill wanes and you end up wondering why you're pouring money into it. I am not one to just go up and burn holes in the sky, I need a mission to plan around.. ski trip, vacation weekend, even just a day trip to check out a cool new airport or a museum or something. Helps to have people with you that are also excited about it


    ..but you can't force it. If your heart's not in it right now then save the money and after some time the bug will surely bite you back
     
  14. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Exactly
     
  15. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    You're at 350 hours, why not start on the Commercial rating? It will give you a reason to fly, and it was one of your goals anyway. Just do it!
     
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  16. red4golf

    red4golf Line Up and Wait

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    I ran into a similar situation. It seemed as if every time I was up in the air it was for training and even though I was logging hundreds of miles, I only ever saw the take off and destination airport. Once my IFR training was finished I went straight into commercial but again, it was all steep turns and lazy 8s. I suggest flying for fun on a nice clear day to a destination that your kids will love as much as you will love the flight. A mission is important but there must be an element of just plain fun.
     
  17. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Forgive me, but I'm going to say it.

    I believe you may have gotten into flying without a really good reason other than wanting to.

    Once you meet the milestones that you've chosen to accomplish, it's difficult to find the reason to fly unless you have a purpose.

    Me. Today. I flew the family to our beachhouse on the West Coast of Mexico. 1:45 in the Lance beats 6:30 in the car.

    When I'm not commuting between houses, I transport blood. http://flightsforlife.org/

    Without these reasons to fly, I'm simply proposing to burn the money to "what"? Drill holes in the sky?

    Get that reason to fly, and you'll fly. Without it you're doomed to $200 hamburger runs.
     
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  18. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Best reason to go fly somewhere.
     
  19. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Im 2.5 years post-divorce and just now starting to get my stride again. While I was relieved to have it over, I was still in a bit of a funk. I haven’t flown since just before the split, and am just now getting the bug again (sold my 182 prior).

    Im guessing it’ll come back to you.
     
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  20. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It’s tough with kids. If I didn’t fly for work I probably would have just stopped for a while, and I even slowed down at work. My wife is in medicine and works cray hours so I’ve done the bulk of the raising of our son to this point(4 years), as in I’ve changed 97% of the diapers that have ever been on his @ss. Priorities are realigned. But like others have said, you need a purpose. Try to combine dating and trips with kids into it, but giver yourself PLENTY of safety buffer to really relax and enjoy that flying. Flying IFR/IMC with your kids, with your experience is not a great idea. Something happened, you realized you weren’t the pilot you thought you were(happens to all of us), and that’s a ton of stress and soul searching. But you learned your lesson, realized that even though you’re legal, it may be best to ease into it. VFR clear and sunny, go fly a date, or your kids somewhere fun. Start a sightseeing game with your kids!
     
  21. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    As an old guy I'll just give you this: you've still got an entire lifetime ahead of you and kids don't stop adults from doing what they need or want to do. They should never be thought of in the sense of a burden. As far as flying I've been at it 52 years now and there were plenty of speedbumps, setbacks and outright hiatuses along the way but I'm still here, still doing it.
     
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  22. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sounds like you are chasing goals others have set, that you feel you ought to do. If you don't want to teach, you don't need CFI. If you don't want to transport others for pay, you don't need COMM or ATP. Obligation is a lousy motivator.

    If you want to fly for transportation, then do that. Go fly places and see stuff. You don't need any more training. You know everything you need to know.

    If you just want to fly, then try some other types of flying and see if something lights your fire. Get some time in a vintage aircraft, an acro bird, a taildragger, an experimental, a seaplane, an ultralight, a biplane, a warbird, or whatever.

    I have about the same hours as you. Last weekend I took two college kids who work at the airport up in my Decathlon. They are here from Italy working on their A&P/IA and pilot's certs. Did 4 or 5 spins with each, some steep turns (Decathlon steep, eg 90 degrees) and a couple power-off approaches to our grass strip. Would need surgery to remove the smiles from their faces. Within a day or two, I was missing my plane and plotting my next flight.
     
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  23. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    I'm there. I actually blew my commercial checkride 2 years ago. My divorce started up shortly after and finding mental space for flying became really difficult at that point. I'm so damn close, had my checkride scheduled for Feb and then I got COVID. Now my written has expired and I just can't work up the gumption to hit the books and prep to retake the written.
     
  24. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Early on I read to always be working on a rating. I have done that so never bored. But it sounds like you are doing that.

    OTOH. I have found that doing what was right for my children I have never regretted. If you are focused on your children’s well-being, I don’t think you will regret that I the long if it delays your flight goals.
     
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  25. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Flew from KS to SD with a layer below me. When I got close to my destination had a lot of layers, false horizons, towering cumulus, embedded crap that I had to fly thru or around. It was my first time in REAL actual (not just busting fair weather clouds) without another pilot in the right seat. Ceilings were 1,500 so not crazy low but definitely enough to make me fight every moment I was in the clouds. Had the leans really bad. I was trembling like a leaf after shutdown.
     
  26. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Thankfully, my GF really enjoys flying with me. She's even gone up with me while I was practicing commercial maneuvers. Thinking of getting her those sectional leggings for MY birthday, lol.
     
  27. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    When I had about 300 hours, I got aerobatic lessons and then bought my RV-14 kit. One of those is a better idea than the other. Either one pairs well with divorce.
     
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  28. GBSoren

    GBSoren Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got into flying mainly because we owned a lake home that was a 6 hr drive away. It was great,1.5 hr flight vs a 6 hr drive. We have sold our lake house so now we try to take 1 weekend a month and travel to a new destination, we went to Memphis last weekend. I love to fly, but I need a mission. Rarely do I just go up to bore holes in the sky, unless it's for instrument currency, which I guess to me is still a mission.

    You have a GF, take her someplace fun.....good BBQ, great seafood, fun nightlife....Having a plane just opens up so many destinations that you otherwise wouldn't/couldn't do!
     
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  29. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    I am different than some. Perfectly content 99% of the time to just go drill holes in the sky. I actually have rarely used a plane to go anywhere and even then it was a hour or so away. I hope to do a little more of that now that I own but Covid hasn't helped. Honestly though while my 172 is capable of going places it isn't really a go places airplane. If I had access to a reasonably priced go places airplane I might be convinced to get my instrument rating. Otherwise happy to just be flying my 172 or the Champ I have access to. Nothing like flying off grass on a beautiful summer day. The fact that my wife loves to fly just to fly too is helpful.
     
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  30. Greg Ellis

    Greg Ellis Filing Flight Plan

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    Prior to my divorce (last year) my ex-wife and I would fly all over the place. We would take long vacations, short vacations, overnights etc.... She was ok with flying because it got us places quicker than driving. Now that I am divorced, I have changed my flying habits (don't do the single vacation). I enjoy going up on a Friday or Saturday and flying an easy 1-2 hour flight and during the flight I will practice maneuvers (stalls, steep turns, slow flight, etc...) just to stay sharp. I also now enjoy just spending time at the airport at my hangar doing odd things. I have decided to do more things with other pilots so I am doing some formation flying training so I can fly with the Mooney Caravan into Oshkosh. I am going to The Mooney Summit in October. Spending some time with other like minded people who enjoy dong what I am doing (my ex-wife did not enjoy hanging out with other pilots too much). I think it will help me keep excited about flying.

    So maybe there is a group you can join (not just an online forum like this) or maybe get into animal transport through Pilots N Paws or Veterans Airlift Command or Angel Flight. All these will give you a reason to keep flying as well as a sense of accomplishment and doing something of benefit to help others.
     
  31. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    At some point everyone goes through this to varying degrees.
    It will pass if you want it to.
     
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  32. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I can't imagine the stress of going through a divorce, being a single dad, and going back into the dating scene. I can believe that there's just not enough emotional energy left to want to fly. My primary motivation for learning was to travel with my family, so I suspect were i in your situation I would struggle as well. I've been at the hangar and decided not to fly because my head wasn't in it after a fight with my wife or other stressful situation.

    Lots of good ideas here for finding reasons to fly, I'm going to play devils advocate a bit a say that it's okay to take a break. Getting your personal life in order, and spending time with your kids is the most important thing. Your license will still be valid when you have the emotional reserves to get back into it. A few hours with a cfi and you're good to go. I'd never encourage anyone to quit flying, but often things that we love to do become a burden when we're under to much stress.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
  33. farangutan

    farangutan Pre-Flight

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    I took two breaks from flying, one 10 years, the other 2 years. I passed the commercial written right before the long break. So I know the feeling of needing to hit the books again. A lot more has changed since I took it 15 years ago.. My daughter just turned one this month and she has flown a few dozen flights with us. I hope your kid(s) can enjoy spending time with you flying.
    I had an IFR scare too, it was a short bumpy all IMC flight and it showed me how rusty I was. Go fly with a CFII in IMC any chance you can.
    It's ok to take a break. But coming back from a break is humbling. Try to stay proficient above the minimum. Just like with exercise, the best way to get in shape is to not get out of shape.
     
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  34. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Totally agree on the joy of just flying without a destination—especially during the pandemic—but as far as capabilities go, a 172 can definitely be a "go somewhere" plane if you want it to be.

    I have comparable plane, a 160 hp Piper PA-28-161, and it's taken me all over eastern Canada and the northeastern US, VFR and IFR. Here are my typical flying times to destinations from Ottawa, ON (two numbers mean eastbound/westbound):

    Toronto: 1:30/2:00
    Québec: 1:30/2:00
    Charlottetown, PEI: 4:00/5:30
    Halifax: 4:00/5:30
    Boston: 2:30
    New York City: 2:30
    DC: 4:30
    Philadelphia: 4:00
    Sault Ste Marie: 3:00/4:00

    I have > 5:30 to empty tanks at 75% power flying LOP-WOT, which gives me a comfortable 4 hours IFR allowing for alternate and decent reserve, so most of the above trips are non-stop. Your 172 is just as capable — don't let anyone tell you it's just for buzzing around.
     
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  35. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    We are hoping to do some more 3-5 hour trips this year. We went to visit some friends one state over about an hour flight last Sunday making a whopping 77 knots over the ground on the way there. :) Still more fun than driving.
     
  36. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    This is actually a very important distinction to make and hints at different people's levels of intrinsic joy with aviation. Flying absolutely can be just a vehicle to have local fun in the local area. It need not have missions hundreds of miles away. Personally I unfortunately suffer a bit from "okay I get this now and I'm bored of it, what's next" .. but maybe if I had my own 172 that would change. If I'm going to rent something and spend hundreds of dollars I want the added challenge and thrill of planning something 300 miles away to a new place.. sounds like OP was kind of in a similar boat with his joy of just flying having waned


    He didn't say it can't go somewhere, just that it's not really meant for it. I think that's fair. The 172 has comparable speeds to the Archer (pedantics aside of "yeah but my 180 conversion with all the mods can do 146 knots, I swear!".. ultimately they're both "slow" trainers). But lack of any real rudder trim on the 172 and a general lack of overall creature comforts it fits very squarely in the "I'm a trainer, don't sit in me for longer than your lesson requires" .. A PA-28 at least has (imho) better ergonomics, a rudder trim so you can actually rest your feet, and a more comfortable location of elevator trim so you can fly the thing for hours with just your right hand making tiny adjustments here and there. It also seems a little more solid in turbulence and doesn't require as many trim changes with speed changes
     
  37. Dave Arata

    Dave Arata Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm right at the 300 hour mark. Got my IR immediately after private, commercial immediately after IR. I too was boring quickly with flying and agreed to ferry a 150 from Oregon to Arizona a few weeks ago. That trip required three days to accomplish due weather and break downs. Needless to say, the flight didn't do too much to reinvigorate my desire to fly, so I signed up for tail wheel lessons. :)
     
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  38. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds like you are letting flying become a stress creator rather than a stress reliever. Head down to Hutch for a day and hang out at the Cosmosphere museum.

    Step back for a bit and stop looking at it as something that needs to be conquered. Take a break and use it for fun.
     
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  39. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Buy a cheap timeshare that's an eight hour car drive away. :cool:

    Problem solved.
     
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  40. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    This is it, in a large way. I kinda don't want to admit to myself that I'm burned out on something I absolutely love and was a life-long dream to obtain. I've considered the Hutch trip quite a bit, especially now that my kids are old enough to enjoy it. (8 and 6) My older kiddo and I watched Apollo 13 recently and she thought the whole thing was pretty amazing (and terrifying).
     
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