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Keep current in everything you fly!

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4 weeks 4 hours ago #456 by Rob Shearman Jr
Rob Shearman Jr created the topic: Keep current in everything you fly!
Not a good day for your trusty CFI:

Flew my "CalClassic / Dutch" DC-3C for the first time in many months last night, KRDU to KMTN (my "virtual home airport"). Getting back into the old bird after playing mostly with the PMDG 737NGX was a bit of culture shock. My two biggest gaffes were that I filed a route that included a turbojet-only STAR, and on descent from 13,000 to 8,000, I forgot that the plane wouldn't automatically level off at the target altitude and didn't catch the error until I was at about 6,400. Also had a couple issues flying direct-to VORs that I wasn't yet receiving (no FMC, idiot! LOL!) and should have been quicker to coordinate headings with ATC. Overall not my best work! Redeemed myself with a beautiful stabilized visual approach followed by a well-centered three-point landing on Martin State Airport's rwy 33. If I hadn't, I'm sure I would've gone to bed mad, LOL.

Lesson: keep current in everything you fly, and, never take for granted that you know what you're doing even after more than 30 years at this hobby!

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4 weeks 4 hours ago #457 by Jonathan Dowdy
Jonathan Dowdy replied the topic: Keep current in everything you fly!
I have found it really odd trying to fly some of the bigger aircraft such as the PMDG 737, and Majestic Dash 8, after doing a lot of GA flying. It is almost to the point that I don't fly anything other than GA anymore. I can say that after working on my real world stuff that I don't get to fly in the sim much at all. I look forward to having some time off in order to make some sim flights and continue my P4 track.

What I expect is happening is something that I have noticed in the flight circles, and that is everyone wants to fly the bigger, more bad airplane. For the guys flying 172's and single engine fixed gear planes they want to move into the high performance, complex airplanes. Those in the planes with constant speed props and retracts want to fly the twins. Those guys see the regional jets and say that is where I want to be, the regionals see the main line airliners and say that is where I want to be, followed by the long haul intercontinental flights saying that is the best there is. The guys flying the 747's and 777's look down and see the 172's and trainers and say to themselves, that is when flying was fun.

You are right in saying keep sharp are your fleet so that some of those mistakes don't happen. But you survived and nobody was hurt and you didn't have to take down a number. So keep flying the little guy and give it some love and go back to the NGX soon so you don't forget it either. It is hard with a large fleet to remember everything, even more so when you have a study level aircraft like the NGX.

Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down and good luck with the remainder of the days flights.

Jon

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3 weeks 6 days ago #458 by Jim Hurst
Jim Hurst replied the topic: Keep current in everything you fly!
Thanks for sharing Rob. Fun stuff, and I know exactly where you're at (probably have the t-shirt laying around somewhere too) :P

It's especially challenging if you fly a lot of different airplanes frequently to keep them all straight.

With regard to currency, PPL holders are required to make 3 take-offs and landings every 90 days to remain proficient (and to stay legal to carry pax). For higher ratings (IFR, Commercial, etc.) I believe the requirements are even higher.

Keeping that in mind, I've found a few things helpful in that regard:

* I keep a 4x6 index card for every airplane I fly -- with basic checklist items for normal flight (start, t/o, cruise, land), along with basic v-speeds, fuel endurance and range, and notes on any "unusual" characteristics, equipment, etc. Whenever I fly that plane, I have that index card on my desk in front of me (in lieu of a POH) and it helps me recall things. (For instance, on the standard FSX F18 - "unfold the wings" is a key item to remember on that index card...) :ohmy:

* Every couple weeks, I'll grab one of the planes and fly it offline for 20mins or so (either around the patch a few times, or for a short crosstown flight), so I get a little refresher on each over the course of a couple months.

* Finally, I try to come up with a "project" for the various planes I fly to get extended time on them. I usually fly those on VATsim.

Of course, nothing will prevent the occasional gaff, but as Jonathan points out, if it doesn't involve bending metal (or pixels), it's all good ;)


Cheers,
Jim

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3 weeks 6 days ago #459 by Rob Shearman Jr
Rob Shearman Jr replied the topic: Keep current in everything you fly!
Jim, I have the same thing but in the form of an Excel spreadsheet (with multiple tabs, for each different aircraft) that has all of that in it -- not just the safety checklists, but key step-by-step procedures for a complete flight. In this case it didn't help because "remember to level off at the assigned altitude" wasn't on it. Heh.

There were indeed no bent pieces (or pixels, as Jim put it), in this case; just a bruised ego in the cockpit. I put "CFI of VATSTAR.com" in the remarks of all of my flight plans and I hate it when I do dumb things that stir the ire of the controllers and make them wonder what kind of operation we run. LOL. More embarrassing than anything. But, as always, a valuable learning experience!

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