Posts Tagged ‘learning fly; general aviation; NDB; GPS; flight planning; Federal Aviation Regulations; instrument flying; solo;’

25 years and counting

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

My friend Dan took note of a date last week. “It occurred to me this morning that 25 years ago today I took my private pilot checkride.”

With only nine years under my┬ábelt, I was curious about the changes he’s seen in a quarter-century of flying, and so I asked. And he didn’t hesitate. “Technology, of course. Cost increases. Complicated new layers of certification and regulation–most of it intended to make things simpler.” (Is this ringing anyone’s bell?)

But Dan was just getting started.

“Putting someone in the pilot seat and giving him or her (especially her) an intro flight is still one of the most fun things I can do. Landing an airplane is next.”

“My next takeoff will be just as thrilling as my first one was.”

“My being a CFI in a rural area taught the wolf how to open the door.” (Is that a Maine-ism? I should have asked.)

“Lots of changes [in the regs] such as the shortening of the ritual long x-c. I don’t think that was a good idea. Nor was the reduction in total solo time. I think those changes must have been drafted by a government lawyer taking flying lessons.” But, “Maybe the changes in instrument flying requirements were good.”

“If you can fly a good NDB approach you can do anything. Be sad that you don’t have to anymore.”

“GPS is obviously immensely helpful (but subject to abuse because it shuts down the pilot’s brain). Access to internet weather and airport info and images is great, as is computer-based flight planning.”

“I remain aware how little the general public understands GA and how deeply entrenched are the preconceived notions about aviation in the public and mass media, despite all we have done to ‘educate’ them. But of course everyone is clamoring for the public’s attention.”

“Distracted driving could be almost eliminated if drivers had to worry about examiners introducing ‘realistic distractions’ on their road tests.”

“Want to get more people flying? ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’”

What changes–good or bad–have you seen since you started flying? I’d love to hear from you in the Comments section.