Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BFR & a High Performance Endorsement in a C182

Time flies! I say it all the time and I think it just gets worse as I get older...and when I discover it's BFR (biannual flight review) time again! The other day, I was sitting at my desk at work and said,
 
"Wow! It's been two years since I became a commercial pilot!" Then there was a pause and probably a look of confusion on my face, "Wait a minute...wasn't that in June?
 
Oops. A quick look through my blog and I discovered that yes, I was in desperate need of a flight review! I quickly lined up my friend, Joe, to fly as my CFI and then the next step was finding an airplane as my company plane was down. My friend from the 99s, Lin, has a beautiful G1000 Cessna 182 that she did not hesitate to offer me. Upon looking through my logbook, I discovered that I had yet to receive my high performance endorsement. So Joe agreed to work on that with me, too. I have to say, my friends rock!
 
We arrived at the airport at 7pm and I was a bit stressed that day, which didn't make for a organized Victoria while getting the plane all ready. After a good walk around, hopping in the C182 and pulling out the checklist, I realized I had forgotten the keys in the (now locked) hangar. Oy. When I got back in, Joe gave me a gentle "breathe" and we continued on.
 
The G1000 can look overwhelming to get started, but I followed the checklist religiously and it was a breeze. When doing my instrument training in 2005 I had used a Cessna 172 with G1000 on several occasions, including for one cross country, but it had been so long it felt completely new to me once again. I remembered, though, despite not flying the G1000 in awhile and having no experience in a C182, that it is still an airplane, they all work on the same basic principals, so I knew I still could fly it. The V speeds and pattern speeds were all just about 10 knots faster than the C172, so it was a quick adjustment.
 
We departed to the practice area to do some steep turns and stalls. I was pretty disappointed in my steep turns, as they usually are my favorite maneuver. The C182 was a bit heavier and I found keeping it on the ball to be difficult. I ended up laughing at what we had to dub my "rudder dance". After a few rounds, they became acceptable and we did a few stalls without a hitch. I found that not focusing on the video game like screens in the cockpit and looking outside became an additional challenge.
 
Soon, it was time to do some landings. This I was worried about as I know how I am with new aircraft. I become "afraid of the ground" and always end up high on final and flare too soon. The C182 is a tad nose heavy as well, so I had the additional concern of not slamming the nosewheel down. Although I was high on all three landings and did flare a tad too soon, they were pretty smooth with only a slight bounce. My focus on the nosewheel prevailed and it was always the last  thing to gently contact the earth. We did two power off 180s, the first ended in a go around and the second I hit the 1,000' mark. It was a great way to relive my commercial training and do some slips to lose altitude quickly.
 
No, it wasn't my best flight and I was hard on myself at first. But as I look back on yesterdays flight it is exactly what I wanted and needed. It is very easy to become complacent when you fly the same plane(s) regularly on cross country hops. The BFR work helped me knock off rust on maneuvers and practices that make me a better, well rounded pilot. I had been missing the challenge of aviation maneuvers and that of learning a new aircraft and earning a new endorsement. So, while my work had moments of suckiness, I still ended up enjoying the flight, because in the air I am free and I am challenged. Flying helps me become the best person (not just pilot) that I can be. The post BFR Hershey's ice cream didn't hurt either ;)

12 comments:

  1. Pretty brave to do a BFR in a plane u were not very familiar with! (Glad it worked out)!!

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    1. Thanks! It was quite a challenge and at times frustrating, but I'm always here to learn. What better time than a BFR?

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  2. Not too shabby! What is it with all of us (along with myself, some other pilot friends) needing BFRs - or doing it via the WINGS route 0 this month?

    I can totally tell the difference between flying at Stewart and most "standard flying" by yout 1000 foot mark comment, by the way. I'm usually aiming to touch at the first set of cones and have turned off the runway before I hit 1000 feet! ;-)

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    1. Thanks! I don't know what it is, but I'm sure if other pilots are like me, life is so busy that it's easy for the BFR to get away from you unless you are actively thinking about it. It's not like we have that date written on our medical. It's tucked away many pages ago in a logbook! And yeah, 1,000' would be using a lot of runway up for you! But for a girl that is usually high on final in a new airplane, I thought it was not so bad. I had 4,000' to go! LOL

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    2. Yup, thankfully ZuluLog or Logshare email me reminders 30 days out! I try and complete a phase of WINGS every 12-18 months but I went the full 24 this time, too. Life does get busy.

      It's easy to forget how different the world of taildraggers and Cessnas on a 3,000 ft grass strip is from the world of 5,000+ foot paved runways sometimes... though I do tend to "leave the nest" often enough to recognize the differences! :)

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    3. Tell me more about ZuluLog and Logshare! I have an electronic log book in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, but I must admit I have not updated it in a year...

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    4. They're both web-based logbooks. I've used both since I started flying - figured some redundancy was in order. Logshare used to be free but now costs annually (but it's tied into Weathermeister, which is an awesome weather site) but I still use it because it's handy as heck and still quite simple to use. It's what I link to in ever post on my blog.

      I actually am the reverse of you - every flight is logged online ASAP, but I'm horrible at updating the paper book. It sits in our fire safe and I usually remember to write stuff in every couple of months!

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    5. I'll have to look into those!

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  3. Great job turning what could have been a perfunctory flight review into a growth experience!

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  4. " I still ended up enjoying the flight, because in the air I am free and I am challenged. Flying helps me become the best person (not just pilot) that I can be." Yep, I know exactly what you mean! Congrats on your new endorsement!

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